Jake’s Pacific Northwest Do-All Trek 970
Photos and words by Morgan Taylor
While we can easily find ourselves lost in things shiny and new, there’s no denying the allure of a carefully curated classic being put to good use. Jake’s Trek 970 is just one of those bikes, with a build that takes advantage of classic mountain bike practicality to create a versatile and stylish bike for days long and short.
Jake’s no stranger to well-thought-out steel bikes, already having a number of sweet builds in the quiver before his 970 came together. He leans toward time-tested components, durability over flashiness, and comfort over outright speed. The 970 is Jake’s Pacific Northwest do-all bike, with wide tires, loads of carrying capacity, and inspiration taken from its home in Seattle.
There is a distinction between Jake’s home, and this bike’s home. You see, Jake hails from the central coast of California, where he tends to his family’s expansive apple orchards, while his girlfriend Leah works as an ocean scientist in Seattle. They split their time between the two places, and it just makes sense for them to have bikes in both.
Having spent plenty of time with Leah and the crew at Swift Industries, Jake had a good idea of what he wanted in his Seattle bike: it would have to have everyday practicality for short trips around town, but be capable of longer adventures off the beaten path. So, Jake’s 970 was inspired by the kinds of riding he found himself doing with the crew in the Pacific Northwest.
The early ’90s True Temper frame and fork were a Craigslist find. The previous owner added the mid-fork and fender eyelets to the original fork before powdercoating the frameset in a thick vermillion. The XTR wheelset also came from CL, and Jake notes he had to replace the corroded spoke nipples which had sat in a garage near the ocean for years.
On the drive side, you’ll find a Deore crankset with 42/28 rings driving an 8-speed XTR cassette, with shifting duties taken care of by Shimano bar ends in friction mode. Soma Portola bars and a Nitto dirt drop stem bring the classic mountain bike geo into a more touring-friendly position, and early Shimano 600 levers pull Tektro 720 cantis.
The Swift Industries Jr. Ranger panniers are a one-off MultiCam set and are hung from a Tubus Tara rack. A Wald 137 basket sits on a Nitto M12 rack and holds a Rivendell Sackville basket bag. Making a bit more room behind the bars, Jake mounted the Randi Jo Fab Bartender bag directly to the basket – smart. Rounding out the hand-picked traveling kit are a frame bag and seat pack from Oveja Negra.
We had the pleasure of traveling with Jake and Leah this summer, spending a week toodling Washington’s Olympic Peninsula and the Southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia. Obviously, Jake’s 970 was right at home on the Cascadian coastlines. The mode you see the bike in here is summer touring; it usually goes without the lowrider rack and hosts more city-friendly with 26×2.3″ Compass Rat Trap Pass tires under VO fenders.
The thing about bikes like Jake’s 970 is they get you thinking about what you might be able to cobble together from your own imagination on a budget. Jake’s 970 is practical, unpretentious, and utterly stylish – just like its owner.