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The Zip Tie Bike - Trek 990

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The Zip Tie Bike - Trek 990

Old 08-15-19, 12:53 AM
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The Zip Tie Bike - Trek 990

As a long time lurker I set out to find myself a "Do Everything Bike". After several trials and errors I landed a 1990 Trek 990. That's a whole lot of 9 nine 90 nineties for one mouthful.

What I thought I was in for looked good. The picture was great. It showed a really clean black 990 with white decals and a rear cargo rack to boot. The local bikes were too large or too small. A new trek at the LBS that fit the bill was $600+ before adding anything. At the time I probably didn't have money for ramen noodles much less a bicycle. But I chose to drive 45 minutes to get this bike that just spoke to me.

I arrived and the garage door opened... .... not what I expected but after all this was the internet.


The bike looked like it was taken through a "One last time" ride. Caked in dirt, dirty components. Wear on the finish that couldn't be seen in what I now figured were the "Before" photos. This rear rack, a silly addition that could be had for $20 or less pushed me to go 30 minutes out of my way to check out this bike first. Because after all this was a gusseted frame 990 instead of the lesser quality 9xx bike closer AND it had a place for me to hang stuff off of. This wasn't it chief. This wasn't $200 that was better than financing for 6 months and spending the $200 on stuff to make my adventures happen.

Pick it up and run the gears. Stiff as hell on the grip shift like they are as dirty as the rest of what I see. Test the brakes. Fronts hang up, rears adjusted properly but no meat left. Look down at the rear rack. You know the added bonus to my little trip-----

It is hanging on by a zip tie. No, I didn't pay $200. But I didn't leave it either. It fit. It had an appeal to it. So I brought it home.
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Old 08-15-19, 01:22 AM
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Plans, Plans, Plans

So I guess I didn't explain why this is in the commuting section. Well you guessed it. The first plan is to commute with the bike:to the store, pulling the kids behind it to the park, to work and to the running trails.

I live on the perimeter of a 600 acre nature reserve with some of the best trail running and hiking that could be offered. In between road biking routes and bike trails. Next door to a state-of-the-art cycling gym and 20 miles from a 3,741 acre state park featuring Ohio's deepest lake.

The plan is to ride daily to the other side of the reserve -- a 30 minute nearly 5 mile ride that has several hills and has changing road conditions. I'll lock the bike at the park entrance and do my trail run. The plan is to build up to doing there and back everyday along with the training runs. Along with any other commuting that I would normally do around town in my truck. Each weekend I will do a long ride on a mixed road and gravel bike path.

At the peak of my plans is a nearly 30 mile journey to camp grounds for a long weekend stay. A bikepacking trip where we haul it all with us, enjoy the festivities, and pack it all back. A weekend at the lake via bike adventure. This will be a man's trip with his buddies. Not a 30 mile-trek with the kiddie-caddie attached. Beer drinking. An attainable goal thats meant to be my first adventure as a new cyclist.

But first I have to work on this bike. Pictures to follow.
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Old 08-15-19, 10:12 AM
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Time for adventure!

I hope your wife is on board with taking the time and cash needed to restore a bike! I'm going to guess you mean the second deepest lake, since our Great Lake is twice as deep as any impoundment inland . I'm subscribed, I love these threads because you learn a lot reading them. You've already won half the battle by picking up a bike that fits.

