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MTB History

 

MTB History 1947-2000

The image above is that of Prof. J.F. Scott's 'Woodsie' bike, completed in 1953 while he was attending Reed College in Oregon. Flat bars, multiple gears, good breaks, fat-tires...it had all the elements that the pioneering KLUNKERZ of Marin County wouldn't discover for another 20 years.

"I think its obvious that there was a time when the surface of the roads changed from dirt to asphalt or pavement. that is the time when bicycling changed forever leaving many grey or foggy areas of bicycle history." Quote by Ken McGinn. .

Below is The French claim to Mountain Biking.VTT Magazine March 1998 (translation by Pryor Dodge)

L'officiel du vélo tout-terrain (The mountain bike journal)

Scoop: Le VTT est né en France (The mountain bike was born in France)

All aficionados of mountain bikes will tell you that their sport was born in the 1970's in Marin County, California. This solid fact is well imbedded in people's minds. However, considering what we know today, we can now say that if it received recognition on the other side of the Atlantic, the mountain bikes' roots are in the north-east suburbs of Paris, near the Porte des Lilas.

We find ourselves at the beginning of the 1950's. Bobet had not yet won his first Tour de France and the great Fausto Coppi had not yet become world champion. Rather, during this period, the sport craze in working class suburbs was moto-cross. Competitions attracting thousands of spectators were organized at the outskirts of the capital (Paris) on the old escarpment fortifications.

As a related aspect of this sport, a group of 18 teenagers, most of whom long-time schoolmates, lacking motorcycles but dreaming to follow in the steps of their elders, chose bicycles for their sport and, for "amusement", created the association VCCP (Vélo Cross Club Parisien).

In an effort to emulate his elders, Jean Duda decided to create a specific kind of bicycle; he was the first to equip his bicycle with a suspension fork from a motorcycle. His friends quickly followed suit. They took these forks from broken 100 cm3 cycles. Finding this arrangement impractical- different diameters of the pivoting sections and problematic steering, some in the group began incorporating "Soupless" parallelogram motorcycle forks. After much tinkering and improve-ments, the astonishing results produced suspension forks, handlebar gear changing, reinforced frames, and a heightened frame curve (?) (the first mountain bikes by Tom Ritchey and Joe Breeze, around 1975, didn't offer all of this!). Out of concern for solidity, wheel rims and spokes were also taken from small motorbikes. The rear wheel, having a drum brake, was oversized in relation to the front wheel.

Taking advantage of the milieu in which they evolved, these suburban kids succeeded in convincing the organizers of the moto-cross races to allow them to ride the course during intermission. At their debut in Ivry in 1951, few spectators could believe their ears when they heard the announcement that bicyclists would ride the course. Nevertheless, the riders quickly wound their way around the course with great success. From 1951 to 1956, they presented themselves in the surrounding Paris suburbs of Lilas, Pantin, Bobigny, Montreuil and Montmorency. Equipment improved during their string of competitions (3 or 4 per year). Frames were strengthened, often in a handicraft manner. Following a break in the frame, several riders, like Gérard Gartner (having had a boxing career, winning the French championship, now a sculptor), did not hesitate to insert another tube inside the frame before re-brazing the whole thing....a sort of ancestor of the double-butted frame! The other little revolution happened when Claude Serre (who later became the French champion of speed motorcycling at the beginning of the 1960's, then an engineer) created his own fork. The VCCP had reached its climax. The group trained every day, just after school. Wheelie (the 'record' of 52 meters - 56 yards - was held by Henri Albisson!) and bunny-up (hop) competitions sprung up.

The most ambitious person in this group, Georges Leskovak (who later created the French Federation of Karting - gokarts), recognizing the sport's potential, approached the motorcycle and bicycle federations. The former could not accept this 'non-motorized' activity while the latter imposed conditions (helmets, insurance, permits...) such that an affiliation never formed.

With the passage of time, the group began to fall apart. The older members were called to military service while the others, now of age and having the means, purchased motorcycles.

Furthermore, the "crossmen" (motorcyclists), sensing that these kids in the VCCP were taking attention away from them, were not accommodating, and the federations did not recognize them, which lead the VCCP to slowly die out during 1956. Only 30 years later would these innovators realize that they had come close to becoming legends.

One cannot bring to light the adventure of the VCCP without mentioning all the participants. We offer a friendly salute to: Henri Albisson, Claude Biraud, Serge Douvil, Jacques Bouquetal, François Dechorniat, Jean Duda, Guy Hermand, Georges Leskowak, Alain Lyver, Lucien Picou, "little Prousky", "big Prousky", Guy Sentucq, Jean-Claude Serre and Georges Voutsas.

