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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 2:31 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 11:22 pm
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Location: Hove
Looking at Jez’ Salsa and Yo Eddy and Newsboy’s Hei Hei, it’s immediately obvious why retro bikes rule, but having missed out on the history, I’d be very interested in views on how all this came about.

For example, despite Chris Chance making these fantastic bikes, he must have gone out of business owing to economic factors, why? Ditto Rock Lobster, Bontrager, Ritchey and WTB (as framebuilders), and even Klein as an independent builder.

Basically, all the things we now see as having fantastic qualities must have gone out of production owing to lack of demand. Or at any rate, lack of demand at the price level which the builder needed in order to make a profit.

Random thoughts:

1. it must be partly about the demise of steel as a commercial proposition and to a lesser extent of titanium as a custom proposition

2. the rise to supremacy of aluminium must be linked to the development of suspension – less need for comfort or sophistication in frames, more need for light weight

3. those custom paint jobs must have cost more to produce than it did to build the frames

4. less demand for ‘jewel’ components must be linked to increased competence of generic ones

5. maybe Kona was never quite the same after Joe Murray left, but then neither was Voodoo.

6. maybe again related to technology, the type of biking people do has moved towards jumping and cavorting about, and away from cross country.

7. steel mtb frames are far more popular in the UK than in US - this I really don’t understand, but there seems to be little parallel in the US for On-One, Cotic, Dialled, Merlin/Rock Lobster, even Orange, why I wonder?

Any observations or bits of history to fill in the huge gaps in my knowledge would be extremely welcome.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 2:41 pm 
Mr Benn
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I've never understood why softails weren't more popular over here (UK). They are so well suited to this countries cross country riding.

Not that that really has any bearing on answers to your quieries...sorry.

:D


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 2:51 pm 
BoTY Winner
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Location: Durango CO, USA
A brief history of mountain biking - by me.

Fisher & Co. put gears on klunkers to get up hill when shuttle driver too drunk/stoned to drive.

Ritchey & Co. realize riding up is fun too, make more user-friendly frames.

The Big S makes mass-production mountain bikes. Racing becomes popular. Ned wins worlds. MTB'ing goes international.

Early nineties - MTB craze / race team demand inspires many upstart companies to make light, albeit non-functioning components. Few burn bright, many fade away. Aluminum becomes easier to work with, making it a more desirable race frame.

Mid-nineties - Suspension / DH craze ruins mountain biking. People realize their old steel hardtail is utterly worthless, buy a 28lb full-suspension, realize is sucks riding it uphill, hang both bikes in the garage. Lance wins tour in 99... people start buying road bikes.

2000s - people start 'getting rid of their junk' on ebay and retrobiking is born.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 2:54 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Location: Warwick
I think simply because mass production isnt liked as much as custom, low numbers stuff.

Ditto for old stuff that's rare to get hold of/not made any more. Demand and saliva-factor goes up.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 2:57 pm 
King of the DuckBoard
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Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 12:30 pm
Posts: 21466
IMO Why this is now retro is lots of it broke(poor R&D) eg Grafton or the 'names' eg Klein & co sold up either because they were going to go bust or 'the price was right' Also the market for 'high price' mtbs is very small. BITD my LBS would have loved to have had a shop full of Kleins & co but just not enough buyers ready to spend £1500+ on a frame set.
Business world is like a jungle and for the likes of Klein to survie when you have big cats like Trek around is hard. Also the world moves on, sadly. BUT I will still be on my Trimble with rigid Ritchey forks :D Wonder if i could be buried with my bikes :shock: :shock: :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 3:19 pm 
Mr Benn
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tintin40 wrote:
Wonder if i could be buried with my bikes :shock: :shock: :lol:



judging by the peaks ride Tony (and those horrible boulders you chucked down the hillside) you'll be buried BY your bikes before too long...

:lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 3:30 pm 
Old School Grand Master

Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2005 11:18 am
Posts: 15805
Location: near cwmcarn
Anthony wrote:
Looking at Jez’ Salsa and Yo Eddy and Newsboy’s Hei Hei, it’s immediately obvious why retro bikes rule, but having missed out on the history, I’d be very interested in views on how all this came about.

