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My GRAIL, stolen, is finally replaced

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My GRAIL, stolen, is finally replaced

Old 11-04-11, 06:47 PM
  #1  
LeicaLad 
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My GRAIL, stolen, is finally replaced

Yes, a true and uplifting story of boy meets bike, boy loves and rides bike for many years, man is devastated by break-in robbery, man searches 5+ years for substitute or replacement, man finds GRAIL bike. Man is boy again. Life has meaning.

Ive posted the story from time to time. Some of you have seen this photo, others not:



That was my first Ritchey. A 1981 pre-Everest R frame. I saw the Bicycling Magazine May 1981 edition with Tom Ritchey on the cover riding his new type bike across open grassland. I was transfixed. I ordered one when I didnt have the money to my name to cover the full cost.

The key story outline is above, so Ill keep the details short. The bike was shipped to me in Thailand, where I had just taken a job that, luckily, provided just enough income to cover the bill by the time the bike was ready. About 25 years of riding around the Greater Mekong Sub-Region later, the bike was stolen in a break-in to my Bangkok apt.

Well, really long story short, I was privately offered a bike that was not the early bi-plane fork R series I most wanted, but a 1984 C series. The true irony is that this bike sold on auction about 15 months ago. At the time, it seemingly attracted very little interest, as the price was only at $750 in the final 10 seconds, and thered been only 4 bids. I bid over $2k. There was only one other bidder. I lost. How ironic that, only by coincidence, this was the bike offered to me?

Needless to say, I said yes.

A few photos. The available lighting was crap, so more bits and pieces shots. . .











Did I say it was new?

Really. I mean NEW. From what I understand from previous owners and can observe directly, this bike has never been ridden. Period.


Yeeesh. What AM I to do? Yeah, yeah. Ride it. But I will take my time before I do.

SO. Bottom line. Search long enough and you shall find.

I be happy.
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1959 Hilton Wrigley Connoisseur (my favorite!)
1963 Hetchins Mountain King
1971 Gitane Tour de France (original owner)
* 1971 Gitane Super Corsa (crashed)
* rebuilt as upright cruiser
1971 Gitane Super Corsa #2 (sweet replacement)
1980 Ritchey Road Touring (The Grail Bike)
1982 Tom Ritchey Everest
(replacing stolen 1981 TR Everest custom)
1982 Tom Ritchey McKinley (touring pickup truck)
1985 ALAN Record (Glued & Screwed. A gift.)
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Old 11-04-11, 07:01 PM
  #2  
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Leica, that is a great story and I am really glad for you. I can't think of a nicer guy that something like this could happen to. All that good karma is paying off I s'pose.

So, I take it that this is a brazed steel frame? Also, I see that it appears to have pretty relaxed geometry. How long are those chainstays? I'm guessing they are not as long as they appear because of the wheel/tire combo, but still looks right comfy.
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Old 11-04-11, 07:15 PM
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Oh, man, LeicaLad, that is a great story. I'd love to hear the long version of it! And indeed, it's a beautiful bike!
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Old 11-04-11, 07:18 PM
  #4  
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Thats really a sweet bike, but now you have a problem.

Should I ride a 20+ year old new bike? Or should I hang it on my wall and only ride it sparingly?

No easy answers here!

I have the same problem with mine;
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Old 11-04-11, 07:19 PM
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Gentlemen,

Thank you. Long story at some point.

It's a classic Ritchey MTB. These are the original tires, which were the "racing" option 1.75". Most people swapped out to a 2.+" tire pretty quick. When I get better lighting, I'll take more proper full side shots. But these are a classic look. Other than a unicrown rather than bi-plane fork, it looks like my original bike -- except brand new and Hot Tomato Red!

It's so new, it's scary!
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1959 Hilton Wrigley Connoisseur (my favorite!)
1963 Hetchins Mountain King
1971 Gitane Tour de France (original owner)
* 1971 Gitane Super Corsa (crashed)
* rebuilt as upright cruiser
1971 Gitane Super Corsa #2 (sweet replacement)
1980 Ritchey Road Touring (The Grail Bike)
1982 Tom Ritchey Everest
(replacing stolen 1981 TR Everest custom)
1982 Tom Ritchey McKinley (touring pickup truck)
1985 ALAN Record (Glued & Screwed. A gift.)
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Old 11-04-11, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by jr59 View Post
Thats really a sweet bike, but now you have a problem.

Should I ride a 20+ year old new bike? Or should I hang it on my wall and only ride it sparingly?
Yeah, this is a tough one. In this case, I might actually say it should hang on the wall.
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Old 11-04-11, 07:27 PM
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Nice bike! I need to get me one of those!

