Story behind this project
It was just before Christmas in 1993, when I ordered a GT Team RTS (Rocker Tuned Suspension) from my LBS in Hong Kong, at the time most mountain bikes where still hardtails with 1″ travel up front if you were lucky, so to get one of the first “Fully Suspended” MTB’s was something radically new… Shortly after I picked up the RTS I returned to Melbourne to complete my final years in Uni and I used it as a daily commuter as well as for weekend XC rides. Below is a photograph I found recently of my RTS, I remember swapping the rims because I just fitted disc brakes on my STS, and the pic was taken just before installing the Magura HS22 red brakes! (yes sorry it’s blurry but digital cameras weren’t invented then and this was shot on FILM) I built the RTS from ground up, it’s original spec was:
- Frame: Jan 94′ GT Team RTS
- Forks: Rockshox Judy SL
- Headset: Chris King
- Stem: Ringle “Zooka” Stem
- Bars: bontrager Titec Titanium straight bar (ODI grips)
- Shifter / brake lever: Shimano XTR Rapid Fire
- Brakes: Shimano XTR Canti with pads
- Rims: Mavic M231 Black (W Spokes)
- Hubs: Ringle “Hubba Bubba” Purple
- Tires: Tioga Factory DH 2.10
- Quick Release skewers: Ringle Purple
- Crankset: Shimano XTR FC-M900
- Rear Casette: Shimano XTR
- Front derailleur: Shimano XTR
- Rear derailleur: Shimano XTR
- Seatpost: Ringle “Moby” Purple
- Seat: Selle Italia Flite Titanium Saddle
- Seatpost clamp: GT with Ringle Skewer
- Ringle water bottle holder
- Dave’s chain device
Anyway, by around 1998 I was getting into riding Downhill / Free-ride (at the time I also had a GT STS DS-1000) and the RTS was used by my friends or my younger brother, realising it wasn’t exactly a “soft” bike to ride, my brother eventually bought his own bike and this became the “spare bike”. At around the year 2000, a colleague at work (and now good friend) knew I was into MTB’s and asked me if I had a “spare bike” to sell, so the RTS ended up going to a new home to start a new life, I figured it would be better being enjoyed then hanging on my living room wall. After a few years, my Colleague changed jobs and headed to Malaysia, Dubai and then Perth, needless to say the RTS was always with him and enjoyed by himself and his 2 sons over the years. If you have been reading my blog, you would notice that I have a soft spot for vintage bikes, after recently purchasing a 1991 Klein Attitude and posting some photos on Facebook, my friend commented on the photo and I asked if he still had the RTS, he told me that some of the parts have broke and he tried to give it away at a garage sale but (fortunately) no one picked it up, he was going to trash it and asked if I wanted it back.. Obviously I jumped to the chance!!! So here we are now…
Day One – 2014/03/06
Box arrived and unpacked After unpacking the RTS, I inspected the frame set and the parts, striped the frame and took everything apart. The frame was still in good shape, 1 small ding on the top tube with lots of scratches on the rear triangle.. To my surprise all the purple Ringle parts were damaged one way or another, Ringle must have been using cheap aluminium back in the day, because everything had a crack in it. The front hub was replaced by my friend years ago because of cracked flange, when I received the RTS it still had the rear Ringle hub but it also suffered a crack flange and a huge split in the middle of the body. The seat post also has a stress crack, and so do the skewers.. Most of the Shimano XTR drivetrain was still ok, the cranks spun smoothly and chainrings were still in good shape (thanks to the Rock-Ring), derailleurs are functional but have some rust on the chrome plated parts. Forks were also replaced to Rockshox Duke SL’s by my friend in Dubai because the Judy’s die on him, elastomers don’t last in the heat! Here is the frame set stripped from all of the parts ready to be cleaned and stripped down for repaint / polish.
Day Two – 2014/03/08
Today I continued taking the frameset apart, removed the rear shock and rear triangle, and cleaned the drivetrain parts. The rear cassette and derailleur cleaned up very well, however the front derailleur has seen better days and have rusted up pretty badly, I might try the coke method and see how that goes or I will replace it later. After taking out the Noleen rear shock, I discovered it has lost all dampening, so I might have to try and rebuild this too, if it is rebuildable? Looks like I have to do a bit of research.. Edit: OMG I cleaned the shock up, pumped it a dozen times and it seems to be functional!!! I have contacted Noleen and they have a service kit and softer spring available so I might grab a set just to be safe.
