1991 Trek 990


Kona Fan
I bought this bike almost exactly 3 years ago, for only $15, at my regular thrift store.

Here is the bike right before purchase, at the check out counter.


Here it is after I got it home. It was filthy, well used, and had some parts upgraded at some point. I immediately noticed the different wheels, I can only imagine the original front wheel was damaged in a crash. The Mogul Black Diamond was from '93, the M737 rear derailleur was from '94, as was the front wheel I think. The brake pads were hard, and the brake lever boots and ODI grips were so soft, they turned to mush in between my fingers, which is a shame, because I have never seen Attack grips in this color. The Ground Control tires were in OK condition, good for display, but I won't ride on them. The paint had faded, and looks less faded under where the stickers were applied. There was one Taya chain sticker and one Onza sticker on the top tube, and one Onza sticker on the down tube, all covering very small blemishes.


Here it is cleaned up and stripped of parts.


I was going to build the bike up with as many neon orange parts as I could find, since I don't like 3DV or Turq ano, or most flashy ano for that matter. The early 90's neon is more my style.


I found a matching Mogul, and some Maguras, even a Taper Lite, but after I started fitting parts, I realized that I was going in the wrong direction, and needed to find a more simple theme. I already have a '94 Marin Pine Mountain that I have fitted with my favorite fork, and my favorite cantis, and it's the perfect platform if I want to try out Maguras. I needed a simple 1991 high end bike, not an upgraded to 1994 standards bike like the previous owner did.


I stripped the bike back down, put the Moguls back together, and let the bike sit in my stand for a few weeks while I thought things over. In the meantime, I bought a matching Tange Big Super Fork, with a perfect length steer.

Over the next two years, I worked on other projects until I found the theme. I started sourcing Tioga parts, after I found a NOS black T-Bone seatpost in a rare 29.8mm size. The bike was already fitted with a Tioga headset and stem, and I just recently discovered the Tioga catalog from '92, as well as the video catalog that was posted in late 2020. After I realized they made a lot of neon orange accessories, as well as sleek black parts, I settled on an all black with subtle orange accents, courtesy of Tioga! I will be posting more about some of the parts that I have selected for the build in a little bit, after I clean them up and take some photos.
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Kona Fan

Front - Deore XT HB-M730 Black laced to Mavic 261 CD Profil PSP w/ Panaracer Dart
Rear - Deore LX FH-M560 Black laced to Mavic 281 CD Profil PSP w/ Panaracer Smoke


I found these on a poor Alpinestars AlMega that I got for $25 at the same thrift store I got the 990 from, only a few months after. The head tube was cracked, so I striped the bike, donated the other parts, and kept the wheels.


Eventually, I got around to cleaning them up for this project, and I was very surprised at the overall condition.


I have 8 spokes to eventually replace, but for now, a hub and free hub rebuild will do.


I also have a rear M730 QR, and a NOS front on the way from Norway, along with a Shark Fin. I hope that doesn't get hung up in customs!

I also have the original rear wheel, an FH-M730 laced to Matrix Single Track ATB Comp. I am actively looking for a matching front. I posted on the Rim Matchmaker thread here.


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Prodigal Son

Retro Guru
Back in the day, a wealthy neighbour bought one.. Guy was a lawyer for corrupt politicians and had also a fleet of expensive cars. I used to admire the bike and had no funds for a high end mtb. Then i read a test (was it bicycling?) saying the frame was a brick and the stumpjumper was the real deal. Anyways, i bought a 8700, new, at the dealer, a couple years later and hated it´s dead feeling ride from the go. I bet the steel 990 is way better....


Kona Fan
Back in the day, a wealthy neighbour bought one.. Guy was a lawyer for corrupt politicians and had also a fleet of expensive cars. I used to admire the bike and had no funds for a high end mtb. Then i read a test (was it bicycling?) saying the frame was a brick and the stumpjumper was the real deal. Anyways, i bought a 8700, new, at the dealer, a couple years later and hated it´s dead feeling ride from the go. I bet the steel 990 is way better....
A friend of mine told me they were heavy duty, emphasis on the heavy. I don't mind, I've heard the ride is nimble.

I wouldn't mind having a stumpy though!


Kona Fan
Fork: Tange Super Big Fork Triple Butted Cro-mo in solid black, from 1991, with the exact length steer for an 18" frame.


This is the fork that would have come on this bike, but it did not originally come with this bike. I bought it for $40 from a buddy Scott from one of the vintage mountain bike Facebook pages. It even came with a Tioga headset race and most of the stack that went on a '91 990, so that was a bonus.



It needed a little bit of paint correction, and I finished it off with some black T-Cut, as so many people here seem to like.


Headset: Tioga Avenger OS-3 with Duraluminum Deadbolt Lock Ring

Here are all the original components, the new parts, and some spare NOS stuff that I picked up for safe keeping.


Here is the full stack that's going on the bike, including one of the lock rings. I went with the aluminum one. It's the closest thing I can get to an Impact headset! I am not too fond of the Dia Compe cable hanger. I could get a T-Bone with internal routing...


I also bought a Deadbolt in steel, and NOS OS bearings.


I also bought the correct headset wrench.


I would very much like to find a proper Tioga cable hanger to replace the original Dia Compe one. I am looking for one like the following two.

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Kona Fan
It took a few months to go over the frame and touch up all the blemishes. I didn't do a perfect job, and the Testor's model enamel I got was not the exact same black. I can only tell under direct light, so I'm not worrying too much about it. It was super thrashed, and could have easily been tossed instead of donated to a thrift store, so this is worlds better than it used to be. I think that maybe the white primer and orange paint under the black has something to do with it. There's also clearcoat over everything.

How the chainstay looked after cleaning only. Previous owner tried to touch it up at some point, before more chain suck caused this.


