For those of us who grew up watching Johnny T drop down hills with drop bars and remember Missy Giove’s piranha, the sight of a US-made Yeti ARC dripping with anodised accessories can rouse more than just fond memories.
During the early 90s, they were considered the Holy Grail and rode like they were supposed to, delivering many of our heroes to podium places at races like Kamikaze and Mammoth. Martin Kozaczek of Second Spin Cycles restores vintage Yetis with an passion and knowledge that borders on the obsessive, an example of which is his 1993 ARC-AS.
Martin specialises in meticulous restorations of cult-classic mountain bikes from the early 90s, such as Kleins, Fat Chances and Yetis. The ARC-AS was a bit of a basket case to begin with: a smashed seat tube meant a repair job courtesy of the legendary Frank ‘The Welder’ Wadelton, one of the original Yeti frame builders.
There’s no denying the final result is over the top, compared to the style of modern mountain bikes, but in 1993, it was all about how much anodised, CNC-machined accessories you could bolt on. An entrepreneur named Geoff Ringlé can be held responsible: his New Jersey machine shop, Ringlé Components, supplied most of those jewels.
The Second Spin Yeti ARC-AS was built up with a Ringlé stem and Ringlé headset, bolted to a Yeti Thermoplastic handlebar. Yeti has always been known for innovation, experimenting early with composite materials for frames and proprietary parts, led by John Parker. Steve Hed was an early collaborator with Parker and Yeti on those new materials.
Martin sourced an original set of HED wheels, an 18h for the front and 26h on the rear, both laced to Ringlé Ti-Stix hubs. Geoff Ringlé teamed up with another machine shop, Grafton Performance, to release matching sets of parts. Ringlé produced the hubs and headsets, QR skewers and bidon cages, while Grafton supplied the Speed Controller II brake calipers.
Grafton also manufactured the cranks and bottom bracket. Early suspension specialists, Oregon’s Risse Racing, re-engineered the rear and front shocks which, according to Martin’s reports, still deliver a usable whole two inches of travel: “The suspension travel is tight and the bike feels light and responsive.”
A NOS XTR rear derailleur provides a brief relief from the anodisation, although the gunmetal grey groupset is just as impressive today as it was considered back then. The entire restoration process took over a year, but it certainly was worth it. Special thanks to Martin for the photography. Head to the Second Spin Cycles website for more searing eye candy.