IN 1978, Tom Ritchey raced the now-iconic Repack Downhill in Marin, California. He rode a borrowed bike, and as an accomplished elite racer he found it pretty easy to go fast. He might have won, but halfway down the rough descent his bars slipped and rotated and he had to stop and pull his bars back into place to continue. “My time was not that far off from the winner, even considering the stop,” Ritchey said, “I thought, all I need is a better handlebar and stem and I can win this thing.”
Tom Ritchey was already making hundreds of steel stems to accompany his successful custom steel frame building business at the time, so he designed a one-piece bar and stem that eliminated any chance of slipping and offered added stiffness. The design would be known as the “Bullmoose” – coinciding with Ritchey’s first “Mountain Bike” in 1979. As this revolutionary new bike category took off, the Bullmoose was standard equipment on Ritchey mountain bikes and practically every other company’s mountain bike. The Bullmoose bar was one of the first of Tom Ritchey’s many mountain bike innovations to gain widespread acceptance.
Now, 35 years later, the Bullmoose bar is reborn – but this time the goal is different. “I wanted to make a light, strong and stiff front end for the modern mountain bike and the original Bullmoose design has a number of advantages,” Ritchey said. The triangle is a very strong shape, and by combining that design with added strength-to-weight ratio of carbon fiber and a forged alloy clamp, I was able to design a very light, very stiff front end that manages the increased torsional flex brought on by wider handlebars,” Ritchey said.
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