Throwback Thursday: Freewheelin', Arguably the First Mountain Bike Film Ever

Nov 21, 2021 at 21:20
by wolfruck  


1985 RELEASE SYNOPSIS:

They're called "Mountain Bikes" or "Fat Tire Flyers" by off-road enthusiasts and these dynamic human powered machines are at the leading edge of the bicycling revival sweeping the globe today.

Action-packed and instructive, this film brings alive the new-found freedom, challenge and adventure which characterizes this exciting variation of self-propelled sport and recreation.

Featuring expert bike handling and astounding trick riding skills, this film is pure motivational entertainment for youthful audiences and the young-at-heart of all ages.

1985-6 BROADCASTS: CBC National & Local TV


114 Comments

  • 29 0
 Could this BE any more 80's haha. Excellent
  • 2 1
 I expected a mullets festival though (haircuts I mean), but I might be wrong. The golden age of mullets was probably more during the 90's...
  • 8 2
 Parts of it looks like 2021 gravel riders on basically the same bikes. Gravel has brought the 80's back. Listening to 80's alternative today. Thanks for this great video.
  • 10 2
 80's. The golden era of everything.
  • 2 0
 that soundtrack at 4.00 SO GOOD! Smile

not sure if the white hard shell with the stripe and holes in it OR the "hair through" helmets are worse... Smile
  • 1 0
 @danstonQ: Its right now in Australia!
  • 1 0
 @Mfro: yeah... Amyl and the Sniffers are completely into it Wink
  • 2 0
 The ones without helmets have a BMX background
  • 15 0
 That video has more interesting camera angles using mid-80s bulky cameras than most videos people film today with their tiny GoPros and Insta360s that could be mounted in all sorts of interesting places much more easily!
  • 6 0
 I thought the same some impressive filming for the era.
  • 2 0
 This was just as entertaining as Chainsmoke, which came about a decade after this. Were there any other good mtb films between them in those ten years? I don't remember any.

Sick wheelie at 12:00 was my favorite part.
  • 2 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: I liked a couple in the mid 90's

Tread the Movie with Hans Rey and Greg Herbold. youtu.be/ayt87Iv1OSI

Pulp Traction with Tippie. youtu.be/bE6Y1GzQTgY
  • 1 0
 I want to see the set up for the first-person shots. Imagine riding a bike with a brick of a camera strapped to your front fork.
  • 16 0
 lol, riders on the flat surface are wearing helmets, but guy on the rocks aren't - interesting :-)
  • 7 0
 Who needs a helmet when you've got a 'tache as good 6:25?
  • 15 0
 Damn, some seriously epic helmets!
  • 1 0
 Leather hairnets, Skid Lids and Bell V1-Pro. I rocked a V1-Pro knock-off made by Hannah back then.
  • 16 6
 This is a good argument against needing the latest and greatest 'tech'. A lot of people would struggle to do what that trials rider was doing on a 35 year old bike, on 2022 bikes.
  • 8 2
 I'd argue the other way around: if I were to have the slightest chance of repeating their stunts and survive, I need all the help from latest tech I can get! Skills > gear, but with a lack of skills, I need all the help I can get!
  • 6 0
 Those who can leverage outright skill will do this on a rental city cruiser hybrid bike... Sure people don't need 180mm e-bikes tip to tip carbon with wireless shifting and dropper. But modern geometry with air suspension and tubeless tires and hydarulic brakes go a LONG way to helping newer riders build confidence and smooth out the learning curve. All while breaking less bikes and bones.
  • 11 1
 Trials isn't the greatest example though, is it? a) trials bikes haven't changed all that much over the years b) rigid bikes are still best for it, so not sure how a 2022 mtb would make it easier c) it's probably the discipline where the bike matters the least as long as it doesn't fall apart and has working brakes.

Now look at the trail riding footage of those presumably advanced riders in the video and then at the kind of terrain and speeds an average newbie easily handles these days after a couple of months riding and tell me again modern bikes don't help.

