I’ve had this project for years in various states, it’s the same bike my oldest daughter had, the old Hoo Koo E Koo from 1996. I decided to get serious about it for Jacks birthday since he rides everyday.
For context, it’s a 1996 GF Hoo Koo E Koo, true temper platinum tubing, which is good, it weighs 2066 grams, which is 4.5 lbs, a little heavy yes (my aluminum air 9 is still 1600 grams or 3.7 lbs) but its really well built and strong. It’s age shows most in the brakes as it was designed for cantis. I don’t automatically hate cantis, I actually have them on my commuter, but in this case, because of the small size of the frame, the stops wouldn’t allow them to travel correctly, so they were always out of adjustment. It’s not a good scenario for your rather aggressive son to ride a bike without good brakes.
I contacted several frame builders about adding a disk tab to the frame, and got good responses from several. Ultimately I decided to go with Mr Nao Tomii, who builds absolute art out of his shop Tomii Cycles here in Austin. We met and immediately found ourselves on the same wavelength, so I stripped the frame down and dropped it off with him. All he needed was the bare frame and rear wheel in order to assure alignment. While he’s got it, he’s going to strip the finish, and send it to his powder coater for a nice Cyan blue, which was my Son’s choice in color. I’ll report on that once I get it back.
Stripped with the rear wheel
I also started looking for drivetrain upgrades to get him as comfortable as possible, as simply as possible. I picked up a 10spd shadow plus rear derailleur, and 36t cassette to give him some real gearing, and I’m powder coating a deore crank for a 1x setup, again in the name of simplicity. If we find that he needs more gearing, I will fit his cassette with a wolf tooth 42t sprocket to ease things up, but he’s young and strong. 😉
The wheels he had were absolutely pedestrian, and HEAVY, which was adequate for occasional use, but wholly unacceptable for a daily use real bike, so I set him up with some nice tubeless Bontrager Duster rims on XT hubs that have been hanging around in my garage forever. Those led to another project, the front hub was a 15mm Thru Axle, which I didn’t have a fork for, so I picked up a Mavic adapter kit to fit them to a 9mm QR fork. Lastly I’m swapping the mechanical disk brakes I had on the front of the bike for a set of avid hydraulics to render that bullet proof too.
The old crank on the bike was an absurd 996 grams (2.19 lbs!)
the new Race Face was 680 grams (1.4 lbs) both weighed with their bottom brackets.
The wheels which for whatever reason I didn’t photograph (??) saved another 2 lbs which totals up to a bit more than 3lbs off the bike, and I think I have about another 1/2 or so with a new seatpost, and miscellaneous small parts. I’m also actively looking for a nice 80mm travel SID to save a few more grams, and give him more supple suspension than we can create with the Manitou on it now.