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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:30 pm 
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider

Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:33 am
Posts: 3099
Location: Riding my Woodsie.
Love to see these old ones. :D

I think a book on the early history of Mountain bikes in Britain needs to be written, with lots of pictures, and I think there are people on here with the facts and skills to do it. :wink:

Can I pre-order a copy? :lol:


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:53 pm 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider
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Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:25 pm
Posts: 924
Location: Near Wendover Bucks
firedfromthecircus wrote:
Love to see these old ones. :D

I think a book on the early history of Mountain bikes in Britain needs to be written, with lots of pictures, and I think there are people on here with the facts and skills to do it. :wink:

Can I pre-order a copy? :lol:


The "lots of pictures" will be tricky bit as most people were too busy riding to bother taking pictures.

Here is a list of some topics that could be covered:

*How the US mountain bikes came to Britain and who brought them here
*the history of British "Tracker" bikes
*the history of Cyclo-cross
*the history of Cycling speedway
*the history of various UK bicycle makers
*the history of British off-road bicycle design and innovation
*off-road cycling and bicycles before the mountain bike
*Bicycle infantry and military bicycles
*Roughstuff bikes and cycling
*The first UK mountain bike events
*Trials cycling and bikes

The main problems with compiling something is the time required to do things properly and to filter out the fact from the myth.

I have been intending for some time to produce a history of Highpath Bicycles which is a fascinating because no two Highpath Engineering bikes were the same and many were unique and innovative built to order prototypes. The strange thing despite dozens of these bikes being made there is virtually no information about them online.

There are a few old pre-mountain bike anecdotes here:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=63187


Attachments:
File comment: Highpaths and Clelands circa 1986
389174_455098137836427_1996628470_n(1).jpg
389174_455098137836427_1996628470_n(1).jpg [ 123.56 KiB | Viewed 670 times ]
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:07 pm 
Dirt Disciple
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Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:13 pm
Posts: 72
GrahamJohnWallace wrote:
firedfromthecircus wrote:
Love to see these old ones. :D

I think a book on the early history of Mountain bikes in Britain needs to be written, with lots of pictures, and I think there are people on here with the facts and skills to do it. :wink:

Can I pre-order a copy? :lol:


The "lots of pictures" will be tricky bit as most people were too busy riding to bother taking pictures.

Here is a list of some topics that could be covered:

*How the US mountain bikes came to Britain and who brought them here
*the history of British "Tracker" bikes
*the history of Cyclo-cross
*the history of Cycling speedway
*the history of various UK bicycle makers
*the history of British off-road bicycle design and innovation
*off-road cycling and bicycles before the mountain bike
*Bicycle infantry and military bicycles
*Roughstuff bikes and cycling
*The first UK mountain bike events
*Trials cycling and bikes

The main problems with compiling something is the time required to do things properly and to filter out the fact from the myth.

I have been intending for some time to produce a history of Highpath Bicycles which is a fascinating because no two Highpath Engineering bikes were the same and many were unique and innovative built to order prototypes. The strange thing despite dozens of these bikes being made there is virtually no information about them online.

There are a few old pre-mountain bike anecdotes here:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=63187


I'm delighted that this thread has inspired such fantastic contributions - I am fairly new to the forum and have learned so much - thanks all - keep the vintage pics coming . And put me down for a copy of that book!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:03 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 11:07 pm
Posts: 1902
Location: brighton
GrahamJohnWallace wrote:
It's also true that the Madison Ridgeback was the first mountain bike to be imported and sold in the UK in 1983, though a few UK framebuilders were making bespoke Ritchey copies as early as 1981. And the first Gary Fisher Klunker arrived in the UK in 1979. Before that you could have had a bespoke 650B Roughstuff bike made. These were similar to the US mountain bikes but with steeper frame angles, narrower tyres and drop handlebars.



GrahamJohnWallace wrote:
Though Ridgeback did also make one bi-plane fork model in 1985 the one in the picture is either from 1984 or 1983. If the chainset is original It should be a six speed freewheel Ridgeback XT model from 1984/5.


Well I guess that clears it up, thank you Graham. So it wasn't made here but was the first UK specific mtb, imported but specifically made for the UK market.

The one I saw had suntour 6-speed, pre-88 suntour (that's the limit of my knowledge) so I'd be surprised if it wasn't original as the bike hadn't seen much use. I think the tyres were original or certainly 80s and the saddle was in very good shape. Maybe there were options in terms of components?

