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Old April 7th, 2011, 11:36 PM   #1
MKT
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Default What have I got here?

Glad to have found you!

I wanted a mountain bike but can't afford to throw down for a new one right now. So, I asked my buddy if he still had his Fat Chance and if he wasn't riding it, could I use it. He said, "Sure. You can have it." Just picked it up this evening.

Overall, it looks like he rode it a few times and parked it. The paint is perfect and there is barely a scratch on it, just a layer of dust and a little bit of grime that should wash off nicely. A little love and I think it will be a sweet ride. Any info on the bike (year, history of this model, tubing type, performance characteristics, etc.) would be much appreciated. I plan to ride this thing and put real time on it.

I feel like I just scored but don't know what I have exactly or what it will take to get it into good running shape. What should I do to it? Have it tuned up and just ride it? Swap the fork? Swap any parts out for newer stuff? Since I didn't have to pay anything for it, I don't mind putting a few hundred bucks into it if it will be worth it.

Thanks for any help/advice you can offer,
MT

P.S. I'm 99.9% sure the serial number is: YO SM 1148. (The last digit may be a 9.)
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Old April 8th, 2011, 7:41 AM   #2
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Bike of my dreams.. since finding a SM Yo is a bit hard.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 7:43 AM   #3
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Welcome to the Forum Mark! You've got a Saratoga built (later) Fat Chance Yo Eddy. SM stands for Small/Medium which is the size of the frame. Someone else on the forum can probably decipher the year based upon the Serial. I am pretty sure the Saratoga bikes were made from '94-'99. Serrotta purchased Fat City Cycles in '94 and moved the production from Sommerville, Ma to Saratoga, NY. Looks like it's in great shape! Does your buddy have the original fork? If so I would grab that too. No need to put any money in unless it needs something; just ride it. Enjoy the bike!
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Old April 8th, 2011, 8:51 AM   #4
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For a gift, you got yourself an exceptionally high end lightweight steel hardtail mountain bike. And a fairly rare one, at that.

No way to decipher the year made on the Saratoga bikes, but it was made later than 1995. It's probably closer to 2000 based on the components on it. Regardless, it's super clean and spec'd out very nicely
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Old April 8th, 2011, 9:57 AM   #5
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Default Fork? Bars? Shifters?

Thanks for the quick reply. I was hoping it would be a tune it up and ride it kind of thing. My buddy told me the friend he bought it from kept the original fork. Can you tell me what I should be looking for and if it is even possible to find one? I'd like to try to bring it back to original or put on something newer that performs well. Any suggestions?

Also, the bars and shifters feel funny to me. My last mtn bike was newer and the shifting was positive and smooth. I'm used to push-push - I've never used twist style shifters before. And, I like a wider hand position. To be able to use the brakes, your hands have to be really close together and on top of the shifter part (because of the shifter location). Do you think I should just leave it and try to get used to it? Or is there an alternative that still would keep things in the right period/look but make it more comfortable for me? Thanks for the help!

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Originally Posted by jonsonneborn View Post
Welcome to the Forum Mark! You've got a Saratoga built (later) Fat Chance Yo Eddy. SM stands for Small/Medium which is the size of the frame. Someone else on the forum can probably decipher the year based upon the Serial. I am pretty sure the Saratoga bikes were made from '94-'99. Serrotta purchased Fat City Cycles in '94 and moved the production from Sommerville, Ma to Saratoga, NY. Looks like it's in great shape! Does your buddy have the original fork? If so I would grab that too. No need to put any money in unless it needs something; just ride it. Enjoy the bike!
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Old April 8th, 2011, 11:11 AM   #6
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Default More questions...

If you don't mind, I have some questions:
The bike is high end because it is a Fat Chance I get. Could you give me an idea of how good the bikes were comparatively back then?
How about compared to hardtails now?
How much of riding these bikes for you is pure performance characteristics? And, if so, what is it you like about them?
How much is about retro bikes being cool?
(Always nice to pull up next some guy on an expensive new tricked out bike and have as much fun as they are and maybe even leave them behind. I have a 1980 Suzuki GS1000 in excellent shape and it runs like a champ!)

