This is a short account of my love affair with Lawwill suspension designs, starting from trying out my friend's 1996 Yeti DH-4 back in the day, as far as I was concerned, that bike was sh!t hot, because it had full suspension and disc brakes, which were unheard-of in those days. I was really happy when Schwinn started making 4 bangers from 1998, progressing toward Straight 6. Although we had a Schwinn importer in Singapore, they somehow never brought this platform in, and back in those days, you simply couldn't buy stuff from overseas as easily as you could today......
Fast forward a decade, and I'm now a gainfully employed adult, spending a few minutes a day cruising eBay hoping to recapture the unicorn of my youth...... search phrases like "Yeti DH", "Schwinn Straight" and "Schwinn Banger" are familiar to my fingers, till late December 2011, I spied a yellow 2001 Schwinn Straight 6 in medium (you usually find small, or large frames), from Idaho USA. I left a message, asking if they'd post to Singapore, but with 1 day left in the auction, I missed the seller's response! The second time, the frame was posted, I'd missed it yet again because I went overseas for a few days, but it remained unsold! Determined not to let it slip, I contacted the seller and we agreed on a "shipping+price" cost and cut Evilbay out of the loop to do the deal on the side.
As all I wanted was the frame, I opted not to have the cranks in order to save on shipping charges, and just over a week ago, the frame arrived!
It was better than described, appeared hardly ridden, next to no chainsuck on the stays or chaindrop marks on the BB, and was generally in a fantastic condition
With the frame in hand, I set about (trying) to swap as much parts off my existing GT i-Drive 3.0 (also the same vintage) on to the Schwinn as possible, but finding that many bits wouldn't fit or were too battered to do justice to a practically new frame, and here's the shopping list:
- NOS 2009 Rock Shox Recon 351 to match the 6 inch rear, my first choice were Fox Vanilla RL but this was simply unavailable for purchase anymore, as I needed it to have QR axles and IS disc mounts due to the legacy of my 2001 Mavic CrossRoc UST Disc and Shimano 4 pot disc brakes. I actually had the option to purchase a 2004 Psylo SL which matched the original spec of the bike better, but it had been left sitting in its box for seven years and was pratically seized when I tried to compress it. Thus, this formed one of my few concessions to making my bike as 2001 as possible
- NOS Chris King NoThreadSet headset in black (not the current Sotto Voce models, which do not have contrasting markings)
- The GT i-Drive uses large diameter seatposts, the Schwinn uses an oddball 26.8mm size, and also there wasn't a seatpost clamp, so a matching Thomson Elite seatpost and clamp were sourced after a day of hunting half a dozen shops.
- Where my existing XTR front mech was a bottom pull, the Schwinn needed a more traditional top pull mech. Similarly, the Deore shifters I had were abandoned for a NOS set of M952 XTR shifters
- The BB wouldn't switch over either, so a used Raceface Turbine in pewter, with Blackspire big and granny rings, and a Raceface middle ring, with an SKF 600-series ISIS bottom bracket was tapped for the job
- I threw out my old Hutchison Pythons for a set of Kenda Nevegal USTs
In the end, the only bits that went over from the GT to the Schwinn would be the XT 4 pot brakes, the Mavic Crossroc UST wheelset, SDG Ventura Comp Ti saddle, Crank Brothers Eggbeater pedals, Kona DH handlebars (waiting on a suitable Easton Monkeylite bar), a Raceface Prodigy stem.
But that wasn't a Homegrown, and when I started riding it I found it was a bit on the small side. So the hunt for a more ideal bike continued (not that the S6 wasn't great, I was too large for it). First was finding a 2002 Marzocchi Shiver SC located a town away - the catch was that it was missing its (unique) front 20mm axle. One of the last places that still had one was Hibike in Germany - duly procured for $90.
Next was the Schwinn frame itself in Bassboat Gold - 19 inches so it might run large, but other built-up HGs look about right for me. It came with most of its M952 XTR groupset - cranks, BB, derailleurs and shifters and a Chris King headset. I totted up the sums (M952 cranks alone went for $150 on the 'Bay), mulled it for three days before pulling the trigger after a couple of stiff shots of Scotch.
I began tearing it down to inspect it closely, but horror of horrors found a crack in one of the suspension drop links. The rest of the bike looks alright, but I am taking my time to strip it down. As it will be a period-build, it will take time to locate all the stuff that I want.
P.S: As this is a post cobbled from other posts posted elsewhere, there may be continuity issues. Sorry!