Bike racks are funny things. You have your basic $20 jobs and then you have $120 racks and not much to differentiate besides geometry. If you're planning to bikepack with it, keep your preferred panniers and bags in mind (even if they cost more than the bike they're on). Generally, they work best with a set of racks, and ok on other ones. Heel clearance can also come into play on rear bags. I found a good deal on CL for Ortlieb rear bags and love them, and they work like a charm on the Tubus rack that came on the bike when I bought it. The generic insulated pannier doesn't work as well because the upper hooks are fixed, not sliding on a rail like the Ortlieb bags' hooks. Some racks keep heel clearance in mind, but the cheap ones don't. Returns and exchanges are great! You can adapt whatever to work too!
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Old 08-15-19, 10:29 AM
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Dang! Hope a good cleaning is all it needs
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Old 08-15-19, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Unca_Sam View Post
I hope your wife is on board with taking the time and cash needed to restore a bike! I'm going to guess you mean the second deepest lake, since our Great Lake is twice as deep as any impoundment inland . I'm subscribed, I love these threads because you learn a lot reading them. You've already won half the battle by picking up a bike that fits.

Bike racks are funny things. You have your basic $20 jobs and then you have $120 racks and not much to differentiate besides geometry. If you're planning to bikepack with it, keep your preferred panniers and bags in mind (even if they cost more than the bike they're on). Generally, they work best with a set of racks, and ok on other ones. Heel clearance can also come into play on rear bags. I found a good deal on CL for Ortlieb rear bags and love them, and they work like a charm on the Tubus rack that came on the bike when I bought it. The generic insulated pannier doesn't work as well because the upper hooks are fixed, not sliding on a rail like the Ortlieb bags' hooks. Some racks keep heel clearance in mind, but the cheap ones don't. Returns and exchanges are great! You can adapt whatever to work too!

Actually the Great Lake boarders Ohio and isnít much deeper than Caesars Creek.

Plus you you have to give credit because God made Erie.... the army made Caesars Creek Dam. A pretty impressive feat. They actually sank a town to do it too and on a good day you used to be able to see it from Harveysburg as you climbed to elevation just above the lakeside.
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Old 08-15-19, 01:46 PM
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Hope you are handy with repairs, and where are the pictures?
(preferably the advertised pictures and reality)
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Old 08-16-19, 06:11 PM
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The Trek 990 is an excellent frame. Does it still have it's XT components?

Photo from the 1990 catalogue while we await yours.
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Old 08-16-19, 06:55 PM
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Is that what it is?

I loved the 930 and 950 steel mountain bikes from the '90s!
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Old 08-16-19, 08:17 PM
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That's gonna be one sweet ride when you're done. Be prepared to sink some $$ into it, but it'll still be a better bike than what you can get new for that price. Subscribed.
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Old 08-17-19, 02:08 PM
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If you find that you need any parts or tools during the project, you might want to take a trip down to Cincinnati to the Mobo co-op. Depends a bit on which direction youíre 20 miles from Caesars Creek though.
Those rigid steel MTBs from the 90s are still great frames to build on.
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Old 08-18-19, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
Hope you are handy with repairs, and where are the pictures?
(preferably the advertised pictures and reality)
I didnít realize I had to make 10 posts but was limited to 5 a day sorry for the photo delay
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Old 08-18-19, 08:49 AM
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Advertised

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Old 08-18-19, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
Hope you are handy with repairs, and where are the pictures?
(preferably the advertised pictures and reality)
I worked for years on cars, for my grandfather and father contracting, and for 18 months as an advanced facilities guy for an engineering firm (think the office B****** plus HVAC/ building automation)

Iím pretty handy and actually am using the bikes I flip and my 990 as research for building a bike. I have a barn out in the township and a business location in the city and have seriously been toiling with the idea of turning my hobby R&D projects into a small business. I donít know what direction that will take me but Iíll post up here and on YouTube with some of the projects to share with you all. After all Iím learning most of the technical specs from here.
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Old 08-18-19, 09:13 AM
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Reality






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Old 08-18-19, 09:18 AM
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Disputable

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Old 08-18-19, 09:19 AM
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Despicable




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Old 08-18-19, 09:21 AM
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Disgusting

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Old 08-18-19, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by AeroGut View Post
If you find that you need any parts or tools during the project, you might want to take a trip down to Cincinnati to the Mobo co-op. Depends a bit on which direction youíre 20 miles from Caesars Creek though.
Those rigid steel MTBs from the 90s are still great frames to build on.
@AeroGut Iím in Bellbrook/Sugarcreek Township

thanks for the advice. Like I said Iím not new to collecting or wrenching but Iím new to cycling so the advice is super helpful.

