Sunday, 15 June 2008

1996 Specialized Stumpjumper Pro, 2008 version

The 1996 Specialized Stumpjumper Pro is the first bike I bought myself. Little did I know that a cascade of events had begun that would shape the rest of my life, and little did that Stumpjumper know that it was starting a long, hard journey.

I bought the "Pro" model with a portion of the proceeds from summer landscaping jobs that introduced me to the 70 hour workweek. I couldn't afford the S-Works, though it had such brand appeal. A younger Kurt Christiansen of Bow Cycle actually sold it to me, and off to the races it was, so to speak.

I didn't race this bike for 8 years. I rode it to work, school, and after work, and after school, and on weekends, and to friends houses, and to house parties. Until 2008, all the original parts survived, save for the Rock Shox SID it was initially fitted with, and the front rim brake which had been upgraded to a disc along the way.

The Specialized cranks survived, with 3 or 4 bottom bracket replacements along the way. The original Specialized hubs were faultless for 12 years, however the eyelets started pulling out of the rims, with cracks becoming visible around the 10 year mark. The XT pod shifter internals wouldn't always engage, a few pumps however usually did the trick. Finally, the duty last winter as the "winter bike" seized up the headset.

Logically, a headset could have been replaced fairly cost effectively. Having said that, I had a line on some new XT cranks a friend had taken off their bike, and saw a Fox F90 fork on ebay, that coincidentally had only been spec'd on Specialized bikes, that looked brand new. I figured the bike, and the parts on it, owed me no more service. I felt I owed the bike a little treat.

Once it was stripped down to the frame and buffed to a squeaky clean shine, I pressed in a new Chris King headset. That felt good. The wheels were in motion.

Fox F90 fork went on, with the new Thompson Elite X4 stem. An Easton Monkey Lite lo-rise bar made it look like it was ready for some action. SRAM XO shifters were installed, and I decided to drill out the cable guides so I could run fully housed cable to the rear XO derailleur. The 1996 XT front derailleur was disassembled, cleaned, reassembled and lubricated. Interestingly enough, it is 1 gram lighter than the web site spec lists the 2008 XTR front derailleur. Drivetrain is more utilitarian, as this bike does service work - XT cranks, XT cassette and an XT chain.

The wheels are Mavic 819 UST rims laced to XTR hubs, light enough to grace this baby, but fully capable of long, long service life. Brake for now is an Avid Juicy 7 on the front, however XT levers/caliper is on the way, and an XTR v-brake is on order as well. Initial tire choice is a set of tubed Pythons that have been hanging on the garage wall.

The saddle is a Specialized Toupe ti rail 143mm wide, one of my favourites. Seatpost is an Easton EC70 that's shimmed to fit the 30.4mm frame. Having said that, I'm looking for anyone who has faced this issue before... I'd like to machine a 30.8mm Thomson Elite down to 30.4mm such that I can do away with the crummy shim. Bonus points will be had if I can re-finish such a post with the Thomson black finish.

It's a work of art that's 12 years in the making. It took me through years of growing up in northwest Calgary. It's also the first bike I raced.

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