Besides, it's just a silly hobby. No one ever said we "need" cool new tech. We don't "need" to ride bikes in the first place. We just want it because why not.
  • 8 0
 On the other hand 2021 average mtber with his all mountain bike would be an awesome rider in 80's
  • 4 1
 @bananowy: As a trials rider for over 20 years I'll say that your statements about trials bikes not changing much since the 80's is about as far from the truth as possible. It may seem that way because the bikes are still rigid. Your average trials rider looses a ton of tech and ability just moving from a pure trials bike to a street trials bike these days, the level of talent it takes to do anything impressive on the old bikes is just unreal.
  • 4 0
 @cwtrials: I was thinking the same thing, mods are crazy different than their bmx roots and stock bikes look like they're from a different planet. Wish more trails and people focused on slow speed technical riding still though.
  • 1 1
 @matjtom90: You jump on a new Echo Pure and compare that to say a Neon Bow, and venture farther back to a Brisa. All of these have different geo and all ride totally different. Take one of todays new Monty Mod and try a old school monty mod and the difference is crazy. I built and gave a old Brisa B26 for a neighbor kid who showed interest of trials and once that bike was built, it feels so obscure compared to my competitive Echo. But was perfect for him and in 2 years hes progressed so much- once he gets a new trials hes going to be a beast.

Even the bikes in this video have bash plates. Its been probley 15 years since I've been on a trials with a bash plate. Used to think it was so badass jumping onto big obstacles using the bash plate like picnic table to over bar height. As geo progressed the need of a bash plate diminished as guys were making higher Bottom Bracket bikes and you miss an up and don't even touch the bash ring. I can now go well over bar height to rear wheel at ease that would have been impossibe or near impossible or with using a bump jump aid to reach the distances I can hit on todays trials bikes.

The general technique haven't changed much but the bikes have. I'm like CW I've been a avid trials and competitive rider for well over 20 years now.
  • 3 0
 @lepigpen: This is why I love MTB! If only there was a way to smooth the learning curve for every activity. Life can be so challenging and frustrating sometimes! Ugh!
  • 1 0
 @cwtrials: I'll echo that. I rode/competed on modified and stock 90s Monty X-Lites and a GT Zaskar in a 12.5" frame and they both require a lot more work (I still have both) to do the most fundamental rear wheel hop than say, an Inspired Hex or even the latest GT Zaskar carbon bikes (although these days, it's a stock bike but "stock" trials bikes seem a lot less "stock").

Trials has benefitted from frame geometry, brakes that don't fatigue your hands, rear hubs that engage noticeably immediately and the overall weight these days makes the bikes feel less clunky.

And the sport has evolved from the Ot Pi and Hans Rey days where trials was trials where ever you rode but now it can be further categorized into street, etc. Trials may not be as big as other cycling disciplines but it continues to evolve as whole just like the rest.
  • 1 0
 All hail a properly set up set of cantilevers!!
  • 1 0
 Yep, there was some legit riding in there. Those guys were seriously handicapped with that equipment…kinda makes you laugh about the carbon everything trend.
  • 2 0
 This is what Sam Pilgrim does in his "Freebike challenges" Big Grin
  • 7 0
 "Bicycling revival sweeping the globe today" sounds so much better than "covid bike boom". I'm gonna use it from now on.

Also @mikelevy Please make "fat tyre flyer" happen as a new sub-category name. Or maybe fatcountry?
  • 33 0
 Some people think ebiking is fatcountry.
  • 9 0
 I thought that was an advert for a new gravel bike….
  • 8 0
 Thank you PB nostalgia overload
  • 4 0
 Love it. Especially the 24” GT with the Tuff Wheel. Thought the bash guards under the bottom brackets were interesting. I seem to recall just beating the hell out of chain rings personally. As for helmets, nobody I knew rode MTBs with a helmet. Skateparks and BMX yes, but not on the trail. Frankly the most amazing thing for me is that the footage exists at all. No way that Mom and Dad was going to let you take the camera out on your own. Too expensive and easy to break. Think a lot of really great riding never got documented as a result. Pretty cool that somebody thought it was significant enough to document this professionally. Thanks for sharing.
  • 1 0
 Agreed. Think it was a 26" though?
  • 8 0
 How cool are synthesizers
  • 8 0
 Back when all bikes were gravel bikes...
  • 4 0
 Ahh, how I miss toeclips. Get them tight enough you don’t pull out and your feet fall asleep. To loose and you pull out unexpectedly. Then the occasional unclipping one side and falling over on the other.

