Thursday, March 22, 2012

Stringer Fleet: 1995 GT Outpost

It may seem odd to have a 90s-era mountain bike among my small collection of vintage road bikes, but this machine is near and dear to my heart.  I received this GT Outpost as a gift on my twelfth birthday.  After proving to my old man that I could safely handle and maintain an inexpensive department store mountain bike, he took me down to our local bike shop where I picked out this sweet little workhorse.  I rode the shit out of it for years; around the streets of my hometown, up and down the dirt roads outside city limits, and on the trails in the national forest.

The bike ended up being somewhat neglected during my college years.  During graduate school, though, I started riding the trails to work and the Outpost started getting regular use again.  A couple years ago I realized that I had been pretty lax in properly maintaining the bicycle, and I decided that it either needed a major overhaul or I needed to start shopping for a new bike.  In the end, I put more money into it than the bike was worth getting it fixed back up.  Nonetheless, I've been pretty pleased with my decision to keep this machine around.

My first order of business was to replace the warped wheels whose hubs had never once been repacked with a set of Weinman rims laced onto Shimano hubs.  I covered the wheels with some 2" Bontrager knobbies.  Next, I replaced the cantilever brakes, as the plastic bushings on the original cantis were brittle and beginning to crack.  I was able to find some NOS Shimano Altus brakes to replace the old ones.  And the last major update was a new WTB Speed V Comp saddle.  Once I had the new parts I needed, the bike was cleaned up and tuned up, with a new bottom bracket cartridge and new pedals and clips.

After a few technical-ish mountain bike rides, the GT spent most of its time on the Katy Trail.  So I added a front and rear rack so that I could haul repair supplies and beer.  The last upgrade was a Bontrager computer that my dude KP gave to me as a birthday gift.  The old front fork has lost a lot of the original paint and is looking a little rough, so it will probably have to be replaced eventually.  But as for now, I'm pretty damn pleased with how this bike came back to life.  After all, I've been pedaling this rig for over 17 years now and it would be a shame to see it go the way of Old Yeller.


  1. I really like that set up. And I am a huge fan of the legendary GT triple triangle frame. I too recently brought an old GT back from the brink. These old mountain bikes make great utility (go anywhere do anything) bikes. And as you know I am also a big fan of the WTB Speed V saddles. I don`t think you will find a better saddle in that price range anywhere. I like bikes that make sense. And these bikes surely do that. Well done!

  2. I bought an new Outpost in 1997, it was reduced because no suspension and a big frame. I commuted across London on it for 4 years, a round trip of about 23 or 14 miles a day. After we moved abroad, I had it fitted with 2 baby seats, one aft, the other bolted to the top tube. Still use it now, kids are 18 and 16, so the seats are off. Great bike and surprisingly light

  3. Love the bike! I'm purchasing a '96 Outpost with the intention of adding a rear rack. Just curious, how did you get the rack arms to mount on to the seat stays? I don't see any holes there for mounting on the frame, did you modify it?

    1. Hmm...perhaps things changed between '95 and '96, because my bike has two sets of eyelets on the dropouts and seat stay bosses for a rear rack. My Peugeot, however, did not have bosses on the seat stays, so I used a couple clamps to hold the rack arms in place. Something similar to these: Good luck!

  4. i have a 96 outpost. It was my first real mtb. I have since converted mine in the same way. Front and rear shifters, cables, v-brakes....Did you build the wheels yourself? The orignal wheels are still on mine as are the tires. I am thinking of replacing both. The oringal rims were not too great and i need a much less aggressive tread for commuting.

  5. .....also i replaced my altus brakes due to the cracking plastic. I put v-brakes on with some Kool Stop Salmon pads. It stops great. One thing i dont quite understand is the strange way the cable routing is for the rear brake. There is no rear boss for a proper fuerrel to fit into. I have it just butting up against the weirdo small routing loop under the top tube. It works fine. It is just strange. Did you end up using the small shrink tubing around the cable here with your altus setup? I think stock had a bit of smaller inner liner or heat shrink style tubing that flowed through these smaller loops. I wonder if a proper after market cable stop can be had? Either way.....this is a nice bike. They were a bit shunned back in the day. I remember catching a ribbing a few times for having an outpost trail as it wasnt a real gt MTB. I tell you i have a zaskar le and a pantera and this outpost trail is way more versatile. It has dual fork and rear stay bosses for both fenders and racks. IT has tire clearance for days. It is a JEEP. WIth my front and rear racks like yours it is heavy has hell but the altus low gearing helps a lot. I just purchased a new chain for mine as my old one is about shot. Are you still running the low end altus front mech that fits behind the fixed cup of the bottom bracket? I am. It works fine. I see no reason to replace the front or rear mech honestly. ITs been over 20 years and both still work just fine. That is saying something.