This is the first mountain bike i built. I started building it in 1978, patiently making the special toggle brakes, machined magnesium stem, titanium chainguide and toe flips, fixed angle seatpost, cam action aluminum seatpost QR, extra wide cartridge bearing hubs, etc. I completed CCPROTO in 1979 and immediately began riding it on all the local single track trails. Before joining the caravan of Marin County mountain bikers to Crested Butte in 1980, I had refined the frame geometry twice by cutting and re-welding the toptube and downtube, eventually settling on the following geometry:
> 70.5 degree headtube
> 72.5 degree seattube
> 2.0" fork offset
> 41.6" wheelbase
> 17.0" chainstays
> 11.6" BB height with 26x2.0" Cyclepro Snakebelly tires
This is R1, named Otto by Jacquie, It is the bike I built for her to race. She trained and raced exclusively on R1 for many years, winning numerous mountain bike races and three National Championships. R1continued service as Jacquie's primary offroad ride even after her racing career wound down.
This bike was built to replace #29C, the first bike I designed around the 26x 2.5 Extreme tires that WTB designed for Specialized. #29C was stolen from a display at the SF Airport and still has not been recovered. (Incredibly it was taken from a locked plexiglass enclosure right next to the conveyor that takes people to and from the terminals, so it must have been an inside job.
I've used #5D with racks for desert camping and riding over trackless terrain. The big tires, run at low pressures, work very well in rough rocky and sandy conditions.
#19CH is my dropbar Indian. It has a relatively long wheelbase and low bottom bracket compared to most of my personal mountain bikes. It was made mainly for long distance dirt road touring. I've used it to explore the back roads of Nevada, Utah and the southern California deserts.
Built to replace my old blue road bike #11 that I sold recently.
#E4CC has evolved to not only be my road bike but it has replaced my Expedition bike for commuting throughout Marin on all terrains. It is super stable and insanely quick efficient on pavement, and it excels on steep dirt roads with its super wide ratio gearing. The long wheelbase and low bottom bracket frame geometry is based on mid-twentieth century European road racing bikes.
The geometry of this bike was influenced by Jan Heine's bike reviews in his publication, Bicycle Quarterly. After building this bike I discovered that the geometry is virtually identical to a 1953 Rene Herse that is one of Jan's favorite bikes of all time.
I guess #E4CC would be my tribute to Jan Heine and Rene Herse, but made with all my Charlie variants. I totally love #E4CC. It is the perfect bike for long road rides or commuting throughout Marin. More details on this bike in the future....
#12D is my "6-9er" mountain bike. It was originally built as a hardtail to test the earliest Roc Shock fork with the 1" steerer. It never got much use because that fork was not very impressive. As later suspension forks became longer and were only available with 1.125" steerers, the fork couldn't be updated, so my use of #12D pretty much stopped. I then donated #12D to Darryl Skrabak for his dedicated bicycle advocacy work. He didn't use it much and eventually gave it back to me.
I thought long and hard on how to make #12D useful again and realized that the axle to crown race dimension of the old Roc Shock fork was the same as the axle to crown race dimension of a Type II fork built for the excellent 700C x 45mm Panaracer Fire Cross tire. Thus #12D took on its current form. It is one of my favorite mountain bikes, combining the quick reaction and acceleration of 26" wheels with the superb stability and traction of the bigger diameter 45mm Fire Cross tire on the front.
This is my collapsible bike. It breaks down quickly, going into a compact ripstop nylon bag that can be taken on public transportation.
The frame is brazed 4130 tubing that has been nickel plated. FLD is the second bike I ever built. The first is an identical collapsible bike which I still have, but as a learning experience it was imperfect. So I built FLD as a perfected version for personal use.
Built as an aesthetically perfect version of #ZZ. It has beautiful DKG welds and everything is carefully finished.
C.C. is my Expedition bike.
It was designed specifically for the Specialized Expedition tire when it came out. It has a 700C x 35mm tire on the rear and bigger diameter 27 x 1.375" tire on the front.
Until recently it was my main ride for commuting throughout Marin, mixing city streets with dirt roads and trails. It has been excellent for mixing all terrains getting from A to B in the most efficient way.
Built in 1982. Mechanically it is a perfected version of my first mountain bike, CCPROTO, built in 1979. At 23.5 pounds with a heat-treated aluminum frame, this bike was very light for its time. I used magnesium and titanium in the stem, chainguide, seatpost and toe flips.
