1983 Freewheel catalogue - Ridgeback & Ritchey Pages

Synthiaks

Retro Guru
I tracked one down......so uploading in case its of interest to anyone else


@GrahamJohnWallace ...saw the info you had on an ancient '80's Ridgeback' thread in Marketplace.....

"Though the early frames were imported from the far-east, it is highly probable that the bikes were built up in the UK from using parts imported by Madison. The first ever Ridgeback bike was included in their 1983 Freewheel Catalogue and Madison claim that they "introduced the mountain mountain bike to the European scene" Interestingly, the 1983 and 84 the Freewheel catalogues do not refer to these bicycles as 'mountain bikes' but as 'all terrain bikes' of 'off-road bikes'."

....no mention of Mountain Bike, more Bridle paths & rough terrain!

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And the Ritchey....

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GrahamJohnWallace

Retrobike Rider
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Thank you very much for posting these scans from the 1983 Freewheel catalogue.

They are extremely informative and paint a picture of retailers selling mountain-bikes into a market who did not know anything about them. It is especially interesting that they are also targeting urban riders well before Muddy Fox started promoting their courier model.

Did you buy the catalogue, or is it still for sale?
 

Synthiaks

Retro Guru
Hi John,

Old catalogues are an amazing resource.

They have the whole 1983 Freewheel catalogue scanned at the University of Wawick archives along with lots of other catalogues and magazines.....you can pay for scans to be sent of whatever you want, theres a form to fill in etc, thats where i got this.

I have the same Ridgeback in the pic and was trying to confirm it was an '83 and check the original spec.
 

Synthiaks

Retro Guru
Hi John,

Old catalogues are an amazing resource.

They have the whole 1983 Freewheel catalogue scanned at the University of Wawick archives along with lots of other catalogues and magazines.....you can pay for scans to be sent of whatever you want, theres a form to fill in etc, thats where i got this.

I have the same Ridgeback in the pic and was trying to confirm it was an '83 and check the original spec.
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shedobits

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These were my wishing books BITD. Most of the pages were dedicated to road parts back then with Shimano being just one of several manufacturers.
I remember there was a Swiss firm that engraved Campag rear mechs too.
 

GrahamJohnWallace

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It is very interesting that as well as the allegedly UK designed, far-eastern manufactured Ridgeback, Freewheel were also selling the US designed, far-east built Ritchey MTB. I wonder whether this was part of the consignment of 20 Ritchey Montares that Richard Ballantine and Richard Grant imported in 1983?

What is also interesting is that the Ridgeback was a copy of the 1982 Specialized Stumpjumper, whilst the Montare was a mass-produced copy of a Ritchey / MountainBikes MTB.

The Stumpjumper had a different geometry which came about because Specialised asked for a discount when buying original Ritchey bikes. They wanted these bikes in order to copy them for their own production MTBs. Demand for hand-built Ritchey bikes at that time was very high. So instead of Specialized being given some Ritchey's that could easily be sold elsewhere for top dollar, they were given some bikes built around on frames that had been rejected because their geometry was incorrect.
 
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