Got an email a couple of days ago from Kristin Ohlson (http://www.kristinohlson.com/) who is working on an article for Smithsonian.com. She is working on an article about small specialty museums and someone had given her our contact info. On Monday, we talked for about 45 minutes about MOMBAT.org and the bike collection. Not sure if we'll make the cut for the article but it would be a pretty cool if we get included.
We couldn't find appropriate skin wall tires for the bikes in the MOMBAT collection and black wall tires just look "wrong" on older bikes. We made dozens of phone calls and found that Panaracer was about the only manufacturer willing to work with us. The checked the warehouse and found the mold for the Timbuk II tire so we had 300 of them made for us. The Timbuk II tire appeared in 1988 and was likely available into the mid 1990's so it is "correct" for a lot of our favorite old bikes. We sold out of the original 300 and ordered another batch several months ago and they finally arrived. They are now $34.99 each which compares very favorably with many of the $50 Kevlar beaded tires that are currently available. More details and ordering instructions can be found @ http://www.firstflightbikes.com/TimbukTire.htm
This bike had been advertised on the local Craigslist and we contacted the owner to get some more details. On Saturday, they brought it up to the shop looking for a new mountain bike so we took 'er in as a trade-in. The parts are kinda sad and mixed up and the repaint isn't all that great. I do believe it is a Ritchey but maybe not a P series bike? We're doing a little research on it now to try and figure out what it is.
This was the first mountain bike that we saved back to put in the museum. A local customer brought this in to us in the early 1990's and traded it in on a (then) new carbon Trek. The bike was old enough that it had minimal resale value so we just hung onto it. We had been collecting older balloon tire and Stingray bikes for awhile and always admired the collections of the folks who started collecting those bikes when they were just "obsolete" bikes. In the early 1980's, you could buy all the Stingray bikes you wanted for $50 and the forward thinking collectors scooped 'em up. By the time they became popular, collectors had hoarded all the super cool bikes which also increased the prices of the more common bikes. It is hard to build a large collection when you have to pay the premium prices. Using this logic, we figured it might be time to start putting back a few mountain bikes. Some of the bikes that retailed for thousands of dollars when new were selling for a couple hundred dollars which made them affordable enough to collect them. This bike was very clean and pretty neat looking so it became MOMBAT.org bike #1.
Ross was one of the biggest names in the early days of mountain bikes and had a nice line of reasonably priced rides. I have been told that the fillet brazing on these frames was more cosmetic and was applied over top of a TIG welded frame. Maybe somebody can confirm that story? The Ross "eyeball" stems were pretty neat and look similar tot he much pricier Cooks stems. Other than that, this bike uses almost the entire Suntour XC group including front and rear roller cam brakes.