Christa and I used to ride our mountain bikes around the city while we were attending UW in the mid 90s. For some reason, she stopped riding her bike, and starting storing it on her damp Seattle balcony. After 17 years of ownership, Christa was about ready to donate this thing to Bikeworks, because she thought it was too far gone. Fortunately for Christa, I have become one of the people who work on these pieces of junk at Bikeworks, and her birthday was coming up. I said I’d look at it and see what I could do.

Turns out, it’s a nice steel frame with no defects. My first Seattle bike was a Giant Iguana, so I had fond feelings for this from the outset. A bit of rust here and there, but I could see the potential for turning this into a bike that she could ride again. Unfortunately, I don’t have an official “Before” photo, so these images of the worn out parts will have to suffice.

Shimano mades some pretty cheap-ass brake arms. The limiting factor was the totally cracked plastic spring covers, which rendered the otherwise intact mechanism unusable.

Shimano makes some pretty cheap-ass brake arms. Like these! The limiting factor was the totally cracked plastic spring covers, which rendered the otherwise intact mechanism unusable.

Why it may not be the best idea to store your bike outside in Seattle. Also, did you know that aluminum rusts?

Why it may not be the best idea to store your bike outside in Seattle. Also, did you know that aluminum rusts?

This is the freehub body, found inside the rear hub. Giant made their own hubs in the 90s, and this one was pretty much toast. Whenever the bike pedaled forward, the hub wouldn't catch for a few seconds. The part is not meant to be serviced. I had to order a replacement from the only online retailer who carries them. (Budget Bicycle Center) Triumphantly, I saved this wheel from the dump!

This is the freehub body, found inside the rear hub. Giant made their own hubs in the 90s, and this one was pretty much toast. Whenever the bike pedaled forward, the hub wouldn’t catch for a few seconds. The part is not meant to be serviced. I had to order a replacement from the only online retailer who carries them. (Budget Bicycle Center) Triumphantly, I saved this wheel from the dump!

This chain was so stretched, the chain stretch tool couldn't even measure it! But strangely, as Donald and I worked on it at the Bikeworks BYOB, there were ZERO problems with the shifting once we replaced the cables. I decided to replace the chain and 7-speed cassette with a new shiny one just for good measure.

This chain was so stretched, the chain stretch tool couldn’t even measure it! But strangely, as Donald and I worked on it at the Bikeworks BYOB, there were ZERO problems with the shifting once we replaced the cables. I decided to replace the chain and 7-speed cassette with a new shiny one just for good measure.

My goal was to make this a bike that Christa could ride to work on the Burke Gilman Trail. Other changes I made included:

  • Adjustable angle stem (Sunlite) so Christa could find the best fit
  • New (but salvaged) Jamis aluminum handlebars
  • Platform pedals (black with an awesome red dot on the side)
  • New Origin 8 brake arms
  • New derailleur cables and housing
  • New brake cables
  • New slick city tires

Yesterday I took a test ride on this around West Seattle, which was highly gratifying.

The Giant Iguana is now back from the brink of extinction!

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