This is after some wet sanding and a little bit of filing, to take off the high spots. I would go on to sand a bit more, mask at the lug, and at the top and bottom of the stay, running down the side to cover some of the smaller, thin sections.


This is after two coats of paint, lots of wet sanding, polishing, and finally a coat of carnauba wax. You can see where I wet sanded through a bit down to orange, on the underside below the left light glare. Whoops! 😬 Too late to go back and do another coat. I can barely notice it, and I've already rubbed through one other touch up, so I guess my blemishes on this bike have already begun! Whatever, it adds more character.


I've had these parts cleaned and prepped for almost a year now. I went all out and fully disassembled most everything, running it all through an ultrasonic cleaner, and reassembling with fresh grease. I ended up not being able to use the Ringle Anti Chain Suck Device, since the chainstays are too wide, and the factory Trek chain suck thing didn't clear my tires, so those went back in storage. I also haven't fitted the Trek computer, because I haven't figured out a way to route it cleanly enough yet. I might wait until I find the Tioga cable hanger first.

I also haven't fitted the Hite Rite, since I need a longer Shimano QR binder pin. If you have one, and wouldn't mind shipping to the states, please let me know!


I also bought the following NOS Tioga bits:

Tioga BioGrip-II in Black and Orange
Tioga Deadbolt headset lock nut
Tioga Durocable 6mm brake cable and housing in black
Tioga Brake Tamers in black
Tioga chainring bolts in black
Tioga sealed bearing fully adjustable bottom bracket
Tioga Surefoot VI with PowerClip-II and Quick-Flick II
Tioga Avenger T-Bone seatpost 29.8mm in black


I love this BB, and the small chainring clears the lock ring here by 1mm 😅


I used the small cable protector/sheath that works on non SLR brake cables, and I cut a slit down the entire length. I had to oil the cable and the protector, but eventually I was able to slide it on from the end all the way to where it sits on the top tube. Then I cut it so it wouldn't bunch up at either end when the brakes are actuated. I wish I could find this stuff in a larger diameter, so if you know of a place, let me know. On bikes like this, it's nice to stealth out the whole thing by covering any cables.


At this point, I had already dry built the bike once, and the second time was going very smoothly. Before I knew it, I had the bike pretty much done. I'm writing this on a Friday evening, and it was a bare frame on Monday morning.


I like to spend my time on these builds though, so this might seem like forever for some of you. 😂 I intentionally set my stand next to my desk and in front of my projector, so I can sit and stare at it and think about how it's going to look, or how I might change things. This looks even better than I thought it would, and I'm so happy it's done!


Kona Fan
This one is dedicated to all of the Tioga parts!

Enjoy some nice photos on my first ride around Forest Park with this beautiful gem. It is super compliant, and nimble! I intentionally went out of my way to go over curbs, loose brick, pot holes, and other fun terrain. I also splashed through some standing water and a little mud, so the bike has officially been baptized. 😂

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Kona Fan

Frame: 1991 Trek 990 18" in Black Fade Conch
Lugged True Temper OX Made in U.S.A.
SN 706933

Fork: Tange Super Big Fork in black

Headset: Tioga Avenger OS-3 w/ Tioga Deadbolt lock nut
Stem: Tioga Avenger T-Bone OS Prestige
Handlebar: Matrix branded Easton Taper Lite 5°
Grips: NOS Tioga BioGrip-II in black

Brakes: Shimano BR-M734 in black
Brake Pads: Kool Stop Eagle Claw 2 dual compound
Brake Cables: Shimano MT-092/Tioga Durocable 6mm
Brake Levers: Shimano BL-M733 with NOS Tioga Brake Tamers in black

Shifters: Shimano SL-M732 Thumbies
Front Derailleur: Shimano FD-M735
Rear Derailleur: Shimano RD-M735 short cage with Avid Rollamajig in black
Derailleur Cables: Shimano
Cassette: Shimano CS-HG90
Chain: Taya Extreme-900
Cranks: Shimano FC-M730
Crank Bolts: Tioga
Chainrings: QBP Engagement Ring 46/36, Shimano 24
Chainring bolts: NOS Tioga in black
Bottom Bracket: NOS Tioga MTB-SK sealed searing fully adjustable
Pedals: NOS Tioga Surefoot VI with Tioga PowerClip-II and Quick-Flick II in black

Hub Skewers: Shimano QR-M730
Rims: F-Mavic 261 CD Profil PSP R-Mavic 281 CD Profil PSP
Hubs: F-Deore XT HB-M730 in Black R-Deore LX FH-M560 in black
Nipples: Brass, Hard
Spokes: F-DT Double Butted Stainless R-Wheelsmith Stainless
Tyres: Repro Panaracer Smoke and Dart in black
Tubes: ContiTube

Saddle: Repro Selle Italia Turbo in black
Seatpost: NOS Tioga T-Bone 29.8mm in black
Seatpost Binder: Shimano SQ-M730

Shimano DR-M730 Shark Fin
Trek Bottle Cage in black

Weight: 27.5lbs

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Kona Fan
Back in the day, a wealthy neighbour bought one.. Guy was a lawyer for corrupt politicians and had also a fleet of expensive cars. I used to admire the bike and had no funds for a high end mtb. Then i read a test (was it bicycling?) saying the frame was a brick and the stumpjumper was the real deal. Anyways, i bought a 8700, new, at the dealer, a couple years later and hated it´s dead feeling ride from the go. I bet the steel 990 is way better....

It's way better 😂

I've ridden a 1992 8700, and yep, this bike is much more responsive. It's also lighter than my 1992 Kona Cinder Cone, go figure. I think that bike has heavier wheels. The two are surprisingly similarly kitted, though I love the glossy all black of this Trek more I think.
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