I'm like a crow..... I see shiny things (or things that could be shiny with some love) and I need to have it. That was the case when I stumbled upon this old mid 90's GT Karakoram on Kijiji for forty bucks. It needs some love and a tender touch to get it back into fighting shape again. There are some obvious signs of neglect here, from the caked driveline to the collapsed fork, that need to be remedied.
I present to you, the Karakoram. I see it becoming a sort of utility / touring / towing bike when finished.
Its a fifteen foot bike right now, as in it looks pretty good from fifteen feet away. Get up close and things get scary looking.
It even has some really awesome Kool-Stop brake pads and a Kore stem.
The driveline is all kinds of fucked up and will need a gallon of varsol to clean it up. It looks like its not too worn out and should be okay after a clean up.
The seatpost was firmly stuck in place (as with most bikes of this age and lack of maintenance). I've gotten good at freeing these up and went to work on it. I found that someone else had already tried with the hammer (dumbass) method and I would work smarter. I stripped the cranks and bottom bracket, flipped the bike in the stand and filled the seat tube with penetrating oil. A bit of time and a breaker bar in the seat rails had it moving. Keep your catch pan handy as the oil is going to cover your floor when the post comes out.
Next will be stripping the bike and checking wear on all the parts. Then cleaning, lots of cleaning. Check back soon.
Picked up this beat up old 1st gen Karate Monkey recently. It needs some work and decals. I'm not even really sure what I'm going to do with it yet but the price was right for this cool old Surly. Lots of options here, disc or canti, clearance for huge tires, track end style dropouts, derailleur mounts and cable stops. I have to admit, Surly makes some super versatile bikes. Time will tell how this old project turns out.
Its been a few weeks now, but a bit of elbow grease and a bunch of new parts have the C'Dale up and running again. The owner is going to be pretty happy when he gets his hands back on it. Its going to be a great reliable bike and easy to maintain.
Upgrades from stock include:
I managed to save the crankset with some love and also serviced the headset and hubs. Its all done now. All thats left is to take it out and get it dirty.
I got to work stripping the bike down. I found a few more small issues that need to be fixed up but nothing catastrophic. The frame is in excellent shape but needed the years of built up dirt and grime washed away. A little bit of surface degreaser and polish made it good as new. This bike is going to be so fresh when its done.....
Now that I've got a clean frame to build from its time to put together a parts spec and get the a-ok from the owner.
In my head its shaping up to be something like a Deore / SLX driveline with a OneUp 30t chainring, something big and meaty for tires, and some uber reliable Avid BB7 brakes with FR5 levers and Goodridge cables / housings. Should make for a dam fine machine...
This is part 1 of a multi-part Garage Files blog about rebuilding a friends Cannondale.
A few years ago I managed to convince a friend that mountain biking was a fun pass time. He set out with me in tow to look at new bikes and bought a 2013 Cannondale Trail 4 29er. Its a well spec'd bike for the price and he put 3 seasons of riding on it since, shredding singletrack at Turkey Point, towing his kids around in a trailer and a trail-a-bike, even a trip out to The Hydrocut where I might have gotten him in a little over his head and he cracked a rib. There has been lots of good times aboard this bike and it has an established story at this point, no doubt in my mind that the bike has taken on its own character in the owners mind.
After 3 seasons of use, its looking a little haggard and needs a facelift / overhaul. The front brake gave out this year and he has been getting by just using the rear (yikes!) and the shifting is getting sloppy, no doubt from the cheap Acera derailleur being completely worn out and the build up of dirt in the driveline.
He asked me to fix the brakes and driveline, I've convinced him to go to a 1x driveline for ease of maintenance and lighter overall package. A quick go over and it needs a bunch of small issues addressed, but could also use some upgrades to really "unleash the beast" that this bike can be.
The brakes need to go. The low end hydraulic offerings from C'Dale are complete crap, we will be most likely swapping over to Avid BB7's for ease of maintenance and ultra reliability.
Tires are shot. I'm going to set him up with something with more volume that he can really get aggressive with. Thinking something along the lines of the 2.4 Ardents.
The crankset is also hurting. The bb is nearly shot and the old Octalink Shimano isn't the stiffest option out there. Might upgrade him to a nice Deore crank. As far as driveline, most likely a 30t chainring with a 11-36 cassette, 10 speed of course. This bike is going to be awesome once its done.
Stay tuned for part 2, the bike will be stripped and everything inspected.
Not being the kind of person who can leave well enough alone, I went ahead and swapped some parts on the Fatboy SE in favour of some nicer bits. I changed out the brakes with Avid BB7. If Specialized is listening - spec the best mechanical brake made if your going to spec mech brakes! I also took out the heavy Specialized tubes and used some Q tubes in place of them, saving over a pound in rotating mass! I'm not real big in the OEM 2x driveline either, so away in went and a OneUp 30T narrow wide chainring with a OneUp 42t cassette adaptor to give me a nice wide range of gears along with the change from the Sunrace cassette to an XT unit.
