Thursday, October 20, 2011

1992 Fat Chance Yo Eddy

This gorgeous hunk of butted steel is a 1992 Fat Chance Yo Eddy that has undergone a controversial repaint courtesy of Russ Pickett at AirArt.  This specific Yo started life in Sommervile, MA and then proceeded to Boston where it was used and abused as a town commuter by its previous owner.  This specific Yo is teamed with the famous Yo Eddy rigid fork, and without the Fat Chance sealed cartridge bottom bracket.  The latter is a good thing because it not only provides options for replacement, but also the old Fat Chance bottom brackets are often frozen with rust due to neglect.

Eventually the Yo made its way to Southern California where it was put out to stud, that is "sit in a garage and waste away."

Fast forward a little while to earlier this year, I managed to get a hold of it and the restoration began.  The frame was structurally in good shape, with only some minor surface rust, and a little more rust inside the seat tube.  A couple minutes with a pipe cleaning wire brush and some rush inhibitor and the seat tube issues were all gone.  I stripped the frame down of all the parts, most of which were very dated and largely past their prime.  Then the frame went off to Russ and here is the finished product.

The Yo Eddy decals are courtesy of Rody at Groovy Cycles, who were are very lucky is still catering to all things Fat Chance.  The color is called Team Violet and is one of the best choices for a Yo of this vintage.  The actual paint color doesn't really come through in pictures but it has a very nice pastel quality that is amplified by the reddish pearlescent clear coat!!  It really looks beautiful.

 Beautiful Campagnolo dropouts

Stay tuned for the upcoming build.  I hope to have most of it done this coming weekend and am very anxious to see how it rides.  A Fat Chance can only be appreciated on the trails and I hope to have a chance to give this bike a semi decent test drive before trying to find a home for it!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

1993-1994 Yeti ARC

The search is over, today I finally got my 1993 (Serial # A0784) Yeti ARC.  I've always wanted one of these frames and am thrilled to have found one.  The build will take some time as I don't have any of the parts I need, so it might remain as a frame for some time.

The ARC which started in 1992 and continues to this day is arguable one of the most successful racing bikes of all time.  With names like Furtado & Tomac racing for Yeti in the early years their reputation for building uncompromising racing machines was without equal.  My relationship with the ARC goes all the way back to high school when I ordered an ARC from Eddie's bicycle shop in State College, PA.  That whole deal went sour and I never got the bike... until now!

 Check out those amazing welds, just beautiful!!

These bikes were some of the lightest on the market in the early 90s, primarily due their use of thin tubing Easton Aluminum.  As such the frames were prone to cracking and dented easily, and that is a major part of the reason why they are so hard to find.  Fortunately, this frame is not crack-a-lacky and only has one tiny ding on the top tube.

So, welcome to the stable.  The build will start as soon as I find a fork and headset!

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's shipping day and commentary on vintage MTB scene day

Busy day getting some bikes and parts out to people today.  Really pissed off 20-25 customers in line at the post office when my checkout took about 25 minutes.  I have to say I feel bad for the hard working folks at USPS, five checkstands and only one clerk - tough times!!

1984 Stumpjumper Sport sold to a customer in Japan of all places, somehow I feel that the massive 22.5" frame will be a bit... out of place there.  But hey.  Am I more impressed that it's going to Japan or that I managed to squeeze it into a 106 linear inch box??

Also sent out a NOS 1994/95 Specialized S-Works FSR and a NOS 1997/98 S-Works M2 to my buddy Jon in the UK.  Another feat of packaging genius if I do say so myself.

A few small M900 XTR bits and pieces flying off to the Czech Republic and Portugal.

The vintage mountain bike scene is really amazing, people all over the world finding these bits and pieces to make their projects complete.  It seems so easy now, with eBay, Craigslist multiple online forums and get-togethers.  Back in the late 90s and early 2000s it was much more difficult.  I remember calling bike shops and simply driving up and down the east coast looking for bikes. 

Just when you think there is nothing left out there amazing finds still crop up.  I just bought a bike from a very nice guy back east, got to talking more about the "good ole days" only to find out he's sitting on a stash of brand new, M732 Shimano XT and Suntour XC-PRO gruppos.  Simply amazing.  Maybe I'll have a chance to buy some of those or maybe I'll help him finally get a frame worthy of those wonderful parts. 

Just goes to show you never know what you'll find!

