Category Archives: Specialized

Happy Birthday Mountain bikes!

Recently, we reached the 40th anniversary of the first timed races organized by Charlie Kelly in Marin County, CA. These are the legendary Repack races, so named because you had to repack the grease that melted away from the blistering fire road downhill.

A lot of people – myself included – would consider these races to be the birth of mountain biking as we currently know it in 2016.

There are people will argue this though, and that’s fine – but they’re wrong.

Let’s explore why.

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Wikipedia

I haven’t let it consume a lot of my time, because it could easily do that, but I have gotten interested in editing Wikipedia articles about cycling topics. My memory is not great, but it’s not bad on old cycling stuff, so I’d like to get what memories I do have saved somewhere.

The only page I have edited so far, is for Kona. I just happened to look it up one day, and found that it was a total disaster;

Kona Bikes is a bicycle company based in the Pacific of Unitied kingdom.

I’ve always wanted to visit the Pacific of Unitied kingdom – I hear it’s beautiful in the fall.

Now, I don’t really care about Kona one way or the other, but everyone has a limit right? I guess that fantastically insane factual errors with typos in them is my limit.

I changed it to “Kona Bikes is a bicycle company based in the Pacific Northwest” with a link to the Wikipedia page for “Pacific Northwest.” I’m not sure why I went with this region rather than just naming the actual city in Washington where they are located, but, there you go.

I would try to break down why someone would say this Canadian/American company was actually from the UK, but the Pacific of Unitied kingdom is just so insane, I don’t know where to start.

Today, I was doing research for yet another Gary Fisher post, and as always, I started with his Wikipedia page. I found it to be useful, but flawed. I’m not sure why the author put a link to “Gary Fisher Bicycles” but pointed the link to the Trek Wikipedia page for instance. Also, in the Talk section for the article, people ask why there’s a broken external link to the Gary Fisher website, and why there’s no explanation as to Trek dropping the Fisher name entirely from its lineup.

I’ve been looking for the answer to that question for a while.

Anyway, Trek now owns Gary Fisher, but the Gary Fisher Bicycle company was its own entity at some point, so a link to that page would be great, but it doesn’t exist. I figure it should be one of those red links you see on Wikipedia, which I thought meant we think there should be a page for this, but there isn’t. It definitely shouldn’t be a link to Trek Bicycles.

I think we’re getting into some high-level, organizational arguments about how Wikipedia should be arranged. Or at least, how Gary Fisher’s entry should be arranged. Should there be a separate page for Gary Fisher the man, and another for Gary Fisher the bicycle  company, or can they be one in the same?

I thought I would look at Tom Ritchey’s entry, because you can make the same arguments for him. He’s in important person in mountain biking, and he runs an important cycling company. On his page, I found a fantastic quote;

The company initially was called Ritchey Mountain Bikes, with Ritchey fillet brazing over 1000 bikes over the course of those beginning three years. This high volume of production lead to Ritchey becoming mountain biking’s first production frame builder, earning him the moniker, “The General Motors of mountain bike frame companies,” from Mike Sinyard of Specialized.

Mike Sinyard of Specialized – Specialized!! – calling Ritchey the General Motors of MTBs… This was 1982, well before Specialized became the literal General Motors of cycling that they are now, but this is still an awesome pot-calls-kettle-black comment. It’s generally accepted that the first batch of Stumpjumpers was 500 bikes, so even back in ’82, this is a comical comment from Sinyard.

There’s your Wikipedia fun for today – amaze your friends with your new found information!

The Longest Running Name in Bikes

Just in case you’re feeling some deja vu here, yes I have posted this before. I have a bad habit of changing blog platforms on a whim, so I have posts all over hell’s half-internet, on four different sites.

I’ve decided that this is going to be the home of TeamCow for the foreseeable future, so I’d like to get everything together. This is one of the many posts that I thought was quite good, or at very least, one that I spent a lot of time on.

I posted this nearly a year ago, so it’s still mostly relevant.

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Midfat bikes

We’re only in the middle of the year, and already it’s time to start looking at 2016 bikes. Which is odd because while some companies are moving towards eliminating model years, everybody else seems hell bent on getting next years bike out as soon as possible.

Kinda reminds me of the owners of professional sports teams begging for salary caps. Essentially asking their league for protection from themselves. Maybe you should get yourselves all on the same page hmm?

Anyway, what’s happening in 2016 is the midfat bike. Without trying that hard, I’ve found four companies bringing out these hardtails in the fall; Airborne, Orbea, Trek, and Specialized. They like the Boost hub spacing (148mm rear, 110mm front) and run 27+ or 29+ wheels with 3.0″ or 3.25″ tires.

Now, any time you try to say that so-and-so invented a bike genre, someone will invariably come out of the woodwork with a story about their buddy that built a bike just like that back in ’85, blah blah blah. Fully expecting that to happen, I’m going to say that Surly invented the midfat bike.

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