Sunday, July 27, 2014

1989 Kestrel MX-Z

Another very satisfying project comes to a close. This 89 Kestrel MX-Z marks a pretty broad departure from my typical builds. It's the first carbon fiber bike I've built. It's definitely not one of the big three, and it's the first bike that I customized from the ground up with a suspension fork. In this case the guys at Kestrel and Paul Turner go way back, collaborating on the Kestrel Nitro concept bike. So, it seemed fitting to mount a RS-1 on there. Especially with the new RS-1 hitting the market this year.

You just can't help but love the lines of this bike. It took me a while to get the photos done as I had it on display at my company's Innovation Studio all of last week. It was definitely a conversation starter! Early Topline/Grafton cranks go well with the overall theme. This is definitely a bike that can rock bling just as well as straight up M730.

First generation Rock Shox RS-1, the fork that changed mountain biking forever!

Carbon fiber Nuke Proof hubs. This bike was supposed to have all of the available CF components of the time. Sadly the NP bars would not fit in the Ringle Trail stem, so the package will not be completed. I had a very old CF rear brake booster, but the bike doesn't need it so I left that off as well.

Ringle Trail stem is one of those parts that looks better in a glass case that on most bikes. I think it fits on there. It's no surprise that one of the other bikes that it works on is a Trimble... common thread

More of the beautiful curves, this bike is just dripping with sexy lines. I remember when it first came out. A few guys had them in State College and you just loved seeing them out on the trails. I remember a bright white one like this, and a red one. Never actually saw one of the ugly gray ones (this one was gray) until much, much later. Now it seems those are the only ones that ever pop up.

Nuke Proof hub, XT rear derailleur, Sachs 7-spd freewheel and American Classic QRs make for a tidy rear drivetrain package.

Aerospoke CF post completes the CF pacakge... although calling it CF is like calling chicken fried steak a steak...

Always loved the look of these rear brake supports, somehow it just looks like something that belongs on a satellite not on a bike.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

1987-88 Yeti FRO in turquoise and black harlequin

It seems that lately my most challenging projects have all been Yetis. The ARC-AS kind of kicked off the trend and this FRO certainly fits the bill. For those of you that haven't been following along this is how it started nearly two years ago!!!

This is one of the original Augora Hills Yetis and it seems that it spent its life in LA... no RUST!! It appears to have been a two owner bike and the gentleman who I bought it from had owned it for some 17 odd years. Apparently the bike had been a victim of a couple theft attempts and so he had painted it over to look a little bit... umm... less like a Yeti??? Anyways, this is how I got it. I had originally thought about using it as a donor frame for my C-26 project, but being that it was in good mechanical shape and that it's one of the rare-er round top tube FROs I decided to try and make something of it. There were a few ideas along the way, but nothing seemed to pan out. Finally a project opportunity came up and along with it a design concept. I hope you'll all like it!

Cook Brothers hubs, stem and bars were chosen for this build as CBR was a major sponsor of the Yeti team back in the 80s. The axle end caps and bolts are all freshly Nickle plated, no piece too small!!

Drivetrain courtesy of Shimano. The M730 XT grouppo was the hottest things on the market at the time and this being a team inspired bike it seemed like the only way to go.

Sharkfin placement might need a little adjusting :)

There was a lot of discussion around whether the brakes and cranks should match each side of the bike or be opposite. In the end I settled on opposing, for better or worse. The brakes can always be switched, but the cranks are a bit more committed.

Cook Bros stem and bars finished off with NOS (of course) XT levers and shifters and some Grab-On grips.

Final photo shoot pics coming up tomorrow...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

First ride on the Merlin

I have always wanted a Merlin. For as long as I can remember hearing and reading about Merlin, the one word that kept coming up when describing them was Magical. Titanium was slated to be the savior metal of the mountain bike industry, offering both a phenomenal ride and nearly infinite durability. Yeah, so it was expensive, and yeah there was good Ti and that cheap Russian crap, and yeah nobody sold them where you lived... but somewhere, someone was having a better time than you riding a Merlin. I had to have one... Lately though I had a few trusted friends who tend to ride hard tell me that it was all hype and that they got rid of their Merlins faster than a Katy Perry Playboy would fly off the newsstands. Well, for my part the old reviews were all right, this bike is freaking awesome and I love it!!

This brake kicks ass, that's just all there is to it. Great modularity, smooth delivery, and real stopping power when you need it. Really well balanced with the plain Jane XT cantis up front.

This Merlin has the thicker 1 3/8" downtube. It's perhaps the main reason why this bike felt plenty stiff yet supple, planted but easy to work through the technical stuff and in the end just a ton of fun to ride!

It's all it's cracked (or not) up to be!

 Welcome to the stable, stick around!