Many thanks to "VCCPists" Gérard Gartner and Jacques Michel, without whom this epic period would have been forgotten. And above all, let us remember Clément Guilbert, recently deceased, to whom his friends wanted to dedicate this article.

Finally, all our thanks to Laurent Dibos of "Canal, the magazine of Pantin".
VTT Magazine March 1998 (translation by Pryor Dodge)

To invent, is it what to make?

To invent something, it is, for certain, to have the idea of it. For some, it is to have an idea which goes. For others still, it is to see its patented invention.

Let us take the helicopter. Everyone says that it is Leonard de Vinci who invented it. Léonard de Vinci had well the idea of a machine on vertical takeoff with revolving aerofoil (like Icare had the idea of the ornythoptère). Its concept cannot go. Its Archimedes' screw does not have any effectiveness in the air. Nothing to cancel the effect of couple. No matter what one does and with the most modern technologies, its “helicopter” cannot go. Did he invent the helicopter? For us, not.
It is said that Victor Flemming invented penicillin. It is exact that it rediscovered by serendipity (a stroke of luck following an unhappy handling) the antibiotic effect of Penicillium. It did not invent penicillin.

In the same way: who invented the board with veil?

Who invented the VTT?

The American version of the invention of the VTT

1973. For the Americans, it is Joe Breeze and Gary Fisher of San Francisco who invent the “mountain-bike”, in the beginning an old bicycle of deliveryman, and modifying it to make it more robust. They descend the slopes of the mount Tamalpais (784 m) located in the national park which is in the north of the Golden delicious Gate Bridge.

It arrange of Schwinn Excelsior and to include/understand the technological delay of America as regards bicycle, they see their first shifting track only in 1974 whereas, invented in 1911 and after being prohibited, it was authorized in the Turn of France since 1937.
1976. Organization of Repack Downhill Race, race of descent which drew its name owing to the fact that it was necessary to recondition the brake linings (in the hubs) after each descent!

Joe Breeze carrying out a controlled skid in 1974. Today in the streets of Mill Valley (20 km in the north of San Francisco, the foot of the Tamalpais mount) with Gary Fisher. And in its shop of sale of cycles (it is 55 years old today).

The invention starts again quite simply a market dying man and the world industry of the bicycle.

A French version

1948. The Belgians invent the moto-cross (with FN and of Saroléa manufactured in Herstal) in the ditches of the citadel of Namur.
1948. Organization of races of moto-cross on the waste grounds of the fortications of Paris and on the careers of the Parisian suburbs (careers with open sky whose Chaumont are one of the last vestiges): Montreuil-under-wood (the “Hillocks with Morel” with the subway Cross-of-Chavaux, today the Park of Guilands in which some tried to practise the RTT (cross-country roller), the “Russian Mountains” of the door of the Lilacs, the “Valley of hell” of the fort and the career of Romainville, Argenteuil, Pantin, Creteil, etc

The invention of the VTT to the doors of Paris of 1951 to 1956

1950. For the French it is Jean Duda (who lived then with the Lilacs in a street which bore the name of his/her father shot by the Germans) and George Leskovac

1951. First race with Ivry in 1951 during the interval of the races of moto-cross.
Wheeling record of 52 meters per Henri Albisson.

In the n° 112 of February 1999 of VTT Magazine: Jacques Michel, Henri Albisson, Jacques Bouquetal and Guy Sentucq in front of the bicycles which they rebuilt. On the left, a model of 1951. On the right, a model of 1956.

Conclusion: they are French who invented the VTT well before American and VTT Magazine had told besides of it the history in its number 102 of March 1998, article which one finds translated into English (users.aol.com/pryordodge/mountainbikes.html)

James Dyson poses the problem of anteriority. Who invented the board with veil? That which had the first of it the idea? Celyi which in solved the basic technical problem? That which allowed the diffusion of its practice?

Three young French, Jack Berthier, Pierre Gady and Jean-Louis Swiners had had the idea of the VTT before the band of the VCCP (Bicycle Cross-country race Parisian Club)Terms of dissemination of an innovation (2):
the “invention” of the VTT by Jean-Louis Swiners

<< the invention of the VTT, the American version and the French version
Another version

1946. The English practise the trial and the scramble.
1948. JLS spends the holidays in Angletrre and discovers The Motor Cycle to which his/her father subscribes it when it returns to France 1948.