I had a good look but didn't take any photos or pay too much attention as I anticipated picking it up later.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:32 pm 
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Location: The Cock Inn, Tillett, Herts
So what was the Cleland stuff if it wasn't specifically deigned for UK conditions and sold in the, er, UK?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:45 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:12 pm
Posts: 67
Location: United Kingdom
Unclejack wrote:
far too nice for a pub bike. But, IMO.. its not an '83. My understanding is...
Evans built up 2 Ritchey bikes for the Sahara trip done late 82 by 2 gents who's names escapes me at present. . Anyway, Evans liked the look of them and commissioned Bluemells to build some. The Evans bikes were predominately grey and said Evans on the seat stay and the Saracens were black and had Saracen on. they were 501. (on a side note although 531 had been around for decades as a tube I suspect that it wasn't available in ATB at this point. Certainly Raliegh didn't have it available in sufficient quantity for their 85 bikes). Then, Nick Crane who was a cycle journo in London and had previously borrowed a bike of Geoff Apps in 81 to ride up Snowdon and then some Muddy Foxes to do the Welsh peaks June 84 was looking for a bike for his Kilimanjaro trip in December 84. He ended up getting 2 Saracens that people believe were Conquests. They weren't. He had 2 501 bikes kitted with m700. Still in black, fully lugged but now no Saracen on the seat stay top, and with the external dimple on the chainstays. They came down from Kili and later that year Saracen was sold to the Stanifords. I believe they came up with the name "Conquest" and "Kili Flyer" etc - but Stanny will confirm. Conquests were 531 and kIli flyer 501 but not fully lugged - as per Kaya's bike. I think therefore it's an 85 built by Saracen for Evans. But maybe Stanny would like to comment ?

Anyway - that aside damn nice. :D


My father Paul and uncle Rick Stanforth bought Saracen in February 1985 and by then the Conquest had been launched in 531 tubing and later that year my Dad and uncle launched the Kili Flyer with 501, I remember brainstorming the name when the Kili Flyer name was decided upon. The Evans is highly likely to be 1985, or very late 1984. Before then the ATBs had 501 tubing without the Conquest name which the Cranes took up Kilimanjaro. Their bikes had the m700 kit on but most of the 501 Saracens had Suntour gears, Dia Compe brakes and Sugino crankset.

The Evans/Saracen 531 looks great


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:32 pm 
retrobike rider
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stanny wrote:
My father Paul and uncle Rick Stanforth bought Saracen in February 1985 and by then the Conquest had been launched in 531 tubing and later that year my Dad and uncle launched the Kili Flyer with 501, I remember brainstorming the name when the Kili Flyer name was decided upon. The Evans is highly likely to be 1985, or very late 1984. Before then the ATBs had 501 tubing without the Conquest name which the Cranes took up Kilimanjaro. Their bikes had the m700 kit on but most of the 501 Saracens had Suntour gears, Dia Compe brakes and Sugino crankset.
The Evans/Saracen 531 looks great

Hi Stanny. That fits very well with both my and Geoff Apps' memories of the history of Saracen:
GeoffApps wrote:
Saracen:
"They were first built by a company somewhere (I think) in the West Midlands. It was run by an individual and his wife (Name escapes me). When Blumels experienced a teriffic surge in sales of their MTB mudguards, they went on a spending spree, buying up quite a few companies, including Saracen. However, Blumels overstretched themselves and quite quickly went bust. The Stanforth Brothers snapped the Saracen company up, and are to be admired for the way they have stuck with the company. Monty Young, of Condor Cycles, claimed to have designed the Saracen.

(my information is that the Saracen/F.W. Evans ATB was Ritchey copy initially made from Reynolds 501 at the bequest of Gary Smith at F.W.Evans. Therfore the frame details and componentry were probably decided by someone at Saracen.)
And of the Ridgeback brand:

GeoffApps wrote:
"It's quite possible that the Ridgeback was designed in the far east. The new powerhouse then was Taiwan, mainland Japan was beginning to lose supremecy. The Taiwanese were very quick to copy the American designs and offer these without decals on the international market. I never heard any whispers as to who had designed the Ridgeback.
They were actually in the London Shops late summer 1983."

Interestingly the Ridgeback brand was conceived and the bikes sourced and imported by British cycling entrepreneur and Madison/Freewheel boss, Errol Drew. With Ridgeback and Saracen, and the later Muddy Fox bikes, it was fairly small UK based companies that introduced the mountain bike to Britain and not the big foreign firms or established UK cycling manufacturers like Raleigh.
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7667


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:22 am 
King of the Skip Monkeys
King of the Skip Monkeys
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Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2007 4:34 pm
Posts: 26181
Location: Moomin Valley
Why the bucking follocks did I sell mine?

Image

Because the crappy car let go, thats why... :roll:


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:25 am 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 7:13 pm
Posts: 2574
Location: The Cock Inn, Tillett, Herts
You mad man! Nice bike, quiet aura of sensible priced quality, some history Chucked in as well. 10 times more interesting than a GT Kristmaskrakeram or a Klein, and probably more usable to boot. Would love one myself.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:27 am 
King of the Skip Monkeys
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Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2007 4:34 pm
Posts: 26181
Location: Moomin Valley
Chopper1192 wrote:
You mad man! Nice bike, quiet aura of sensible priced quality, some history Chucked in as well. 10 times more interesting than a GT Kristmaskrakeram or a Klein, and probably more usable to boot. Would love one myself.



Its very unlikely I'll be able to assemble something like that again - although I do have some Deerhead mechs as a basis for a build.


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