Gotta start somewhere.
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Old 08-18-19, 10:15 AM
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It's s shame you don't have the original wheels, but you may have a freehub that supports 8/9/10 speed hubs that you asked about in the other thread. Do you see a spacer behind the cassette?

Other area's of concern:
  • Make sure the brake levers are for cantilever. I'd personally go back to period correct, but those are pricey.
  • Use black nail polish to touch up the paint if you don't plan to repaint
  • The front dťrailleur should clean up
  • Chain should be replaced
  • You have a cheap cassette bottom bracket with plastic cups.
On the bright side, you have a very nice bike. I would of also bought it in that condition.
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Old 08-18-19, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by katsup View Post
It's s shame you don't have the original wheels, but you may have a freehub that supports 8/9/10 speed hubs that you asked about in the other thread. Do you see a spacer behind the cassette?

Other area's of concern:
  • Make sure the brake levers are for cantilever. I'd personally go back to period correct, but those are pricey.
  • Use black nail polish to touch up the paint if you don't plan to repaint
  • The front dťrailleur should clean up
  • Chain should be replaced
  • You have a cheap cassette bottom bracket with plastic cups.
On the bright side, you have a very nice bike. I would of also bought it in that condition.
I was thinking new shifters, crankset, cassette, and brakes before this is done. I plan on repairing and blending the original paint with a technique I've used on other restorations (not bikes). I need to figure out what will work for my intended use and start compiling parts.

This is my daily bike so I want to have it out of commission for one straight amount of time and get it back off the stand and going again.
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Old 08-18-19, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by MrArrow View Post
I was thinking new shifters, crankset, cassette, and brakes before this is done. I plan on repairing and blending the original paint with a technique I've used on other restorations (not bikes). I need to figure out what will work for my intended use and start compiling parts.

This is my daily bike so I want to have it out of commission for one straight amount of time and get it back off the stand and going again.
The crankset and brakes are 2/3's of the original XT parts you have left. I'd leave those and just replace the brake pads and bottom bracket. Maybe find the dust covers for the crank arms. If you are staying 7 speed, the cassette also has lots of life left.

For a cheap modern shifters, look at the Shimano EF500 (3x7 speed). Make sure you get the ones that are cantilever compatible.
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Old 08-18-19, 06:18 PM
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That's a good looking bike; love the spatter paint job. It's going to be a great ride when you're done. Good catch!
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Old 08-19-19, 01:44 PM
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I bought a Trek 950 for $35 on Craigslist about 3 years ago; lugged True Temper frame. Most of the parts were of no use to me but I built it into a 1x8 drop bar commuter. The frame had some rust spots so I just sanded them and shot 'em with some flat black paint I had. I don't mind that the bike kind of looks like a train wreck but, except for the weight, it rides as nice as my road bikes.
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Old 08-20-19, 10:22 AM
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So how much did you bargain it down to from the asking $200?

It's a cool bike, and should suit your purpose well.

I hate grip shifts, and am not a fan of cantis, so I'd replace that cockpit with some V brakes and cheap shimano 3x7 triggers, and call it done.

Serfas Vermin? I like the look of those tires. Should be very good for street or MUP or gravel.

The chain is actually not rusty, just lube it up and it should be good. The spackle paint job is your friend, makes no difference if the bike is clean or dirty. So go ride it through the mud!
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Old 08-20-19, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
I hate grip shifts, and am not a fan of cantis, so I'd replace that cockpit with some V brakes and cheap shimano 3x7 triggers, and call it done.
I was surprised at how much I like the grip shifters on my '95 Singletrack. They shift well and look clean. YMMV, of course.
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