MTB Framebuilding heritage – Tom Ritchey

Saw this Vimeo of Tom Ritchey on another framebuilders blog. I’m sure I’m one of the last to see it, but just in case…it’s a must see.

My favorite parts of this movie:

1) the “Woodsy” bike – a European 650b ‘farm road’ bike that pre-dates the ‘original’ mtn bike. Short mention in the movie (9 min mark), but well worth noting when we’re so focused on Fisher, Breeze, Ritchey as the first mountain bike creators.

2) These dudes were mountain biking on road bikes in the 70’s! SO wiley!

3) Tom fillet brazes on his lap…? No bike stand to rotate the frame around, just uses his shoulder and some kind of table to rest it against.

4) The number of frames Tom built before leaving high school. Wow. And his first frame at a very early age of 14? Nuts.

I remember shopping for a new mountain bike at the Cove bike shop in Tiburon near my dad’s apartment when I had outlived my Specialized green Hard Rock. I think it was 1985 or ’86 and I was 13 or 14 years old. I asked what the guys at the shop recommended and they said they’d get a bike from a guy named Tom who could make a custom MTB but it’d cost around $500 for the frame and fork. That was over my allowance and movie theater ticket checker budget so I declined. (oops!) At the end of the summer, I ended up buying an unfinished aluminum Klein Pinnacle that I had to polish to get shiny from Village Peddler in Larkspur down the street from my house. I loved that bike and had it for 7 years before the seat tube cracked in College in Boulder (they fixed it for free BTW and sent back with a new paint job). But man, in hindsight…how I wish I had one of the fillet-brazed Ritchey’s

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