New Legs for the 990

Swapping out the original forks on my Trek 990 really gives new life to the bike. Last night I took the Trek 990 for a spin after swapping out the original front suspension, headset and stem. Wow! I love this bike. The original Trek DS2 fork was an early air fork with limited travel and almost no adjust-ability. It was good at the time, but times have changed and the seals were starting to go. I wanted to upgrade it with a modern fork with more travel, but didn’t want to drift to far from the original design center and look. I also wanted to keep the existing vBrakes. I ended up finding a good deal on a Manitou R7 with VBrake bosses and 100mm travel. r7 The DS2 is a threaded fork, swapping it out with the R7 also meant upgrading to a threadless headset and stem. I went with

The whole job cost about $400 and 2 hours of work. It was time and money well spent. I had never replaced a headset or cut a fork before but with advise from friends and The Big Blue Book it went smoothly. After the conversion, the bike climbs like a bunny on mate. The fork is very light and with the fork locked out is super stiff. On descents, the bike gives me more confidence than my SuperLight with its old Manitou Skareb fork. That fork will be the next one to go.

Replacing the weird 2002 XTR FC-M952 chainrings

What do you do when your old M972 XTR chainrings wear out…

In giving the new old superlight a tune up I noticed that the chainrings are showing signs of wear so I put “replace chainrings” on the to do list. No problem, put it on the To DO list.

But it is a problem. The 2002 Shimano FC-M952 has a very functional but totally non standard design. It is spiderless and has an unusual 68/110 four bolt pattern. The replacement rings for this kit are almost impossible to find and when you do they are expensive. I could replace the whole crankset but now we are talking hundreds of dollars for something equivalent to the XTR.


After a lot of googling I found that Middleburn in the UK makes an XTR M952 replacement spider. This spider replaces the original spider from XTR M952 cranks, allowing you to run your choice of 4 bolt 104/64 BCD chainrings.

MTB Tandems sells these and other Middleburn components (scroll to the very bottom of the page). I may just keep the old XTR BB abd crank arms and convert to Middleburn chainrings using this adapter. Or any other 64/104 BCD chainrings for that matter.

Woo-Hoo a new old bike

Lately I’ve picked up Mountain Biking again. It has been about 15 years since I did anything other than the occasional fire road. I still have my 1992 Trek 990 Singletrack, but it is a hard tail and I’m 15 years older than I was when I last rode it on single track.

superlight-on-standEbay to the rescue! Last week I picked up an used Santa Cruz Superlight on eBay and I’m tracking the shipping progress hourly. The photo is the new old Superlight. cool smile