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Limited edition 25th anniversary Slim Chance touches down

James Spender
11 Nov 2016

Someone telephone Zach Morris... the 90s is back, and it’s looking pretty rad

You’ve already decided if you like this bike or not.

It’s the paint. It’s garish, it’s lairy and it wouldn’t look out of place on the set of Saved by the Bell. And once upon a time it could have been, for this an identikit reissue of the Slim Chance, a bike which first debuted in 1991 and is now getting re-released in limited numbers to celebrate its 25th anniversary. So why all the fuss?

Chance is a fine thing

The answer to that question lies in what you look for in a bike. There’s no aero here, no super stiff frame, no sub-kilo frameset, no discs. But what the Slim Chance is is a piece of history, a true icon.

Back in 1982, a young framebuilding upstart by the name of Chris Chance started Fat City Cycles with Gary Helrich (who would later set up titanium specialists Merlin Metalworks) on America’s East Coast.

When all about them was brazed lugs, Chance and Helfrich pioneered TIG welded bicycle frames, and with the original Slim Chance unleashed arguably the first production TIG welded road bike in the world.

Twenty-five years on, Chance is back (after a long hiatus as a holistic healer, so it goes), and not only is he reproducing the Slim Chance with the original geometry, but he’s finally using the originally intended tubeset: True Temper.

According to an article published at the time, Chance wanted to use steel from US firm True Temper all along, but felt the choice just wouldn’t fly with the dyed-in-the-wool road market. The lack of lugs and new-fangled construction would be bad enough, so instead he constructed the Slim Chance frames from Columbus TSX tubing in a bid to lure in the old guard.

How the rest played out is history, but along with the Fat Chance mountain bike, the Yo Eddy, Fat City became a cult icon in cycling, and helped pave the way for brands such as Seven Cycles, Merlin and Independent Fabrications.

To say Chris Chance’s reach extends well-beyond Fat City Cycles is like saying the Beatles influenced pop music. It doesn’t do it justice. And if that hasn’t convinced you the Slim Chance is one Very Important Bike, then consider also that True Temper – revered in framebuilding circles in its own right – has ceased trading in bicycle tubing.

Thus these limited edition reissues are built with some of the last True Temper available. A collectors’ item in the making, and in the meantime, one sick bike bro!

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