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MBUK Magazine made Nick Jones' amazing Yeti Cycles ARC AS/Lt their super bike this month. Check out the full story on the build below.

Labour of love

It took years to bring this retro Yeti back to life. It's a thing of beauty

Seven vintage Yetis stand huddled underneath an easy-up as rain begins to fall on the annual Tribe Meet. They are machines that represent chucks of mountain bike history and countless hours of toil on the parts of their owners. They are things of love and geekiness, and one stands out louder, and prouder than the rest - Nick Jones; ARC AS/Lt.

No Stranger

This bike has been in MBUK before - back in 1995 it featured in our Anaheim show coverage. Frame number '003' was originally the race rig of Ringle Components founder Geoff Ringle, and features the motif of 'el Queso Grande' ('the Big Cheese') along the top tube.

As a race rig, there are a few dings and paint chips, but they all add to the bike's heritage. The chainstays aren't even original items. Yeti used to sponsor a rider called Ken Foraker (who, incidentally, only had one leg), who broke his stays at mommoth mountain one year. Ringle didn't think twice about offering him his as replacements.

As a prototype, the ARC AS also features variable shock mounts on the top-tube. It's also why the brace isn't anodised. "The bike was a rider not a show-er, so it's done some mileage, but I thought it was the perfect showcase for the Penske front end," Nick says with a thoughtful shrug.

The frame lay in Geoff's garage for years before he eventually gave it to Nick. Originally, Nick intended it to be 'just' a wall-hanger, but bit by bit, elusive parts were assembled and the build took shape.

Front End Wonder

Perhaps the most impressive part of the build is the front-end, which features a Penske (the famous Indy car team) inverted fork and Grafton disc brake with carbon fibre rotor. "The front end is the main thing really," says Nick. "It was a cumulative effort between Ringle Components, Grafton Performance, Yeti Cycles and Penske."

Four sets were made with a Ringle hub. Grafton cable-actuated, hydraulic disc calliper (there were no hydraulic levers around at the time). One went to each of the companies involved. Geoff had the one with the red hub, John Parker (then Yeti boss) got the blue hub, Penske and John Grafton got a set each. "They were reported to be worth $15,000 at the time. They weren't realically ridable though, because there wasn;t a 20mm through-axle," Nick explains. "They used M8 stem bolts which made them very flexy. The arch-less upside-down design didn't help either. Ringle went into partnership with Rock Shox to patent the 20mm front axle as a result of this project."

Tracking Down the Details

"The main thing I didn't have at the time was the HED rear rim. It took me some time to source," Nick says. "I ended up finding it at a cycling jumble for £40! The purple stuff is all custom too, I've even got purple cable ferrels and Onza Porcupine tyres."

Mountain Bike Action was the big US magazine at the time and they started to charge for a company's name to appear on the cover. So all the team hubs had the four main sponsors etched in them, so their names could be seen when Yeti rider John Tomac was on the cover - which was often.

History is important and without a committed community of retro fettlers, a lot of it would be lost. Thanks to people like Nick Jones, bikes like this ultra-rare Yeti ARC AS/Lt can live on.

If you want to see more retro bikes then head on over to the Retro Bike Forum or visit Yetifan.com for you fix of everything turquoise.

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