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Koga Miyata Skyrunner Carbolite mountain bike restoration

I’d been looking for a Koga Miyata mountain bike for about 9 months before this one popped up on my local craigslist.

It’s a 1991 Koga Miyata Skyrunner Carbolite and it’s a very special bike indeed.

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€500 is a considerable amount of money for a rigid mountain bike. For that kind of money you can buy a very decent second-hand full-suspension mountain bike.

But to put things in perspective, this bike belonged to a former bike mechanic who’d sadly passed away since. And only 7 of these bikes were sold in the Netherlands at the time, which makes this Koga Miyata Skyrunner Carbolite extremely rare.

I have seen thousands of Koga Miyata road bikes pass during the time I was looking for a mountain bike of this brand. For each 50 road bikes a single mountain bike would come along and usually a low-tier one like a Burner or Explosion.

So obviously I immediately jumped at the opportunity of getting my hands on this rather large gem and offered the asking price. The bike had already been sold to someone else who luckily flaked out.

Carbolite tubing: a little history

So what’s so special about a rigid mountain bike you might ask?

1989 Koga Miyata FullPro-Carbolite

All top models of Koga Miyata since 1989 had frames with Carbolite tubing, starting with road bikes.

1994 Koga Miyata SkyMonocoque

Since the use of carbon in the bike industry was still in the early stages, it meant it wasn’t until 1994 that Koga Miyata would introduce their first monocoque frame, which was a mountain bike.

But earlier models using Carbolite tubing had them made from carbon, which was reinforced from the inside with a 0.7mm. aluminium tube. This was glued into aluminium lugs, which give the frame its unique look.

Only the top-, steerer-, and down tube were made from Carbolite. The seat- and chain stays were still made from aluminium.

1991 would be the only year Koga Miyata mountain bikes would feature the massive “Big Champ” steel rigid forks. It kind of marks a turning point in MTB history because rigid mountain bikes and steel frames would loose favor in this decade, especially for high-end mountain bikes.

Koga Miyata Skyrunner Carbolite Models

From 1990 to 1993 four rigid Skyrunner Carbolite models were made. The unpainted naked carbon and elaborate bolted frames make the first two the best-looking ones by far if you ask me. They would also offer the more classic-looking frame geometry, with an almost horizontal top tube.

Distinctive features

But the 1991 version has several features that make it stand out from the rest of the pack. It has a bigger 1.125″ headset and 73mm. bottom bracket shell with anti-chain-suck-teeth part of the frame itself.

Both the 1990 and 1991 have 1st-generation Carbolite frames, which means they have aluminium seat- and chain stays.

The 1991 version has all of its cables visibly routed along the top tube.

It features the Miyata CO2 cartridges underneath the down tube, which were only installed on the Koya Miyata lineup MTB lineup of 1991. Later version did have the mounting point.

The fork is the aforementioned “Big Champ” chromoly one, with bolted on brake bosses.

It’s the last 7-speed version, which feels kinda outdated and almost cute considering the futuristic look-and-feel of the rest of the bike. 8-speed STI shifters would be introduced in 1992.

It’s the last mountain bike with the fitted Deore XT groupset being top-of-the-line before the XTR M900 groupset would be the new king of the hill.

Koga Miyata Skyrunner Carbolite Costs

BikeKoga Miyata Skyrunner Carbolite€500
tiresRené Herse Humptulips Ridge Extralight 26X2.3″ (2x)€184
shifter cables (2x)€7.98
chain deflectorDeore XT Shark Fin€20.95
Total excl. shipping costs€712.93

Koga Miyata Skyrunner Carbolite Specifications

Year1991
MSRP
FrameOversized Carbolite 3 tubing w. Alfrex Alloy 6000 seat- and chain stays
ForkKoga Miyata Big Champ Hardlite FM-1 chroommolybdeen
HeadsetShimano Deore XT HP-M736 1 1/8″
HubsShimano Deore XT FH-M732
RimsWolber AT-18
SpokesHoshi Starbrite 14/15G stainless
TiresRené Herse Humptulips Ridge Extralight 26X2.3″
PedalsShimano Deore XT PD-M730
CrankShimano Deore XT FC-M730 46-36-26
ChainShimano CN-HG90
CassetteShimano Deore XT CS-HG90 13-14-15-16-17-19-21
Bottom BracketShimano Deore XT BB-M730
Front derailleurShimano Deore DX FD-M650
Rear derailleurShimano Deore XT RD-M735
ShiftersShimano Deore XT ST-M092
HandlebarsSyncros Flatbar
Bar endsSyncros Steerhorns
GripsVelo Ergo 125
StemSyncros Cattleprod 25.4mm. 130mm. 0°
BrakesShimano Deore XT BR-M734
Brake LeversShimano Deore XT ST-M092
SaddleAX Lightness Phoenix
SeatpostDeore XT SP-M730
Size57 (XL)