The young person Swiners, 13 years (the age to which, 20 years later the Breithaupt young person, the BMX will invent), which lives Saint-Mandé, starts with two friends, Pierre Gady (of Vincennes) and Berthier Jack, to make bicycle any ground in the wood of Vincennes with an old Motobécane bicycle of pre-war period arranged, in particular on the descents a height of a building from two to three floors bordering the Lake Saint-Mandé on his southern part. This by copying the races of motor bike which it saw practising in England (scramble, trial and dirt-track). Singeant the Sports association of postal and telecommunications authorities (ASPTT), the trio is claimed, to make serious, of the ASVTT, the Sports association of the Bicycle Any Ground. It calls it “bicycle-cross-country race”, to distinguish it from the cyclo-cross.

Jean-Louis Swiners

If in cyclo-cross one can carry his bicycle, in bicycle-cross-country race one must pass everywhere without getting out of bicycle (this will lead very quickly to the tires mud and double-plates 46-28 authorizing of the phenomenal gear ratios of 28 X 28)

JLS has a garage-workshop (of which the site is intact with the corner of the Faidherbe dead end and the street Grandville, in Saint-Mandé) in the garden of the building and the basic tools (established, vice, etc) 1949. Left Feastday of Jacques Tati (who allows to date with precision the year from the blossoming from the idea, former to the year of exit this this film). The exploits velocyclopedic of François the factor are considered to be puerile by the trio which thinks that one would have made well take them for technical advisers.

The wood of Vincennes is interdict to the bicycles.

JLS and Pierre Gady go entrainer to the hillocks in Morel whose “Great descent”, a wall a height of approximately five stages as one sees some in the ski pistes, is the terror of the motorcyclists and makes the difference between those which, in a direction, there launch out without hesitating and the others; and, in the other direction, by taking the circuit with back, between those which manage to go up it and the others. JLS launches out there without (too much) hesitating.

 

 

 XtremeCanada.com asked Joe Breeze, Charlie Kelly and "Klunkerz" film maker Billy Savage a couple of questions about

Mountain Bike history

 

XC, 1: What was the exact date of Joe Breeze's "Breeze 1" in 1978?

 

B.S: You'll have to check with Joe, but I believe it was late-September 1977, not 1978. Joe won the Repack race that first weekend after completion of the bike. I think that race was held on Oct.2nd, 1977. Joe finished with a time of 4:34:38, 12 seconds off the course record set by Gary.

 

C.K: Breezer 1 was completed in 1977, all the others in 1978.

 

J.B: I built Breezer 1 in September/October 1977. I don¹t have a specific date,

but records indicate that I rode it to victory on its maiden voyage down

Repack sometime in October or November of 1977. I built the other nine of this first series of Breezers in 1977 and into 1978.

 

XC, 2: What year did specialized start the first mass produced Mountain bikes if not Specialized who started the first mass produced MTBs?

 

B.S: Gary Fisher and Charlie Kelly were making production bikes,

Mountain Bikes, in 1979, two years before Mike Sinyard's 'StumpJumper' hit the marketplace. Another Marin group was building bikes as well.

The Koski's and their 'TrailMaster' bike was being produced in late 1979-early 1980. They were produced in relatively small numbers, totaling less than 1000 bikes during the couple years of production.

Mike's Sinyard's 'StumpJumper' bikes were significant because he was producing them cheaply overseas in very large numbers, but Gary and

Charlie's 'Mountain Bikes', using frames hand built by Tom Ritchey, were also flooding the San Francisco Bay Area. Gary, Charlie and Tom produced several thousand bikes before Mike Sinyard made his first 'StumpJumper'. Gary gave Mike a 'MountainBike' to check out. Mike took it to Japan and knocked it off. Mike took the entire parts spec

off of the 'MountainBike' for his first 'StumpJumper', saving himself years of research and development. The Marin guys had been whittling down that parts spec for years on the trails of Mount Tamalpais. The only thing that was different on Mike's 'StumpJumper' was a cheaper frame and cheaper labor.

 

C.K: 1982. Univega had a similar bike "("Alpine Sport") that came out shortly after the Stumpjumper.

 

J.B: Specialized who started the first mass produced MTBs?

The proto-type Specialized Stumpjumper(s) first appeared in 1981. 1982 was the first year of production Stumpjumpers. Actually, Mert Lawwill of Marin, built about 300 Lawwill-Knight Pro-Cruisers starting in 1978. And something

everyone seems to forget (and maybe for good reason), mass marketer Murray Ohio produced their Murray Baja in 1980. I¹m not sure how many were made, but it might have been in the thousands. I think it sold for about $99.99 at cheap department stores. I understand it was a resounding failure. I was impressed when an engineer from Murray came out to Marin in the late 1970s and was scoping out the scene. Apparently, not enough people at Murray understood that people in the market for cheap bikes are last-adapters.

