The Yellow One -1997 GT Karakoram


98+ BoTM Winner
Been craving for another Karakoram for the past few years since I sold my 1990 K2. I’d owned that one since new and never thought I would part with it, but did the dumb thing which I have regretted ever since.

I wasn’t actively looking for a frame, but a couple of months back spotted this one. It wasn’t the 1990 I was hoping to find as that would have been spot on, but the condition is excellent with zero rust and all decals intact and undamaged. The size was more preferable too being 20”.

The bright yellow which wouldn’t have been my first colour choice has quickly grown on me. It certainly pops set against the later graphics which are simple but bold which I do quite like on this model year. Had to get some aerosol paint matched to address an area of paint damage on the top tube plus a few odd chips, but it came out just fine and is fully presentable. Still has age to it and fading in places but overall it’s better than I could have expected and it looks the part.

It didn’t take long to get the parts together as most of them I already had. Everything was sourced from the spares box. Bits from previous builds or which i’d accumilated in readyness for something at some point.
Forks were quickly needed as I had none. Gave up hunting for original Bologna with a suitable steerer so opted for a nice pair of Kona P2 Jump forks which took my fancy. Glad I did too as they really suit the look of the build and sit perfectly. Gave them a fresh gloss black respray to tidy them which came out really nice. Them together with the 6.25” riser bars I’d chosen to use set the front off nicely and give that tough, bmx feel I was after.

Wheels were the next thing on the list. Came up trumps with a complete nos Tune built wheelset with mig70/mag170 hubs. The all silver hubs and rims are exactly the kind of thing I was wanting, plus the radial front lacing was a cool bonus. Together with the yellow rim decals they just were meant to be! It was certainly the easiest wheelset i’ve ever had to get which saved a lot of time and possible headaches.

I didn’t want to go crazy on the brakes at all so had to restrain myself in that department. Just clean and simple.
Found a mint set of all black XT-M739 levers to which I added a new set of Tioga brake tamers (love the feel of them). A very clean although tarnished set of LX-M600 calipers were polished to a shine to match all the other shiney bits, finished with Shimano pads, cable outers and noodles etc. Just waiting on one rubber boot for the front brake to finish up. Real chuffed with how the brakes are looking. The braking performance is bloody awesome so am super happy about that!

The rest of the built was pretty much sorted. Fortunately everything matched really well and gave a clean, bonded look. The seatpost i’d already polished previously, so a matching clamp was made by cutting down a DMR double clamp. That saved me having to buying one in the size needed. The saddle I guess was a freebie, in that it came fitted to a recently acquired frame. The whole crankset plus the awesome Rohloff tensioner was all put to good use. The gearing is spot on for it, running 39x15. Pleased it’s all running silently smooth plus also with barely any drag on the rear hub when coasting which is nice! This is going to a be a lovely cruiser.

I know it’s not everyones cup of tea but I think i’ve achieved what I set out to do with this frame, as well as making good use of a whole bunch of parts that would have otherwise sat in boxes. It really feels planted to ride and is solid. Will have some fun with this one. Could even be a new favourite.
Wish i’d built up one of these sooner! 👌😎

Build Spec:
Frame: GT Karakoram 1997 20”
Forks: Kona P2 Jump
Bars: Fairdale MX-6 6.25”
Stem: Azonic Shorty Deluxe 50mm
Bar shim: DMR 22.5-25.4
Grips: DMR Deathgrip
Headset: Hope
Top Cap: GT
Saddle: Selle Italia Flite 1990 Titanium
Seatpost: Raceface XY 26.8 (polished)
Clamp: DMR 30.0 (modified/polished)
Cranks: Race Face Turbine ISIS 175
Bottom Bracket: Raceface SRX 113
Chainring: Azonic Sprocket 39t 94
Chainring bolts: Absolute Black
Pedals: DMR V12 Mg
Sprocket: Endless Kick Ass 15t
Spacer kit: Endless Fibonacci
Chain Tensioner: Rohloff 8250
Chain: KMC K1SL 3/32
Levers: Shimano XT BL-M739 SE
Lever Grips: Tioga Brake Tamers
Brakes: Shimano BR-M600 (polished)
Noodles/Boots: Shimano
Pads: Shimano M70T4
Cable Outers: Shimano M system
Rims: Tune 28h (Tune built wheelset)
Hubs: Tune Mig 70/Mag 170
Tyres: Maxxis DTH 2.3
Inner Tubes: Continental
Skewers: Chromag

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