I also weighed the tires and found that they (the 60tpi wire bead) weigh the same as what I've seen reported for the pricier 120tpi folding tire. Also, a good call with the XT cassette. The OEM Sunrace cassette had already dug into the aluminum freehub body during the round the block trip that the bike had seen before me. The XT has aluminum carriers for the first 6 sprockets to keep this damage from happening again. Again, if you're listening Specialized - don't spec a cheap ass cassette on an aluminum freehub body you asses! Lucky, its very minor. I've seen much worse after a few hours of singletrack riding.
I previously used a Wolftooth GC40 cassette adaptor and a Race Face narrow wide chainring on my Nashbar (click here for review), but decided to go with the OneUp package this time (watch for a review in the future).
I ended up dropping nearly 2 pounds with this setup.
The rest of the build kit is a no frills get-it-done type of spec. The bars, post, stem are run of the mill but get it done. The wide 750mm bars will take a bit for me to get use to. I also decided to give the OEM Body Geometry seat and grips a chance.
I rode a nice loop at TP today, nearly all of the East Side trails with some West tossed in. The deer flies are bad right now on the West side. Mosquitoes are getting better on the East. I put the Fatboy through its paces on a nice 30+km ride. It did not disappoint, it handles great just like the demo bike I rode last month. It feels light and the traction is amazing from the Ground Control tires. I did a bit of dialling in the pressures and ended up at 10 psi rear, 8.5 psi front, according to my digital low pressure gauge. The seat and grips worked well and will stay on the bike for now. The 1x driveline works great, always the right gear at hand (bad pun, hahaha). With all the black on black and the huge tires the bikes has a bit of a "Batmobile" look to it, I always did want to be the caped crusader. Anyways, I'll do a more formal review once I've had the bike for the long term. In the meantime, here is a healthy dose of bike porn.........
The 2016 Specialized Fatboy SE
I couldn't say no. The bike was offered to me, in brand new condition with a ride or two around the block on it for less than half of the new cost. Owner bought it, rode it around the cul-de-sac and parked it. Lucky me. Looks like she just came off the showroom floor. Its a Specialized Fatboy SE in black, very very black, like Johnny Cash black. I was impressed with the Fatboy model when I test rode on at the WCC open house so it was a no brainer. I've got a few plans for this bike, drop some rotating mass, 1x10 driveline, maybe even a Bluto fork? We will see.
Got my first ride in on the Winter Project 29er I built this year. As you know, the frame is an old KHS Tucson, mated with a Lefty and some Shimano / WTB goodies. I did swap the Schwalbe tires in favour of some sweet ass retro looking Maxxis treads. I went with skinwall Ardent tires, 2.25 rear, 2.4 front. These tires are of the "rip and grip" variety and work great in the sandy trails of Turkey Point.
I got a few compliments from other riders I met on my maiden voyage with it, one person mentioned that it had a classic look to it, to which I say thanks. Thats what I was kinda going for. I'm glad it turned out that way.
The bike rides awesome, steering is quick, likely because of the 72 degree head angle mated with the 45mm offset of the lefty. Though quick, its controllable and stable at speed. The bike wants to be ridden fast, it feels a wee bit sluggish if I'm sight seeing, but open up the throttle and it loves to be laid over into the corners. I had to do a few quick adjustments of the seatpost height, the rear brake, and the stem spacer height, but after that the ride was uneventful. I'm glad I built up a 29er over the winter, I forgot just how fast they can be after riding the fat bike all last summer. Looking forward to putting alot of miles on this old girl.
Well, its done. The old KHS has been reborn with a new lease on life.
I went from having this:
To the new sexy this:
The only parts from the original bike I started with are the frame and the wheels (minus the lefty front hub obviously) and front derailleur.
-2008 KHS Tucson 29er frame, 4130 cro-mo
-2005 Lefty Max 140, rebuild and modified for 29er use with 110mm travel
-WTB Speed Disc AM wheels
-Schwalbe Nobby Nic (f) and Rocket Ron (r) tires
-Niner Carbon Flat Top bar
-Shimano Deore 3x crankset
-Shimano SLX shifters and rear derailleur
-Shimano Deore front derailleur
-Shimano XT cassette
-Madison Flux saddle
-Avid BB7 disc brakes with 180mm rotor front and 160mm rear
-Avid SD7 levers
Finished weight is just over 29 lbs. Total project cost was about $500. I did some "creative" buying and selling to get there. I can't wait to get out on it and ride. The snow is melting here but there is still a couple of weeks until the trails are ready, they will be long ones.
New bikes are great but I like to see older, sad, beat up bikes get a new lease on life and I think this is a good example of how you can't go wrong with older stuff, its tried and true. This pig just needed some lipstick but she got a bit more than just that.
Click on photos in gallery to view larger image.
More work done on the KHS 29er. Next post about this bike will be the completed unit with lots of photos and full specs.
The Bric...._ mountain biker, road rider, heavyweight gear abuser. Built like a brick sh*thouse. No bike is safe.