Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Yeti Tree Frog (S/N 2) trials bike

I finished this bike some time ago and just haven't had a chance to post up the finished photos. This particular Yeti Tree Frog was the 2nd production (consumer) version of the rare trials bike from the fabled mountain bike manufacturer. While the total production numbers for both team and consumer bikes are not know, the number 10 is commonly thrown around by ex-Yeti folks.

I've had the fortune of working on two of these bikes and wanted to take the opportunity to not just showcase this bike but also to bring up a couple differences between this and the one team bike I worked on a little while back.


The basic look of this Tree Frog is similar to the team bike. One of the main differences is the oval top tube borrowed from a production FRO compared to the round top tube on the team bike.



Custom painted Bullseye Tandem hubs with with 48 spokes make for some very strong wheels.


Custom Accutrax fork with U-brake mounts and a Campagnolo Euclid brake. The pulley system adds extra leverage to the brake system, but is difficult to setup in the confined space.


Custom Yeti stem with a removal faceplate enabled the use of riser bars.


Like most Tree Frogs and trials bikes in general this one uses a U-brake in the rear with the custom Yeti cable hanger. For whatever odd reason the team frame was actually setup for cantilever brakes.


The spacing on this rear hub is the standard MTB 135. Perhaps this was done to accommodate the Bullseye tandem hubs without any customization. By comparison the team frame had 115mm rear spacing using a custom built rear hub.


The team bike has dual gussets reinforcing the chainstay to the bottom bracket shell and a much wider loop section (there was a spacer welded in the middle) to provide more clearance for the 2.5" rear tire. This combined with a narrower rear hub eliminated the bend in the stays and created a more compact and maybe stronger frame


The oval top tube on this bike is quote striking in contrast to the subtle round top tube on the team bike.


The 166mm Bullseye cranks were only of the few upgrades I made. According to the original owner the bike actually came with Bullseye cranks, but the bearings got sloppy and he changed over to Monty trials cranks. 


Another view of the very cool Bullseye tandem rear hubs. I really feel like the wheels on this Tree Frog set is aside among other trials bikes. Using a tandem hubs is a really clever way of making incredibly strong wheels, which is key for this type of a bike.


All in all this was a very cool project and significantly easier to complete than the highly customized team frame. I really wish I had any sort of trials skills, it seems like a such a shame to have had these bikes here and be unable to do anything more than just hop around my back yard with them.








Friday, November 27, 2015

1992 Klein Adroit

People often ask me whether it's hard to let go of some of the bikes I build. For a myriad of reasons more often than not the answer is no. However, in this particular case it was a bit hard. This is the bike that is solely responsible for getting me back into the vintage bike scene. It happened back in 2008 or so when a good friend of mine living in Australia emailed me and asked me if I could pick up a bike for him locally. One thing led to another and I was shortly heading home with a nice Adroit complete with the correct rigid fork. I ended up buying the bike from my buddy and getting it cleaned up and running.


This is more or less how I got the bike. The frame was pretty worked over, but the fork was removed early one and was in nearly mint condition.

I rode the bike for about 4-5 years before getting a 21" MC2 Adroit which bumped old faithful out of the rider lineup.


The bike was a solid rider, but another good friend who had been looking for an Adroit for a while asked me if I would restore it for him. So, after some cajoling we struck a deal and the bike got a makeover. The paint was performed by Spectrum Powderworks and is really a top notch effort!


I firmly believe in keeping Klein builds simple and letting the frame do all the talking. Shimano M900 may be played out, but it works damn well and looks spectacular on a bike like this. Blue Ringle skewers offer up a little bit of flash.


Must have been a killer sight looking over your shoulder in a race and seeing Tinker power up behind you on this bright yellow machine!


The brightness of the Gator Linear Fade paintjob is difficult to capture in photos. It is one of the most popular colors for a very good reason!


Nothing at all wrong with this picture


Refurbished M900 cranks turned out really well, I end up using these in a lot of my restorations.


Blue Ringle Quick Releases are not very common and provide a nice little upgrade and uniqueness to the otherwise factory spec.


I never get tired of seeing these dropouts. M900 rear derailleur isn't shabby either.