 

XC, 3: What were the differences between Russ Mahon's bikes in 1974 and Joe Breeze's in 1978?

 

B.S: Russ' bike was a monster of a 'Klunker'. Russ used a Ward's Hawthorne from the 1940s as the chassis with Suntour VX and Shimano Tourney derailleur's attached. Russ made many other modifications, including

Suntour thumb shifters and redundant braking systems, etc. Joe's Breezer was a brand new bike with a custom built frame out of lightweight tubing. It's kind of like comparing an old smash up derby racer with a brand new Ferrari. Joe's bike was the first (or second) custom built off-road frame with all brand new parts. Joe used new Mafac cantilever brakes, Suntour thumb shifters, and derailleur's and rims etc. It was the first brand new off-road bike.

 

C.K: I don't know when the Cupertino riders put gears on their bikes, but they had them by 1975. Unlike the Cupertino bikes, which were old bikes with modifications, Joe's was built on a hand-made frame, and used all new components.

 

J.B: Russ¹s bikes and all the other Morrow DC bikes used 1930s or 1940s Schwinn (or others) ³paper boy² frames and were built up with mostly used components. My 1977 Breezer had a frame I built specifically for our mountain riding and all parts were brand new. In fact, it was the first mountain bike built with all new components. They were clunkers no more.

 

XC, 4: Were coaster brakes used because standard rubber brake pads melted from the speed and friction?

 

B.S: Coaster brakes were used because before alloy rims were available steel rims didn't provide any kind of braking surface when they got wet. That's why coaster brakes (Morrow's in particular) and drum brakes were the way to go. Once alloy came along, cantilever brakes made more sense. They were lighter and easier to work on.

 

C.K: Coaster brakes were used because that was what came on old bikes, and at first we just used old bikes. There were no rim brakes at the time that would attach to the old bikes without welding something to the frame, or that would reach around the bigger tire. Coaster brakes were used because that was all there was.

 

J.B: Coaster brakes were used initially because they were sittin¹ right on the old fat-tire bikes. Once we got more serious, relics such as coaster brakes faded away. Drum brakes were next, but rim brakes were lighter and were the

next choice even though wet pads meant reduced braking. With aluminum rims in 1979, rim braking was significantly improved.

 

XC, 5: What does everyone think of the French claims of Jean-Louis Swiners that roots of the mountain bikes are in north-east suburbs of Paris, near the Porte des Lilas?

 

B.S: The VCCP outside of Paris in 1950s were very significant. They definitely contributed to the whole thing, but they didn't continue.

It was the Marin tribe that created an industry with their tenacity to make the bike industry take notice. If you ever see pictures of the VCCP you can tell that they were 20+ years ahead of the curve.

That's why they're in the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, and it was Joe Breeze who inducted them there.

 

C.K: As far as I know, almost no one in the United States is aware of this claim, much less has an opinion about it. Certainly these riders did not have any influence over the Americans who developed the concept on their own. Although cyclists all over the world have experimented with off-road bicycling for a hundred years or more, the sport of mountain biking as we know it today is a California invention, just like BMX and skateboarding.

J.B: I was responsible for inducting the VCCP into the MTB Hall of Fame in Finale Ligura, Italy in 1999. I was blown away with the level of their off-roadness. I wasn¹t aware of Jean-Louis Swiners. I will ask Jacques Michel about him.

Anyway, the VCCP is a bit like Kirkpatrick MacMillan and his velocipede of 1839. It may have been the first pedal bike, but it didn¹t contribute to bicycling. It was an evolutionary dead end. Though the VCCP is an impressive example of essentially how far people went off road on bikes, their doings had no bearing on mountain biking. It was another evolutionary dead end. I think Geoff Apps and his Cleland bikes have evolutionary linkage. Not to Marin, but he had (has?) a following in the UK. His line might even precede the Marin lineage. Geoff¹s spark carried on, no? Where did he get the idea?

Maybe my view is just Marin-centric, but I think it¹s difficult to ignore how much happened here that caught the attention of a ton of people beyond

Marin.

 

XC, 6: When did everyone realize how much of a profound effect that they had on the modern bicycle?

 

B.S: You'd have to ask them, I'm just a filmmaker :). They had a profound effect on me, and I'm honored that they let me tell their story.

 

C.K: About 1983, when every manufacturer offered a bike copied directly from the Ritchey Mountain Bikes that Gary Fisher and I first sold.

