Geoff Apps & Range Rider: ahead of his time

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    1. gemapps 50 months ago | reply

      Thanks for that John. I suppose there is a certain timelessness about my Aventura, largely because it is completely uninfluenced by fashion. One of my aims is a functional design, at as economical a price as possible, with minimum future maintenance work and costs. For example: roller brakes are not the most sexy thing around. They cost £50 each plus £10 for a tube of specific grease. And that's it for at least five years; you don't even have to look at them or think about them. They weigh a bit more than other brakes. So effin what? The divi is too huge to worry about a few ounces. I'm just so pleased that they function really well, loads of feathering; the wheel doesn't lock until the lever is touching the handlebar. This is what most people call 'spongy', but I call supreme control ~ and I think THAT's sexy. That's just one component of many. But, when all is said and done, a bicycle is only as good as its rider... I'll stop now before y'all fall asleep.

    2. gemapps 50 months ago | reply

      My photographer friend Jason Patient is going to recreate this picture with me, a few years older, and my lastest 29er. We're not going to use the original barn doorway, but find something similar around here. Please be patient, it'll be about two weeks or so...

    3. carltonreid 50 months ago | reply

      Geoff (and Jason) Could you do this any quicker? I feel a big piece coming on.

    4. brantrichards 50 months ago | reply

      Geoff - are you familiar with the work of Jeff Jones? I remember your Dingbat having some DWS truss forks on, when we bumped into you in the Quantocks in the late '80s (oh lord that makes me feel so old).

    5. gemapps 50 months ago | reply

      Hello Brant ~
      I had a look at Jeff Jones work about a year ago. Delightful, beautiful, practical (up to a point), expensive (you bet).
      I agree with his handlebar design ~ ie a slight (but much more that the average) back-bend. Have you seen the handlebars on the v early prototype Clelands?
      I disagree with his CG ideas, but that's nothing new.
      You can see those forks on the gmacleland photostream, as well as other Dingbat prototypes. Dingbats featured the twistgrip rear-mech shifter and a digital front mech. I'm amazed I rode a Dingbat for such distances; it was intended for very short, technical rides; what we now call dirt/jump etc.
      This is a bit of a polemic that came to mind when I looked at JJ's lovely bikes ~ anyone can produce a really good expensive bike. My recent machines have cost around £5/600 to create, not including labour, of course.
      I'm going to have another look at JJ's, via your link, thanks

    6. Hugger Industries 50 months ago | reply

      This totally pro Geoffapps lovefest debate is getting boring -- we need someone to pop in here and disprove it all or shake it up! Like Tesla vs. the World.

      The question is whether or not the UK crew was also totally stoned when they made these bikes? Was the invention designed for the purpose of smoking a bag of strange and careening down a mountain or for riding around the farms of London.

      That's a book btw, the stoner generation. There's an industry built by slacker stoners.

    7. brantrichards 50 months ago | reply

      >Have you seen the handlebars on the v early prototype Clelands?

      I've not, but I remember the early Swallow bars - a sort of H shape...

      can you drop me an email - ta.

    8. gemapps 50 months ago | reply

      Hi Brant ~ search flickr for 'gmacleland' and range through the pics ~ you'll see the dark green prototype from 1979. These bars were called 'north road'; far too angled, and not really strong enough. The next stage was a Renthal m/c trials bar, but that was too wide. Finally I settled on CW flattops with Oakley 3 grips to compensate for their straightness. Kept hitting the CWs with my knees, so now I use 4-piece BMX bars which have to be bent back very slightly.

    9. gemapps 50 months ago | reply

      Mr Hugger ~ It's all been disproved over and over, or has it? Try this link for something a little more entertaining, perhaps...
      Also, the cleland bikes were designed to plough through mud along gnarly singletrack. For more info look at
      A certain amount of smoking went on, but did not influence the design, I don't think it did, anyway, or maybe it did?

    10. Hugger Industries 50 months ago | reply

      If it did, you'd have forgotten by now . . .

    11. gmacwallace 50 months ago | reply

      MR Hugger (Re- This totally pro Geoffapps lovefest debate is getting boring).