P.S. - I noticed that there is a nice looking Hetchins in the background.
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Old 11-04-11, 07:30 PM
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Contratulations on finding your Grail bike, again.

Who buys a bike and does not ride it for 27 years?
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Old 11-04-11, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by southpawboston View Post
Yeah, this is a tough one. In this case, I might actually say it should hang on the wall.
I just started a new thread on this.

Sorry to hijack your thread Leicalad!
I did not want to distract from this thread.

It's a GREAT bike!
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Old 11-04-11, 07:32 PM
  #10  
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WOW! Wonderful. That's a jaw dropper. At least ride it on non-rainy Sundays.
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Old 11-04-11, 07:34 PM
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Sweet! I know it's not as cool but this bike gets me excited about my High Sierra project.
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Old 11-04-11, 08:27 PM
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That's an amazing story, I am really happy for you that you got this bike!

But I do believe that things happen for a reason, and I believe this bike came to you so you could ride it. The bike is sad, if a thing can be described as sad. No one has loved it enough to ride it--it was meant to be ridden. How much do you love it?
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Old 11-05-11, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by balindamood View Post
Nice bike! I need to get me one of those!
Oooh, the irony, you clever boy.

Really, now, Brian. You ought to post a photo just to show the incredible similarity, eh?

What's interesting is that there are 3, possibly even 4 of these first "C" frame bikes that are each in pristine condition. I wonder if they amazing "Tomato Red" made them too pretty to ride?

Anyway, still not excellent lighting, but I wheeled mine out the front door -- allowing those tires to touch bare earth for the first time -- to take another snap shot or three.









Don't we just love our toys?
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1959 Hilton Wrigley Connoisseur (my favorite!)
1963 Hetchins Mountain King
1971 Gitane Tour de France (original owner)
* 1971 Gitane Super Corsa (crashed)
* rebuilt as upright cruiser
1971 Gitane Super Corsa #2 (sweet replacement)
1980 Ritchey Road Touring (The Grail Bike)
1982 Tom Ritchey Everest
(replacing stolen 1981 TR Everest custom)
1982 Tom Ritchey McKinley (touring pickup truck)
1985 ALAN Record (Glued & Screwed. A gift.)
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Old 11-05-11, 01:12 PM
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I bought one in 1989, old stock from 1988. I had to get it painted, the paint was finally failing at the braze ons enough to be concerned, spider web under the surrounding paint.

I should build it up again, but I need some replacement cogs for the 7 speed freehub.

So yes, ride it. It will provide more pleasure than just being an object of industrial art.
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Old 11-05-11, 01:26 PM
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Wow, the mold release silicone is still on the tires!
Lovely, simply lovely. Ride it well.
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Old 11-05-11, 01:58 PM
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Very nice! It really does look just like the one I had.
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Old 11-05-11, 02:34 PM
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Very nice! It really does look just like the one I had.
It is. It was about the 5th frame made after the one you had.
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Old 11-05-11, 03:33 PM
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Exactly. #3 and #7. As noted, there seem to be, at least, 4 bikes from that seemingly special month of Tom's work in 1984 that have very tiny use.

The guys who originated the sport, including Joe Breeze, Charlie Kelly and gang, just ran the 35th anniversary of the RePack Ride. One of the guys on the ride was riding an Red '84 from this group. It is also essentially pristine. And there's another in the Ritchey registry that shows zero wear.

I think the bright Tomato Red finish scared people away from rough use. They were just too pretty!

I have to admit that, while I do intend to ride this bike, I will start very slowly and it'll be a while before it even sees rough trail. . .

So, Mazdaspeed, why not post a shot of the one you sold, just for the easy comparison? :-)
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1959 Hilton Wrigley Connoisseur (my favorite!)
1963 Hetchins Mountain King
1971 Gitane Tour de France (original owner)
* 1971 Gitane Super Corsa (crashed)
* rebuilt as upright cruiser
1971 Gitane Super Corsa #2 (sweet replacement)
1980 Ritchey Road Touring (The Grail Bike)
1982 Tom Ritchey Everest
(replacing stolen 1981 TR Everest custom)
1982 Tom Ritchey McKinley (touring pickup truck)
1985 ALAN Record (Glued & Screwed. A gift.)
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Old 11-05-11, 04:39 PM
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ish
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I remember your story, and I am really glad that you found a suitable replacement. Your really appreciated your stolen Ritchey and it lived a full life.

For what it's worth, I have its Tomato Red road bike cousin:

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Old 11-05-11, 07:12 PM
  #20  
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Great story LeicaLad with a moral as well. Congratulations on your new bike.
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Old 11-05-11, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ish View Post
I remember your story, and I am really glad that you found a suitable replacement. Your really appreciated your stolen Ritchey and it lived a full life.

