Bike Review: A 1980’s Murray Monterey Magna

Murray Monterey Magna

(photo courtesy of onelessminivan.tumblr.com)

I don’t usually write much about inexpensive department store bikes (Kmart, Target, etc)  since besides the price, they don’t have a lot of features worth recommending – they’re not sturdy and generally don’t hold up to any sort of regular, daily riding.  That being said,  I do come across some interesting vintage bikes once in a while,  including some ‘department-store’ bikes.   This bike would be one of those.   At the last Women Who Bike brunch in April, Ash – of the tumblr blog One Less Minivan –  rode up on her newly acquired Murray Monterey Magna 2-speed.  That’s right,  it’s a 2-speed bike.  In fact, this particular bike has a 2-speed automatic hub  – one of the Sachs “Torpedo Duomatic Hubs” I believe.  Check out this post on powderblueorbit.com that talks in detail about this hub.

Sachs Torpedo Duomatic Hub Chart

(courtesy of powerderblueorbit.com)

 

The bike is a tank!  And that’s coming from someone who rides a 50lb WorkCycles Oma everyday!  The automatic hub can be kicked into  the other gear by slightly pedaling backwards – it has a coaster brake.  Or, just start riding and as you pick up speed it will automatically shift to the next gear.

Murray Monterey Magna Sachs Hub

 

The Murray Ohio Manufacturing Company made these bikes in the  80s though by that time they were no longer located in Cleveland Ohio, but had moved their factory and assembly plant to Lawrenceburg Tennessee.  They started selling their bicycles in Target, Kmart and Wal-mart at about the same time.  They stopped producing US-made bikes altogether in 1999, and the brand was acquired by Pacific Cycles in 2000.   I’m not sure if Ash is more interested in the hub or the bike, but I know she’s been sighted riding this beast around the city, so keep an eye out for her.

 

Murray Monterey Magna

murray_monterey_magna

 

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  • http://profiles.google.com/alottes Ash L

    Beast is certainly a good name for her. I bought the bike solely for the hub. The bike was a $100 on Ebay, the hub itself sells on Ebay Europe for 150 Euro. The far down the line plan is to remove the rear wheel, dismantle it from the hub and then build up a new wheel with it. I want to put the hub into a 20-25lb track frame bike but then, for safety reasons, I’d likely need to add a front caliper brake.

    For now, I like tooling around the neighborhood on this monster.

    And just a note about Sachs, they made both the Torpedo 2-Speed Duomatic which employs the kickback technique for shifting and the hub on the Monterey which is an “automatic”. The automatic version is what currently warrants the highest price and is in the shortest supply.

    Sturmey Archer just started making kickback hubs new again last year but for whatever reason the vintage ones go for significantly more money.