Retrobike Forum Index

It is currently Sun Dec 11, 2016 7:09 am

* Login   * Register * Search  * FAQ



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 27 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3
Author Message
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:54 pm 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:25 pm
Posts: 924
Location: Near Wendover Bucks
Thanks for that info halaburt. It's a shame that we don't have a picture of these bikes. Of course the issue of was it a cyclo-cross or a mountain bike is pertinent here as 700c were standard issue on cyclo-cross bikes. Back in the early 80's there was no limmit for cyclo-cross tyre width. But today it's 33mm having been lowered from 35mm in 2010. It could even be argued that these bikes were early examples of what becane known as Hybrids?

Here's some more info on these 700c wheeled bikes from Marin pioneer and co curator of the Mountain bike Hall of Fame Don Cook:
"Curious as to the beginning of big wheel usage on the mountain bike yet? I thought so. For me it began in September 1980. A gang of riders from Marin made their way out to Crested Butte for the 5th Annual Pearl Pass Tour. Among them was Charlie Cunningham (HOF Inductee, 1988). Charlie and I got along famously from our first ride together. He was sporting this homemade 24lb. aluminum rig with drop bars and could ascend and descend like no one I'd ever seen. Remember this is 1980, so a 24lb. bike that could take the abuse Charlie was dishin' it had my attention. He was polite when we talked and said anytime I was out in Fairfax I was welcome to come by his little factory. I did just that the following April and ended up working for Charlie for two months, making parts for my own aluminum Cunningham rig and schooling off of all the other Fairfax brain trust. Charlie had several fun bikes to ride, a 20" rear/26" front wheel off-roader, a couple standard mountain bikes and Charlie's "personal" bike, which was a 700c pseudo dirt rider. It had a 27" x 1 3/8" tire on the front and a 700c x 35mm tire on the back, both Schwinn gumwalls. It also had Charlie's custom bent drop bars, which many found bizarre for dirt riding. That bike quickly became my favorite and we began fighting over it when it was time to ride. Charlie is a mellow man so I got to ride it quite a bit. I ended up working for Charlie the next two years in the spring months and the same thing happened every trip. If I could make a certain amount of whatever parts Charlie needed or clean and steel wool a certain amount of tubing, I got to ride the "dirt racer" that day. At the time I could not have told you why it was more fun, it just was".

"As mountain biking began to take off in the early '80s and things started happening fast with new products and materials, the standard Cunningham Indian he made is what was in demand and so the 700c "dirt racer" went back to what it started as, Charlie's commuter. I was very involved with product development of all kinds at the time, studying under and testing for Tom Ritchey (HOF Inductee, 1988), Steve Potts (HOF Inductee, 1989), and Scot Nicol (HOF Inductee, 1990), while still doing stuff for Charlie and working with Shimano to introduce their new Deore mountain bike gruppo. Oh those days were fun, working with Keizo Shimano (HOF Inductee, 2000) and his engineers, what a time. I didn't forget about the "dirt racer" but with all the cool stuff to play with on my standard bike there was no time to think about anything else. Although I never did have enough money to have Charlie build one of his dirt racers for me, I was not the only one who felt this kind of bike needed more attention. Suntour began sponsoring Charlie's race team in '84 and two of the team members, Steve Cook (HOF Inductee, 1988) and Tracy Smith, who were also from Crested Butte, talked Charlie into making them each one for what they called "training purposes." Those lucky shits, I'd love to have them write about their experiences from back then".

Full Dirt Rag article here:
http://www.cunninghambikes.com/charlie- ... t-rag.html


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:15 pm 
98+ BoTM | BoTM | PoTM Winner
98+ BoTM | BoTM | PoTM Winner
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:53 am
Posts: 267
Location: San Rafael, CA, USA
GrahamJohnWallace wrote:
...It's a shame that we don't have a picture of these bikes...

