09 March 2013

If Keith Bontrager Went Dutch

Keith Bontrager once said that everyone who builds or designs bikes, or parts and accessories, should spend a year in the Netherlands.

I can't help but to wonder what my Race-Lite would have been like had he followed his own advice.  I liked it a lot; I sold it only because I'd stopped mountain biking and wanted  it to have a good home, if you will.

In fact, I wonder what all of his parts--especially his wheels--would have been like.  To his credit, his designs were functional:  He had no concern for fads or trends, and he cared nothing for aesthetics (though some of his stuff is very attractive).  Also, he had no interest in, as he said, making "lifestyle" products and had no intention of releasing a line of leisure wear with his name on it.

In some weird way, I think the mountain bike maven from Santa Cruz, CA would have been right at home in this milieu:


  1. I hadn't thought about Bontrager the person behind the name of the ubiquitous Trek house brand. Unfortunately, many of the "rants" seem to be lost.

  2. Steve--He was quite the personality: part surfer, part scientist. At least, that's how I can best describe my impression from the one brief encounter I had with him.

    He built some great mountain bikes. Some time in the mid-'90's, Trek bought him out with the agreement that he would design bike components--or, at least, allow his name to be used on them. Around the same time, they bought out Gary Fisher. They turned out bikes with his name for a few years. I wonder why they wouldn't have a Bontrager line of bikes. After all, Trek not only sold Gary Fisher mountain bikes; they also marketed road bikes with Greg LeMond's name on them after they bought him out.