1996 Giant Yukon

ollldddd photo from the NCR trail – circa 2003

This is the first bike I owned as an adult, used it in the suburbs of Baltimore, on the trail, and in the city between 1997 and now. I once rode this bike for a mile on a broken leg. About 2 years ago, I stripped it down to the bare frame and gave it a new coat of paint. When the surface is prepped properly, Krylon enamel in the can is a wonderful thing. My biggest gripe with it is that it cures much slower than professional finishes like powder coating that is baked on or professional enamels that have separately mixed in catalyzers, so you have to be prepared for the finish to remain soft for several weeks afterward. At the same time, I replaced nearly every component other than the wheelset, headset, and stem. Here it is just after I repainted it while I was using the Surly Singleator to try the whole 1 speed thing.

The single speed thing worked out really well, which led to a dedicated wheelset purchase after the Singleator exploded – because it did not work as well.
Here it is in its second iteration after the repaint. The back hub is a White Industries ENO Eccentric hub to take care of chain tensioning adjustment. It’s a quality hub, but I wasn’t fond of the extra effort I had to put into adjusting the chain tension and the position of the brake pads relative to the rim every time you have to take the back wheel off for anything. I got pretty good at adjusting the hub, but changing a tire was still a 20 minute affair. Even with ridiculously low gearing it was still fun to ride. I don’t usually try to go super fast downhill, so I didn’t miss the large gears. The Planet Bike Fenders rub against the tires and rattle around more than I’d like over bumps, but I have a sentimental attachment to them since they were a present from my wife, so they stay, and I’ll just have to keep trying to find a way to mount them on the bike better.

Here it is in its second-to-final iteration. I’ve had problems with feeling like this bike was too small for me since day 1. The first thing I’ve tried that definitively fixed it has been the Nitto moustache bars I added. I first tried them on my now-defunct Specialized Hardrock. On the Specialized, having my hands that far in front of the stem made the bike feel strange and twitchy in the steering, but for some reason it just ‘clicked’ when I bolted the bars on this bike, and those bars will stay there for as long as I own this frame. After fighting with the ENO wheel for over a year, I got tired of all the brake pad alignment issues and carrying around an open-end wrench for hub adjustment in the event I got a flat tire. I stole the 7 speed wheel, deraileur, and bar-end shifter from the Specialized at the same time I took the bars and turned it into a clean/simple 7 speed. Works great and leaves me wanting nothing more. A few months later I stole the crankset from the ‘Special and got a 35t Surly chainring. This is how it will stay for pretty much as long as I own it.

Update – Winter 2011: STX Crank sheared off and the headset gave me problems this fall so I had to make one last round of revisions to it for the purpose of squeezing as much life out of it as I can. Scratched out changes and photo below.

Build list:

  1. Frame & Fork – 1996 Giant Yukon
  2. Headset – Ritchey Logic 1″ threaded (with locking headset top nut)
  3. Stem – Stock Quill (only stock part left!)
  4. Bars – Nitto Moustache Specialized Flat Bars – boring, no bend
  5. Brake Levers – Tektro Road R200 Deore MTN levers
  6. Brakes – Avid Shorty 4 Cantis Shimano Deore Linear Pull
  7. Wrap – Novara Gel wrap (fantastic stuff, I can’t kill it…) Oury MTN Grips
  8. Shifter – Dura Ace Bar-end 9spd in friction mode NONE
  9. Seatpost – (?)
  10. Post Clamp – (?)
  11. Saddle – Titec Ithys Amore (had a Brooks on, but required too much care for a commuter bike)
  12. Bottom Bracket – Shimano UN54 68×113
  13. Cranks – Shimano STX (also late 90’s vintage) KILLED EM’. Replaced with Shimano Alivio
  14. Chainring – Surly Stainless Steel 35t Blackspire Mono Veloce 110×78 36t with Spot Chainring Guard
  15. Pedals – MKS ‘Grip King’
  16. Derailleur – Shimano STX (just a chain tensioner now)
  17. Cassette – Shimano STX 7 speed 11×28 16t singlespeed conversion kit cog & spacers
  18. Chain – SRAM pc – series 7 speed SRAM PC-68
  19. Front Wheel – Mavic XC717 with DT Onyx hub/ DT Swiss 2x butted spokes, brass nipples
  20. Rear Wheel – Mavic XM317 with Shimano STX silent clutch hub / Wheelsmith 2x butted spokes (1.8), brass nipples. (My first complete wheelbuild)
  21. Fenders – Planet Bike Freddy Hardcore
  22. Tires – varies…
    – Schwalbe Big Apple Liteskin 2.15″ – only  a few miles so far, but they ROCK.
    – Continental Contact Commuter tires – Not as much fun to ride around on b/c they’re heavvvyy and slooowww, but they’re wearing ok, and no flats.
    Nokian Hakkapeliitta W240 Studded Tires – My new favorite winter tire. Only a few grams heavier than the Contis and studs! Now I can ride even on the sleety ice storm days…

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