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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:11 am 
retrobike rider
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We all know the story of the first mountain bikes:
"Joe Breeze is normally credited with introducing the first purpose-built mountain bike in 1978. Tom Ritchey then went on to make frames for a company called MountainBikes, a partnership between Gary Fisher, Charlie Kelly and Tom Ritchey."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of ... ain_biking

However recent publicity relating to the Latest 650b mountain bikes appears to be rewriting this history by saying that the first Ritchey build mountain bike was made in 1977, and had 650b wheels.

The fact that Ritchey made some of the first 650b wheeled mountain bikes using 650b Nokia Hakkapeliitta tyres is well documented. But the earliest published reports of these bikes that I have seen, date from 1982, five years after the uncorroborated 1977 date.

The use of 650b wheels fitted with narrow tyres was not unheard of in 1970's America. So it would have been quite possible for Ritchey and other NorCal builders to have made traditional 650b bikes. Maybe Cyclo-cross or English style rough-stuff bikes. But it would be highly misleading to describe them as mountain bikes.

Search 1977 and 1979 in this 2013 Ritchey catalogue:
http://velosprint.ua/images/Catalogs/ri ... e-2013.pdf

Some reminiscences from NorCal framebuilder Lennard Zinn
http://velonews.competitor.com/2012/07/ ... 50b_252332

http://www.myfaq.co.uk/2012/06/26/tech- ... with-650b/

http://velonews.competitor.com/2012/09/ ... ngs_252520
Photo#3

Ritchey Bikes Time line:
http://www.oldmountainbikes.com/bikes/


Attachments:
File comment: 1977 650B? Interbike 2012
252448_10151060302726658_941663931_n.jpg
252448_10151060302726658_941663931_n.jpg [ 34.16 KiB | Viewed 2337 times ]
File comment: Caption from the 650b Ritchey displayed at Interbike 2012
650b 1977.jpg
650b 1977.jpg [ 83.77 KiB | Viewed 2337 times ]
File comment: Earliest known published article on 650b mountain bikes.
Bicycling Magazine 1982.

Hakkapeliitta013.JPG
Hakkapeliitta013.JPG [ 184.19 KiB | Viewed 2337 times ]
File comment: Tom Ritchey and an early 650b mountain bike at Interbike 2012
8003675297_067fbe56cc_o.jpg
8003675297_067fbe56cc_o.jpg [ 131.54 KiB | Viewed 2337 times ]


Last edited by GrahamJohnWallace on Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:52 am, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:10 am 
BoTM Winner
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So the Finn's invented Mountain biking?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:03 am 
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This bike made quite a splash at InterBike this year. It was confusing, because it gave the distinct impression of being a historic bike built in 1977. This bike was obviously displayed to stake historic claim on the current 65B craze. That was Professor J.F. Scott's (RIP) deal. The text accompanying the bike was quite vague, and for good reason. It was not built in 1977, but Tom now says he definitely built one just like it back in '77 and this is a replica of that bike, though none of the parts on this bike were available before 1980. Confused yet? This bike was probably built in the early(ish) 1980s as a special order. Some bikes of that size were definitely built in the '80s by TR and this is one of them. Not one person I ever spoke to actually saw the original phantom '77 650B bike back then. As you might imagine, if they had that would have been BIG NEWS! It never once came up in my research or in my countless hours of conversations with Tom, Joe, Gary, J.F. Scott (RIP) and everyone else who was around back then. The way I heard it, Tom told Joe he 'was planning on making a 650B bike' when Joe finally showed him Breezer #1. That meeting with Tom didn't take place until January of 1979. Joe had been racing that bike for more than a year by the time Tom even saw it. Seeing Joe's bike Tom realized the higher volume of the readily available 2.125 rubber was clearly the way to go on rugged terrain. In the end it matters not. Legends all. 8)


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:06 am 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Ductape wrote:
So the Finn's invented Mountain biking?


no silly the english did, its all there.

Finley Scott asked Tom Ritchey to copy an english bike called the Woodsy which was a purpose built off road bicycle.

so all the americans contributed to it all was the stop watch, which they didnt invent either :P


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:10 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2006 5:11 pm
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One question:

The Finnish company Nokia made these 650b off road tyres.

What bike were these originally designed to be fitted to? Surely these pre date everything the Americans or English fitted the tyres to.

To tool up for production of a specific tyre, there must have been quite a few made. However perhaps it wasn't a purpose built off road bike.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:55 am 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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was8v wrote:
One question:

The Finnish company Nokia made these 650b off road tyres.

What bike were these originally designed to be fitted to? Surely these pre date everything the Americans or English fitted the tyres to.

To tool up for production of a specific tyre, there must have been quite a few made. However perhaps it wasn't a purpose built off road bike.


if you have a read through the above links there is some reference to ice racing with studded tyres, and also russia buying up a whole years supply of the 650b tyres. Perhaps given the icy muddy conditions in these countries these tyres were perhaps fitted to standard bicycles to make em usable as this was a common wheel size of the day


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:01 am 
retrobike rider
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klunkerbill wrote:
This bike made quite a splash at InterBike this year. It was confusing, because it gave the distinct impression of being a historic bike built in 1977. This bike was obviously displayed to stake historic claim on the current 65B craze. That was Professor J.F. Scott's (RIP) deal. The text accompanying the bike was quite vague, and for good reason. It was not built in 1977, but Tom now says he definitely built one just like it back in '77 and this is a replica of that bike, though none of the parts on this bike were available before 1980. Confused yet? This bike was probably built in the early(ish) 1980s as a special order. Some bikes of that size were definitely built in the '80s by TR and this is one of them. Not one person I ever spoke to actually saw the original phantom '77 650B bike back then. As you might imagine, if they had that would have been BIG NEWS! It never once came up in my research or in my countless hours of conversations with Tom, Joe, Gary, J.F. Scott (RIP) and everyone else who was around back then. The way I heard it, Tom told Joe he 'was planning on making a 650B bike' when Joe finally showed him Breezer #1. That meeting with Tom didn't take place until January of 1979. Joe had been racing that bike for more than a year by the time Tom even saw it. Seeing Joe's bike Tom realized the higher volume of the readily available 2.125 rubber was clearly the way to go on rugged terrain. In the end it matters not. Legends all. 8)


