Category Archives: 20 Questions

Hans Rey 20 Questions

October 17th, 2013

Hans Rey Retro BikeHans Jörg Rey aka Hans “No Way” Rey will need no introduction to anyone who has ridden a Mountain Bike in the past twenty five years. The GT Bicycles veteran has multiple World and National championships under his belt but it his consistently high media profile many will know him for best. Images of Hans’ spectacular mountain bike trials shows and adventures are amongst the most iconic in the sport and have graced numerous magazine covers and posters. Hans kindly took the time to answer 20 questions for us…

1) Retrobike: How’s life in 2012?
Hans Rey: Life is good in 2013!!! I’m still living the dream, I’m as busy as ever riding bikes and having fun. I would have never dreamt that I would have such long and good career. I try to stay relevant to the times and my age, inspire people to ride or live their own dreams all along while making sure the sponsors get what they are looking for. I’ve done some great trips to Haiti (MTB Ayiti Event), Kenya & Uganda, Southern French Alps with Dan Atherton and the Lofoten Islands above the Arctic Circle in Norway.


20 Questions with Demon Frameworks

September 7th, 2012

Tom Warmerdam is the man behind the uber small scale frameworks that is Demon Frameworks. Making custom designs and now a signature series available at Mosquito Bikes in London, Tom’s tiny workshop in Southampton, England has never known it so busy. Winning the ‘Best Road Bike’ category at the 2012 NAHMBS earlier this year has just gone to put Demon on the radar of the bike world globally and so I went down to sunny Hampshire to catch up with Tom and get to the heart of what he’s all about. For more on the subject, this month’s Peloton Magazine no 14 (out now) has a feature on the workshop tour I received when we hooked up recently.

Retrobike: Hi Tom, tell us, how’s business in 2012?

Tom Warmerdam: Hello Retrobike. It’s picking up speed. The future’s bright, the hook up with Mosquito Bikes is awesome.

RB: Tel me, who are your heroes? Biking or otherwise…

TW: My grandfather the cabinet maker. He made things with his hands and it always stuck with me from an early age, watching him, he was amazing. His copper plate etchings were beautiful. My dad, he’s probably the greatest supporter of the things I have chosen to do. Bike wise, I always liked Hetchens- intense, awesome. Gary Woodhouse, Brian Curtis, Cliff at Royce. There are so many more though.


20 Questions with Middleburn

March 7th, 2012

In the latest of our industry interviews, we visited a small outfit in the south of England producing some of the best known British bike components of the last couple of decades, Middleburn Engineering. Chances are you will have come across their chainrings at some point over the years in your retro chainset buying experience, but there’s a lot more to these guys than just cogs…as we found out when we nipped down last month for a cuppa and a chat with Matthew Starey, head honcho at Middleburn.

There is also a companion article to this twenty questions in this month’s Switchback Magazine, check the Switchback issue 3 preview here.

1) Retrobike: Hi Matt, how’s business at Middleburn in 2011?

Matthew Starey: Hello Retrobike! Going the right way thanks. We’ve got some big changes, our machine shop moving is the main thing. Getting everything in under one roof.

20 Questions with Royce Engineering

November 16th, 2011

Royce EngineeringIf you’ve ever had a Royce hub or bb you’ll know just how high quality a British made bicycle component can be. If you haven’t been lucky enough to be a ‘Royce user’ I can highly recommend it. Even if just to see your own satisfied grin reflected in the shiniest of shiny finishes the bike industry knows.

Here in our latest in the series of bike industry interviews, Retrobike goes behind the shutters of Royce Engineering down in the New Forest. And gets inside the very interesting mind of Cliff Polton, engineer, cycling and pedal car enthusiast and mouse trainer*, who has been at the helm of Royce Engineering for 20 odd years…

* please see question 18.

1) Retrobike: Hello Cliff, how’s business in 2011?

Cliff Polton: Phenomenal. Enthusiastic!

2) RB: Why the name Royce?

CP: It’s got a nice ring to it, sounds like a quality product.


20 Questions with Bill Duehring

February 21st, 2011

Bill Duehring GTBill Duehring was GT’s Vice President and head of Product Development from 1985-1999. Bill joined forces with triathlete and bike designer Jim Felt and former GT distributor Michael Mehlmann of Sport Import in Germany to form the modern day Felt Bicycle company of which Bill Duehring now serves as President. Bill is still very active in overseeing all product development aspects at Felt

1) Retrobike: A bit about your background. Bill where did you grow up, formal education and where were you in the bicycle industry prior to GT?

