Hello fellow Homegrown enthusiasts! Very excited to discover this forum just the other day. Finding this site has once again sparked the passion that first got me into these wonderful bikes...
I moved to Colorado back in 2004 and as soon as I got there, I fell in love with mountain biking. I started doing some research and wanted to know what the very best mountain bike was (hardtail). The answers I kept finding all pointed toward the same thing: The Schwinn Homegrown.
Well, I looked and looked and looked. There were difficult to find, as people generally held onto them. Finally, I found a local Homegrown for sale, a beautiful 1998 Homegrown XT in bassboat orange. Completely original and stock, in great condition. I bought it for $550 on the spot. As I got to know the bike better, I got better acquainted with the bike's capabilities and the limitations of the components on it.
In college I road that bike everywhere, and in all weather. It was my only bike, so I rode it on the streets, on the trails, everywhere. Lots of fond memories. Around 2010, my wife and I moved to the east side of town, away from the mountains. I had no idea what a hit my mountain biking passion would take as I was surrounded by flatland everywhere. At this point, the bike was tastefully upgraded, yet in a weak moment I sold it, I'm pretty sure for the same price I bought it for.
However, the Homegrown bug had bit, and we all know there is no cure! Due to a bicycling program I did through my work with kids, we ended up with a lot of parts and bikes. When that program ended, we had lots of stuff left over. Mountain bike-less, I decided to head over to one of the local co-ops to donate the boxes of leftover stuff and parts we weren't going to use anymore. I can remember it clear as day - I brought the box out of the car and walked it down to the shop, which was basically a garage in an industrial part of town near the railroad tracks. I asked if they could use the parts and where to put them, they said sure and had me put it out back in the the scrap yard.
Now, imagine a decent sized backyard - completely stacked with old bikes, frames, parts, wheels, etc. All out in the open, behind chained link fencing. If you've never been to the backyard of a co-op, you should experience it at some point. Bikes everywhere, and total sensory overload for any bike nerd! I always enjoyed going back to look at all the bike stuff and soak it all in. Well, perusing around, something caught my eye. A bare frame. Raw aluminum. There were plenty of old frames, steel, aluminum, etc. But something was different about this one. And then I saw it - the epicenter seat stay. I had been without a Homegrown for several years, but every Homegrown owner knows that wishbone design.
I looked a little closer, and was dumbfounded when I realized the frame was unused! It had never been built up. I wondered why, and kept looking for a reason. Then I saw that the drive side rear dropout was bent in towards the axle opening. The head tube also had a scuff on the facing. It was obvious the frame had been dropped and suffered damage. Hmmm...maybe it was fixable. The frame was basically in a scrap heap. Maybe it wasn't ready to die. The Homegrown empathy took over. I went back in and asked about the frame. They said I could have it.
I decided to fix it. Realizing that aluminum tends to only bend once, I wasn't going to bend the dropout back into shape. I carefully filed the axle slot open to match the NDS axle slot. I picked up a derailleur hanger from Wheels Mfg and used it as sort of a 'mold' to use epoxy to fill the void.
It's held up fine. The beautiful thing is that the repair is encapsulated by the hangar and the axle nut doesn't really contact it, so it doesn't really receive any pressure.
Regarding the scuffed headtube, well, used a facing took and got that taken care of -
So, the bike was in multiple states since I've had it, but not too long ago, I found a higher end Gary Fisher with a full XTR group from around the same era (1998-ish) that was too big to fit me for $20 at a thrift store and decided to move most of the parts from that bike over to this one. Here is where we are at today: