Retrobike Forum Index

It is currently Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:01 am

* Login   * Register * Search  * FAQ



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 66 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:45 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
User avatar

Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:59 pm
Posts: 2240
Location: Kent, UK
This thread is brilliant! :D 8)

I'll have to build up what remains of my old Phillips. It's mostly there, but the original huge cow horns were thrown out by my father, in disgust, around about 1985!
I do have some Renthals for it though. It's a pity those Avon Gripsters are no longer available, the Schwalbes look a bit modern with very bright logos.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Trackers
PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 6:26 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:42 am
Posts: 2899
You can get the logos off, either a dab of acetone or scrape with a (very) sharp blade. (carefully of course!)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:01 pm 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:25 pm
Posts: 994
Location: Near Wendover Bucks
andyz wrote:
I'll have to build up what remains of my old Phillips. It's mostly there, but the original huge cow horns were thrown out by my father, in disgust, around about 1985!
I do have some Renthals for it though. It's a pity those Avon Gripsters are no longer available, the Schwalbes look a bit modern with very bright logos.

Andy, I look forward to seeing some pictures of the reassembled bike. Phillips was once the second biggest cycle manufacturer in the world after Raleigh and was a manufacturer of Cycle-Speedway bikes.
Attachment:
Phillips Track Star cycle speedway bike 1950.jpg
Phillips Track Star cycle speedway bike 1950.jpg [ 249.36 KiB | Viewed 1154 times ]

Attachment:
Phillips Track Star museum caption.jpg
Phillips Track Star museum caption.jpg [ 205.38 KiB | Viewed 1154 times ]


It would be great to display your Tracker next to the oldest surviving Geoff Apps Range-Rider at Icon-o-classic. A case of here is the Oldest British made mountain bike and here is a British bike that is 15/20 years older and yet part of the same cycling tradition.

Here is a quote from a Bike-Biz article on Raleigh regarding the origin of their Bomber model.
http://www.bikebiz.com/news/read/histor ... 2002/04539
"The models discussed thus far already existed when Yvonne Rix became product manager. Following her (1975) appointment, she noticed older teenagers in England riding conventional cycles fitted with dirt track racing handlebars and sorbo protective padding. This observation led her to instigate the Bomber. To get the desired image and line while minimising the need for retooling, the front end came from a bicycle already in the range, a Nigerian roadster providing the sloping cantilevered back end. Equipped with chunky tyres and specially-made handlebars, the Bomber somewhat resembled an early mountain bike but was well ahead of the MTB craze and was developed independently of it. Launched in 1981, it was promoted in an advertising campaign featuring pop star Toyah Wilcox."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Trackers
PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 11:37 pm 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:25 pm
Posts: 994
Location: Near Wendover Bucks
It's interesting to note that arrival of the mountain bikes in the mid 1980s saw a serious change in what people were prepared to pay for leisure bicycles.

In the early 1980s a good bicycle was generally expected to cost less than £100, the modern day equivalent of £387.53. However by 1984/5 a Saracen, the best selling mountain bike in Britain cost £325 the modern day equivalent of almost £1000. Few in Britain would have predicted this steep price rise in a country that thought of utility bicycles as being for children and people who could not afford cars/motorbikes. The relatively slow uptake of mountain bikes in the UK can be attributed to their relatively high prices and the time it took for people to get used to them.

To illustrate this point here are some price examples with the modern day equivalent prices in brackets:

1960s tracker bike = one bike and pair of cow horn handlebars rescued from a skip plus a couple of pounds for some knobbly tyres.
1981 Raleigh Bomber = £49 (£189.99)
1983 Ridgeback ATB = £275 (£838.39)
1984 Saracen ATB =£325 (£990.83)
1983 Cleland Aventura 531 = £430 (£1,312.40)
1983 Ritchey Montare MTB = £500 (£1,524.35)
And at the most expensive end of the market a custom made
1988 Highpath would cost you = £1,800 (£4,581.77)


Last edited by GrahamJohnWallace on Fri Apr 22, 2016 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: trackers
PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 7:17 pm 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider
User avatar

Joined: Wed May 07, 2008 5:12 pm
Posts: 1326
Location: Devon, England.
yep, we did trackers down in Torquay c.1967/8 too. Roadster frame stripped of the junk, hand paint job, cowhorns, 26 x 1 3/8" speedway tyres, 3 speed SA gears & rear brake only for 25 yard skids in the local parks. After I bent my forks I fitted some that were longer so the front brake didn't reach the rim anyway. Playing with frame geometry even then! Pity we didn't think of the smaller chain ring mod mentioned above though (or what about a 24" rear wheel?)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Trackers
PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2016 9:20 pm 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:25 pm
Posts: 994
Location: Near Wendover Bucks
In 1978 a nationwide competition to design a 'Bike of the Future' was launched. It was sponsored by the Sunday Times & British Cycling Bureau as representatives of the cycle trade). The competition was open to anyone as long as they provided at least one drawing of their design. The closing date for entry was 29/12/1978.

The entries for this competition included "a lot of designs" for 'Tracker' influenced off-road bikes. Though you wouldn't think so from looking at the competition report below.
Attachment:
ReportPageOneC.jpg
ReportPageOneC.jpg [ 163.84 KiB | Viewed 1021 times ]

Attachment:
ReportPageTwoC.jpg
ReportPageTwoC.jpg [ 154.59 KiB | Viewed 1021 times ]

Attachment:
ReportPageThreeC.jpg
ReportPageThreeC.jpg [ 318.37 KiB | Viewed 1021 times ]

In April 1979 the results were published.

So in light of the BMX cycling boom and the Mountain bike boom that happened a decade later how well did the entrants do in correctly predicting the future? Fairly well it seems. The judge’s report says: “The entries included a lot of machines looking much like one-person-powered scramble motorcycles”. What this range of designs looked like we may never know, though below is Geoff Apps' entry.
Attachment:
Geoff Apps Entry.jpg
Geoff Apps Entry.jpg [ 91.58 KiB | Viewed 1021 times ]


However, the judges from the great and the good of the UK 1970s cycling establishment didn’t so well in predicting the future. They awarded the top two prizes in the ‘working bicycles category’ to designs of futuristic looking but impractical small wheeled bicycles. Only the third prize winner Graham Herbert‘s ‘easy folder’ being practical enough to ever be produced. And whilst folding bicycles have since become popular this success has been based on the Andrew Ritchie’s 1980’s Brompton concept of folding small yet riding well.
Attachment:
Rules02C.jpg
Rules02C.jpg [ 132.39 KiB | Viewed 1021 times ]

In the ‘leisure bicycle category’, the main area of future growth, the judges decided not to award prizes saying:
“The entries for the leisure-bike class were disappointing. This may represent some deep psychological truth – we are good and concrete in describing hell but our description of heaven sounds like a wine-soaked eternity from Antibes – or it may simply result from the fact that not many vehicles apart from boats and skateboards are designed purely as pleasure vehicles.”


Market Pull
It would seem from this that a sizable number of entrants thought that future leisure cycling would include off-road cycling. History would prove them right as a UK market for adult off-road bicycles developing from 1984 with the introduction of the US mountain bikes. This grew until about 90% of all bikes sold in the UK were mountain bikes around 1995.

Technology-Push
The evidence from history is that there was little interest amongst the UK cycling establishment in the 1960s/70s & early 1980s for developing off-road bicycles and then pushing to create a market for them. Only following the surprise success of the mountain bikes in America were some UK manufacturers like Dawes persuaded to risk making them.

For the judges the very concept of cycling off-road entirely for pleasure, seemed to be an anathema. Later on the UK cycle industry rejected Geoff Apps designs usually saying that they saw no commercial future for such machines.
Attachment:
letterfromdawes001a.jpg
letterfromdawes001a.jpg [ 193.07 KiB | Viewed 1021 times ]

So the only mass-produced off-road bicycles to be developed from ‘Tracker Bike’ tradition appear to have been the Vindec Trekker, Halfords’ Trackstar, and Raleigh Bomber, etc. All budget low quality bicycles aimed at teenagers.

Though it was to be expected that some ‘Tracker’ bicycle riders would later move onto motorbike scrambling of trials riding, few expected that teenagers would still want to cycle off-road as adults.
Even less that some would still be doing so 40 years on.
Attachment:
UK bike sales 1975 - 1998.gif
UK bike sales 1975 - 1998.gif [ 94.78 KiB | Viewed 1021 times ]

UK bike sales showing the increase in sales caused by BMX in the early1980s
and the Mountain bikes (introduced in 1984 but started to sell well from 1987).