Bill Duehring: I grew up in Orlando, FL; I worked in my father’s bicycle shop in Winter Park, FL. in Jr. and Sr. high school. After High School I joined the Marines (long family history). After the Marines I ran a shop called Oakridge bike shop in Orlando, FL. for a short time and took night school at a local Jr. Collage, then I joined East Coast Cycles in Tallahassee, FL. which later became Cycles USA. I was in Sales then moved into Product Development, and developed the Jamis bike line, for Ron Jamis. I was there for 7.5 years when I was recruited to work for GT in 1985.

2) RB: When did you start working for GT and what was the first complete model year of bikes that you worked on?

BD: Started in 1985, worked on 1986 line up through 1999 line up.

3) RB: The GT Zaskar, what year did development begin and how long did it take to get it refined and to market? Were there major hurdles to overcome getting it to the market?

BD: GT first built the Zaskar in 1990 , I’m sure it took months of design and prototyping to develop this frame set, too far to remember all the details. GT’sbiggest hurdle was it used a lot of BMX technology at that time, oversize welds, BB finish, external gussets, plus the triple triangle design which made the frame set stand out.


20 Questions with pro bike photographer Seb Rogers

June 13th, 2010

Seb Rogers South DownsThe latest in our series of 20 questions with…features ace UK lens man Seb Rogers.

With more than 12 years experience and over 100 covers to his name, Seb is one of the world’s best regarded pro bike photographers. He’s been there pretty much from the beginning of the UK bike publication scene and you’ve probably not only stared in awe at his biking pictures in your fave mags over the years but also read his articles and tests as well, in publications such as MBUK, Mountain Bike World and What Mountain Bike to name but a few. So, for a different perspective on the bike world, Retrobike asks….

1) Retrobike: Hi Seb, what are you up to at the mo?

Seb Rogers: Several things at once, which is about par for the course! I’ve got the usual magazine bike test and cover shoots to juggle, my website to update (yes, I know it’s long overdue) and a potential trip to California to try and sort out. Oh, and I should probably get round to doing some invoicing and looking at my tax return, too. It’s all glamour, y’know.

2) RB: To many, you’ve got the dream job, freelance editorial photographer for bike publications. Do you feel like that about what you do for a living? Are you living your dream?

SR: To a large extent yes. But one of the things I’ve learnt over the last decade-and-a-bit of freelancing is that there’s no such thing as the perfect job – not even one that combines two of the things I like most in the whole world, bikes and photography. I still have to pay the mortgage like everyone else and I’ve found, ironically, that you can sometimes have too much of a good thing. Being so completely immersed in bikes and photography has actually also encouraged me to explore other interests, like sailing. I seem to need some variety to keep me sane. But having said all that, I wouldn’t change what I do for the world. As jobs go, it rocks!

20 Questions with Paul Price

February 24th, 2010

Paul Price Paul Componenet..of Paul Componenet Engineering (nice parts since 1989) fame.

1 ) Retrobike: What’s going on at the mo at Paul Comp? How’s business?

PP: Business is very good. We’re buying new machines and expanding the building to meet worldwide demand.

2 ) RB: What do you guys get asked for most these days? Hubs? Brakes? Small plastic horses? (Love those product shoots.)

PP: The Chain Keeper has been a huge success, and we have several new mounting styles in the works. The market for brakes and levers is still very good too. The Racer after a few years is finally getting some momentum.

3 ) RB: I know you are just stoked to be in the shop and working away at a project, but do you still find the time to ride enough?

PP: I ride almost every day, at least every other day. Ten years ago I didn’t ride for a couple years and business was in the crapper. Then one day I woke up and gave a finger to the world and went for a bike ride. Things have been getting better ever since.

4 ) RB: The world’s gone a day left to run. Where do you ride? On what? And with who? (and which colour brakes do you fit?)

PP: We are at the base of the Sierra Nevada’s’ so I’d head up and get as high in elevation as possible, and away from as many people as possible.

