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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:25 pm 
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To be honest I'm suprised Apple hasn't been to court and claimed they invented it :D

most new fads, fashions, inventions will always be a collective of ideas by a collective of people with many observations.

Where identity goes awry is that it's often the person who shouts the loudest who are often identified as"the person" who may have created or invented this new thing/style/creation/trend

as to mountain bike history and creation..some people have been put forward as the creators..I would probably say they are a few of the directionalists that are more known but not the only ones who should be known

Of course none of this makes a slight hoot in my life when I'm riding the bike in the snow..which has just fallen..woohoooo


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:10 am 
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Repack Rider wrote:
If there was a 650B version of our bikes prior to 1979, I'm pretty sure I would have heard about it.


Did you make any 650B mountain bikes before you found out about the Nokia' Hakkapeliittas?

And did you have any other means of getting hold of Hakkapeliitta tyres apart from buying them from Geoff Apps?

My research into Nokia tyre production implies that Nokia only made Hakkapeliittas in small batches with quite long gaps between production runs. Perhaps even only one production run each year in preparation for the increased Winter demand. This may help to explain the story/myth that the Russian Army bought up all the tyres. As an unexpected increase in demand would have quickly exhausted their entire stocks for that year. There are also reports of some particularly harsh winters in Finland in the early 1980's which would have led to increased local demand for snow/ice tyres.

At the time, the Finnish Army had a guerrilla warfare strategy in case of Russian invasion. They knew that they could not defeat the Russians in head to head battle so developed a resistance strategy and infrastructure designed to make any invasion as costly as possible. The use of bicycles was one aspect of this strategy and was probably responsible for the introduction of wide, large diameter, snow and ice tyres.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:27 am 
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Repack Rider wrote:
If there was a 650B version of our bikes prior to 1979, I'm pretty sure I would have heard about it.


And that is about as close to certified proof as you could have.

The chronicler of the time has spoken. :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:57 am 
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I think the incontrovertible proof is the letters from Gary Fisher to Geoff Apps on the first page of this thread...

...650B wheeled off-road bikes were being developed both sides of the Pond, but Geoff was quite clearly the instigator of the use of large tyres that was picked up on in the US; no getting away from the fact that the American bikes were more aesthetically pleasing though... :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:18 pm 
retrobike rider
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Opps! double post!


Last edited by GrahamJohnWallace on Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:22 pm 
retrobike rider
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We_are_Stevo wrote:
I think the incontrovertible proof is the letters from Gary Fisher to Geoff Apps on the first page of this thread...

...650B wheeled off-road bikes were being developed both sides of the Pond, but Geoff was quite clearly the instigator of the use of large tyres that was picked up on in the US....


All the surviving contemporary documentation and the overwhelming weight of the recollections of Geoff Apps and numerous NorCal pioneers does point to the conclusion that Apps was the initial instigator in the use of large diameter wide tyres.
However none of the many recent 650B and 29er histories that I have read, mention Geoff Apps at all.

One reason for this could be that most of the NorCal pioneers who used the Hakkapeliittas simply didn't know where and who Gary Fisher and Charlie Kelly got them from. Tom Ritchey refers to the 650b tyres as coming from Gary Fisher. However, it could be that he never learned that they came from Geoff Apps in England. One NorCal pioneer who does refer to Geoff Apps as an instigator of use of big tyred mountain bikes is Joe Breeze. He wrote the caption below for the current mountain bike exhibition at San Francisco International Airport. It states that Geoff Apps introduced the Nokia Hakkapeliitta to Gary Fisher in 1981, and that they were rediscovered by Gary Helfrich and Bruce Gordon in 1987. What Joe Breeze does not know is that there is compelling evidence connecting the 28.5" x 1 5/8" (700x47C) Hakkapeliittas' introduction to there later rediscovery.

Kirk Pacenti was the prime instigator of modern 650b mountain bikes when he started making 650b tyres around about 2007. He says that he was unaware of the earlier 1980's 650b mountain bikes which implies that there is no direct link between the old and new 650b movements.