In 1982 the mountain bike was so new that components designed specifically for these bikes were not yet available. Many of the handmade parts on#12 were forerunners of products that became popular in later years. The aluminum cam style seatpost quick-release clamp has been adopter by manufacturers and is common today. The machined stem with removable cap and the custom built sealed bearing hubs inspired many similar products by large-scale manufacturers. Wide ratio freewheels needed for mountain riding were not available. I made the 11-38 freewheel from cogs that were available at the time and modified each tooth profile to give quick, precise shifting. The toggle brakes are designed for the special demands of mountain biking. They are accurate and powerful. Overall, this bike is an absolute pleasure to ride, having been created specifically for Marin's singletrack trails.
I raced this bike in several major events in 1984 including the NORBA Nationals in Nederland, Colorado, placing 10th overall and first in the over 35 class. This painted #12 contrasts starkly with the bare and battered Cunningham warhorse, CCPROTO that I rode before it, and Jacquie's R1 Otto that she trained and raced on for eight seasons, winning three nationals.
Curious as it may seem today, many opinion leaders and enthusiasts in the early mountain bike scene preferred a traditional steel frame design, with familiar off-the-shelf components and appearance. To accommodate the commercial reality of widely ranging customer expectations, I offered my bikes in many forms.
I offered bikes built as I thought they should be, based on my personal bikes, with shorter wheelbase, shorter chainstay length, sloping toptube, big diameter seatpost and purpose designed parts. I believe that paint on an aluminum mountain bike is not only superfluous, it interferes with function. In offroad service, paint is not needed to prevent rust. It simply gets chipped and if the frame ever needs repair, the paint must be removed first and then be repainted. If a bare aluminum unpainted racing frame is damaged, it can often be repaired by welding, sometimes without even disassembling the bike, and returned to service immediately.
For the customer more comfortable with the traditional, I offered bikes that were closer to prevailing expectations. This included longer wheelbase frame geometries, curved blade fork designs, cantilever brakes, standard hub widths, flat handlebars, etc, and.....painted frames.
#12 was built as a statement bike, made for those who were offended by the raw, purely functional look of Cunningham bikes. It was made to show that I was willing to make my bikes with a high degree of cosmetic finishing, including paint, if the buyer insisted.
Built in 1981 to replace CCPROTO as my everyday mountain bike.
#18D is my flatbar hardtail Racer with a Fox suspension fork which I painted gray.
My new 29er mountain bike, completed in mid 2014. It is from my most recent batch of 5 bikes, three of which were made for good friends. #E1CC the ultimate bike for the single track trails I enjoy riding so much. More about this bike and its build details to come in the future.
Flat handlebar utility bike with racks. I've used it for shopping and offroad overnight camping but have retired it from local service. The geometry is a medium wheelbase blend of the Racer and Indian. It has wide range gearing and has proven to be a very stable, comfortable ride.
After we designed the Bon Tempe, we needed a prototype to test the geometry and suspension before bringing it into production. Steve Potts and I built the prototype, with me making the aluminum front portion of the bike and Steve making the titanium rear. I was the primary tester and eventually inherited the bike. When it became my own bike, I added a myriad of custom "Charlie refinements" which will be shown with photos and explanations in the future. (The titanium BB on this bike has no ID number on it. )
12981912 was one of WTB's "limited production" Bon Tempe bikes. The anodized aluminum fronts were manufactured for WTB by an American company and the titanium rears were built by Steve Potts. The total number of these Bon Tempes produced was very small. I purchased this one for my dad.
I equipped this bike with sample pre-production 9 speed shifters and cassette given to WTB by Shimano for feedback before they finalized the 9 speed design and released it to the public. My dad rode this bike for many years and occasionally took it on camping trips.
F (Mom's Bike) : The frame number on this bike is not clear because it is covered by paint. From a bit of research I think it is frame number F. I built F as an early customer loaner bike that I later gave to Jacquie to use for her first mountain bike races.
The fork on F is made with the earliest "Unicrown" fork blades. I was asked by Gary Fisher to make a drawing of what I thought the ideal mass production mountain bike fork blade should be. He borrowed my drawing, and to my complete surprise, soon thereafter presented me with two sample fork blades made by Tange Seki in Japan that were virtually identical to my drawing. I never received credit for the design or royalties. This "Unicrown" design was widely used on mountain bikes of that period.
I used the sample blades that Gary gave me to build the fork on F, which makes this one of the first Unicrown forks. When I built R1 to replace F for Jacquie's racing, I gave F to my mother and had Scot Nicol paint it her favorite color.