5 ) RB: Following the XTR years that had a far reaching and damaging effect on high end aftermarket guys like Paul Comp back in the mid nineties, I read that you and the others got through that by leaning out and aiming where the big companies weren’t looking. How’s that working out now?..given that niche is the new mainstream for some of those big hitters.

PP: So far it’s good. There are still small enough spots where we can excel and they won’t bother us. Our main strength is speed though. I can go for a ride, think up a new part, get back to the shop and have the part made by that afternoon for testing the next day. That has actually happened a few times, but usually it’s a week or so.

6 ) RB: Desert Island Discs scenario. Marooned on a desert island. One luxury. Bike? Wine? Another Human? Choose one.

PP: I love bikes, but women are just a touch above for me.

7 ) RB: It’s not about the bike. Those that get it, all know that. But it sort of is though isn’t it? Does it matter what you’re riding as long as you’re out there? Or Is there a specific best friend on two wheels that you always reach for?

PP: I have about 16 bikes in rotation right now. I’ll add another this year. I love riding them all. One bike is designed specifically for a single local dirt road that’s my favorite morning ride. But it’s also fun to take a bike where it ISN”T supposed to be. Like a crit bike on a fire road, or a cross bike on single track. I try to put myself in as many different situations as possible-this where the inspiration for new parts comes from.


20 Questions with Charlie Kelly

January 7th, 2010

Charlie Kelly RepackWelcome to the latest in Retrobike’s 20 questions series. This month the spotlight falls on Charlie Kelly (aka Repack Rider), a man who genuinely needs no introduction.

Retrobike: Hi Charlie, how’s life? What’cha up to?

Charlie Kelly: I have a piano moving company. My daughter is about to start her second year at the University of Oregon, and I am still married to my first wife, named Mary. I work a lot, and most weeks I can only get out on the bike on Sunday, so I try to make it count. Fortunately I have some great places to ride.

RB: Ok, many will know you from the early days of MBUK. How did that MBUK connection come about back in the late eighties? Through FTF?

CK: I don’t remember how I got started with MBUK, but I was friends with John Stevenson and Tym Manley. I know I have copies of the photocopied MBUK that preceded the slick version. I wasn’t too hard to find in those days. In the ’80s I had the advantage of being the only functionally literate mountain biker. Now I understand there are three more. I was writing for several US mags as well as the Flyer, and I was friends of Richard Grant and Richard Ballantine, two English cyclists who were the among first in England to understand the concept.

RB: Early on, important question…what’s your favourite (music) album of all time?

CK: Since I spent a long time as a roadie for the somewhat obscure Sons of Champlin, it would be treason if I didn’t cite one of theirs. “Loosen Up Naturally,” 1969.

RB: ‘Fat Tyre Flyer’ – your publication and the only mountain bike magazine until 1985, is still the best Mag title I have heard of to date. You reportedly loved doing it, any dreams of a re-launch? Surely there’s space on the shelf as the other titles grow ever more similar. ?

CK: A magazine is a life sentence, and I have already paid my debt to society. I don’t think the cycling experience itself changes much from year to year, even though the equipment does, and writing for the major publications I found that there was about a three-year cycle and the same articles would repeat, because the mags are for new riders. There are lots of products for mountain bkes, but I’m into people, not widgets, and I think “bike reviews” are bunch of…what is that word you chaps use…BOLLOCKS. Did I use it correctly?

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20 Questions with Ross Shafer

July 3rd, 2009

Next up in the twenty questions series is an interview with Ross Shafer of Salsa Cycles fame. Enjoy!

Ross Shafer Salsa

Ross Shafer at work

Retrobike: Hi Ross, how’s life?

Ross Shafer: Howdy Auggie, life is quite grand all considered, I’ve got a dream wife, an awesome home in the country, a talented son who actually took my advice (imagine that!) to follow his heart instead of other’s expectations and is just beginning his career as a tattoo artist, a bitchin’ new job, I’m playing guitar in a great band with an awesome songwriter, and after 40 years of wanting to do so I’ve finally taken the plunge and am learning to play the pedal steel guitar! Oh yeah, I’ve still got all my hair and it ain’t even gray yet! Just call me lucky!

RB: What’s your favourite (music) album?

