SF Cyclotouring

Ride reports and other ramblings from a San Francisco cyclist.


Bontrager Cycles

I was randomly surfing around and stumbled across this photo of Keith Bontrager at the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. In 1994 (or was it 1993? I don't remember now) I had the pleasure of interviewing with KB in Santa Cruz for a junior engineering position (I was studying mechanical engineering in college at the time, and hoped to parlay that into a career in bike design.) KB posted a job-opening position on rec.bicycles.marketplace, and I responded favorably enough that he offered to split the cost of a plane ticket from Pittsburgh, PA to San Jose, CA. I ultimately didn't get the job (though I think I came close), but it was the most enjoyable job interview I've ever had -- a great weekend riding with KB and some of the other Bontrager Cycles employees, hanging out at the shop, meeting his family, eating my first "real" burrito, and sleeping on his living room sofa.

At any rate, I think this photo dates to around that time, and I think I've actually ridden the pictured bike. The weekend I was in Santa Cruz, I rode on Friday with KB who was on that bike, and I rode the then-bleeding-edge Merlin Soft-Tail full-sus Ti XTR rig that KB had on loan for a magazine review or similar -- that was (and probably still is) the most expensive bike I've pedaled. On that Saturday KB was busy with work, but sent me off on an afternoon ride with some of his guys, and when I asked what bike I could borrow, he pointed me at his personal ride. After I was out on the trails, one of his guys said to me "Hey, you know what you're riding, right?" and I thought that it was "merely" a silver Race Lite frame. I was wrong -- it was actually a prototype Ti Lite frame, somewhat camouflaged by the usual Bontrager top and down tube decals.

I have a sweet Bontrager Race currently, but I've always had this reoccuring hankerin' for a Ti Lite.

I also got a swell Bontrager Cycles T-shirt and cap (just like KB's), which I've still got 12+ years later, but I've worn the shirt so much that it's basically a rag at this point.

Man, that was a FUN weekend...


Blogger Tarik Saleh said...

Nice Post there Jim. I remember you talking about meeting KB at some point, it was nice to see the background story.

11:53 AM  

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