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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2019 10:13 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:17 am
Posts: 698
Having recently picked up a 97 Lightning in pretty much standard spec I’ve decided to do a small build thread on here.

Always fancied a Ti bike as I’ve had many of Aluminum and carbon but hadn’t scratched the Titanium itch until last year when I purchased a Titanium Kingdom vendetta as my winter trail bike. I’ve loved riding it over the last 8 months through all manners of weather and even use it now in summer for longer rides and less demanding rides like Cannock etc.

I’m a big GT fan so when the Lightning came up for sale on here I sold off a few other projects and went for it.

As most will know the Lightning is effectively a Taiwan welded Xizang (kind of) and is in fact rarer I believe. But the spec they came with new isn’t that great due to GT I assume trying to meet a price point.

So now I’ve had the Lightning a month nearly I’ve had time to strip it down and start collecting bits. Frame has cleaned up well and is a extremely nice example.
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Only issue I had whilst stripping it was a crank arm which had stripped threads and was pretty much welded on. Ended up cutting it off but more than worth the sacrifice as it was only a cheap arm.

Now in terms of spec I’ve decided for a dark grey theme with mostly XTR kit. I’ve got some of the bits ready. Thomson post and stem in black , and a black flite.

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The bits I’m not sure about is forks , cranks and front mech. Hoping to sell the bits below and go for some blue 98 SID , XTR cranks , and XTR mech. The middleburn cranks I have are nice but don’t feel the silver matches too well with the build.

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Other thing I’ll need is a nice flat handlebar. Maybe a Ti pair would be nice but let’s see.

Wheels wise I’m torn. I’ve got a pair of lemon 517 on XT 750 hubs with wildgrippers sprints. Lovely wheels and I like the lemon contrast to the dark grey. But feel the hubs might feel like a little low spec. So maybe thinking of some grey X517’s on XTR hubs.


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Open to suggestions and comments. It might be a slow build though as funds allow.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:07 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:17 am
Posts: 698
Middleburn cranks sold so now definitely going XTR.

Does anyone know what axle length I’d need ? 73 shell for sure.

Just need the Indy’s to sell now and I can start buying and building


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:32 am 
Dirt Disciple
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Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:28 pm
Posts: 80
Location: Finland
Great project you have there! I’m just starting my Lightning project this summer and I believe originally they had 113mm axles. I bought it as a frame and it had a retrofitted XTR 112.5mm bb which would also support the 113mm assumption. Good luck with this, will definitely be following the progress!


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:39 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:17 am
Posts: 698
Thanks for comments and info.

113 sounds right as my Zaskars always had that on Shimano cranks or sometimes 110. The middleburns I had ran a 118 I think which I’m glad to see the back of as it was a damn heavy un55.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:54 am 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2006 10:12 pm
Posts: 5107
Location: Barry
Looks like it will be awesome

Good tip for removing a crank with stripped threads is to ride it around with the crank bolt off.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:28 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:17 am
Posts: 698
Yeh I tried that. Did about 10 miles and didn’t budge so out came the dremel lol


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:07 pm 
BoTM Winner
BoTM Winner

Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 1:29 pm
Posts: 917
Location: Hull
They're a great ride , the only ti bike I've got, or ever ridden tbh, but compared with the Alu & steel rides I've had they don't compare imo, very responsive, accelerates very fast. & lightweight too , Mine weighs in at 22lb . I have if you want them a pair of GT Hadley hubs in Black.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:35 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:17 am
Posts: 698
I’ve only ridden it a short distance and that was trying to get the crank to drop off. I bet it’s like a faster more twangy version of a Zaskar but let’s see.

Wheel wise I’d like some XTR on 517 for sure. It’ll suit the build well.

Just need to find some forks and cranks now


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:14 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:17 am
Posts: 698
Update - Sold the middleburns and Indy SL forks.

I’ve sourced some SID which I’m just waiting for.

Also found a XTR front mech which should arrive shortly

Also managed to find a 27.4 Thomson post brand new for a good price rather than using a 27.2 with beer can .

Chainset is needed still.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:03 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2014 3:27 am
Posts: 696
very nice project. we managed to finish such a build in rare 20" for my brother recently.
here's some inspiration for you. the ride is light, smooth and fast. forks from steinbach.
hard to believe it once looked like this before the seller gave it away.
just sad he went silent when we showed him the deformation from the cheap stx fd after the doubled recommended price was paid :facepalm:


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