Victor Vincente of America (two versions of the word "winner") was born Michael Hiltner in 1941. His road racing achievements include the 1959 and 1963 PanAm teams, 1965 US national road champ along with the 1960 and 1964 Olympic teams. in 1975, Michael set the double transcontinental record from Santa Monica to Atlantic City and back (36 days, 8 hours). By 1978, Michael Hiltner became Victor Vincente of America and, in 1979, began building the 'Topanga!' mountain bikes. This is the second bike of approximately 26 'Topanga!' bikes built. At the time this bike was built, 26" rims were still made of steel and the tires were heavy balloon tires. Due to the popularity of BMX racing, 20" alloy rims and high performance tires were readily available and likely 4-5 pounds lighter than 26" wheels at the time. VVA also promoted numerous early races and events, sometimes offering 'Topanga!' bikes and frames as prizes. At the 1981 trade show, the 'Topanga!' was one of 3 mountain bikes on display alongside Mountain Goat and the Charlie Kelly/Gary Fisher owned company MountainBike (built by Ritchey). Because of his contributions to the sport, VVA was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 1989 and the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame in 2001.
Update from VVA: "The bike in the photo was one of the first six "demonstrator" frames. These six were loaned out to various bike shops for potential customers to test ride. This one is identifiable by the fork, which has a square "chopped off" end with a tab welded on the inside. This fork was a pre-existing commercial BMX fork I used before I had the production 'Topanga!' forks manufactured. The production 'Topanga!' fork had an angled end with a steel plate that terminated in the drop-out."
Click on thumbnails below for larger images:
|Rims||Araya 20 x 1.75 alloy|
|Hubs||Sunshine high flange Campagnolo skewers|
|Tires||Motocross Grip 20 x 2.125|
|Pedals||Campagnolo quill with toe clips and straps|
|Crank||Sugino with 54 tooth Sugino ring|
|Rear Cogs||Suntour 7 speed freewheel|
|Rear Derailleur||Suntour V GT Luxe|
|Shifters||Campagnolo brazed-on (top tube mounted)|
|Handlebars||Race Inc BMX|
|Brake set||Weinmann "Schwinn Approved" calipers|
|Brake levers||Weinmann with custom bend|
|Saddle||Avocet Touring II|
|Seat Post||SR Laprade|
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