But when it comes to the development of modern 29er mountain bikes in the late 1990's, there are very strong links back to Apps and the 700c x 47mm Hakkapeliittas that he exported to America and also distributed, marketed and sold in the UK. And Kirk Pacenti can not credibly claim that his decision to develop 650b was totally unconnected to the earlier development of 29er bikes.


Attachments:
File comment: A 29er history written by Joe Breeze for the current mountain bike exhibition at San Francisco International Airport.
Joe Breeze 29er text 2012 a.jpg
Joe Breeze 29er text 2012 a.jpg [ 279.8 KiB | Viewed 955 times ]


Last edited by GrahamJohnWallace on Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:03 am, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:39 am 
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Right, but the next question is: who invented Geoff Apps?!


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 12:30 pm 
retrobike rider
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yo-Nate-y wrote:
Right, but the next question is: who invented Geoff Apps?!


Like the mountain bike he was not invented but evolved.

His influences were different to those of the NorCal pioneers. Geoff Apps' background as a motorbike Trials rider taught him many things and especially the value of wide low pressure tyres. He experimented with riding a wide variety of existing bikes of various wheel sizes in the English mud convinced him that generally speaking, large diameters work best off-road. So all he had to do then was tenaciously search the world for some suitable fat large diameter tyres with aggressive treads. No internet back then so his main sources of information where all types of cycling and motorbike publications from around the world. It was this widespread reading that led to him reading about Fisher and Kelly in the US and then making contact with them in 1980.

From a historical point of view it's the connection of many insignificant and seemingly inconsequential events that is most interesting. Break the chain of events at any point and the modern 29ers and 650b bikes may never have evolved. The order of events look something like this:

1975. For the first time in their history, Nokia start producing bicycle tyres at a newly built vehicle tyre plant. Geoff Apps is already on the lookout for large diameter fat off-road tyres. Meanwhile someone at Nokia has the idea of using the Hakkapeliitta tread pattern to produce specialist Winter tyres for bicycles.

1978. Nokia start producing wide, large diameter snow and ice tyres. Probably to meet the needs of the Finnish Army?

Geoff Apps reads a cycling magazine article about winter cycling in Finland and contacts the UK importer of Nokia car and tractor tyres. They do not import Nokia bicycle tyres but he eventually persuades them to supply him with tyres.

Early 1979. Apps builds his first 650b Hakkapeliitta off-road bicycle.

Early 1980. Apps reads about Gary Fisher, Charlie Kelly and their mountain bike and makes contact.

Late 1980. Apps sends over the first of many Hakkapeliitta tyres, some 650b x 44mm (1 5/8") Hakkapeliittas. (This is size of Hakkapeliitta fitted to the alleged 1977 Ritchey. The 650Bx54mm tyres that Apps later sent would be too wide to fit that bike).

Late 1981/Early 1982? The first 650b Hakkapeliitta mountain bikes are made in the US. In England Apps built the first 700x47C Cleland off-road bicycle.

1982-84. Apps exports more Hakkapeliittas to the US including 650x54B and 700x47C tyres. More NorCal frame builders become involved in building Hakkapeliitta tyred bikes including: Ross Schafer, Lennard Zinn and Jim Merz.

Around 1984/5? Fisher/Kelly stop importing Hakkapeliittas from Apps.

1987. Gary Helfrich and Bruce Gordon rediscover the 700x47C Hakkapeliitta. (At the time Ross Schafer's workshop was next door to Bruce Gordon's)

1988: Charlie Kelly publishes a picture of a 700c wheeled Geoff Apps designed off-road bicycle in his "Mountain Bike Book"

1988. Bruce Gordon, and Joe Murray? copy the 700x47C Hakkapeliitta and manufacture the copy in the form of the 700x40C Cheng Shin' Rock n' Road tyres.

They were fitted to bikes especially made by Bruce Gordon and Wes Williams. This sorted out the supply issues with the tyres from Finland but by then the smaller and readily available 26" wheels were firmly established as the norm.

