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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 2:27 pm 
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GrahamJohnWallace wrote:
Ridgeback 1983 reference from the 1984 Freewheel catalogue.


That one looks like the one in the new Ridgeback catalogue and that's the 84. The one with bi-plane forks looks quite different and you said they had a bi-plane in 83? I wonder how many still exist - perhaps the one I saw was the only one left...


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 10:29 pm 
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On the basis that the 1983 model Ridgeback carried over into 1984, this page from the 1984 Freewheel catalogue may show a bike that is identical to the original 1983 spec.

In some general mountain biking blurb on an adjoining page they say that "The Ridgeback was the first off-road production cycle to appear on the European scene. To allow for the wetter conditions to be encountered, Ridgebacks are specially prepared of rust resistant materials and include provision for mudguards."

I myself don't have a problem with the claim of "first off-road production cycle to appear on the European scene." Though it could be argued that was in fact the second such cycle because the Clelands were produced in batches of ten starting from late 1982 onwards. However each Cleland frame was made to the size and colour requested in advance by the customer. A practice that more resembles that of one-off custom frame builders, than that of standard production batches where all the bikes in a batch are identical.

To describe the 1983 Ridgeback as the the first off-road mass-production cycle to appear on the European scene would be more accurate.


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File comment: Ridgeback STD from the Freewheel catalogue of 1984.
Ridgeback STD 198003.jpg
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:37 am 
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Seems maybe they imported various different frames without them necessarily being all the same. There's a reference to a higher and lower spec model too - that latest picture with the bi-plane forks has a double chainset and uses shimano, the one I saw was triple and all suntour. It was definitely green too, it's not just the camera. And original tyres! On an early 80s bike! It was still very solid and tight. Can't believe I missed it


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:00 am 
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The BMX stem and wide, completely straight bars on the second one with the double chainset must have made for rather interesting handling!


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:18 pm 
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jaypee wrote:
Seems maybe they imported various different frames without them necessarily being all the same.


Back in '88 I bought a second hand Ridgeback which was supposed to have been an '84 model. Strangely, even though the components were in unused condition, the frame had been resprayed by the LBS; it was badged as 531 and was TIG welded, or so I always thought...but someone on here recently said that 531 couldn't be welded -so perhaps it was (lumpy) micro-fillet brazed?


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:48 pm 
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ferrus wrote:
jaypee wrote:
Seems maybe they imported various different frames without them necessarily being all the same.


Back in '88 I bought a second hand Ridgeback which was supposed to have been an '84 model. Strangely, even though the components were in unused condition, the frame had been resprayed by the LBS; it was badged as 531 and was TIG welded, or so I always thought...but someone on here recently said that 531 couldn't be welded -so perhaps it was (lumpy) micro-fillet brazed?


LBS must have taken creative liberties with the decals

http://www.bretonbikes.com/reynolds.htm

It's not that it physically *can't* be welded - it's composition and properties in combination make it VERY unsuited to being TIGed - Impractical as an assembly technique


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:39 pm 
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An early Saracen ad, I'm guessing 1984 as by 1985 the Conquest had been launched


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:53 pm 
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hydorah wrote:
ferrus wrote:
jaypee wrote:
Seems maybe they imported various different frames without them necessarily being all the same.


Back in '88 I bought a second hand Ridgeback which was supposed to have been an '84 model. Strangely, even though the components were in unused condition, the frame had been resprayed by the LBS; it was badged as 531 and was TIG welded, or so I always thought...but someone on here recently said that 531 couldn't be welded -so perhaps it was (lumpy) micro-fillet brazed?


LBS must have taken creative liberties with the decals

http://www.bretonbikes.com/reynolds.htm

It's not that it physically *can't* be welded - it's composition and properties in combination make it VERY unsuited to being TIGed - Impractical as an assembly technique


That does seem the most likely answer. Odd thing is, from what I remembered from the Freewheel mag that model should have been spec'd with 531 + the shop confirmed they'd done the respray and presumably sourced the decal.

I kind of hated that bike to be honest. Along with a Dawes Ranger, and Muddy Fox Mogadon it put me off MTBs in the late '80s. I'd been yearning for one for years and like many had bodged knobbly tired 'trackers' from road bike, cycle speedway and motor bike bits. When MTB's arrived it was the most magical news imaginable!
Unfortunately the first ride was a bit of a rude awakening; I had a 7 mile road cycle to the parents where I planned to have a bash at this off-road time trial we used to do on our trackers a few years earlier - our very own Repack! (..but flat, slow and with only ever a couple of coughing, spluttering finishers) Anyway, the journey there was so shockingly hard work that I was rendered semi-comatose on arrival.
After riding light-ish bikes including the trackers, the whole experience was deeply dissapointing and the bike was resigned to the shed whilst I went to college, during which time it was sold.
I'm embarrassed to admit that I actually much preferred the more lively ride of a CX bike with Cow horn bars to those early Brit bikes, and it forged an aversion/predudice that I'm only just beginning to question.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:25 pm 
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I can relate to that as well

The first MTBs I saw didn't interest me enough to go and ride one

I was BMXer

By the late '80s I'd been loaned a mate's Raleigh Ozark

It looked ridiculous (to my prejudiced childish eyes) but it was incredibly useful. Those gears man! And those massive wheels getting over everything so I could see the upsides of the 'ATB'

By the time the Ozark was requested back I was able to badger my mum into getting me a Peugeot Scorpion.. Well nearly, they got me a 'Trail'... Which was a start at least

It had no lugs and sharper geometry much more like it. Screw you Ozark. The Ozark looked looked hideously dated - something like a tractor, and seemed more like a rig for an old man...

But now I am what I would have regarded as an old man!

And a bike that carries off a Brooks a set of guards, some lamps, perhaps even a rack is now very appealing, as is the relaxed geometry

And I now understand the dated looking lugged construction is quality stuff - Not to mention the classic aesthetic

- Teenage me would die!


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:36 pm 
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stanny wrote:
An early Saracen ad, I'm guessing 1984 as by 1985 the Conquest had been launched


Adds of this nature first appeared on the back cover of the first issue of Bicycle Action magazine in June 1984. Notice the phrase "THE FIRST AND THE BEST". This can't apply to success at racing as no UK racing events had taken place yet. I can only assume that it refers to them being the first British mountain bike to be sold?

Interestingly, Despite their earlier speculative claim to be first, a claim that does not appear in any of their early magazine adds that I have seen.


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