Day Three and four – 2014/03/11
Nothing much exciting these couple of day except one word – Polishing I decided to hand polish the rear triangle before I resorted to power tools, there was some pitting and scratches on the T6 alloy rear and it need good old fashion elbow grease, I started with 800 grit wet and dry and then 1200, then I used Vitalsol cream and Meguiars Metal Polish to finish. The results are stunning! Before & After After Finished
Day Five – 2014/03/12
This morning I dropped off the front part of the frame at my friends garage to get repainted professionally, I could have done it myself but I am sure he’ll do a better job, plus he is not charging me much and it’ll probably cost me more to buy primer and paint, but I just need to wait for a matching black colour car to come in! Also got some original GT RTS frame decals, although not the Team ones they will do until I find the correct ones. Also found an early Judy XC forks, just needed a quick wipe down and looks (nearly) as good as new, I’m stoked! Looking in my scrap box I found a couple sets on Chris King Headsets, so I’m set in that department just need to choose a colour. Also cleaned the derailleurs today they were a mess, the chain was rusted and it spread onto the front derailleur chain guide, took me a while to clean but they came up quite nice, so I won’t need to find new ones.. just need to look for the brake levers and rapidfire.
Day Six – 2014/03/15
Continued cleaning up and polishing the crankset this evening, some people have been asking me what I use on Facebook so I thought I’d share the products here as well, I use 800-1200 wet and dry to get rid of the major pittings and scratches, then I use Vitalsol, followed by Meguiar’s Metal polish and finish with the cleaner-wax. There are no short-cuts it’s a matter of the more time you spend, the better the result.
Day Seven – 2014/03/17
Today I took the Rockshox apart for a clean and rebuild, they were still running the original cartridge damper and elastomers, however everything seems to still be in working order so I put everything back together after a quick clean. I’m considering changing the elastomers to springs and hopefully find an adjustable damper cartridge somewhere.. Also hope to find some Ti hardware and maybe change the color of the forks to SL yellow.. if I can find the decals..
Day Eight – 2014/03/18
Spotted some Judy SL’s on ebay last night in very good condition and just had to have them, this would save me the time and effort to repaint the XC’s I have, find the correct decals and change all the hardware, damper and springs.. I worked out it would cost me a fair bit to rebuild so I thought I’d try my luck on ebay.. there was already a bidding war going on so I had to stay up till 4am and place my bid at the final seconds, I’m glad I did because it was close, and the Judy SL’s are on the way. Will keep the XC’s as a spare for now. EDIT: well you can’t beat them all, the seller on EVILbay decided he didn’t want to sell me the Judy SL’s because he couldn’t print my shipping label (yes a lame excuse) and refunded my money, obviously unimpressed I just have to accept the fact that there are some weird people around. I guess I’ll keep looking. Side note: The painter should have the front half of my frame ready by the weekend, can’t wait to see the results Also just got some pics from my friend who helped me remove the rocker pivot arm bearings, they have all seized and needed to be replaced, and without the tools I had to get help.
Day Nine – 2014/03/23
De-laced the original wheelset because the Azonic Worldforce rims still have plenty of life in them, just need to find some suitable hubs at an affordable price.. meanwhile thanks to Eric at CHRONiC BiKE who had a set of spare wheels in the shop, which are newer XTR M950’s laced to Mavic D521 rims, so I grabbed those to use for now until I get the old wheels laced. The Carbon Ti skewers are new. Still waiting for the frame to be painted, and waiting on some final parts to arrive to begin the build.
Day Ten – 2014/03/30
It’s been a busy week at work so I haven’t done much on the bike, plus the frame only just got painted today and it’s baking in the oven, so I’ll only be picking it up on Monday, just as well because I’m waiting for the final parts to arrive from the States and Belgium before I can start on the build.. Even managed to keep the 6061-T6 sticker
Day Eleven – 2014/04/01
Picked up the frame today and it’s back together, just waiting for the final parts so I can start the build 😀 Decals applied!
