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Digital Subscriptions > Singletrack > 110 > TOM RITCHEY THE MAN BEHIND THE 'TACHE

TOM RITCHEY THE MAN BEHIND THE 'TACHE

WE CHAT TO (AND RIDE WITH) THIS ICONIC FRAMEBUILDER, PRODUCT DESIGNER, OWNER AND BOSS OF RITCHEY COMPONENTS DURING HIS WHIRLWIND VISIT TO THE UK.

I’m at the Bicycle Academy in Frome, Somerset, and someone is brazing a frame. This kind of thing happens all the time here – it’s what they teach. The room is full of Bridgeport mills, tubesets, dropouts and lathes.

There’s something special in the air though. There’s a rapt silence as everyone looks on at the framebuilder, unconventionally perched on a low stool, the nearly-finished frame slung over a shoulder in an equally unconventional fashion as he teases molten brass into a perfect fillet with a tiny oxyacetylene flame torch.

The framebuilder on show, building a whole frame in a day, is none other than Tom Ritchey, a man who deserves the respect that the crowd is giving him. He built many of the first specific mountain bike frames, both under his own name and in partnership with Gary Fisher and Charlie Kelly’s ‘Mountain Bikes’ company. Tom hand built the frames that Thomas Frischknecht, Henrik Djernis, and Ruthie Matthes won World Championships on. Tom’s designs helped push everything from multitools to grips, hubs to handlebars. When the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame opened in 1988, Tom was in that first year of inductees.

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About Singletrack

International Adventure: Switzerland – Winter in Switzerland doesn’t haven’t to mean skis and snowboards. Sim checks out the growing fat biking scene there. Editors’ Choice – Chipps and the gang pick out their very favourite products, events and locations from the year. Interview: Tom Ritchey – Chipps talks to this man of steel (tubing) about framebuilding, fast racers and innovative product design. Trail Hunter – Nan Bield – Tom Fenton adds one of the Lake District’s hardest challenges to your must-ride bucket list. Dressing for winter – How can we best recommend winter gear for you? By starting with a shivering Australian, of course… Bike Test: Battle of the Titans – Three bikes from the biggest names in the industry: Giant, Specialized and Trek. Grouptest: 27.5in Trail Forks – Seven, 130-140mm forks for every price point tested. Classic Ride: Aviemore – Pete Scullion takes us on a tour of this area of Scotland better known for its skiing than its shredding. Grinder Bike: Stif Morf – Is this hardtail as playful as it looks? Through the Grinder: The team bring you their verdicts on products that have survived the first frosts of winter.
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