 

J.B: I think it is a very incremental thing, but when the first mountain bike

World Championships came along in 1990 that was cause for more than some reflection. Another "Whoa!" moment was hearing that mountain biking was in for the 1996 Olympics.

Klunkerz.com


     XtremeCanada.com asked Joe Breeze, Charlie Kelly and "Klunkerz" film maker Billy Savage a couple of questions about

Mountain Bike history

 

XC, 1: What was the exact date of Joe Breeze's "Breeze 1" in 1978?

 

B.S: You'll have to check with Joe, but I believe it was late-September 1977, not 1978. Joe won the Repack race that first weekend after completion of the bike. I think that race was held on Oct.2nd, 1977. Joe finished with a time of 4:34:38, 12 seconds off the course record set by Gary.

 

C.K: Breezer 1 was completed in 1977, all the others in 1978.

 

J.B: I built Breezer 1 in September/October 1977. I don¹t have a specific date,

but records indicate that I rode it to victory on its maiden voyage down

Repack sometime in October or November of 1977. I built the other nine of this first series of Breezers in 1977 and into 1978.

 

XC, 2: What year did specialized start the first mass produced Mountain bikes if not Specialized who started the first mass produced MTBs?

 

B.S: Gary Fisher and Charlie Kelly were making production bikes,

Mountain Bikes, in 1979, two years before Mike Sinyard's 'StumpJumper' hit the marketplace. Another Marin group was building bikes as well.

The Koski's and their 'TrailMaster' bike was being produced in late 1979-early 1980. They were produced in relatively small numbers, totaling less than 1000 bikes during the couple years of production.

Mike's Sinyard's 'StumpJumper' bikes were significant because he was producing them cheaply overseas in very large numbers, but Gary and

Charlie's 'Mountain Bikes', using frames hand built by Tom Ritchey, were also flooding the San Francisco Bay Area. Gary, Charlie and Tom produced several thousand bikes before Mike Sinyard made his first 'StumpJumper'. Gary gave Mike a 'MountainBike' to check out. Mike took it to Japan and knocked it off. Mike took the entire parts spec

off of the 'MountainBike' for his first 'StumpJumper', saving himself years of research and development. The Marin guys had been whittling down that parts spec for years on the trails of Mount Tamalpais. The only thing that was different on Mike's 'StumpJumper' was a cheaper frame and cheaper labor.

 

C.K: 1982. Univega had a similar bike "("Alpine Sport") that came out shortly after the Stumpjumper.

 

J.B: Specialized who started the first mass produced MTBs?

The proto-type Specialized Stumpjumper(s) first appeared in 1981. 1982 was the first year of production Stumpjumpers. Actually, Mert Lawwill of Marin, built about 300 Lawwill-Knight Pro-Cruisers starting in 1978. And something

everyone seems to forget (and maybe for good reason), mass marketer Murray Ohio produced their Murray Baja in 1980. I¹m not sure how many were made, but it might have been in the thousands. I think it sold for about $99.99 at cheap department stores. I understand it was a resounding failure. I was impressed when an engineer from Murray came out to Marin in the late 1970s and was scoping out the scene. Apparently, not enough people at Murray understood that people in the market for cheap bikes are last-adapters.

 

XC, 3: What were the differences between Russ Mahon's bikes in 1974 and Joe Breeze's in 1978?

 

B.S: Russ' bike was a monster of a 'Klunker'. Russ used a Ward's Hawthorne from the 1940s as the chassis with Suntour VX and Shimano Tourney derailleur's attached. Russ made many other modifications, including

Suntour thumb shifters and redundant braking systems, etc. Joe's Breezer was a brand new bike with a custom built frame out of lightweight tubing. It's kind of like comparing an old smash up derby racer with a brand new Ferrari. Joe's bike was the first (or second) custom built off-road frame with all brand new parts. Joe used new Mafac cantilever brakes, Suntour thumb shifters, and derailleur's and rims etc. It was the first brand new off-road bike.

 

C.K: I don't know when the Cupertino riders put gears on their bikes, but they had them by 1975. Unlike the Cupertino bikes, which were old bikes with modifications, Joe's was built on a hand-made frame, and used all new components.

 

J.B: Russ¹s bikes and all the other Morrow DC bikes used 1930s or 1940s Schwinn (or others) ³paper boy² frames and were built up with mostly used components. My 1977 Breezer had a frame I built specifically for our mountain riding and all parts were brand new. In fact, it was the first mountain bike built with all new components. They were clunkers no more.