Ok, ok... back at it again...

It's been a couple very busy weeks and bikes have gone unbuilt, and projects have been delayed.  But there is hope.  The GT Zaskar project is progressing nicely and is back on track.  I bought this bike for a local South Bay "Customer" who wants a nice city bike with an industrial feel to it.  The bike came with a host of period correct parts but they were mostly trash.  It also had a rather decent Rock Shox Mag-20 that I'll rescue for a future built, but this 1992/93 Zaskar will get a most appropriate GT Bologna rigid fork which is on it's way over from the UK.

Here are some quick before deails of the frame.  It was in good shape, but had a lot of pitting and a few scratches. 

Ok, so that's the sorry before.  Since then I've stripped all the decals (don't worry I've sources New Old Stock - NOS GT Zaskar decals to replace them with) and sanded the frame down.  The original finish on these GT was Ball Burnished, which is not something I can duplicate, at least not at this price point (keeping the final under $500) so instead I'm going  to sand it over with some finer sand paper, the scotchbrite and ultimately polish (slightly) with some Mothers Aluminum polish.  The buyer wants a shiny, but not chrome look.

When working with aluminum or other bare metals it's important to sand in one direction, and in the case of bikes you want to go with the tubing as opposed to against it.  Most of the swirls will come out during the polishing phase, but it saves time.

Here are some after sanding, but before polish pictures:

Those are some awesome welds!!

My first mountain bike was a GT Karakoram and I still love the Triple Triangle design!!

So, the plan this week is to finish the sanding and polishing and start to build it up.  The remaining parts and components will all be black to offset the bare Aluminum finish and will hopefully make a great combination!!

Looking forward to finishing this one!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bring out yer dead...

As much fun as it is to restore and work on truly amazing vintage bikes, there is a more altruistic aspect to Second Spin of bringing bikes back from the dead and giving them a second life.  In that vein I picked up two perfect candidates yesterday, a 1990/91 Specialized Stumpjumper and a 92/93 GT Zaskar LE.

Both of these bikes were very clearly ridden hard and put away wet.  However, in both cases the frames and most of the components are in pretty good shape, especially the Zaskar.

Living in the South Bay I find that a nice commuter bike comes in very handy.  A less complicated bike, with fewer gears (I personally prefer 1x8 or 1x7), with semi slick road tires, comfortable ride position and ultimately something you mind getting beaten up a little here and there is very nice to have to ride down to the beach, go the store or bike to work.  Bikes likes these are perfect for such a conversion, and they're relatively cheap!!

The front shocks on both of these bikes are toast, and they will be replaced with rigid forks.  I already have two original GT 3D and Bologna forks coming from the UK for the Zaskar, so it will be very much period correct.

I'm very excited about getting these two bikes fixed up as quickly as possible and putting them back out on the roads and trails.  I already have a couple friends who are eagerly looking for new bikes, so hopefully we can find some good matches.

A small taste of history

I recently acquired a piece of mountain bike history in the form of a 1983 Specialized Stumpjumper Sport.  The Stumpjumper first appeared on the scene in 1981/82 and is arguably the first mass produced mountain bike in the world.

This specific example was built in October 1983 and is therefore most likely an 1984 model year bike and is in that fashion is a lugged steel frame.  The first few years of production also saw TIG welded frames, which are now a little more desirable.

The components are virtually entirely original with only a few wear items replaced out of necessity.  The specifications for the Stumpy Sport include Suntour Mountech Drivetrain with thumbshifters, Sugino AT cranks, Specialized hubs, bottom bracket and headset, Shimano brakes and pedals, a bullmoose bar and a leather Avocet Touring saddle.

For a nearly 30 year old bike this one is in pretty good condition, it was clearly used but also obviously cared for.  There are some paint scrapes and chips, so it's definitely not a museum piece but is in pretty amazing shape otherwise.

The bike is a treat to ride, I can't help but feel fortunate to have the opportunity to own even for a short period of time a small piece of history and see what it was like to ride mountain bikes before disc brakes, full suspension, index shifting and lightweight frames.  All the components perform flawlessly, brakes stop just like they should, all of the bearing components were in great shape.  I overhauled the headset and pedals and they feel like new.

I will be auctioning this bike on eBay and hope that it finds a nice new home with an owner that occasionally stretches it's legs out on the trail.

Second Spin (Martin)