I really think Spectrum did an amazing job on this bike, the fade points are smooth and subtle and the colors are spot on!


The Adroit fork is a real piece of art, it's basically looks like fillet brazed Aluminum 



I hope Marco enjoys this bike for a long time to come!!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

1987 Yeti FRO - Russel Woorley race bike

Cool Yetis seem to be popping up like mushrooms after a good rain these days. This particular FRO has been hanging in my rafters for over a year now and previously was in storage at First Flight Bikes for almost twice as long. This is the former Yeti race bike of Russel Woorley who was one of the members of the original race team. Russel the Muscle as he was famously called back then raced on of the very first Yetis ever made back in 1985. This is Russ' second bike which he received sometime around 1987.


Here's Russ on this FRO at a race lined up next to none other than John Tomac who would go on to race for Yeti only a couple years later


Here's another one of Russ used in a promotional ad for Etto helmets.


This FRO came up for sale on eBay several years ago and for whatever reason hung up there for a couple cycles. It sold eventually for a relatively low sum (largely impacted by its condition I think) and eventually made its way to me for restoration. The goal in this particular case is to preserve the patina and simply get the bike back into running condition. A few parts that are worn or most likely not original will be replaced with what I think would have been on the bike originally.


Arguably the crown piece of this build is the very rare FTW (Frank the Welder) Aluminum stem. This is progenitor to the much more known Answer Atac stem. Frank made a handful of these stem for Yeti team racers and private parties back in the day and only a handful are known to be in the hands of collectors these days.


The Team Shrew decals were given out or put on bikes of people who were close friends with Parker. Only a couple Yetis in the hands of collectors are known to have these. One was Parkers original Moto Cruiser which served as the prototype Yeti, another which belonged to Matt Sweeney and this one.


This bike (serial 411) is one of the last FROs I have recorded with a first generation headtube badge.


The fork is probably not original as the photos I've seen of Russ on this bike have either a matching turquoise or black fork. The decals were actually downtube decals used on some of the very early bikes.


Russ being a bigger guy may have preferred Bullseye cranks over Cook Bros, although his first Yeti was outfitted with Cook Bros cranks. These definitely rather worn in and need some serious attention. Fortunately I have the means to rebuild the bearings.


Simplex dropouts were hallmarks of the first generation FROs, looks like this one is missing its setscrews.


There just isn't a square inch of this bike that isn't pitted, scratched, chipped, gouged or otherwise worked over.


Brakes not looking like they are doing anyone any real good.


Cool Strong carbon seatpost is a unique feature that I've seen on another early FRO (XR341) which may have been undergoing testing for use by the broader team (speculation). This post is really just a thin wrap of carbon over an Aluminum core, not really all that light.


Another view of the FTW stem, it's really quite the piece of work.




Easton decals were common even on the steel frames, it highlights the close relationship between the two companies leading up the the development of the C-26 and the ARC.


The upper and lower headset cups appear to be from two different headsets, go figure...


Cockpit is looking a bit worse for wear, but aside from the rubber boots and far past their expiration date foam grips is still functional.

I think I may try a video documentation of the restoration process on this bike and see if I can capture some of the intricacies of getting one of these vintage rigs back to life in real time. Worth a shot.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

1990-91 Doug Bradbury Manitou

I can't seem to get enough of Doug's old bikes. In that spirit I acquired another original Bradbury Manitou. This one will take time to restore, but the bones are all there and it should clean up nice. I happen to have a spare rigid fork and so there are a couple ways this build could go.

Based on the dates codes on the brakes (NK/OB - Nov-89/Feb-90), cranks (PF/NJ - Jun-91/Oct-89) and the stamping on the Turbo (July 89) it would seem that this particular Manitou is a 1990/91 model year.

Here are are few pics from the original eBay auction, more to come as I get into it:


I was hoping this frame would be a bit larger than my current one, but as luck would have it is almost identical to the 89 I have, the basic dimensions are all the same. 






It appears to have suffered a seat tube failure at the seat binder bolt at some point and was repaired with an new collar. I've seen another Manitou with a similar repair, so it does that these frames were not immune to catastrophic failure.






Unlike my 89 this one came with a black bodied Shimano rear hub, perhaps another sign of the vintage.