There would be nary a mountain biker in the UK who hasn’t heard of the Muddy Fox brand. Although if you appreciate fine bicycles, turn your eyes from their current offerings and focus your attention instead on this resto-mod by Isambard Cycles.
Before Muddy Fox became Muddyfox, peddling reflective vests and other generic accessories, it was a staple name around the burgeoning UK MTB scene, cleverly marketing a few highly sought-after mountain bikes, like the famous Courier Comp.
The early frames were manufactured in Japan by the rim manufacturer Araya, mainly from Tange Infinity tubing, like this 1985 Monarch model. If you look closely, you can make out the Araya logo on the seat stay cap.
Isambard Cycles is a workshop in Wales who specialize in giving iconic frames a new lease of life with a sympathetic updating of parts. Anyone can do that, but it takes a good eye and a sense of style to appreciate their originality and quality.
Components and geometry have evolved since the Monarch ruled the trails, but for a rough-and-tumble cruiser, there are few better. The Shimano Deerhead groupset was perfectly functional so was retained, as were the wheels, reshod in Schwalbe gum walls.
Both the sprung Brooks saddle and new Rustines grips will provide comfort and add to the Monarch’s patina as they wear. For the more adventurous, a porteur rack means overnighter green lane touring is now a very awesome option.
Isambard’s Cycles Website | Facebook | Instagram