Blast From The Past

Blast From the Past: A mountain bike ride and interview with Bob Weir

  Editor’s note: As we enter the 30th year of Dirt Rag we look back on what a long strange trip it has been. This interview of Grateful Dead founding member & Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bob Weir—conducted by Mountain Bike Hall-of-Famer Charles Kelly—was first published in Dirt Rag Issue #23 in April 1992. […]

In Print: Be Kind, Rewind— 1992 Cunningham Racer

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in issue 208 of Dirt Rag Magazine. Like what you see? Subscribe now at dirtragmag.com/subscribe to catch issue 210, coming real soon.  By Martin Kozaczek A consummate tinkerer, Charlie Cunningham started making magnesium stems and aluminum seatposts for road bikes in the mid-1970s. By the end of the decade […]

Be Kind, Rewind: Yeti Arc prototype

Editor’s note: This story originally ran in issue 206 of Dirt Rag Magazine. Like what you see? Issue 207 is out now on newsstands. Click here to subscribe today to ensure you never miss a story. By Martin I love a good barn find. I mean, who doesn’t love a story about an old relic […]

Blast from the Past: A Spine Owner’s Manual

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in Dirt Rag Issue #142, published in May 2009. Words by David Alden-St. Pierre, MS, PA-C. Medical illustrations by Molly Thompson of Thompson Medical Illustrations. There’s nothing like an epic day in the saddle: a few hours of riding, burning lungs, tired muscles, and for some riders, an aching […]

Blast from the Past: The Original Dirt Fest

This story first appeared in December 2016. With Dirt Fest West Virginia kicking off, we thought it would be fun to revisit this trip down memory lane. Enjoy! And hopefully, we’ll see you this weekend at Big Bear Lake, West Virginia. The first edition of Dirt Rag’s Dirt Fest took place in 1991 at Camp […]

Blast From the Past: Guerrilla Girls

Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in Dirt Rag Issue #85, published in April 2001. Words by Cynthia Carbone Ward. Art by Sherri Dobay. I arrived in California on Groundhog Day of 1982, a refugee from New York in high-heeled shoes and too much makeup. My home was a 1973 Buick, avocado green, of course, […]

Blast from the Past: Origin of the Species

Friend of Dirt Rag Michael Hermann of Purple Lizard Maps was also one of the original mountain bikers in Central Pennsylvania. In this installment of Blast from the Past, we go back to 1990 in State College, PA. Mike Hermann and Randy Moore tell the story of the Bombers.  This piece was originally published in Dirt […]

A brief history of the dropper seatpost

In the early days of mountain biking, quick-release seatpost binders were on the bikes even when the wheels were nutted. The trails in those days were usually pretty primitive and bore little semblance to the IMBA-spec’d trails being built today. Many steep descents required the saddle to be lowered out of the way so you […]

Blast From the Past: Do-it-yourself bike touring

By Nick Lubecki, photos by Brad Quartuccio  Anyone can ride 1,000 miles. Anyone. -Nick Lubecki Nick Lubecki isn’t someone you know, but his attitude towards long distance riding is one you should know. He’s pedaled around the United States and Canada using equipment most enthusiasts would balk at. He finds his food in dumpsters and […]

Blast From the Past: Tips for fixed gear mountain biking

Ed. Note: This piece was originally published in Dirt Rag 106 in March 2004.  For the uninitiated, a fixed gear bicycle is a singlespeed without a freewheel—if the wheels are rolling, the cranks are turning. Rudy Nadler is one of the many people who have learned the joy of off-road fixed gear cycling, and when […]

Blast From the Past: First ever production full-suspension singlespeed, the Kona A

Ed. Note: This review of the Kona A, the first ever production full-suspension singlespeed, was originally published in Dirt Rag 102 in August 2003.  Rider: Philip Keyes Height: 6’2” Weight: 196lbs. Inseam: 34” Kona is one cool company. Case in point: these guys are offering the first-ever production dual suspension singlespeed. They had to know […]

Blast From the Past: A Little Slice of the 14th Annual Punk Bike Enduro

Ed. Note: The following takes place between stage 7 and stage 10 of the Punk Bike Enduro in 2004. This story originally appeared in Dirt Rag 105.  Words by Joe Whitehair We leave the beer van behind and begin the uphill slog on a rough and gritty road, wet with snow dissolved from sparse traffic and salt, […]

Specialty Files: 1982 TS Isaac

Words and photos by Jeff Archer These days, it’s tough to go on a group ride without at least one rider on a Trek mountain bike. Let’s take a quick look back to see how we got to this point. Trek was founded in 1976 and produced high-quality road bikes in Wisconsin. By 1980, the […]

Repack Downhill: 40 Years Gone By

Words and photos by Rob Korotky It’s Oct. 21, 2016, and a beautiful autumn morning in Marin County, California. A group of 12 guys with their bikes mill around under a canopy of trees at the end of a dirt fire road in the hills above Fairfax. A few minutes ago, the last rider skidded […]

