Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



1990 Yeti C-26 – 20th Anniversary Special


"What do the Exxon Valdez disaster, George Bush Sr. being elected as President of the United States, Taylor Swift being born, and the first episode of Thomas the Tank Engine all have in common? All four of those took place in 1989, of course, which is also an important date for Yeti Cycles because it's the year that they debuted their radical (for the time) C-26 super-bike. I want you to forget about the 25lb, 150mm travel machine that you may or may not have in your garage right now and travel back twenty-six years to a time when steel was pretty much the only reasonable material to build a bike frame out of, and when things like elevated chain stays and undamped suspension forks with two inches of travel were groundbreaking.

This was the setting that Yeti, with the help of Easton, first showed a new frame that combined aluminum and carbon to weigh in at a claimed four pounds. That's still a reasonable weight in 2015, and while there's no doubting that today's designs are more robust, forgiving, and perform better in every regard, the C-26 is one piece of the puzzle that contributed to the bikes we ride today.

Yeti's material of choice back then was 4130 chromoly, but Chris Herting, the man behind the C-26, needed to look at other options in order to bring his newest creation to life. A partnership with Easton meant that he had access to their trick C-9 tubing that consisted of a thin aluminum core tube that was then overlaid with a unidirectional, high-modulus carbon fiber wrap. We might not think much of carbon wrapped components these days, but this was space-age stuff back in 1989, with Yeti saying that ''the alloy core adds hoop strength and torsional stiffness to the frame, while the carbon wrap increases bending stiffness, resulting in a tubeset that is half the weight and twice the strength of 4130 chromoly.''

And even if those dramatic weight loss claims might have been reaching a bit, a four pound frame truly was drastically lighter than most of what was available at the time - just imagine if a frame was debuted tomorrow that weighed even 30% less than comparable offerings.

Yeti didn't completely forsake 4130 chromoly when it came to the C-26, though, as the entire backend of the frame was manufactured from steel and featured the now famous one-piece seat and chain stays that many people still identify as being uniquely Yeti. The frame's lugs are also chromoly, and a "permabond thermal bonding agent" and large oven was used to join the C-9 tubes at the head tube, seat tube, and bottom bracket junctions.

We all know that losing weight costs money, at least when talking about cycling gear, and it was no different back in 1989. Yeti's FRO and Ultimate models had a wholesale price of $700 and $800 USD (including rigid fork and headset), which converts to roughly $1,300 and $1,500 USD in today's money when you take inflation into account. That means that both would have retailed for around $2,100 USD in 2015, which made them pretty high-end, dream worthy bikes twenty-six years ago.

The C-26, however, took that to a whole other level with a wholesale cost of $1,200 in 1989, which means that it would have retailed for just under $2,000 back when it was debuted and depending on how much margin the dealer was looking for. That's a whopping $3,800 USD for the C-26 frame and fork in 2015 dollars, which can get you a quite the machine these days.

Better yet, for an extra $65 a shop filling out an order for a C-26 frame and fork had the option of spec'ing an Answer A-tac stem in one of three different lengths: 120, 130 or 150mm. Yes, you could have had your Yeti with a stem that's the same length as what some of the bikes on the Enduro World Series circuit sport for wheel travel, which is a comparison that really shows how things have changed between then and now. Customers could also choose a handful of standard colours, or go for something a bit more out there by picking from two-tone with darts, fades, animal skin, camouflage, redman, geo-fade, wild and the self explanatory zebra option. While the last one is obvious, I'm not too sure what some of those others would have looked like...

It's the C-26's frame tubes that deserve the most attention, but the period-correct bike pictured here has been fitted with a few notable components, including the Bullseye crankset that was way ahead of its time. Most high-end cranks employ a two-piece design these days, but Roger Durham, the father of Bullseye Cycle, first showed his two-piece design back in the mid-1970s, and that same basic layout is what you see on the Yeti C-26. The goal was to drastically increase rigidity and reliability over what was available at the time, and they did exactly that by welding the drive-side crank arm to the splined steel spindle, and then using a pinch bolt to clamp the left crank arm after bearing tension was properly preloaded. There was even a small retaining tab to keep the left arm from sliding off if it came loose, and the thin walled 4130 chromoly arms were reasonably light for the time. The bottom bracket cups, complete with sealed bearings, threaded into the frame, and the one inch diameter spindle slid through from the drive-side.

It's fair to say that nearly every modern two-piece crankset can trace at least some of its genes back to Roger Durham's original design, but the Bullseye patents ran their course long ago, thereby opening the doors for others to use a similar layout. One thing that hasn't been duplicated, though, is how Bullseye's handmade approach allowed them to offer nine different crank arm lengths - 155, 165, 172, 178, 184, 190, 196, 202 and 208mm - for riders to choose from. We certainly don't need the longer end of that range these days, but it's no secret that companies have experimented in more recent times with custom frames that sport ultra-low bottom bracket heights that have been designed around 150 and 155mm crank arms."

