Ritchey had one of the most interesting bits of the show in our opinion with Tom Ritchey’s first eponymously branded mountain bike. In addition to serving as an example of how every fillet brazed frame should be finished, it is historically very important as well. Although Gary Fisher gets all the credit as the “Father of Mountain Biking,” Tom Ritchey was the one making all of Fisher’s early production frames. Ritchey was so proficient at framebuilding he was cranking out upwards of 50 frames per month!Tom Ritchey was so skilled at this time that custom framebuilder Brian Baylis, who is known for his exquisite lug work that has netted him multiple NAHBS trophies, credits Ritchey with teaching him how to fabricate tools to create sharp lug shorelines at a time when Baylis’ framebuilding experience exceeded that of young Tom Ritchey by roughly ten years.
Mountain bikes have definitely come a long way since this frame was made, but the no-nonsense craftsmanship on display in this Ritchey is rarely bested. Featuring an early sealed bearing bottom bracket and a single rail saddle, this bike was clearly ahead of its time in 1979.