I also miss those Bell V1 helmets. They had a vent that opened in the front with a hole the size of a pencil eraser.
  • 4 0
 When I reflect, this may have been the era that had my happiest "ATB" moments. It was all experimental and no set ways of doing things. Times where you might increase your braking by 300% by mounting a better lever from some Bmx bike or long discarded motorcycle parts. Putting a road bar had as much validity as putting on cruiser bmx hbars. Cutting edge: bullmoose. U brake? C brake? Canti? Choose a brake and be a dick about it. The Minions of the day were snake belly tires. Preferably blue. Pads for your stem and whatever else you banged into last. From roadie euro culture to early bmx heros it was all cool.
  • 7 0
 Dave Wonderly Still Shredz
  • 2 0
 He's a legend! Especially what he's done/doing on his moto recent years.
  • 6 0
 Good to see her Atherton on the bmx
  • 3 0
 Ffs auto correct her = Gee if only I could edit!
  • 4 0
 @TheBrickOriginal:
The resemblance is uncanny, I think Gee was born in 85'
  • 1 0
 @THEATB: Yep,
Feb 85
  • 3 0
 We used to build 'trackers' when I was a teenager in the 70's. Cowhorn handlebars and 'knobbly' tyres and the lowest gears we could find. We'd take them up onto the local moors here 'oop North', happy days :-)
  • 2 1
 NICE!! I remember being HUGELY disappointed when the 10 speeds my Grandparents got us as a family gift had huge cushioned spring seats, fenders, and cowhorn bars with molded hard plastic grips. We pulled the fenders, installed BMX seats and flipped the bars upside down! When I was able I put real roadie bars on.

THEN we started riding our 10 speeds on the BMX track and the dirt hills around the track and I went home and put the cowhorn bars BACK on with BMX grips! Smile The bikes were way too big for us kids, someone would always get RACKED riding them. I remember taking your hand off the bar to use the shifters on the downtube off road was like risking your life every time because the lever throw was so stiff and it would shift so SLOW...

At the time it never occurred to us to try to find bigger knobby tires or wider wheels. We only had the one BMX shop near us and everything else we had to mail order from the back of a magazine...
  • 2 0
 @stiingya: Didn't mean to downvote. Sorry.
  • 6 0
 Dave Wonderly is a MTB Legend. Mad respect for this pioneer to our sport.
  • 2 0
 Sea to sky trails were being built and rode when this film came out . The idea of calling these gravel bikes is absurd. How about out side of BC all trails are gravel bike trails. I remember taking my fully rigid mountain bike in the eighties to the tops of mountains so I could ride down them. I think that's why mountain bikes were invented. Thus the name . Mountain bike.
  • 1 0
 Wow great stuff, I came from that era but never saw a seat post like the one with the brace at 8:39.

I remember the forks were so soft if you hit hard enough they bent but you could bend them back to get home.

Almost everything broke at one time or another, now can usually get a season with out ragging parts.

Science
  • 4 0
 Some history on the film, the film maker and some of the riders:
freehubmag.com/features/original
  • 1 0
 That article is great too. That truck - omg! Team Wolf for sure. Epic days.
  • 1 0
 What a Gem! Such a great decade, we weren't too far off. Fanny packs, riser bars, frame/BB protection. Christopher Reeves wheely segment, come on, right!!! Just know this in 35-40 more years these 2020 edits will likely have the same gems.
  • 1 0
 Funny, the Freewheelin movie that immediately came to mind was the first skateboarding movie I ever saw. It starred Stacy Peralta. The only part I remember is Stacy, who's character is a dirtbag skater, taking a hot girl away from some scummy guy in Porsche 911. Ah, for the days when everything was possible...
  • 3 0
 Could you imagine watching this then getting stoked to ride an ebike.... yuck!
  • 1 0
 Yeah buddy! Reminds me of my first mtb. Montgomery Wards , 18 speeds, steel chrome rims, 40lbs of unstoppable enjoyment. I loved it, but oh man it was a pretty poor copy of the high end stuff way back when.
  • 2 0
 This held my attention more than any vid I’ve seen in the past year, so sick!