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Trackers
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 9:37 pm 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:25 pm
Posts: 994
Location: Near Wendover Bucks
Given all those years of teenagers messing around on 'Tracker' bikes surely some kind of 'Tracker' bike based racing must have taken place? Especially if these bikes were inspired by motorbike scrambling and trials?

Or was the competition more likely to be based on who could do the best jump, wheelie or tail slide?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Trackers
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 10:32 pm 
Old School Grand Master
User avatar

Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 1:31 am
Posts: 3469
Location: Stockport ..
This is a brilliant thread and explains the reason the 1st bike i made for off road out of an 1980 BSA Fire Bird was refered to as a Tracker by me Dad and until now i never new Trackers existed so would i have Tracker given the chance you bet i would ;) ..


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Trackers
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2016 10:57 pm 
NE, North and West Yorks AEC
NE, North and West Yorks AEC
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:33 pm
Posts: 2278
Location: By the sea
GrahamJohnWallace wrote:
Given all those years of teenagers messing around on 'Tracker' bikes surely some kind of 'Tracker' bike based racing must have taken place?

Or was the competition more likely to be based on who could do the best jump, wheelie or tail slide?



No organised racing just mates trying to out do each other, don't remember hearing of any racing but

I think I remember something on tv in about 1970/2 about trackers but can't remember if it was just about the bikes or racing.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Trackers
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:35 pm 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:25 pm
Posts: 994
Location: Near Wendover Bucks
I recently came across this account on Tony Hadland's website regarding 'Tracker' bikes.

https://hadland.wordpress.com/2012/06/3 ... tain-bike/

It questions in a rather tongue in cheek manner whether 'Tracker' bikes were an early form of mountain bike.

More interestingly it gives an account of the influences that made homemade 'Tracker' bikes popular among British teenagers in the 1950s, 60s, 70s, & early 80s....

"I want to take you back to England in 1958. This was still a rather tired little country even though the war had been over for thirteen years. Children and teenagers made their own amusements. If somebody in your street owned a television it would have been bought on credit, and would have been an attraction for visitors because they were still quite rare. Cars were the property of the well-to-do and life as such carried on very much as it had done before 1939, although drastic changes were only a few years away".

"I was thirteen in 1958 and had a burning desire to own a motorcycle! However not just an ordinary road going motorcycle, but a scrambler! (Moto Cross Bike) This desire had been fuelled by watching scrambling on television. (Somebody else’s I hasten to add!) Every Sunday afternoon I would watch Arthur Lampkin, Jeff Smith, Dave Bickers and others roar around muddy fields, flying through the air with perfect balance and performing such acrobatic feats on two wheels that I became well and truly hooked".

As a thirteen-year-old in the North of England in 1958, the chances of obtaining such a machine were what dreams were made of. But I was not the only thirteen year old with this dream. There were many others and, by some trick of fate, we had all built bikes that resembled as closely as a bike can, one of those motor cycle scramble machines. We called our machines “Dirt Trackers” or “Track Bikes”. [Not to be confused with the single-speed, fixed-wheel, lightweight racing bikes, traditionally referred to as track bikes".]


The writer and commenters of the article do not seem to know about is the sophistication of the 'Tracker' inspired bicycles designed and made by Geoff Apps. Nor do they know that the 1981 Raleigh Bomber was just a 'Tracker' bike copy but fitted with American 26" by 2.125 inch wide balloon tyres.

In fact the only Frank Berto MTB criteria that Apps' bikes does not meet is no 6: "Be of Marin County USA, origin". But whilst Apps tyres were labeled as 26"x 2" they where in fact larger diameter than the US 26" ones and what are nowadays known as 27.5" or 650b.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 66 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: d8mok, Eldolhor, M-Power, raidan73, videojetman, xerxes and 53 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  

About Us

Follow Retrobike

Other cool stuff

All content © 2005-2015 Retrobike unless otherwise stated.
Cookies Policy.
bikedeals - the best bike deals in one place
FatCOGS - Fat Chance Owner's Group

Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group