Here is Charlie riding his heavily-modified Gitane(?) that pre-dates his Cunninghams. Photo is from the aforementioned http://www.cunninghambikes.com website:

Image

And here is Cunningham Expedition #CC (still in use by him today). This would be the bike that Don Cook was referring to in that quote you posted. It has a 27" front wheel and a 700c rear:

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:31 pm 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:25 pm
Posts: 924
Location: Near Wendover Bucks
Thanks for posting those halaburt.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 7:29 pm 
Retro Guru
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:09 am
Posts: 2393
Location: SoCal, US
Will be passing through there this weekend, will take some pics as well.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:18 am 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:25 pm
Posts: 924
Location: Near Wendover Bucks
Here is a copy of the caption relating to the 29er exhibit:

The 29er
"From his earliest days as a bike builder in the early 1980s, Wes Williams believed that all mountain bikes were patterned from an incorrect and arbitrary model—the 1930s 26-inch balloon-tire wheel size used in the early 1970s—and was determined to correct this mistake. Williams’ pursuit large-wheel bikes began while he was working as a designer and frame builder for Scot Nicol in the late 1980s and early 1990s at Ibis Cycles in Sebastopol, California. Williams developed a friendship with fellow frame builders Bruce Gordon and Gary Helfrich, who shared their discovery of the 28-inch Nokian Hakkapeliitta tire that was first introduced to Marin County's Gary Fisher and Charlie Kelly by English off-road bike pioneer Geoff Apps in 1980. Williams proceeded with a series of experimental frames to accommodate larger wheels on mountain bikes. In 1994, Williams left Ibis to start Willits Bikes in Crested Butte, Colorado. The Willits Monster X is one of Williams’ “cyclocross bikes on steroids” and features the Nanoraptor tires introduced by Wilderness Trailbikes in 1999. Although this early hybrid of road, cyclocross, and mountain bike left many in the industry puzzled at the time of its debut in 2000, Williams’ vision for a new model has been realized in the form of the “29ers” that are increasingly popular with today’s mountain bikers".

I assume that this has been written by Joe Breeze who curated the exhibition. Whilst the fact that Gary Fisher and Charlie Kelly could get hold of large diameter off-road tyres was well known, that they came from an Englishman called Geoff Apps seems to have been kept secret. It appears that only Fisher Kelly and Breeze knew the true origin of these tyres and not even the Marin frame-builders who built bikes around these tyres new where they came from. The reason for the secrecy may have been because they performed well in the races, Fisher and Kelly didn't want the opposition to get hold of them. Today, as a result of this secrecy, Apps' small but influential contribution to the development of mountain bikes is not widely appreciated.

The link the text does not explain is Gary Helfrich found an old Apps 700x47c Hakkapeliitta tyre and showed it to frame-builder Bruce Gordon. Gordon and others were so impressed by this tyre that they had copies manufactured so they could then build big wheeled bikes. They called these copies the "rock n' Road" tyre. The precursors to the 700c WTB Nanoraptor which is now referred to as the first true 29" tyre. Despite actually measuring less than 29".

It would be interesting to know exactly where Gary Helfrich found the 700c Hakkapeliitta. However he may not have had to go far as nextdoor to Bruce Gordon's workshop was the workshop of Ross Shafer (not Schafer). And Shafer was one of the frame-builders who used Apps' supplied Hakkapeliitta tyres in the early 1980s.


Last edited by GrahamJohnWallace on Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:54 am 
98+ BoTM | BoTM | PoTM Winner
98+ BoTM | BoTM | PoTM Winner
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:53 am
Posts: 267
Location: San Rafael, CA, USA
It's Ross SHAFER (not Schafer).


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:08 pm 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:25 pm
Posts: 924
Location: Near Wendover Bucks
halaburt wrote:
It's Ross SHAFER (not Schafer).


Opps :facepalm: Thanks for the spell-check!


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 27 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot] and 31 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  

About Us

Follow Retrobike

Other cool stuff

All content © 2005-2015 Retrobike unless otherwise stated.
Cookies Policy.
bikedeals - the best bike deals in one place
FatCOGS - Fat Chance Owner's Group

Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group