Here is the unconfirmed story behind this particular bike.
Originally, all mountain bikes were hand made customs and generally cost $1,500 +/-. Many folks were intrigued by the idea of mountain biking but couldn't afford the cost of a custom bike. Specialized got the ball rolling with the Stumpjumper, that was shown at the fall of 1981 bike show, which sold for about $750 (half the price of the customs). Gary Fisher saw the need for a lower priced bike and talked to several overseas suppliers about supplying a more entry level Fisher-branded mountain bike which became the Montare. The earliest Montare ad that I have found is from late 1983 which would likely mean this bike was made in early-mid 1983 as a sample.
This bike is supposed to have been one of those sample bikes made for Gary to check out. The family that had the bike prior to us had bought it directly from Gary years ago and some of the parts have been changed or lost but the paint is original. They mentioned it being from a French manufacturer, possibly Motobecane? The lug work does have something of a French look to it and it might also explain the Stronglight headset. The original parts included a Campy seat post and a custom wheel set along with the modified brake lever shifters. My guess would be that the frame was painted pretty quickly and shipped without decals to Fisher, who built it with parts that were laying around the shop to evaluate the ride. For whatever reasons, the Montare was sourced from Japan which would make this bike something of an orphan.
I have contacted Gary Fisher about this bike and he seems to go along with most of the story and remembers making this style of brake lever/shift lever combination. If I can get any more info on this bike, I will post it here.
"I have studied bicycle lugs and lugged construction for quite some time, and I just wanted to provide a touch of information related to the 1983 Fisher prototype that you show on your site.I would lay down big money that the fork crown is made by Nervex, a French lug manufacturing company, and it was called the "D/B (presumably DuBois) Randonneur Feature Cut No. 7 fork crown", which came in a "Sport" and "Tourist" version. The only difference was that the sport version was 60mm between the fork blades, and the tourist version was 68mm, big enough for mountain bike tires. The lugs are also French. Prugnat to be precise. The top point had the same pointy-heart-like shape cut out as the Fisher. So while I can not confirm that the bike was manufactured by a French company, I can assure you that the fork crown and the lugs are French."
Click on thumbnails below for larger images:
|Rims||Ukai 26x2.125 alloy, gold anodized|
|Hubs||SR, nutted, gold|
|Pedals||MKS Foot Jaws|
|Crank||SR Aero X|
|Rear Cogs||Suntour 5 speed freewheel|
|Front Derailleur||Suntour AG Tech|
|Rear Derailleur||Suntour ARX|
|Shifters||Suntour Thumb, mounted to brake lever|
|Brake set||Shimano MC-70|
|Brake levers||Magura with integrated shift levers|
More MOMBAT-themed resources.