Day Twelve – 2014/04/09
Final Mockup of the bike before assembly on Friday, can’t wait!
Day Thirteen – 2014/04/11
Today was bike shop day, my man Wan@The Bicycle World in Wan Chai built this bike for me 20 years ago, so who else better to do the honours. Also found a used 95′ Selle Italia Flight saddle which matches the RTS perfectly. And the finished product.. Pretty close to the original.. I’ll get better pics over the weekend : ) Current spec:
- Frame: Jan 94′ GT Team RTS
- Forks: Rockshox Judy SL (Modded springs and damper)
- Headset: Chris King
- Stem: Kore Stem
- Bars: 94′ FLITE aluminium straight bar (AME grips)
- Shifter / brake lever: Shimano XTR M900 Rapid Fire
- Brakes: Shimano XTR M900 Canti with pads
- Rims: Mavic D521 Black (DT Spokes)
- Hubs: XTR M950
- Tires: Onza Aggro 26×2.10
- Quick Release skewers: Carbon Ti
- Crankset: Shimano XTR FC-M900
- Pedals: Onza High Output Ti axles
- Rear Casette: Shimano XTR M900
- Front derailleur: Shimano XTR M900
- Rear derailleur: Shimano XTR M900
- Seatpost: 94′ Zoom GT stamped micro adjust post
- Seat: Selle Italia Flite Titanium Saddle
- Seatpost clamp: GT with Ti Bolt
First Test ride – 2014/04/19
Nice and sunny on Easter holiday today so I took the old gal for a first test ride in the bush after parting with her 15 years or so ago.. The RTS felt awesome, the rocker tuned suspension took a bit of getting used to at first, and then the memories came right back of how the bike felt when I first got her.. Compared to modern standards the rear felt extremely funky and those canti brakes are really more show then go, how I wish we had disc brakes back then..
Rear Shock Issue – 2014/04/27
After a couple rides on the restored RTS, I decided it was a bit scary riding downhill with the rear bouncing out of control and bottoming out, so I decided to tried and find someone locally who could refill the Nitrogen and maybe service my Noleen NR3 rear shock, but no luck.. then I got in touch with Clark at Noleen J6 and he said he could give my shock some OEM love needed. I’ll ship it out tomorrow and hopefully it comes back working like new 🙂
Rear Shock Issue – 2014/05/20
Finally receive the serviced shock from Noleen and it look like they swapped out the body for me, either way it’s back and good as new.
Rockshox Issue – 2014/06/3
Today I received some goodies in the mail for my Rockshox Judy SL, a nice new aluminium adjustable damper and some springs to replace those tired old elastomers on another pair of SL’s I found
Beautiful! Looking nice! The Dura-Ace chainring looks good on its own without the Rock-Ring.
Wow! Great Retro build! I collect GT’s and this one is a beauty!
hy, my name en juan from argentina, im restoring an rts and im looking for a rock shox judy like yours
i Just bought a ’95 team rts online – this was an inspiring read!
Great Work! Where did you get the spring set for the Judy?
I got them on ebay, but they don’t show up often..
Enjoyed your project. I’m trying to restore a RTS Team 1 w/ an Amp linkage front fork. What type of grease did you use for the suspension bushings? Thanks. Miles
Hi Miles, not sure if you meant the Judy forks or the frame bushings? For the forks I had some Rockshox Butter grease (Slickoleum) left for the elastomers until I swapped them out for the spring set, and for the frame bushings I used Bel Ray waterproof grease. Hope that helps!
I have the exact same RTS team 1,its Purple and in great condition and its For Sale!
Hi Please make friends with me
I am Eddie
Email : eddie5281.gmail.com
I have a original 1994 GT RTS for sale.
Wooow, super nice rebuild!!! I have the same frame and i would like to ask you a question: where did you get the stickers set? I would like to leave it perfect like the first day like you did…here is my email if you would like to help me: email@example.com
Thank you for your time, i hope to hear from you soon👍🏻!!!
Hi there, I got the stickers from my local bike store, was just lucky I found a set in their boxes of stickers..
Another place would be ebay or facebook groups may be able to help you, good luck