It all started off in 1984.......
Why Yeti cycles? The Origin of the Yeti name by Frank the Welder.
Before Yeti Cycles John used to work in Special effects for the movies. He was racing sprint cars and owned a 1931 Indian Scout Motorcycle. He was working part time (between shows) at a sleeping bag factory in Santa Monica Ca. The name of the sleeping bag was 'Yeti', some time later John crashed hard and decided to give up racing. He had a friend 'Bob' who was making bicycle frames called 'Motocruiser' or 'Sweetheart cycles'. While John was in hospital (Where he met his wife Linda) he decided to trade the Indian Motorcycle for the bicycle comapny Bob had. He found that Yeti (camping gear) had gone out of business and the name was available. Some years later he found that Inidan Scout again and purchased it. He kept it at the Factory and rode it regularly (I rode it once too)
What's the deal with the ICE AX in the Logo?
I`l try and keep it simple , as a kid I was into Hiking ,Rock Climbing & mountaineering ! when I raced motorcycles in nor-cal I worked for Class=5 sleeping bag Co. They had a Ice Ax in their logo ! I always liked it ! I kind of got out of rock climbing and into winter mountianeering ...When I started Yeti up a dear friend Chris Franze did our stickers & T-shirts, He loaned me the chanoired Ice Ax to me to let LINDA Parkers cousin the artist Craig Stormin use for the art work ! Craig did the YetiMan ,The Ice Ax & the mash stencil block letters for free, he wouldn't take money from family ! we finally settled on a Trade a Bag of Weed For all that Beautiful art work .... Dont forget Yeti made a proto type set of snowshoe hoops with Easton before Schwinn gave me the heave ho ...
Why the colour Turquoise on Yeti race bikes?
In Late '84 early '85 while recovering from my real bad accident at Manzanita Speedway, I was recovering and trying to figure out what to do with my life, and how to start Yeti. I sold my '28 Indian Motorcycle, I bought Bicycle Bob out. I welded up the first three bikes. I asked Linda what color she would like her bike to be (one of the first 3). And there was a really nice guy named Terry Gearheart. That worked at Hendicksons bicycles on State Street in Santa Barbara. Terry used to help me a lot., Teaching me about bicycles, included road cycles and cycle cross. And was pretty knowledgable about Mt. Bikes. We used to smoke a lot of pot down in the basement of Hendricksons and talk about what the future of Mtn. Biking would be. We weren't far off. Linda waited to the last minute and finaly when presses to choose her color she asked Terry who had this beautiful Desert Turquoise Ritchey, if he would be affended if she painted her Yeti desert Turquoise. Terry was very gracious and pointed out that it was a 1971 chrysler auto color, called desert turquoise. Through the years when we switched from wet paint to powder paint, the color changed a little bit. With in a year of establishing the race team and going with the color turquoise my dear friend Terry died of an enlarged heart. It turns out no male in his family had lived beyond there 30s. He was such a happy go lucky freespirited bicycle mechanic. Somebody I still miss to this day. That I made the commitment to always use turquoise in association with the race bikes
How did Paul Tracy get involved with YETI?
Paul Tracy grew up in Canada, his first MTB was a pretty middle of the road Diamond Back from the late 80's, During this time he discovered YETI Cycles, but while his parents were funding his racing in Indy Lights, he did not feel he could ask them for a few more thousand dollars to buy a new YETI Mountain bike. His father worked in construction at this time, and racing is expensive! In around 1991, Paul got signed up with Penske as a test driver, Soon after Paul got signed as a fully blown IndyCar racing driver, and got his first credit card.
He spoke with his local Bike shop about getting a Yeti, and they told him that they were not a dealer, and to call Yeti, as it was all custom stuff back then. Clutching a MTB mag with a YETI advert in, he dialed the number for YETI in Durango. He wanted a frame & Yeti fork, and was going to sort the build out for himself, the guy on the phone asked what size, colour, braze ons, exact spec, and then said this was not in stock, so they would have to make it.
Then the guy at YETI asked Paul how he was going to pay, he said credit card, and then started to read his details out down the phone, when he had said the info, and the Yeti guy asked his name 'Paul Tracy' was the reply. The phone went silent, the voice on the end of the phone at Yeti was none other than John Parker, he replied ' I know you, I've seen you race, you don't have to buy one of my bikes, You will get one for free. And sure enough, Parker sent Paul Tracy a Yeti bike.
John Parker and Paul became good friends, with Parker going to a few Indy car races and seeing Paul drive. From that time until the last 90's, Paul Tracy was on the Yeti 'Team', and got new Yeti bikes every year, he even appeared in a Ringle Advert riding his YETI ARC. Paul had many cool bikes, from his first through a Yeti ARC, ARC AS, Thermoplastic ASLT(Leant to a friend who then broke it), Lawwill DH bike to name a few, he still has a couple to this day.
Thanks to Paul Tracy for taking the time to share his Yeti story:) 2012 sees Paul's retirement year from the Indycar series, of which he has been a major figure.
SUB NOTE- For a long time a rumor was that Paul Tracy's ex wife took his carbon ASLT, Paul tells me she took his Lawwill, and later on he leant the ASLT to a friend who ended up breaking it.
Some extra Yeti Stories and info, I thought you'd like to read.(Thanks to Jerry Martin)
My name is Jerry Martin. From 1990- 1994 I produced a little TV show called Fat Tire Journal. I thought you might find some of my stories interesting as I noticed a few discrepancies on the history of Yeti section.
The first time I met John Parker was at the 90 worlds in Durango.I remember that 1st Cube van and have video tape of it. Without hesitation he agreed to sponsor our TV show and remained committed to us for the duration." We are committed to the racing end of this sport and will help you launch your TV show" he said to me.
We did a factory tour that aired in the summer of '92 I'll let you post that link if you want. At worlds in 90 Juli was concerned at the start of the downhill that her brakes were not correctly adjusted. I have a shot of my buddy james McLean adjusting her brakes before winning the race. People also seem to forget that HB was the first Pro to run RockShox. " They aren't to heavy?" I asked " They are worth every pound and more" HB replied. I also remember he had the course pinned up on his ceiling to memorize every turn before he slept every night. HB was also part of the Yeti crew even though he was riding for another manufacturer. Tomac, Deaton and HB were all helping the company early on with ideas and testing. We shot a MTV sports piece in 91 where Tomac was running a concept bike built by Yeti. I have copies of that too if you'd like to see it.
See the factory tour video here- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPAkGdpkR8Q