My First Bike: 1997 Schwinn Moab 2 AL

Words and photo by Christopher Klibowitz It was my first “real” bike, bought not too long after I started working at the shop. It was between this and the Trek 6000. I really wanted the Homegrown, with the bass boat paintjob, but couldn’t afford it. The second day I had it, I fell over in […]

Specialty Files: 1991 Mantis Valkyrie

Words by Maurice Tierney. Photos courtesy of www.firstflightbikes.com. Richard Cunningham founded Mantis Bicycles in 1981. Ever the innovator, Mantis made a variety of bikes, including the fillet brazed Sherpa, Pro Floater suspension bike and Flying V monocoque frame. Here we have an early Valkyrie X frame bike, made just before elevated chainstays came into vogue. […]

Specialty Files: 1991 Yeti Ultimate

Words and photos by Jeff Archer. Every rider who has thrown a leg over a top tube has probably spent some saddle time mentally designing their “ultimate” bike. For some, it might be a 14 pound, electronically shifted carbon fiber wonder, while for others it might be a fully loaded touring bike created for that […]

Specialty Files: 1989 Talon Slayer

Words and photos by Jeff Archer. One of the best things about collecting mountain bikes is the relative newness of the sport. Since mountain biking is only about three decades old, and many of the founding fathers started in their twenties, most of the pioneers are still available to answer questions. Keeping in mind it […]

Specialty Files: 1988 Rock Lobster Single Speed

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in Dirt Rag issue #162, published in April 2012. Words and photos by Jeff Archer. As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, “Only an inventor knows how to borrow, and every man is or should be an inventor.” Arguments about who invented what date back to the very beginning of […]

Specialty Files: Fat Chance Fuck’n Fat

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in Dirt Rag issue #150, published in July 2010. Words and photos by Jeff Archer. If you were to put mountain bike companies on a map in the mid-1980s, it would look like they had washed up on the California coast like debris from the wreck of a framebuilders’ […]

Specialty Files: Bob Weir’s Bike

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in Dirt Rag issue #147, published in February 2010. Words and photos by Jeff Archer. In the early 1970s, Gary Fisher was a member of the Grateful Dead Party Krew and spent time with the band. Later in that same decade, Fisher became better know for MountainBikes, a company […]

Specialty Files: 1983 J.P. Weigle IceCycle

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in Dirt Rag issue #146, published in November 2009. Words and photos by Jeff Archer. The name Peter Weigle is probably unfamiliar to most mountain bikers unless they ride a steel frame. In the mid 1990s, he concocted J.P. Weigle Frame Saver, which is used to coat the inside […]

The Specialty Files: 1985 American Montaneus

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in Dirt Rag issue #145, published in October 2009. Words and photos by Jeff Archer. Back in the early days of mountain biking, many aspects of bike design were hotly debated. One of the most contentious issues was the head angle. This dimension was one of the most important […]

Blast from the Past: The Original Dirt Fest

The first edition of Dirt Rag’s Dirt Fest took place in 1991 at Camp Soles, a YMCA youth camp located in the Laurel Highlands, just east of Pittsburgh. For me, that era represents a magical time, marked by glorious tribal gatherings known as mountain bike festivals. In fact, I’d learned about Dirt Fest from some […]

Specialty Files: 1985 Raleigh Seneca

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in Dirt Rag Issue #159, published in October 2011. Words by Jeff Archer. Photos by Wes Stearns. One of the best things about being involved with the Museum of Mountain Bike Art & Technology (MOMBAT) is getting to talk to folks who were instrumental in popularizing mountain biking. Some […]

Specialty Files: Ringlé Prototypes

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in Dirt Rag Issue #181, published in November 2014. Words by Jeff Archer. Photos by Seth Archer. For every component that makes it to the bike shop, there are hundreds that never see the market. Some of these come from undercapitalized garage tinkerers, while others are from big-name companies […]

Specialty Files: 1979 VVA ‘TOPANGA!’

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in Dirt Rag Issue #184, published in May 2015. Words and photos by Jeff Archer. Early “klunker” mountain bikes were based on balloon-tired cruisers from the ’30s through the ’50s. Because of this, many of the parts used on these bikes were not really suited to the task. Cruiser […]

Specialty Files: 1989 Denti

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in Dirt Rag Issue #188, published in November 2015. Words and Photos by Jeff Archer. Occasionally we get an orphan bike that can make researching very difficult. A “garage” builder may have made only five bikes for his friends, it could be a sample that never entered production or […]

Specialty Files: 1983 Moots Mountaineer

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in Dirt Rag Issue #157, published in July 2011. Words and photos by Jeff Archer. Much of the early mountain bike action was taking place in and around Marin County, California, but there were pockets of activity around the country. One such place was Steamboat Springs, Colorado, home of […]

Specialty Files: 1983 Ibis

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in Dirt Rag Issue #153, published in November 2010. Words and photos by Jeff Archer. Many riders are familiar with the current carbon fiber offerings from Ibis Cycles but may not realize the company has deep mountain biking roots that can be traced back to Scot Nicol’s garage circa […]