What made the Yo Eddie special? (i.e., different from the Wicked, etc.?)
It's fairly rare because of the frame size and model? How many do you think there are out there?

I know this is quite a list of questions. I just want to know what I have here. I'm glad it sounds like I have something pretty special - I know I could have done a lot worse! I've been riding road for a while now and plan to spend time again in the dirt now that I live close to some great trails. I plant for this to be the bike. I want to get it dialed in so I can put some real time on it and not sacrifice too much performance compared to the newer stuff.

Thank you for the input and advice!

[QUOTE=Doug Carter;14690]For a gift, you got yourself an exceptionally high end lightweight steel hardtail mountain bike. And a fairly rare one, at that.

No way to decipher the year made on the Saratoga bikes, but it was made later than 1995. It's probably closer to 2000 based on the components on it. Regardless, it's super clean and spec'd out very nicely
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Old April 8th, 2011, 2:35 PM   #7
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Put it this way, you asked your buddy for a car you could use and he gave you a 1979 Porsche 911.

It's not exactly 'old' but many people think of them as classics. There's more technically advanced stuff out there but still it's noted for it's quality. There's still plenty around but you won't see one every day. It's probably worth way more than an equivalent you'd be more than happy having.

Ride it. Enjoy it. Look after it.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 2:48 PM   #8
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Default Very cool analogy, thanks.

I get it. I just dropped it off at my favorite shop and we are giving it a good run though - the full special treatment. It seems like the forks are going to be the main issue. Looking for someone who can service them, or find a 1" V-brake fork replacement. Any ideas?

I'm so psyched to ride it. I can't wait.

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Originally Posted by northerndave View Post
Put it this way, you asked your buddy for a car you could use and he gave you a 1979 Porsche 911.

It's not exactly 'old' but many people think of them as classics. There's more technically advanced stuff out there but still it's noted for it's quality. There's still plenty around but you won't see one every day. It's probably worth way more than an equivalent you'd be more than happy having.

Ride it. Enjoy it. Look after it.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 2:52 PM   #9
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The forks will be fine. Pull the apart, throw the elastomers away if they're there. There's new springs and probably dampers on eBay. Factor in $80 and you'll get them in tip top shape.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 2:57 PM   #10
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Default Thanks!

I'll give it a shot. It is not the original fork that came on the bike. Do you know what came on it and do you think I could find an original?

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The forks will be fine. Pull the apart, throw the elastomers away if they're there. There's new springs and probably dampers on eBay. Factor in $80 and you'll get them in tip top shape.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 4:25 PM   #11
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Most folks ordered a frame with a FAT rigid Yo Fork (there was also the "BOI", big one inch fork) or a suspension fork. If you are asking about the orginal rigid fork, they can be picked up (if you are lucky) from $250 to as high as $450. They are sweet. Do a search on this site for repo's or look up Rody at Groovy Cycleworks. Or, get your fork serviced or find another if you want to go suspension.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 4:41 PM   #12
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Default Good to know

Thanks for the great info. For cost reasons, I'm going to run the fork that is on it now. But, I'm going to also keep my eyes open for something else.

My buddy told me the original owner swapped the original suspension fork for the one that is on it now before he sold it to him. Do you have any idea what fork that might have been?

I guess my real question is: what is the best fork with a 1" steer tube and V-brake set up that I can find? I'm going to try to find out if anything like that still exists... I know it sounds lame, but I'm having an aesthetic problem with the yellow fork on it now. If it is the best fork I can run on the bike, I'll live with it. If there is something better out there, I'll try to swap it out.

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Originally Posted by fat-tony View Post
Most folks ordered a frame with a FAT rigid Yo Fork (there was also the "BOI", big one inch fork) or a suspension fork. If you are asking about the orginal rigid fork, they can be picked up (if you are lucky) from $250 to as high as $450. They are sweet. Do a search on this site for repo's or look up Rody at Groovy Cycleworks. Or, get your fork serviced or find another if you want to go suspension.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 5:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MKT View Post
Thanks for the great info. For cost reasons, I'm going to run the fork that is on it now. But, I'm going to also keep my eyes open for something else.

