1997 Porsche FS
Excerpt from the January 1997 issue of Popular Mechanics:
(after reviewing the Porsche S) We can’t say the same thing about Porsche’s $4500 top-of-the-line machine. This is the S model with the addition of disc brakes, a rear suspension and a higher grade of equipment. Unfortunately, those items also jack the weight up to 26.4 pounds. Still, this is a good example of high-tech excellence. The rear-suspension pivot brace, handlebar mounts, and triple clamps are works of art.
The FS has Sacks Quarz drivetrain components, a rear swing-arm with a Fox-Alps 4 damper mounted nearly horizontal under the seat and expensive Sachs Power Disc II hydraulic disc brakes front and rear.
Our riders deemed the FS solid and well-balanced. But everyone complained about the extra weight of the rear suspension, particularly when climbing. On the othr hand, we found the FS to a professional-level downhill racer. When it comes to all-around riding, though, we’d rather have a plain Porsche S.
The only thing this bike is a good example of is how far we’ve come since ’97. Wow is all I’ve got to say. While I can respect it’s design as a predecessor to everything that I love about cycling, it’s really kind of laughable.
The fork looks like it was engineered to be used in a space shuttle mission, but doesn’t reflect it in the way it handles. It’s stiff, but that’s where it ends. The compression is awful, due mostly to the use of interchangeable elastomers that don’t really fit. The rebound is, well, not there. There’s no rebound cartridge and you can tell instantly. I’m just really glad the designers didn’t give up on using disc brakes after seeing and using these things.
They dubbed this a downhill bike in ’97, but there’s obviously only about a 1/4 of the travel of current DH builds.
Forget aircraft aluminum. This is a step up, space shuttle aluminum. The engineering on this thing is quite amazing. Minus all the functional things like smooth, consistent compression, and rebound. Any rebound would have been nicer.
The brakes look like “lightened” motorcycle technology. It was hydraulic though.