Quite some time ago, I wrote a post about Charlie Cunningham and the early aluminum mountain bikes that he designed. In a comment to that post, Billy Savage mentioned his film Klunkerz, a documentary about the early evolution of the mountain bike. I had heard of the movie before, and it seemed like something I would like, so I intended to order a copy when I read his comment. Unfortunately, I got sidetracked and forgot all about it.
Just last week, a year and a half later, Fritz at Cyclelicious posted about Klunkerz and I was reminded that I still hadn’t seen the film. As soon as I read his post, I went to the Klunkerz site and finally ordered a DVD. I am glad I did; Billy Savage did a really great job interviewing the pioneers of mountain biking and telling the story of the early days of riding on Mt Tam. My wife and I watched the movie over the weekend, and we both really enjoyed it (and she is not bike obsessed like me). The film really is well edited and entertaining, so I encourage all of you who are interested in mountain biking, or bicycle innovation in general, to order a copy.
Mountain bikes have changed quite a bit since I bought my first one in the mid to late eighties and even that old bike was technologically way ahead of the pre war Schwinn newsboys that those guys were riding on Repack in the 70s. After watching Klunkerz, any of you who are newer to mountain biking will have a much greater appreciation for the strong yet lightweight mountain bikes that we have today with disc brakes, suspension, working gears, etc. Like a lot of mountain bikers these days, I ride my rigid singlespeed on trails sometimes for a change of pace from my dual suspension bike. Even that old bike is plush though when compared to the heavy old Klunker bikes with no brakes and components that were not made to handle the abuse. Yep, those guys were tough to race those old bikes downhill, but those heavy old frames and components with a tendency to fail at the worst possible moment provided the incentive for the Marin County riders and others to make the incremental improvements that led to the mountain bikes that we ride today. OK, I am starting to ramble a bit, but really, order the DVD. You won’t be disappointed.