My buddy told me the original owner swapped the original suspension fork for the one that is on it now before he sold it to him. Do you have any idea what fork that might have been?

I guess my real question is: what is the best fork with a 1" steer tube and V-brake set up that I can find? I'm going to try to find out if anything like that still exists... I know it sounds lame, but I'm having an aesthetic problem with the yellow fork on it now. If it is the best fork I can run on the bike, I'll live with it. If there is something better out there, I'll try to swap it out.
I had that fork. it's fine. You could have Rody or Chris Igleheart build you the right steel fork but ride it as is for a while. If the shifters are not your liking swap them for ultegra 8sp barcons mounted on Paul adapters. Velo Orange makes adapters as well.. Maybe you will need another derr. w/ the new shifters. i am not sure.
How tall are you btw? does the bike fit you fine?
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Old April 8th, 2011, 5:29 PM   #14
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Default Will go with the current fork

Thanks for letting me know about the shifters. The guy at the shop tells me they feel brand new and are decent so I'm going to see how they work and if I can get used to them and swap if necessary.

I'm 5-9" 165lbs. The bike should be a good fit. I think all I need to do is swap the stem. It's too long for me.

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Originally Posted by colker View Post
I had that fork. it's fine. You could have Rody or Chris Igleheart build you the right steel fork but ride it as is for a while. If the shifters are not your liking swap them for ultegra 8sp barcons mounted on Paul adapters. Velo Orange makes adapters as well.. Maybe you will need another derr. w/ the new shifters. i am not sure.
How tall are you btw? does the bike fit you fine?
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Old April 8th, 2011, 5:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MKT View Post
Thanks for letting me know about the shifters. The guy at the shop tells me they feel brand new and are decent so I'm going to see how they work and if I can get used to them and swap if necessary.

I'm 5-9" 165lbs. The bike should be a good fit. I think all I need to do is swap the stem. It's too long for me.
Size is spot on. Keep the stem. you may want it back on the bike if you decide to move your saddle forward. If not it's a cherished desired stem by guys here.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 7:54 PM   #16
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1" NY built, 95 to 97? Frame is suspension corrected, so that fork is fine, and most likely what the original owner would have spec'ed. From 94ish on few Yos came through our shop with a rigid fork.

There is a romantic notion that rigid is the only historically correct fork for any fat. Utter bull sh-t. Is it a desirable option? Yes.
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Old April 9th, 2011, 2:41 AM   #17
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Great score! Buy your friend beers for the rest of the year! He basically gave you $1,000 of bike.

If the forks work, hold onto 'em! It is hard to find decent 1" forks these days. I agree that by then most of the Saratoga bikes would NOT be coming with rigid forks OEM. Google around for some other Saratoga Yo's and you should be able to figure out the exact year. The canti bridge means pre-'98 to me.

Compared to a modern bike the only diff would be a tad more sus correction, and discs. V-brakes work great though. I don't know what tubesets were spec'd but the frame is VERY well built and lightweight. If you wanted to get rid of the twist shifters I wouldn't blame you! A new rear mech and some shifters wouldn't be terribly $$.

Wider bars are also easy, and in addition to rubber (tires/pads), really the best value in upgrading. Newer bars are likely to have more sweep than those Hyperlites, so you might not have to swap out the stem. I'd get everything adjusted with new tires and go for a ride before really swapping anything though...Toss on some clipless pedals while you are at it and get riding!
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Old April 9th, 2011, 9:59 AM   #18
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Tubeset was probably still True Temper triple butted. IIRC they hed them custom drawn so that tube sets were specific to the frame size. I think that is pretty common practice today. The 1" headtube narrows down the year quite a bit as I think Fat swtiched over in 97 or 98 to 1 1/8th.
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