Thanks Klunkerbill, that information is most helpful. I have researched the History of Nokia' Hakkapeliitta tyres and have been waiting for photos of these "competition" bikes to turn up for years. However 1977 does not fit well with the Hakkapeliitta timeline. Nokia only started making bicycle tyres in 1975 and the first 650b Hakkapeliittas listed are from 1978. And the first recorded exports of Nokia tyres to North America date to late 1980. So for 1977 to be correct a 650b mountain bike would have to have been designed for another make of tyre.

According to Tom Ritchey in his video, John Finley-Scott was inspired to build his 1953 "Woodsie" bike after seeing English Roughstuff bikes.
The video shows this picture of this English "Woodsie" bike. From this it could be interpreted that the 1977 650b bike was a straightforward copy. An 650b off-road bike yes, but not a fat tyred mountain bike.

http://vimeo.com/47207697
Relevant section from 8 minutes 30"


Attachments:
File comment: English 650b "Woodsie" Roughstuff bike made by Jim Guard.
English 650b Woodsie bike made by Jim Guard.jpg
English 650b Woodsie bike made by Jim Guard.jpg [ 24.85 KiB | Viewed 2198 times ]
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:13 am 
retrobike rider
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Charlieboy28 wrote:
was8v wrote:
One question:

The Finnish company Nokia made these 650b off road tyres.

What bike were these originally designed to be fitted to? Surely these pre date everything the Americans or English fitted the tyres to.

To tool up for production of a specific tyre, there must have been quite a few made. However perhaps it wasn't a purpose built off road bike.


if you have a read through the above links there is some reference to ice racing with studded tyres, and also russia buying up a whole years supply of the 650b tyres. Perhaps given the icy muddy conditions in these countries these tyres were perhaps fitted to standard bicycles to make em usable as this was a common wheel size of the day


Correct. But the production of bicycle snow tyres only started in 1975. At first they only made non-studded tyres in narrower widths. But by 1979 they were making bicycle tyres as wide as 54mm, reportedly for Finnish Army use. And big diameter tyres whose outside diameters were as large as 722mm (28.5 inches)


Attachments:
File comment: A Finnish Nokia' Hakkapeliitta tyred bicycle circa 1978
Hakkapeliitta012.JPG
Hakkapeliitta012.JPG [ 104.56 KiB | Viewed 2195 times ]
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:16 pm 
retrobike rider
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klunkerbill wrote:
This bike made quite a splash at InterBike this year. It was confusing, because it gave the distinct impression of being a historic bike built in 1977. This bike was obviously displayed to stake historic claim on the current 65B craze.


My research indicates that the early 1980's 650B mountain bikes and modern 650b bikes are not connected. The early NorCal traddition of building 650B mountain bikes died out when Gary Fisher and Charlie Kelly lost interest in importing them from Geoff Apps. Some NorCal frame-builders say they they wanted to carry on building 650b mountain bikes but Fisher and Kelly appear to not have passed on the details of their supplier.

The founder of the modern 650b movement, Kirk Pacenti says that he was unaware of the 1980's bikes when he first started promoting this wheel size around 2007. In which case, no one involved with the early bikes can stake a claim on any historic influence. The very best they can claim is that they thought of the idea first.

klunkerbill wrote:
Some bikes of that size were definitely built in the '80s by TR and this is one of them. Not one person I ever spoke to actually saw the original phantom '77 650B bike back then. As you might imagine, if they had that would have been BIG NEWS!


Indeed. In order to exist a 1977 650b mountain bike would require wide and aggressively treaded 650b tyres. If no such fat tyres were attainable, then no such bike could be made

klunkerbill wrote:
The way I heard it, Tom told Joe he 'was planning on making a 650B bike' when Joe finally showed him Breezer #1. That meeting with Tom didn't take place until January of 1979. Joe had been racing that bike for more than a year by the time Tom even saw it. Seeing Joe's bike Tom realized the higher volume of the readily available 2.125 rubber was clearly the way to go on rugged terrain.


But in 1981 when English off-road cycling pioneer Geoff Apps started sending 650b Nokia' Hakkapeliitta tyres to Charlie Kelly and Gary Fisher , it was Tom Ritchey they turned to for suitable frames.


Attachments:
File comment: Letter from January 1981 saying that the first 650b Hakkapeliitta tyres had arrived.
But no mention of any bikes being built yet.

letterfromckandgf001c.jpg
letterfromckandgf001c.jpg [ 98.38 KiB | Viewed 2051 times ]
File comment: Letter telling of the race success of a Lennard Zinn built 650b "Competition" mountain bike.
Hakkapeliitta024.JPG
Hakkapeliitta024.JPG [ 156.31 KiB | Viewed 2051 times ]
File comment: 1979 650b English off-road bicycle
bicycle-times Lc.jpg
bicycle-times Lc.jpg [ 223.11 KiB | Viewed 2051 times ]
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:14 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2006 5:11 pm
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GrahamJohnWallace wrote:
But by 1979 they were making bicycle tyres as wide as 54mm, reportedly for Finnish Army use.





So the Finnish army invented the 650B "off road" push bike in 1979 (?)

Any pics of these bikes?


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