Viewing 40 posts - 81 through 120 (of 164 total)
  • The start of mountain biking…not in the USA?
  • molgrips
    Full Member

    The modern mountain bike as we know it was first developed on a large(ish) scale by some folk in the USA.

    End of.

    Do you not remember MTBs suddenly turning up in all the shops and on roads one year?

    Big-Dave
    Free Member

    I present to you the Range Rider developed by a bloke called Geoff Apps. It was even a 29er so niche enough for this forum.

    not titanium – FAIL

    Fail? Oh I don’t know. It had what would be regarded as alt bars today and the later models even had hub gears. It also appears to have more than one top tube. Like all true modern 29ers Geoff Apps also had trouble getting hold of suitable tyres.

    A man truly ahead of his time. Possibly even the first STWer 😉

    walleater
    Full Member

    The USA invented racing down fireroads….RePack, Mammoth etc.

    BermBandit
    Free Member

    Much like the invention of VTOL and Supersonic passenger travel, its not the invention that really matters it is the commercialisation. the yanks are better at that than we are. The end…….

    We have better ideas though… 😉

    Karinofnine
    Full Member

    But Geoff ran the Wendover Bash – at least as early as 1983 – which had a downhill race in it (as well as trials). He was making proper offroad bikes before then, the Range Rider, the Cleland and, now, the Aventura. He still rides off road by the way. He was doing this before the Americans, the difference IMO was that the Americans caught the imagination of the masses and so the bikes went into mass production. Geoff was a one-man band with little or no resources.

    David W-S started making the Highpath a little later. I rode part of the SDW on his wife’s Highpath. A different riding position from the arse-up/head down favoured by the mainstream. I didn’t particularly like that position (of the Highpath/Cleland), although I absolutely do see the point of it, and its advantages. They had hub brakes, some had derailleur gears and some hub gears, some with egg rings (but with the ellipse orientated 45 deg (I think) past Shimano’s biopace).

    TheBrick
    Free Member

    Berm Bandit – Member
    Much like the invention of VTOL and Supersonic passenger travel, its not the invention that really matters it is the commercialisation. the yanks are better at that than we are. The end…….

    We have better ideas though…

    Completely different economic situation in the USA at the time so mass production and marketing is going to take off better over there

    tree-magnet
    Free Member

    I think there’s an important distinction here that’s being missed by the majority of posters.

    Mountain biking wasn’t invented. It’s taken place all over the world since the invention of the bike. Some people even adapted or made bikes to suit this style of riding.

    THE mountain bike was invented by some Americans in Marin county. They coined the name for their brand of bike, and due to location and time it was picked up by the masses, spreading round the world. All those people who were already “mountain biking” suddenly had access to bikes pre made suitable for the job.

    It was kind of what I was getting at with my original post. I don’t mountain bike because of the repack riders, I was doing it before I heard of them, but I ride a mountain bike that is decended from what they produced as it’s the tool for the job.

    In short, the mountain bike was invented in America. Mountain biking and off road cycling was not.

    TandemJeremy
    Free Member

    Tree – nor was the mountainbike “invented in one place at one time” it was a process of development in many places by many people

    tree-magnet
    Free Member

    Nope. The name “Mountain bike” was initialy applied to one product. I forget who it was now, I think Ritchey.

    Bimbler
    Free Member

    I’d never heard of Geoff Apps before and I was an earlyish acolyte of (1986/1987) mountain biking

    Interesting stuff on Geoff Apps and Cleland bikes

    I have no doubt that mountain biking as we understand it, especially the gnarr rad-dude wing is an American invention. They merchandised it, industrialised it and through the power of marketing proselytized it. Lets face it if it wasn’t for American can-do-ism there’d be a few hundred mountain bikers in the UK paying £2000 for a 30lb bridleway blasters built by Geoff Apps and his ilk.

    zangolin
    Free Member

    No – I invented them back in 1977 in my garage in Formby, Merseyside when I was 11.
    Took a 24″ wheeled 5 Speed racer – fitted all black tyres, big wide cowhorn handlebars (must have been 800mm), took front the brake off, swapped the forks for some off a 26″ wheeled bike. We called them scramblers – good fun riding on the dirt tracks in the Formby Pinewoods.

