Monday, May 9, 2016

1995 Yeti Zephyr Prototype

I tend to stick to a certain cadre of bikes, but occasionally I take a small sidebar and go work on something a little bit out of left field. This Yeti Zephyr fits squarely into that bucket. I originally came across this bike while picking up Yeti #1 from John Parker a couple years back. At the time I wasn't really interested in buying it, and he wasn't looking to sell it. So, it hung around for a while longer. Then out of the blue John decided it was time to move it along and gave me a call, and a few hours later it was in the back seat of my wagon. Much to my surprise John had a garbage can, literally a large 30 gallon garbage can full of the carbon fenders and pieces used during the catalog shoot and when the bike was displayed at Interbike in 1995. So, all of a sudden the projects had some legs.

The Zephyr was built to commemorate Yeti's 10th anniversary. Whether by coincidence or because of the fact that Shimano sponsored a competition at that year's Interbike show, the bike was built around the then new Nexus 7-spd internally geared rear hub.  The end result is a clean looking bike with soft lines and pretty good range for its intended purpose.

The rims on the show bike are painted to match and were pin striped by Troy Lee himself!

The carbon fiber gaz tank is a really well executed piece of craftsmanship. It fits the the frame cavity perfectly and the layup is really pretty smooth! The two halves are held together using zeus fasteners which help by applying a little bit of tension.

The custom commemorative head badge was available primarily on Zephyrs in 1995, but I have seen a few Sherpas with them as well. It's a really trick piece and marked the first time Yeti used metal head badges. Prior to settling on that design they did try to make Brass versions of the sliding Yetiman, but it seems this ice axe inspired design won over.

The Yeti DH team during this time was often seen flogging 60-70 tooth chainrings made by Paragon Machine Works at all the high speed races, and so it's no surprise that the Zephyr would have a bespoke chainring from PWM. According to John the Campagnolo pedals were something he found lying around the shop, probably a left over pair from the days that Campagnolo sponsored the Yeti team.

Getting the chainguard and fender struts aligned took some work, but a few custom fasteners later I had a solution that held everything tightly in place and didn't interfere with the hub mechanism.

The bike is now getting ready to make the trip back to Colorado to be displayed at the museum at Yeti HQ. If you're ever in the area make sure to drop by and check out some of the cool vintage bikes hanging out there.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

1992 Klein Adroit in Sunburst Linear Fade

With approximately 1,500 built from 1991 to 1993 the MC1 Adroit is not the rarest bike in the world, but it's also no Stumpjumper. So, it's kind of ironic to have had two of these in my stand for the past few weeks, while 3 more hang in the background. This Subnurst painted Adroit really stands out, especially among the sea of Gator fade Adroits we're used to seeing... The only problem with it is the difficulty in capturing the vibrant colors!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

1985 Steve Potts Limited Edition

As I said before, there are elegant bikes and then there are 'elegant bikes'. This one is the latter. The bike in question is a 1985 Potts Limited Edition or Signature. It represents the best of the best offered from both Steve Potts and WTB back in those days. The frame is a fillet brazed version of Steve's traditional design and is a jewel to behold. It's really more art than machine and definitely makes you feel a little bit more special when holding it. The transition from tube to tube is flawless and the way the paint accentuates the curves is nothing short of sublime. The fork and stem are also fillet brazed and really set the bike off from other fillet brazed bikes of that time. The regular Type 2 looks amazing and is simply stunning with the additional fillets.

The bike is outfitted with all of the best components from WTB, including the famous Roller Cam brakes, modified hi-E hubs (before grease guard) and custom Suntour shifters modified to mount onto Magura brake levers (front shifter action is backwards). About the only component missing from this build is a Fixed Angle Seat Post and maybe a WTB or Potts bar. However the Suntour XC post and wide Salsa bar with a custom made shim fit in perfectly.

This bike was a pretty lucky barn find here in the LA area. It was a one owner bike that underwent some unfortunate upgrades over the years shedding a few of the original parts. Fortunately all of the important bits were left in place and so completing it wasn't too challenging.

This shifter brake combo is a really interesting approach to getting the controls to exactly where you need them. The shifters are normal suntour units that had their mounting clamps ground off and are attached to the lever arms using custom made and indexed interface block. The same shifter is used for both front and rear, consequently resulting in reverse motion on the front derailleur which is interesting. Keeping these shifters performing well requires a well oiled system as the short arms coupled with a not very effective ratchet system result in significant effort required to move the gears and keep them in place.

The early WTB made Cunningham roller cam brakes are beautiful to behold and look amazing against the metallic blue of the fork. The combination makes for a very bespoke front end.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

1993 Klein Attitude in Graffiti

Just when I was getting bored of building cookie cutter M900 XTR equipped Kleins this bike came along... Such an unusual paintjob making for a striking bike which was more much fun to photograph than it was to build!! Not much I can say about it, so I'll just let the photos do the talking!!