RS: Shit man, that’s a tough one…hmmm…can’t pick a single fave. Three of my all time favorites are The Lamb lies down on Broadway by Genesis, Tales to Topographic Oceans by Yes and Larks Tongue in Aspic by Kind Crimson, but then there’s anything by Stevie Ray Vaughn and Robben Ford…that said the only CD’s I’ve been listening to for the last 6 months are two pedal steel discs by Bobbe Seymour who runs Steel Guitar Nashville. Oops, that’s more than three faves isn’t it…. I’m kinda schizo when it comes to music.

RB: Why the name Salsa? Latin spirit flowing through Cali? Or spill some on your flip flops at a “Let’s start a bike company, but what are we going to call it?” meeting and see the lightbulbs switch on around the (pool)* table?

*we know how you smooth laid back Californians do things, all pool tables instead of boardroom tables and beach meetings with babes and tequila…. :-) (envious – ed).

RS: I was never very good at pool….or swimming for that matter. Actually, I just got tired of trying to explain the name I used before Salsa, “Red Bush” (if you can’t figure it out on your own, don’t ask!) and I was eating a bottle of Salsa everyday for lunch at the time….some of which definitely found its way into my Birkenstocks. The babes and tequila came into play after renaming my frames “Salsa”.

Ross Shafer Salsa

Ross Shafer at work

RB: Of all of them, what is your favourite Salsa bike part/ frame?

RS: Favorite Salsa bike part…damn, you ask hard questions….Probably the lycra and lace “Helmet Panties”. I like the red lace best. Yes, I know, its not technically a bike part…sue me. We sold a shitload of those suckers. Too bad helmets all have boring plastic with goony graphics covering them now.


20 Questions with Adrian Carter of Pace Cycles

April 22nd, 2009

Following on nicely from DrS’ RC-100 BoTM victory we have 20 questions with Adrian Carter of Pace Cycles, one of the leading lights of the British MTB scene.

Pace RC-100 prototype

Adrian Carter with early proto RC100 from about 1988. Note the 24in rear wheel and drum brakes. The bike also had the first threadless headset (bored out Shimano 105 road headset) fitted with one-piece steerer tube stem.

Retrobike: Hello Adrian.

1) RB: Ok, we’ve all heard stories about tubes not rolling off workbenches, box section strength and cartoonists saying they’re easier to shade…
why were they really square section then?

Adrian Carter: Nope not heard those stories and no one ever made fun of square tubes that I can remember. Actually we used box in some frame areas for the same reason why many manufacturers now use them- because you can make them handle a load better when the load is directional. That is, if the load acting upon a frame tube is the same from all directions then it makes sense to have a round tube- but we know that in fact there are primary loads acting upon a frame tube and these don’t come from all directions but from a particular one (vertical loads being a main one). So we spent some time doing the math, studying what loads really were applied and using a bit of FEA to determine what the loads were, what direction they were coming from, then stretching the axis of the tube to best withstand them. So we had square, rectangular, round and of course round plus two vertical webs up the back in the case of the head tube! (just showing off at that point).

2) RB: Did you intend to create quite such an ahead (geddit?) of it’s time machine as the original RC100? Or was that just something that came naturally when you saw how ‘orthodox’ many manufacturers were being?

AC: I was from a moto background, not cycle. So I hadn’t been influenced by the traditions of cycle frame design. Climbing off a long travel fire breathing dirt bike onto an early MTB was bit of a shock (mostly to the arms and back). Any level of redesign would have been an improvement. Being a petrol head made me receptive to motorcycle and general automotive design concepts and how sound engineering could be applied, rather than what could be redesigned within all the crap industry constraints – roadie BB size, pre war headset designs etc etc. Additionally the first prototype Pace frames were not designed with any commercial intent- they were almost interesting design exercises and diversions as we just played around with parts we’d made for our own early mountain bikes. I couldn’t have possibly imagined that it would lead to the vast wealth, legions of MTB groupies and glass pyramid Pace HQ sat in our own private moorland retreat.

Pace RC-100 blueprint

Pace RC-100 blueprint

3) RB: Like many, I remember lusting after that bike in the small press picture that appeared in MBUK back in 1989. But what was the drilled black shoulder pad looking thing under the top tube/ seat tube bridge?
And why didn’t it make production?

AC: Bit of closed cell foam we chopped out on a band saw to make shouldering the bike easy. But it looked naff and wasn’t the right density so it was consigned to the skip. Shouldering the bike – now there’s a good reason for box sections.