    RepackRider
    Free Member


    2retro4u
    Marin County, Cali

    The events being discussed here in the abstract are real events that I took part in.

    First, the name of the sport comes from the company that Gary Fisher and I started in 1979, MountainBikes, to sell bikes we put together in a rented garage on frames made by Tom Ritchey. It was such a good name, and so descriptive, that it became the generic name for multiple gear bikes with large tyres used for riding on rough surfaces.

    About downhill. The Repack series was to my knowledge the first downhill offroad time trials, so we in Marin certainly “invented” that. But before we started racing down hills, we had ridden to the tops of a lot of them also, and we were already riding multiple gear bikes cobbled together from piles of unrelated parts. The beating our bikes took racing downhill helped us design them for the toughness that mountain bikes need in all situations. Cyclocross bikes would have folded like paper clips under that kind of abuse.

    While perhaps millions of others rode offroad before Gary Fisher and I did, no one else seems to have had the passion and ability to stake their future on such bikes by starting a company that made only one thing: fat tyre multiple gear bikes like none other then being offered for sale on the planet. Gary and I did, and it seems to have been a good idea. Every mountain bike built before 1984 was copied directly from the one we introduced.

    Click my photo above to see my website.

    tree-magnet
    Free Member

    tree-magnet
    Nope. The name “Mountain bike” was initialy applied to one product. I forget who it was now, I think Ritchey.

    Oops, I meant Charlie Kelly and Gary Fisher then! 😛

    mcmoonter
    Free Member

    I wondered when Charlie would find this thread?

    mudrider
    Free Member

    “Every mountain bike built before 1984 was copied directly from the one we introduced”.

    This depends on the exact definition of mountain bike. I can think of a number of pre 1984 bikes, specifically designed for the enjoyment of riding off-road, that have no evolutionary connection to the bikes designed by Joe breeze, Charlie Kelly, Gary fisher et al.

    *The bikes of the Velo Cross Club Parisien (VCCP)1951-56
    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pVj2–iSPA&e[/video]

    *The 1953 “Woodsie” bike built by John Finley Scott.

    *Rodney Rom’s 1966 bike built in Cincinnati, Ohio (“The City of Seven Hills”), in the spring of 1966 by widening the rear of a new 10-speed Schwinn Varsity Tourist frame.

    *Geoff Apps of England and his first off-road bike of 1966, based on a Raleigh Explorer frame.

    *Russ Mahon bike of 1973 Cupertino, California

    *Bob Crispin’s bike Built in Spokane, Washington in the spring of 1974, for riding in the snow.

    British Frame builders Jack Taylor built to order specialist “RoughStuff bikes” in the mid to late 1970’s.

    *Britain’s Geoff Apps and his late 1970’s Range-Rider and early 80’s Cleland Aventura bikes.(from 1982-84 he formed Cleland Cycles, the first manufacturer of off-road bikes in Europe).

    However it was not these bikes that started the global phenomenon we call mountain biking, but those designed by Joe breeze, Charlie Kelly, Gary fisher, Tom Ritchey and Mert Lawwill.

    For those interested in the British connection, here’s a 1979 article on Geoff Apps’ Range-Rider bikes.

    Bicycle Times 1979, larger version.

    RepackRider
    Free Member


    2retro4u
    Marin County, Cali

    I am aware of all those previous off-road designs. Somehow none of them took over the world. Our bikes did.

    None of the examples you gave was described as a “mountain bike,” the common name that came into use in the ’80s to describe a fat-tyre, multiple gear, diamond frame bike. The name itself came from the bike Gary and I sold, which was called simply, the “MountainBike.” When the design was copied the name went with it.

    Following Specialized and Univega, who introduced copies of the Ritchey MountainBike in 1982, every major manufacturer used the design elements we introduced for their first off-road products.

    This is not something I read about somewhere. This is something I took part in.

    mudrider
    Free Member

    The start of mountain biking…not in the USA?

    Here’s my take on this question.

    Riding off-road is as old as the bicycle itself as when it was first invented their were very few roads to be ridden. When roads became more common, riding off-road was generally regarded as a necessary evil as it was slow and relatively uncomfortable.

