PACE RC-100 Homage

PACE RC-100 Homage

I picked up my first bike magazine in October 1990. It was Mountain Biking UK, and they tested two ‘superbikes’ – a Fat Chance Team Comp, and a Pace RC100. Two very different bikes, both highly rated. Whilst I feel that I have built a few bikes similar to the Fat Chance – high performance fully rigid steel mountain bikes (and I got to meet Chris Chance at the MADE show this year!) – the Pace was ahead of it’s time in terms of technical innovation. The standout for me (then and now) is the one-piece stem/steerer that is clamped into the fork crown (a ‘composite’ fork, having cromoly legs bolted into an aluminium crown). To make this work, Pace machined the threads from the headset to effectively create the Aheadset years before that became the norm.

I have built a number of bikes with my own interpretation of that ‘upside down’ headset arrangement. But I wondered if I could take some other influences from the RC100 and create a modern, steel (the Pace frame was aluminium) version. Finding a NOS Pace fork crown on ebay cemented this idea and thus began a fairly challenging project.

Uniquely, the Pace frame was made from square section tubing, with the sides machined to create the ‘butting’ and tune the ride feel and weight. I undertook to do the same thing with 4130 cromoly tubing – figuring out how to successfully machine the sides was difficult and resulted in some scrapped tubes, but I got there eventually. I found some 1″ x 0.5″ rectangular tubing which worked great for the chainstays – joined to a wide format T47 BB shell, the narrow section allowed for a straight run to the dropouts, whilst giving good tire, chainring and crank clearance, even with the very short (415mm) chainstays and 29″x2.4″ tires. I added a cutout on the rear of the seattube to make everything fit.

For the round-peg-into-square-hole problem of the seatpost I machined an internal shim and external seatpost clamp. Up front, once I measured up the fork crown, I realised I needed some offset dropouts to give the geometry I wanted. With nothing suitable available, I made my own thru-axle dropouts – the fork has to have 100mm spacing to match the crown, so I made it 100×12. The rear gets the modern boost spec of 148×12, with SRAM UDH dropouts from Albatross.

The T47 BB allows room for internal cable and gear routing, controlling the TRP 12spd groupset and brakes. The wheels are a bit special, with Onyx hook-flange hubs laced with Berd spokes to Astral carbon rims.

Colorworks did a great job with the paint, replicating the PACE graphics, just with a subtle nod to my brand by changing the name to EC100 :-


  1. WOW, congratulations – wonder how it feels to ride. What is the weight?

    • Have not yet been able to test it properly, I am curious about that too…. It weighs in at 23.0lbs, the frame ended up about 1lb heavier than if I had used regular tubing.

  2. Love it. How about a spec list?
    The thing that surprises me is that I would have guessed you are running bigger tires than would have been spec’d in 1990. Thus I am surprised that vintage crown allows the forks to clear the tire.

    • A spec list? Sure! The fork crown was set to have straight legs with the standard 100mm spacing – so there is close to that between the blades which leaves plenty of room for a 2.4″ tire.

      Headset: Chris King NTS
      Handlebar: Ritchey WCS carbon low riser
      Groupset: TRP Evo 12spd
      Brakes: TRP DH-R Evo with Shimano XT rear caliper
      Seatpost: Enve carbon 25.4mm
      Saddle: Reform carbon
      Hubs: Onyx hooked flange
      Spokes: Berd
      Rims: Astral Serpentine carbon
      Tires: Schwalbe Racing Ralph/Nobby Nic

      • Thanks! You say you haven’t tested it properly yet. Are you saving it for the bike shows? I think it will show quite nicely.

  3. Beautiful build. I had a RC200F2 which was the last of the square seat tubes. Love the modern updates to your one such as the internal routing and dropouts. Love this build and love that you did it. It obviously made a mark on you, so its fitting you did this.


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