For example, despite Chris Chance making these fantastic bikes, he must have gone out of business owing to economic factors, why? Ditto Rock Lobster, Bontrager, Ritchey and WTB (as framebuilders), and even Klein as an independent builder.

Basically, all the things we now see as having fantastic qualities must have gone out of production owing to lack of demand. Or at any rate, lack of demand at the price level which the builder needed in order to make a profit.

Random thoughts:

1. it must be partly about the demise of steel as a commercial proposition and to a lesser extent of titanium as a custom proposition

2. the rise to supremacy of aluminium must be linked to the development of suspension – less need for comfort or sophistication in frames, more need for light weight

3. those custom paint jobs must have cost more to produce than it did to build the frames

4. less demand for ‘jewel’ components must be linked to increased competence of generic ones

5. maybe Kona was never quite the same after Joe Murray left, but then neither was Voodoo.

6. maybe again related to technology, the type of biking people do has moved towards jumping and cavorting about, and away from cross country.

7. steel mtb frames are far more popular in the UK than in US - this I really don’t understand, but there seems to be little parallel in the US for On-One, Cotic, Dialled, Merlin/Rock Lobster, even Orange, why I wonder?

Any observations or bits of history to fill in the huge gaps in my knowledge would be extremely welcome.


thats a massive list of questions that could take quite some time to answer... so I'll answer just 1. FAT did have financial struggles, the titanium & the later shockability along with various other factors wendyl has asked me not to share on a public forum did make life difficult.
although FAT joined up with serrotta, they did later buy themselves back out. FAT didnt go bust in the end, they just closed shop. ironic given the love of steel frames in the last few years.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 4:21 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:29 pm
Posts: 2378
Location: London
Couldn't have put it much better myself.

Add on the increase in interest in endurance / 24 hour / single speed and it brings it up to date!

And perhaps a mention for titanium for completeness

ameybrook wrote:
A brief history of mountain biking - by me.

Fisher & Co. put gears on klunkers to get up hill when shuttle driver too drunk/stoned to drive.

Ritchey & Co. realize riding up is fun too, make more user-friendly frames.

The Big S makes mass-production mountain bikes. Racing becomes popular. Ned wins worlds. MTB'ing goes international.

Early nineties - MTB craze / race team demand inspires many upstart companies to make light, albeit non-functioning components. Few burn bright, many fade away. Aluminum becomes easier to work with, making it a more desirable race frame.

Mid-nineties - Suspension / DH craze ruins mountain biking. People realize their old steel hardtail is utterly worthless, buy a 28lb full-suspension, realize is sucks riding it uphill, hang both bikes in the garage. Lance wins tour in 99... people start buying road bikes.

2000s - people start 'getting rid of their junk' on ebay and retrobiking is born.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 8:33 pm 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 3:07 pm
Posts: 2044
Thats amazing Amy. I could never sum up so much in so little so acuratley.

(You did forget to mention that: Mtb sus gets dialed, both in frame design and shocks [Curnutt/Float] and disc brakes beat the moronic concept of rim. Kick ass full sus that works up and down..25lbs. In your lbs now)


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 8:58 pm 
BoTY Winner
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Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:39 pm
Posts: 2568
Location: Durango CO, USA
Lid wrote:
Thats amazing Amy. I could never sum up so much in so little so acuratley.

(You did forget to mention that: Mtb sus gets dialed, both in frame design and shocks [Curnutt/Float] and disc brakes beat the moronic concept of rim. Kick ass full sus that works up and down..25lbs. In your lbs now)


You cant call rim brakes moronic. That would be like calling a rigid fork moronic. You have to appreciate what they had to work with back then...and in the end, a nice set of cantis set up work well enough and are a helluva lot lighter than disc brakes. If we were to talk about a breakthrough in stopping power - Vs over Cantis were a huge jump in performance and serviceability, much more (IMO) than discs over Vs.

I really dont think suspension and shock designs have gotten that advanced over there years. IMO, in the end, you still have the same performance advantages and disadvantages as you did ten, even fifteen years ago.

-Mike


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