Who’s the mustache man in the rocks? His bike looks sick and he’s ripping. Perfect.
  • 3 0
 It's so weird to watch 3+ minutes of riding in which the tires never leave the ground.
  • 4 0
 And here we are now…
  • 2 0
 6:30 looks like the start of a very bad adult-only movie. I blame the glasses and moustache (love the vibe though)
  • 5 0
 I think that's Todd from beavis and butthead .
  • 2 0
 @Middnight: Todd is cool.
  • 3 0
 They’ll never catch on…
  • 2 0
 Final sequence (wearing red heels) shot on the streets of Toronto. What’s the Canadian connection?
  • 2 0
 Opening POV is in Toronto ...
  • 1 0
 This is amazing! Its awesome to see things at the start and people figuring out what is possible on a bike. I remember riding stuff like this in the 90s as a kid
  • 3 0
 I absolutely LOVE that Wolf Ruck himself submitted this. Absolute legend.
  • 3 0
 music was much better then at most videos today
  • 1 0
 Yep, I've set it to run in background tab just to listen to it again! Big Grin
  • 1 0
 Curious as to how much quicker Bike geometry would have progressed if "Wider" Handlebars would have been a thing from these early times.
  • 1 0
 5.51. I actually used to have that exact yellow helmet!! Bought it in a bike shop in Llandudno where my gran lived.
Time flys….
  • 1 0
 The GEO on that bike @ 2:00 min. actually looks way better then a lot of bikes to follow this up in the early to mid 90's lol
  • 1 0
 I have a Univega of this era it has a pretty slack head tube, decent reach and a nice seat tube angle. Pedals like a road bike and descends pretty confidently all things considered.
  • 1 0
 That's what my enduro bike is missing... full length F&R fenders and F&R pannier/lowrider racks! Big Grin

That takes me right back, my formative teenage years...
  • 1 0
 Back in the days of non-indexed gears, twin clamping stems and cable operated brakes! Soft rims and only slightly less bendy derailleurs.
  • 1 0
 Ah the good old days: Two water bottle holders, Brakes that can barely hold back the bike on downhill, and geo that always makes it feel like your going over the bars.
  • 2 0
 i like the proto gravel/cross bike.
  • 2 0
 curious why they filmed a cyclocross race with an old camera
  • 2 0
 I'd like to point out that it starts in TORONTO!!!!!!!!
  • 1 0
 So rad. Loved every moment of that. Amazing how capable those pre-Norba bikes were before the roadie geometry took hold.
  • 1 0
 Takes me back to '86, getting my first trails in on Mt Tam on a Schwinn High Sierra- age 10.
  • 1 0
 Oh man, I miss Mr Submarine! The thing they do with rim brakes and rigid bikes back in the day! Long live 26" wheels! Big Grin
  • 2 0
 Dave Wonderly - what a legend - Laguna RADS
  • 1 0
 Needs his own brick at the HOF if doesnt already have..
  • 1 0
 I’m pretty sure everybody at Pit Viper, Ripton & co and VHS tape are going to be very excited about this
  • 1 0
 You see those people riding with Fanny packs?
I rocked one back then and thank goodness that stupid ass trend died……..
  • 1 0
 Jeans and no dome. love it. Although i suppose that was before the age of head injuries and chronic pain.
  • 1 0
 PS still makes me look slow! Haha
  • 2 0
 Very cool, made my day!
  • 1 0
 Christ on a bike, we've come a lot way in such a short amount of time
  • 1 0
 For some of us its close to a lifetime.
  • 1 0
 Apparently he just learnt to do a weird Manuel 180 turn
  • 1 0
 Totally bodacious, and tubular to the MAX!
  • 1 0
 All of that technical cotton clothing.
  • 1 0
 The hip packs. Guys the hip packs
  • 1 0
 Is that a young Kirt Vories at 6:30 Wink
  • 1 0
 We thought we were pretty rad back then.....
  • 1 0
 that onboard gopro footage looks legit!!
  • 1 0
 I need to start riding in jeans...
  • 2 1
 And this is why ALL mountain bikers are nerds.......
  • 2 0
 Unless they surf too lol
  • 1 0
 Where is my copy of Rad? Big Grin
  • 1 0
 J tree guy looks like 80s blond stevie smith
  • 2 0
 Asics Tiger !!
  • 1 0
 The bash guard at the 13:30 mark is awesome!
  • 1 0
 Amazing thank you!
  • 1 0
 6:24 is a BIG mood
  • 1 0
 That helmet rips!
  • 1 0
 Very CXish





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