20 Questions with Legrandfromage

April 21st, 2009

Welcome to the first and almost certainly last in our self-penned 20 questions series (16 in this case). This article features retrobike’s #1 skip monkey, bin raider and angle grinder operator, the one and only Legrandfromage.


Legrandfromage, recently.

1) Legrandfromage: so, who the hell are you to be doing a ’20 questions’ thing when all you do is wind up people on the site by finding ‘stuff’?

Legrandfromage: I thought it was a funny idea… I live near a recycling centre that has provided some fantastic stuff that people simply throw away. And I dont get out much.

2) LGF: whats you best find?

LGF: In terms of value – a broken Macbook Pro – sold for silly money. In terms of ‘I’ll keep forever’ theres been some Campagnolo stuff that I simply couldnt part with. Theres also been some Hifi gear that I wont part with (my other interest).

3) LGF: Do you worry that people think you go around nicking stuff? Afterall, some of your ‘finds’ have been pretty spectacular.

LGF: Yes, I do worry, alot. I worked in Cash Converters for years and was offered so much hooky stuff. I learnt to spot the idiots – I’ve never knowingly accepted stolen goods. I’ve always bought from Police Auctions or recycling centres. Car boot sales are tricky, but experience helps. Its amazing what people consider rubbish.

4) LGF: do you have a criminal record?

LGF: Funny question, but, no, I dont. Regular CRB checks with my current job show I’ve never been the wrong side of the law. Can we talk cycling stuff now?

5) LGF: Sure, sorry – so, how long have you been rebuilding bikes?

LGF: Back in 1990 -ish a school mate gave me an old touring bike to do up for him. It was one of my best restorations. He was a good friend, I was proud of that rebuild.

6) LGF: whats been your favourite bike?

LGF: My first, nothing can ever reinact those first moments of freedom when you realise that you can actually ride a bicycle.


20 Questions with Keith Bontrager

March 5th, 2009

Second in the retrobike 20 questions series is a man who will need no introduction, Keith Bontrager. If you really need one check out his entry in the MTB Hall of Fame.

Keith Bontrager building 1980
Keith building in the garage 1980

Retrobike: How’s life?

Keith Bontrager: Life is pretty good, though complicated sometimes. Nothing
surprising I guess.

RB: Keith, what is the mtb holy grail?

KB: This is one for Gary F. He’s best at that kind of question.

RB: And what is the mtb holy fail?

KB: Getting too carried away with the mtb holy grail.

RB: Desert Island Discs Scenario – one luxury. Bike or corkscrew? Or
something else?

KB: Bike, as long as there isn’t too much sand. I have lots of ways to
get a cork out of a bottle besides a corkscrew.

RB: Wine. Bike. Love. Pick two?

KB: Bike & love. You didn’t say anything about beer and tequila so
I’ll improvise accordingly.

RB: You’ve always been seen about over this side of the pond. What is it
about the UK that has had you racing up wet English mountains on a cx
bike or trudging the innevitable mudfest conveyor belt that is Mountain
Mayhem 24hr each year (but we love it), when you’ve got such a lovely
array of nature over there?

KB: I get bored laying around on the beach in the sun and I have all
these nice warm clothes I never get to wear when I am here. Plus, I
really like falling over in the mud.


20 Questions with Jo Burt

January 26th, 2009

Welcome to the first in (hopefully) a series of industry profiles, features and interviews of various mountain Biking VIP’s. People that have been there through the ages, observing, commenting on and sometimes defining the times we all now refer to as the halcyon days of our sport.

In the first of Retrobike’s ‘20 Questions* with…’ series, we are proud to present an interview with the creator of everyone’s favourite mountain biking sheep, Mint Sauce. To those of you not aware of Jo Burt’s colourful and imaginative mountain biking timeline, check out the website dedicated to our woolly little friend, his chums and their seminal comic strip at

Jo Burt Malvern

*Retrobike reserves the right to make 20 Questions with… less questions if the interviewer runs out of ideas of good things to ask. ;-)

RetroBike: How, when and where was Mint conceived?

RB: How?

Jo Burt: I’m not entirely sure, a mix of pure brilliant inspiration and the bleeding f*cking obvious.

RB: When?

JB: Lunchtime, er, a while ago, about 23 years at a guess. Probably a Thursday.

RB: Where?

JB: Norwich.

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