    Riding off-road as a pass-time is probably a British idea that started when town dwellers cycled out to explore the surrounding countryside. They rode their everyday road bikes as far as they could and then got off, pushed or carried their bikes in order to make it through the the hills and mountains to their destination. This activity became known as “pass storming” and extreme examples of such activities were sometimes reported in Victorian and early 20th Century newspapers. In 1955 the Rough Stuff Fellowship was formed, though rough-stuff riding had been a popular occasional activity for some road-riders for many years previous to this. The attitude amongst most rough-stuff riders was that riding off-road was a challenge and a difficulty to be overcome. It was not seen as something to be enjoyed and reveled in, and so it didn’t matter whether they rode or walked the terrain, so bikes largely remained unmodified. Very few specialist bikes were designed and made for rough-stuffing.

    Riding off-road for sport starts with Cyclo-cross with the first Championships being held in France in 1902. Though this shares the rough-stuff concept of dismounting to tackle difficult terrain and again the bikes were largely unchanged from road bikes. The French VCCP in 1951 developed a sport similar to mountain biking that involved custom made bikes and components, but it died out around 1955. Several other individuals and groups also developed and built bicycles intended specifically for enjoying off-road riding during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. However these machines never developed beyond their immediate spheres of influence. The machines produced in late 1970’s Marin County California in connection with the “Repack” down hill races, were in the right place at the right time and led directly to the global activity known as mountain biking.

    The earlier designs of off-road bicycle that I mentioned in my previous post, mostly died out. Though John Finlay Scott was influential and supported the Marin pioneers financialy, the evidence suggests that the pioneers developed their own independent ideas, and did not copy his design. John Finlay Scott link

    The only non-Marin lineage of off-road bike that has just about survived is the type invented in Britain by Geoff Apps. When Apps’ company Cleland Cycles stopped trading in late 1984, versions continued to be made by English Cycles and Highpath Engineering. Over the years, Apps and a small group of enthusiasts have continued to use and develop this style of bike. Various modern versions exist. One 29er version is currently being designed and will be going into production in the near future.
    Modern Cleland 29er link

    minnellium
    Free Member

    Ace stuff that. SImilar thread here on UKCyclocross http://www.ukcyclocross.com/forum/topics/it-was-harder-in-the-old-days

    Woody
    Free Member

    The Cleland stuff is interesting. Has anyone on here got one?

    Also interesting that Brant gets a name check re a possible limited frame production run.

    PeterPoddy
    Free Member

    This is not something I read about somewhere. This is something I took part in.

    I don’t think there’s any doubt about that! 😀
    It’s certain that what you guys came up with (The bikes, the races, and IMO the attitude) is the most important and defining step on the ladder to what we now call ‘mountian biking.’ You’d have to be foolish to question that! 🙂

    But I don’t think it was the first step. People all over the world rode bikes off road before that, in one way or another, and the seed was already sown. It’s like making fire: Heat, fuel and oxygen all existed before someone worked out how to combine them and tame them!

    docrobster
    Full Member

    Interesting thread this, and a great film. Took me a while to realise that the “commentary” was added after- esp as he kept going on about the guy having had a kidney transplant. Interesting bit of trivia about the chap that worked on the cheese counter at the co-op as well- you wouldn’t get that sort of knowledge on the BBC!
    As far as the birth of mountain biking is concerned, it seems we were all doing the same sort of things with existing frames in order to have some fun on them off road before the “mountain bike” was invented.
    Our preferred customization was to start with a racer frame out of a skip, slap some cow horns on and a 20″ wheel off a raliegh grifter on the back. We used to cobble together some sort of mechanism to hold the caliper brake in the right place relative to the rim. The three speed sturmey archer hub would be kept in the lowest ratio permananently somehow. We would go to a local field with a WW2 bomb crater in it and do what would now be described as dirt jumping. The frames would snap near the head tube.
    This was 81-82ish when I was 11 or 12.
    At that time I remember BMXs appearing in the uk. I used to do schoolboy moto-x so lots of the lads that did that had BMX bikes before it became very mainstream.
    I even remember seeing a BMX with a rear derailleur- that didn’t catch on.
    Within a couple of years you could get the raliegh bomber the rest is history.
    We had no idea that these new fangled mountain bikes were “invented” by americans, we just knew they looked like the sort of bikes that we wanted to ride, and had been trying to make ourselves.

    mudrider
    Free Member

    Woody
    The Cleland stuff is interesting. Has anyone on here got one?

