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.
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
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.