-Mike Levy // Pinkbike


Yeti C26 tpc museum

More from MTB Collection

More from Road Collection

1978 Breezer Series 1 TPC Museum thumb JL-1

Otis Guy’s 1978 Breezer Series 1 #2.81

1980 Ritchey Mountain Bike Museum thumb-1

1980 Ritchey “Pre Serial #”

1982 Breezer Series III TPC Museum Thumb-4

1982 Breezer Series III #32

1982 Salsa Scoboni 5 thumb-1

1982 Salsa Scoboni #5


1982 Sweetheart Cycles Moto Cruiser

1983 Breezer Series III thumb-1

1983 Breezer Series III #43


1983 Ritchey “Faux Lugs” Competition

1981 Cunningham Indian Jacquie Phelan Thumb-1

1983 Cunningham Indian #29

1983 Mantis Sherpa thumb-1

1983 Mantis Sherpa

1985 Velocitech Mountain Machine Thumb-1

1985 Velocitech Mountain Machine

1985 Mountain Goat Deluxe TPC Museum Thumb-1

1985 Mountain Goat Camoflage Deluxe

1985 Steve Potts feature-1

1985 Steve Potts Limited Edition

1986 Ross Signature thumb-1

1986 Ross Signature Team

1987 Steve Potts Signature TPC Museum Thumb-1

1987 Steve Potts Signature

1988 Merlin Ti TPC Museum Thumb-1

Hank Barlow’s 1988 Merlin Ti

1988 Cunningham Racer 22C tpc museum thumb-1

1988 Cunningham Racer #22C

1988 Mountain Goat Deluxe THumb-1

1988 Mountain Goat Dinoflage Deluxe

1989 Yeti FRO Nick Martin Thumb-1

Chris Herting’s 1988 Yeti FRO


1989 Mantis XCR


1989 Otis Guy Braunstein Quay Art of the MTB

1989 Salsa Titanium Prototype Ala Carte thumb-1

1989 Salsa Titanium Prototype Ala Carte


1989 Doug Bradbury Manitou

1990 Mountain Goat Deluxe Yuppie thumb-1

1990 Mountain Goat Yuppie Deluxe

1990 Mantis Valkyrie Thumb-1

1990 Mantis Valkyrie

1990 Manitou Mountain-2 Thumb-1

1990 Doug Bradbury Manitou Mountain Bike

1990 Fat Chance Yo Eddy thumb-1

1990 Fat Chance Yo Eddy

1990 Koga Miyata Ridgerunner Alloy thumb-1

1990 Koga-Miyata Ridgerunner Alloy

1990 Yeti FRO Juli Furtado Thumb-1

Juli Furtado’s 1990 Yeti FRO

1990 Manitou Mountain-02 TPC Museum thumb-1

1991 Doug Bradbury Manitou Mountain Bike

Juli Furtados 1991 Yeti ARC thumb-1

Juli Furtado’s 1991 Yeti ARC

1990s Yeti Tree Frog thumb-1

1991 Yeti Tree Frog #2

Greg Herbolds 1990 Miyata Ti thumb-1

Greg Herbold’s Titanium Miyata

1991 Yeti Ultimate thumb-1

1991 Yeti Ultimate

1991 Manitou Bradbury Travis Brown TPC Museum thumb-1

Travis Brown’s 1991 Manitou FS

1991 Klein Attitude TPC Museum thumb-1

1991 Klein Dolomite Attitude

1992 Yeti Ultimate Thumb-1

1992 Yeti Campagnolo Ultimate


1992 Specialized Epic Ultimate


Ned Overend’s 1992 Specialized M2

1992 Slingshot Team Issue TPC Museum thumb-1

1992 Team Issued Slingshot

1992 Fat Chance Yo Eddy PLO thumb-1

1992 Fat Chance Yo Eddy

MBS Clark Kent Fat Bike thumb tpc museum vintage mtb retrobike-1

1992 Clark-Kent Fat Bike

1993 Klein Gossamer Attitude TPC Museum thumb-1

1992 Klein Gossamer Attitude

1993 Klein Adroit TPC Museum thumb-1

1993 Klein Team Storm Adroit

1993 Klein Adroit Team Storm Tinker Juarez thumb-1

Tinker Juarez’s 1993 Team Storm Klein

1993 Yeti ARC LT Missy Giove thumb-1

Missy Giove’s 1993 Yeti ARC ASLT


1994 Merlin Newsboy


1994 Yeti ARC

1995 Rubicon Kamikaze Kurt Stockton TPC Museum thumb-1

Kurt Stockton’s 1995 Kamikazi Rubicon


Myles Rockwell’s 1998 Cannondale Fulcrum

2010 Yeti C26 Thumb-1

1990 Yeti C-26 – 20th Anniversary Special

2000 Trek Fuel Sydney Olympics Travis Brown Museum thumb-1

Travis Brown’s 2000 Sydney Olympics Trek


Myles Rockwell’s 2000 Giant ATX One

2004 Trek Fuel 9.8 Travis Brown Thumb-1

Travis Brown’s 2004 Marathon Trek