    The reason why I picked up this thread is that I Googled “Geoff Apps” to find out what people are saying about his new bike design. I have known Geoff since 1984 and am currently involved in component R&D and testing for the new bikes. I own two Apps designed bikes, a 1983 Cleland Aventura and a 1988 version made by Highpath Engineering. I have also developed my own modern full suspension variants. I know, have known, and am in contact with the owners of many Apps inspired bikes.

    Here’s an interesting RetroBike thread from someone who is restoring a Highpath made bike that was found abandoned in a stairwell.

    Highpath’ Cleland restoration

    Woody
    Free Member

    Mudrider

    Thanks for link, great thread and really interesting stuff. I’m quite embarrassed that I’d never heard of the make(s) or Mr Apps prior to this thread 😳

    Riding position looks very interesting as do a lot of the other ideas, Cheers

    tails
    Free Member

    Following Specialized and Univega

    Are univega that old i always thought they were relatively new.

    B.A.Nana
    Free Member

    I’m interested to know what Charlie Kelly recalls of the Cupertino Riders. I’ve read a few magazine articles about them, it’s said that they very briefly appeared at races with interestingly redesigned bikes and some ideas were taken onboard by the people credited with starting the sport as we know it. Or, were their bikes with alterations not any different to what you and your friends were riding and redesigning?.

    RepackRider
    Free Member


    2retro4u
    Marin County, Cali

    I’m interested to know what Charlie Kelly recalls of the Cupertino Riders.

    I remembered seeing them in the winter of 1974 when they appeared for the only time on our radar screen. These guys were just like us, hippies modifying bikes for off-road, and they were ahead of us technologically because we hadn’t yet figured out how to get derailleur gears onto our old Schwinns.

    The answer was a drum brake, then made primarily for tandems and not something you saw very often. The Cupertino boyz had Atom drums and derailleur gears, and we paid attention. A few months later, Gary spotted a disassembled tandem at a flea market, and he bought it for 20 bucks or so. He threw away everything but the five pound rear drum brake hub, which he laced into a 26″ wheel.

    It was superior immediately. As soon as we figured out how to get them, we started ordering Atom hubs through either the Mill Valley Schwinn shop or The Cove, where the Koski brothers worked. The distributor noticed that so many of these obscure tandem parts were going to a tiny area, and wanted to know why.

    After Gary and I had the MountainBikes business rolling, someone from the Cupertino gang wrote and mentioned that they had been into this offroad stuff some time earlier. I sent Russ Mahon a letter on MountainBikes company stationery, in which I freely acknowledged that they had given us an important piece of our developing technology. Russ still has that letter.

    I have no problem acknowledging the many riders who went offroad before I ever rode a bicycle. But until the Ritchey MountainBike appeared on the market in 1979, you would have had to make your own. There was nothing on earth like the MountainBike for sale to the public, and a few years later, half the bikes sold worldwide were copied directly from it. Not from the Cleland or the Highpath, sorry to say.

    It was our unique competition that drove our technology, and there was none of that downhill foolishness in England. I dare anyone to show me a downhill offroad time trial before Repack in October 1976. We DEFINITELY invented downhill racing.

    mudrider
    Free Member

    tails

    Are univega that old i always thought they were relatively new.

    Yes. The Univega brand goes back to 1982. The following link gives some details.

    History of US all-terrain cycling – Mountain Bike Hall of Fame

    TandemJeremy
    Free Member

    Repoack rider
    We DEFINITELY invented downhill racing.

    Certainly did. In the UK was a parallel cross county non competitive cycling.

    I still maintain mountainbiking was a series of developments – after all the repack bikes of the late 70 s were not that close to what we ride today

    cynic-al
    Full Member

    after all the
    repack bikes of the late 70 s were not that close to what we ride today

    eh? There’s 33 years of evolution between them. It’s not even a valid comparison…please don’t tell me you think modern bikes evolved from something else?

    Nothing else at that time was closer – able to go up and down equally well.