1998: Gary Fisher and Wes Williams were the two key movers who persuading WTB to produce the NanoRaptor 700C x 52mm tyre. Which later became known as the first 29er tyre despite the fact that there overall diameter of 28.6 inches was slightly less than 29"


Attachments:
File comment: Early 1979. The First purpose built Geoff Apps designed 650B off-road bicycle.
1979 Cleland Prototype in Iceland.jpg
1979 Cleland Prototype in Iceland.jpg [ 165.96 KiB | Viewed 885 times ]
File comment: Charlie Kelly publishes this picture of a 700c wheeled Geoff Apps designed off-road bicycle in his "Mountain Bike Book"
4321632293_01fcfb3fa1_b.jpg
4321632293_01fcfb3fa1_b.jpg [ 351.65 KiB | Viewed 885 times ]
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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 5:26 pm 
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Here is an account of the building of the 650b Ritchey/MountainBikes bikes from Marin' frrame-builder Lennard Zinn.

"When I was working in Tom Ritchey’s framebuilding shop in 1981, he made some bikes for himself and friends to fit some Nokian Hakkapeliitta 650b tires that Gary Fisher was importing. (At the time, Ritchey was building bikes that Gary Fisher was distributing through his shop in San Anselmo, CA, and they carried the Ritchey logo with “Mountain Bikes,” Fisher’s business name, superimposed over it).

The Hakkapeliitta tires were great compared to the 26-inch mountain bike tires you could find at the time. The Hakkapeliitta casing was supple, the weight was low, and the tread pattern was refined, fast, and quite aggressive, whereas the 26-inch tires of the day were just big square blocks on a heavy carcass. You could even get studded Hakkapeliitta 650b tires, as those were used for bike racing on frozen lakes in Finland, where the tires were made. According to Wikipedia, Nokian adopted the Hakkapeliitta name for its winter tires in 1936. It still uses it.

We used Super Champion 650b tandem rims back then, which were lighter than most 26-inch mountain bike rims of the time.

After all, you should remember that a primary reason 26-inch became the default mountain bike tire size starting in the 1970s and 1980s was simply that import duties on them were cheaper, as the US Customs Dept. charged a higher duty rate on adult bikes than on children’s bikes, and it considered 26-inch to be a children’s-bike tire size.

The sweet fillet-brazed Ritchey 650b bikes Tom was making then were great – light, nimble, and faster-rolling than the Ritchey standard-production 26-inch bikes.

When I left Tom’s employ and came back to Boulder, I took a Ritchey 650b bike with me and rode it for years, including in some cyclocross races as well as all over the Crested Butte area on my honeymoon in 1983. I loved that bike. It always drew lots of looks, because there were no others in Colorado at the time.

I built a number of 650b mountain bikes after I started my own framebuilding business in 1982, and my customers loved them, but when Fisher could no longer get the tires in 1983 or 1984, I quit doing so."


From "What's the big deal with 650b?
By Lennard Zinn
Published Jun. 26, 2012
Updated Oct. 11, 2012
http://velonews.competitor.com/2012/06/ ... 50b_252295

This account fits in with the timeline of Geoff Apps letters to Fisher and Kelly. However it does not support Tom Ritchey's dating of the building of these Hakkapeliitta tyred bikes to 1977. The fact that Geoff Apps was supplying the tyres to Fisher and Kelly is not mentioned supports the theory that the frame-builders, who built these bikes, did not know where the Hakkapeliittas came from. This could explain why Fisher, Kelly and Breeze have supported Geoff Apps nomination to the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame whilst other Marin pioneers appear not to have heard of him at the time. If Zinn had known about Apps in 1983, he could have continued making 650b bikes by getting the tyres directly from him. The reason for keeping the source of the Hakkapeliitta tyres secret was simple. They were potential race winners, and better than the tyres used by other teams.


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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 6:55 pm 
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Ah, but Geoff wears tweed, incontrovertible proof the he not only invented the mountain bike, but also the bicycle and the wheel itself.


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