 

XC, 4: Were coaster brakes used because standard rubber brake pads melted from the speed and friction?

 

B.S: Coaster brakes were used because before alloy rims were available steel rims didn't provide any kind of braking surface when they got wet. That's why coaster brakes (Morrow's in particular) and drum brakes were the way to go. Once alloy came along, cantilever brakes made more sense. They were lighter and easier to work on.

 

C.K: Coaster brakes were used because that was what came on old bikes, and at first we just used old bikes. There were no rim brakes at the time that would attach to the old bikes without welding something to the frame, or that would reach around the bigger tire. Coaster brakes were used because that was all there was.

 

J.B: Coaster brakes were used initially because they were sittin¹ right on the old fat-tire bikes. Once we got more serious, relics such as coaster brakes faded away. Drum brakes were next, but rim brakes were lighter and were the

next choice even though wet pads meant reduced braking. With aluminum rims in 1979, rim braking was significantly improved.

 

XC, 5: What does everyone think of the French claims of Jean-Louis Swiners that roots of the mountain bikes are in north-east suburbs of Paris, near the Porte des Lilas?

 

B.S: The VCCP outside of Paris in 1950s were very significant. They definitely contributed to the whole thing, but they didn't continue.

It was the Marin tribe that created an industry with their tenacity to make the bike industry take notice. If you ever see pictures of the VCCP you can tell that they were 20+ years ahead of the curve.

That's why they're in the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, and it was Joe Breeze who inducted them there.

 

C.K: As far as I know, almost no one in the United States is aware of this claim, much less has an opinion about it. Certainly these riders did not have any influence over the Americans who developed the concept on their own. Although cyclists all over the world have experimented with off-road bicycling for a hundred years or more, the sport of mountain biking as we know it today is a California invention, just like BMX and skateboarding.

J.B: I was responsible for inducting the VCCP into the MTB Hall of Fame in Finale Ligura, Italy in 1999. I was blown away with the level of their off-roadness. I wasn¹t aware of Jean-Louis Swiners. I will ask Jacques Michel about him.

Anyway, the VCCP is a bit like Kirkpatrick MacMillan and his velocipede of 1839. It may have been the first pedal bike, but it didn¹t contribute to bicycling. It was an evolutionary dead end. Though the VCCP is an impressive example of essentially how far people went off road on bikes, their doings had no bearing on mountain biking. It was another evolutionary dead end. I think Geoff Apps and his Cleland bikes have evolutionary linkage. Not to Marin, but he had (has?) a following in the UK. His line might even precede the Marin lineage. Geoff¹s spark carried on, no? Where did he get the idea?

Maybe my view is just Marin-centric, but I think it¹s difficult to ignore how much happened here that caught the attention of a ton of people beyond

Marin.

 

XC, 6: When did everyone realize how much of a profound effect that they had on the modern bicycle?

 

B.S: You'd have to ask them, I'm just a filmmaker :). They had a profound effect on me, and I'm honored that they let me tell their story.

 

C.K: About 1983, when every manufacturer offered a bike copied directly from the Ritchey Mountain Bikes that Gary Fisher and I first sold.

 

J.B: I think it is a very incremental thing, but when the first mountain bike

World Championships came along in 1990 that was cause for more than some reflection. Another "Whoa!" moment was hearing that mountain biking was in for the 1996 Olympics.
Poster signing at the Klunkerz movie Premiere

Above picture is Billy Savage on a 1940s Cleveland Welding

 

QUOTES FROM THE PRESS REGARDING KLUNKERZ

 
VeloNews, April, 2008
"How the West was won"
 
"Next time you see someone pedal by on an old Schwinnn cruiser, picture yourself riding it down a Redwood forest trail. You're wearing jeans, steel-toed boots, a flannel shirt, and a mesh baseball cap. You're bike has one gear, a coaster brake, and no suspension. Now you've got an idea of how mountain biking pioneers rolled during the off-road discipline's embryonic era in Marin County, California, duing the 1970s. It was a period of camaraderie and innovation that has been loving and masterfully documented by Billy Savage in his film KLUNKERZ, named after the modified cruisers mow recognized as the original mountain bikes. The film ends right around 1983, just prior to the first NORBA nationals, as mountain biking was exploding. The rest, as they say, was history."
  
The Bicycle Paper April 2008, reviewed by Sara Kovich
 
"KLUNKERZ is a funny, informative journey from beginning to end. Being an avid rider myself, I thoroughly enjoyed Savage's work, and most documentary aficionados will find it interesting as well. Although KLUNKERZ does focus on biking, the social environment of the period is also examined enough to keep a non-cyclist's curiosity piqued until the closing credits. If you like bikes with a bit of history and craziness thrown in, this movie is a must-see."
 
