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.


  1. Nice bike! It screams klunker but with an awesome modern twist! So it's yours but the guys at Yeti wanted to display it?

  2. I don't recall the carbon bits being on the bike at Interbike? Were they added later?