For what it's worth, I have its Tomato Red road bike cousin:

Thanks to all.

ISH, this is an incredibly beautiful road frame. Thank you for sharing it. Do you know the year this was made? Cousin, indeed, but we can't tell year by finish, since the same guy painted ALL of Ritchey's bikes over 25 years. I'm guessing a bit later, but I would love to know more specs, if you would be so kind.

Is it 24"(61cm) or is it larger? Have you had this built before/after and ridden it?

Personally, I'd think this is pretty tight angles. I've reached a point where I'll never own another bike w/o eyelets on the dropouts. It's just my first indicator that the angles will be tighter than I want.

I welcome ANY Red Ritcheys for show & tell. Shucks, any fine Ritcheys at all.

Thanks to you all!
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1959 Hilton Wrigley Connoisseur (my favorite!)
1963 Hetchins Mountain King
1971 Gitane Tour de France (original owner)
* 1971 Gitane Super Corsa (crashed)
* rebuilt as upright cruiser
1971 Gitane Super Corsa #2 (sweet replacement)
1980 Ritchey Road Touring (The Grail Bike)
1982 Tom Ritchey Everest
(replacing stolen 1981 TR Everest custom)
1982 Tom Ritchey McKinley (touring pickup truck)
1985 ALAN Record (Glued & Screwed. A gift.)
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Old 11-05-11, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by ish View Post
I remember your story, and I am really glad that you found a suitable replacement. Your really appreciated your stolen Ritchey and it lived a full life.

For what it's worth, I have its Tomato Red road bike cousin:


usually not a huge fan on fillet brazed frames, but DAMN that is beautiful!!!
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Old 11-05-11, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by LeicaLad View Post
So, Mazdaspeed, why not post a shot of the one you sold, just for the easy comparison? :-)








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Old 11-05-11, 09:46 PM
  #24  
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it's always nice when you find your grail bike. i've been pretty fortunately over this year and last year. I found an amazing celeste bianchi this year and a pinarello montello, and last year i came across another pinarello. i'm pretty much done for now, i almost aquired another gios torino in my size but the seller decided that he didn't want to sell it at the last second

It's pretty cool that you got it NOS pretty much. Everytime i see a ritchey mountain bike i can never forget the time I came across one. This was when i didn't know much about these ritchey's, some of you may puke when you read this story, i know i did!...hahah

I was at an estate sale and there was a Gios Torino there that i was going for. The person running it said there was another bike downstairs so i went downstairs to the garage and saw this old mountain bike in pretty decent condition with a green sticker price tag that said $60, I looked at it and it had some shimano components and it was red with a little bit of white and said "Ritchey" on the downtube. I was like meh, it's just an old mtn bike. In my head i believed that vintage mountain bikes had no value really, most were pretty junky so my attention strayed and went back to getting the gios torino. I ended up getting into a bidding war with someone on it and ended up winning, it definitely wasn't cheap. But it was mint and mainly Super record.

anyways about a week or two after i was reading these forums and i think mazdaspeed posted his ritchey and i learned about their values, i was a little sick after reading it, realizing i passed one up for 60 bucks.
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Old 11-06-11, 12:04 AM
  #25  
ish
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Originally Posted by LeicaLad View Post
Do you know the year this was made?
It's pre-serial number, post-lugged, "park bench chainstay" era. 1979 or 1980, when Tom was building frames for Palo Alto Bicycles (the decal differs from standard - there is a small "Palo Alto" under "Ritchey").

Originally Posted by LeicaLad View Post
Cousin, indeed, but we can't tell year by finish, since the same guy painted ALL of Ritchey's bikes over 25 years. I'm guessing a bit later, but I would love to know more specs, if you would be so kind.
This one was restored by the Tom-approved painter a few years ago. Decals came from Tom's NOS stash. It supposedly was built up with full Super Record back in the day. IIRC, the only "extras" on it currently are Campy aero seatpost, Phil Wood bottom bracket, and the threadless fillet brazed handmade stem. It was supposedly originally built as a custom race frame and the buyer did not come through. The owner I bought it from bought it off of Tom for $500 in ~1980.

Originally Posted by LeicaLad View Post
Is it 24"(61cm) or is it larger? Have you had this built before/after and ridden it?
Good guess on the size. I recently bought it as you see it, from a garage sale of one of the old Marin MTB riders. It's going to be wall art. Not going to ride it; I'm more into MTBs than road bikes, and it's too rare to ride. I bought it because of its significance in the vintage MTB world, and it's a work of art. It does happen to be my size, though, should I ever decide to take it for a spin.
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