MovieMaker Magazine, April 2008
 
"With films from studios' "independent" divisions coming to replace genuine independent cinema in the minds of many, it's nice to know there are still moviemakers out there willing to max out their credit cards to get their first feature made. William Savage is one of those moviemakers. For his directorial debut KLUNKERZ, a documentary that chronicles the creation and ascent of the mountain bike in Marin County, California, Savage reached into his own pocket (or rather, the bank's own pocket) and is doing his best to market the film and pay off the loans. Documentaries of this nature always appeal to a very niche audience, but KLUNKERZ is just as enjoyable for those of us who aren't cyclists."  

 
Mountain Life Magazine, Spring 2008
                    
"If you're into mountain biking, you'll love this documentary. Following the creation of the sport by guys such as Gary Fisher and Tom Ritchey, this film documents everything from the early races to the evolution of the technology. This movie will have you dying to bomb a hill on a one-speed coaster-braked beach cruiser."

 
Movie Magazine InterNational, reviewed by Heather Clisby 3/7/08

 

"Engaging documentaries come about when a filmmaker is especially passionate and intensely curious about just one thing. Director Billy Savage deeply loves the bicycle, and generally spreads it around in KLUNKERZ, a small but important film that traces the history of modern day mountain biking. Savage is the craftsman who weaves this all together with one part pride, he's a Marin local after all, two parts awe, and three parts love. KLUNKERZ is a thrill ride and a throwback to a simpler time when bored youth went outside and invented fun. Still, one thing remains the same, a good day can still be measured by how much mud you have in your teeth."   
 
USA Today  1/29/08
"Recycling the Past, Pedaling into the Future"
By Reporter Sal Ruibal
 
"Billy Savage's mountain bike film "KLUNKERZ," documents the wild and wooly formative years of American mountain biking. Savage's funny and often poignant film looks at how a bunch of semi-stoned hippies in Northern California developed a unique style of off-road bike riding through collaboration and competition. KLUNKERZ is worth checking out, even if you're not a bike nut."

 

Production Mountain Bike History in North America

In 1982 there was Canadian companies selling mountain bikes in Canada that I know of including the Rocky Mountain Sherpa, Norco Sasquatch and the Bianchi Osprey.