    TandemJeremy
    Free Member

    exactly al – it s a process of development That was one significant point on the way.

    Not as you claimed

    cynic-al – Member

    I’d say mountainbikes as we know them were invented in the USA in the late 70s.

    bol
    Free Member

    I love this thread. Really enjoying the debate.

    I love the fact that throughout time there have been people who take what is there and adapt it to suit their new purpose. There are always a lot of contributing factors required to transform that personal adaptation into something that has long-term, worldwide impact. That’s what happened in Marin in the late 70s: the people, the hills, the economy, the industry, the old bikes, the vibe, the weather… etc.

    I’m bloody glad it did too. Otherwise I would be a roadie.

    Karinofnine
    Full Member

    I am enjoying the thread too. I’m glad that there are so many different materials, colours, configurations, styles and components and that you get to mix and match these into bike that you love and which suits your riding. It’s interesting and fun.

    All bikes are good bikes <HEART/>

    (Wow, I AM in a good mood this morning! lol)

    Spey-Stout
    Free Member

    I have a mountain bike.

    cynic-al
    Full Member

    TJ that was THE significant point along the way-from which the bikes we ride developed.

    I don’t really know what you are trying to say any more as its completely inconsistent. What I have said is the same throughout.

    Stop making it personal.

    druidh
    Free Member

    Repack Rider – Member

    None of the examples you gave was described as a “mountain bike,” the common name that came into use in the ’80s to describe a fat-tyre, multiple gear, diamond frame bike. The name itself came from the bike Gary and I sold, which was called simply, the “MountainBike.” When the design was copied the name went with it.

    Ah – the Anglophile argument. Since most other countries use a different language, none of them could have “invented” the mountain bike.

    mrmo
    Free Member

    Ah – the Anglophile argument. Since most other countries use a different language, none of them could have “invented” the mountain bike.

    You can say it is an anglophone argument, but apart from the france, mtb is common parlance to describe a type of bike.

    epicyclo
    Full Member

    What I find interesting is that my 29er with drop bars looks very similar to the path racer ridden by one of my family in 1910 right down to the single gear. His tyres look like 2″ on 28″ rims. The geometry is similar, but they used bigger frame sizes then. His was fixed though 🙂

    I know it was ridden up mountain paths – he supposedly went up Ben Wyvis – and he wasn’t the only one doing it locally.

    However I think it’s fair to say that USA marketing has given us the “classic” 26″ fat tyred geared bike with suspension that is called a mountainbike – an abomination for frail and feeble people who cannot ride a proper bike or for fat boys to roll downhill on.

    There is no doubt of the superiority of a proper bike – a rigid 29er with drop bars (where’s that Hitler youtube clip when you need it)
    .
    .
    .
    .
    OK now I’ll duck back under the bridge 🙂

    cynic-al
    Full Member

    thing is none of us would be riding mountainbikes with singlespeeds without the mountainbikes of the 70s.

    gusamc
    Free Member

    Right – info please. In the 60s my mum used to go out on a Raleigh hub 3 spd, with sarnies, flask, fags, rods and up the riverside and all over Forestry Commission and farm land on a regular basis. Is it the fact that she rode a shopper or that she’s never been on the internet that means she wasn’t a mountain biker………………

    I also can’t help feeling that modern mountain bikes owe more to motorcycle design and development than any form of rigid bike and the derailleur is older than anybody on here……..

    *Riding offroad is what people did when they worked in the countryside before cars were commonly available.

    “We DEFINITELY invented downhill racing. “, so until you invented it what was two people trying to beat each other down hill called ?

    Ps I think you should all be jumping up and down for joy, during ‘our’ (well some of us) lifetimes we’ve had a gifted ‘leisure existence’
    – dirt motorcycling – from heavy with poxy drum brakes and twin shock, to mega power, lightweight, mega travel and discs.
    – windsurfing – lumps with baggy sails and rope tie on booms to carbon, lightweight, battens and clamps.
    – mountain biking – already covered
    – kites – my first one was bamboo and canvas
    – jetskis
    – …………

    SurroundedByZulus
    Free Member

    Kirkpatrick MacMillan invented the off road bike. Simply because he invented the bike and around that time the roads were pretty gash.

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