      ~ This was posted on ( in a debate about the ten most important mountain bikes and in reply to my post of a list of the first mountain bike manufactures. There are many other posts critical of the Cleland bikes. However most tend to be about how mountain bikes don't look good with mud guards, or the mistaken idea that bikes with high handlebars must be difficult to ride up hill etc...

      "The Cleland had no direct bearing on the evolution of the modern MTB, its an incredibly interesting bike but it was a typically quirky English evolutionary dead end. I don't think it was the imports of cheaper US bikes that sunk it either. The US bikes were much sexier and as a 'lifestyle purchase' a much more attractive proposition to the masses. Even if we had not had the birth of the MTB in the states I don't think the Cleland would have sold in huge numbers, rather it would have remained a tool used by a minority of dedicated enthusiasts ( rather like tandems and recumbents), and for that it is a more fascinating machine.
      So, an interesting diversion in the story but in the big scheme of things its sadly had little impact".


    12. gemapps 50 months ago | reply

      I agree with that!
      Who knows in what direction MTB design will go in the future?
      If one stands back and looks at the basic design, the very esscence, disregarding cosmetic elements, since 1980, MTB design has definitely shifted towards the Cleland concept.
      However, it is unlikely that the influence came from Cleland.
      More likely folks have discovered in the past 20 years what I learned in the previous 20 years.

    13. gemapps 50 months ago | reply

      Just looked again at the top of the page:

      With reference to the smoking of certain vegetable substances, a 'head' back in those days was colloquial for someone who indulged in said fumitory pastimes.

      So, we could have: Geoff Apps, a head of his time

    14. carltonreid 50 months ago | reply

      I talked with Gary Fisher at the weekend. He's agreed to support any campaign to get Geoff in what Jacquie Phelan calls Hollow Fame.

      gmacwallace - care to nominate Geoff again, and I'll do story in BikeBiz mag and online.

    15. Hugger Industries 50 months ago | reply

      650b! As Gary told me, Halls of Fame ain't fair. Reminds me of outboard bearings. Bill Davidson showed me a Magic Motorcycle prototype that Pong was shopping to builders in the early 90s. Looks exactly like Shimano's and SRAMs bottom brackets we see today. Hollow cranks too.

    16. gmacwallace 50 months ago | reply

      Hi Carlton Reid,

      I would be happy to nominate Geoff again though someone else may also wish to nominate him. A nomination from one of the American pioneers would be clear endorsement that Geoff's contribution was important. This would be more influential than re-nomination from one of his 1980's customers, i.e. me! For instance the successful induction of the French VCCP resulted from a nomination and campaign by Joe Breeze. Success is dependent on an effective campaign as their are few if any British MBHoF members and it is likely that many US members have not heard of Geoff, unless they have read the info I posted on the MBHoF's UK History pages. Last years nomination was supported by Charlie Kelly but still did not gain enough momentum in the face of the competition from some strong US candidates.

      I am more than happy to help with info for the nomination or any publicity.

      "The Cleland had no direct bearing on the evolution of the modern MTB, its an incredibly interesting bike but it was a typically quirky English evolutionary dead end".

      For years I waited for mountain bikes to evolve towards Geoff's Ideas. They did to some extent, but I still can't go out and buy a Cleland style bike, so I build my own. All the people who have tested my modern, suspension versions of the Cleland are impressed by their unique qualities and have no problem in understanding the logic, (apart from the EggRings which do need a little explanation). I don't see the Cleland concept as an "evolutionary dead end", more of a idea waiting for its time to come. Niche market maybe, but their has to be a market for a comfortable, highly capable off-road tourer. One that doesn't do damage to your back etc, and easier for a novice to safely ride over difficult terrain than any other bike I have ever ridden.

    17. gmacwallace 50 months ago | reply

      On reflection, I believe the best combination would be for someone more influential to nominate Geoff but for me to write the biography / notes. This is because, that next to Geoff himself, I probably know more about the history of Geoff's bikes than anyone. I also think that focusing on Geoff's unique and single minded vision and creativity may be more effective than just recanting the history alone.

    18. gemapps 50 months ago | reply

      I think, Graham, that you actually know more about my bikes than I do!

    19. gmacwallace 49 months ago | reply

      The MBHoF have changed their membership system from one where you had to send a application form and a cheque in US Dollars, to an online PayPal system. This will make it much easier, for UK people to join and vote, than in previous years.

      See their website for details.

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