1966 Schwinn ATB Cruiser 1967 JC Higgins ATB Cruiser 1970's ATB Schwinn Excelsior 1978 Lawwill Pro Cruiser
1980 1980 Breezer Series II
1981 1981 Schwinn King Sting modified 1981 Murray Baja 1981 King Sting frame (NOS) 1981 Ritchey
1981 Ritchey Palo Alto (gray) 1981 Ritchey Palo Alto (orange) 1981 Ritchey Everest
1982 1982 Ritchey MountainBikes 1982 Specialized Stumpjumper 1982 Schwinn Sidewinder 1982 Raleigh Trail Rider
1982 Salsa 1982 Specialized Stumpjumper 1982 Mountain Goat
1983 1983 Mountain Goat 1983 Trek 850 1983 Trek 850 (2) 1983 Fat Chance
1983 Mantis Sherpa 1983 Univega Alpina Sport 1983 Specialized Stumpjumper 1983 Ross Mt. Hood in chrome
1983 Specialized Stumpjumper 1983 Specialized Stumpjumper Sport 1983 Moots Mountaineer 24"
1984 1984 Fat Chance 1984 Pauley 1984 Raleigh 1984 Specialized Stumpjumper
1984 Bridgestone MB-2
1985 1985 Schwinn Sierra 1985 Fisher 1985 Ritchey Annapurna 1985 Mountain Machine
1985 Mountain Machine Modified 1985 Cannondale 24"/26" wheels 1985 Specialized Stumpjumper 1985 Raleigh Elkhorn
1985 Mongoose ATB 1985 Ritchey Timber Comp 1985 Monty Trials Bike 1985 Fisher Competition
1986 1986 Breezer Series III 1986 Cannondale SM500 1986 Ross Mt. Whitney 1986 Schwinn Cimarron
1986 Cannondale SM600 1986 Ritchey 1986 Ritchey Ascent Comp 1986 Fisher Montare
1987 1987 Otis Guy 1987 Ibis Trials Comp 1987 Ritchey Timber Wolf 1987 Raleigh Seneca
1987 Ritchey Ultra 1987 Mountain Goat Whiskeytown Racer 1987 Diamond Back Arrival 1987 Ibis
1987 Klein 1987 Wicked Fat Chance 1987 Fat Chance w/ 24" Rear Wheel 1987 Steve Potts (WTB)
1988 1988 American Comp Lite 1988 Cunningham Racer 1988 Schwinn Project KOM 10 1988 Team Fat Chance
1988 Escape Goat 1988 Trench Goat 1988 American Montaneus 1988 Fisher Competition
1988 Trimble Carbon Cross 1988 Fisher Montare 1988 Klein Mountain Klein 1988 Ibis
1988 Specialized Stumpjumper 1988 Ibis Avion 1989 Raleigh Edge 1989 Brave Warrior
1989 1989 Fisher CR-7 1989 Brave Racer 1989 Wicked Fat Chance 1989 Denti w/ Campy Euclid
1989 Mountain Goat Escape Goat 1989 Ibis Mtn. Trials 1989 Trek 970 1989 Klein Pinnacle Elite
1989 Schwinn Pro
1990 1990 Ritchey Timber Comp 1990 Slingshot 1990 Ibis Trials Comp 1990 Mountain Goat Deluxe
1990 Ritchey Ultra 1990 Grove Assault 1990 Titan 1/2 Trac 1990 Ibis SS
1990 Grove Assault 1990 Steve Potts 1990 Nishiki Alien ACX 1990 Pinarello Antelao w/ Campy
1990 Specialized Stumpjumper 1990 Scott Pro Racing 1990 Salsa Ala Carte
1991 1991 Specialized S Works Steel 1991 Bridgestone MB-0 1991 Mountain Goat Escape Goat 1991 Trek 8500
1991 Rock Lobster MODA 1991 Fisher RS-1 1991 Yeti Ultimate 1991 Manitou Hard Tail
1991 Rock Lobster 1991 Trimble Inverse 4 1991 Ibis SS 1991 Ibis SS
1991 Specialized M2 S Works 1991 Cinelli The Absolute Machine 1991 Monster Fat 1991 Cinelli Argento Vivo
1991 Mantis Valkyrie X Frame 1991 Trek 8700 1991 Alpinestars Cro-Mega 26" 1991 Grove Innovations "Woods Bike"
1991 Cannondale EST1000 1991 Grove Hard Core 1991 Cinelli Ottomilla 1991 Fisher Montare
1992 1992 Mountain Goat Whiskeytown Racer FS 1992 Trek 9000 1992 Cannondale Delta V 1000 1992 Brave Warrior
1992 Mountain Goat Lombada Goat 1992 Mantis Pro Floater 1992 Paramount S.A.S.S. Buell 1992 Proflex 752
1992 Mountain Goat Whiskeytown Racer 1992 Mantis Flying V 1992 Klein Attitude 1992 Fisher RS-1
1992 Grove X 1992 Ibis SS w/ Campy 1992 Specialized S-Works Ultimate 1993 Bridgestone MB-1
1992 Mountain Cycles San Andreas 1992 Nevil Devil 1992 Mantis XCR EC
1993 1993 Nishiki Alien 1993 Raleigh Tomac Replica 1993 Fat Chance Ti 1993 Fisher Alembic
1993 American M-16 1993 Mantis Pro Floater 1993 Ibis Scorcher fixed gear 1993 Rock Lobster
1993 Boulder Defiant 1993 Breezer Cloud 9 1993 Retrotec
1994 1994 Salsa Ala Carte w/ 24" wheels 1994 Crosstrac Sonoma 1994 Fat Chance Shock-A-Billy
1994 Specialized FSR S Works 1994 Retrotec
1995 1995 Curtlo Action-Tec 1995 Klein Mantra Pro (prototype) 1995 Ritchey Lite Beam 1995 Fisher Grateful Dead
1995 Mountain Goat Whiskeytown Racer 1995 Manitou FS
1996 1996 Ibis Szazbo 1996 Salsa Town Bike 1996 Fisher Klunker 1996 Ted Wojcik Soft Trac
1996 Mantis Screaming V 1996 Salsa El Kaboing 1996 Rock Lobster ADG 1996 Manitou FS
1997 1997 Fat Chance Buck Shaver 1997 Schwinn Project Underground 1997 Mountain Goat BMX 1997 Cannondale "Stars and Stripes forever"
1998 1998 Ritchey Soft Tail 1998 Outland VPP 1998 GT LTS 1000
1999+ 2004 Rock Lobster 2007 Rock Lobster 2006 Mountain Goat Route 29 2006 Mountain Goat Whiskeytown Racer
2000 Ritchey Plexus

 
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