It’s hard to imagine Colorado without mountain bikes. The knobby-tired bicycles are so ubiquitous now that it seems almost impossible that there was a time when trails were mostly for hiking. It may also be hard to believe that mountain bikes were once called “klunkers” made from vintage cruisers/paperboy bikes and that the people who rode them wore t-shirts and jeans or shorts instead of spandex “Tron suits” (Helmets? What!?), even as they rode long distances in the back country from places like Crested Butte to Aspen. (Note also the many single-speeds and folks cheerfully walking their bikes with friends!) We hope these two amazing videos of the “Crested Butte to Aspen Klunker Classic” in 1980 can serve as a small reminder of the simpler days of early mountain biking when fun was the first order of business. If anyone recognizes anyone in this video, please leave a comment. (Thanks to for finding these videos!)


10 Responses to When Klunkers Were King

  1. Sandra Knauf says:

    What FUN! A more joyful, less self-conscious time – everyone’s laughing! A lot has been lost to seriousness and goals. And I’ll bet the keggers are gone too. Bummer.

  2. Nancy Atherton says:

    Fantastic! A perfect follow-up to the Tour de France. No sponsors, no team cars, no big prizes, except the biggest one of all—a great time with a great bunch of people.

  3. chris fiedler says:

    single speeders ‘get off’ more! hahaha! such a great film. thanks for sharing it noel.

  4. chris fiedler says:

    for anyone interested and unfamiliar, is a great film about the birth of mountain biking.

  5. suesun says:

    The boys loved it!…. gives the young perspective on recent history, and respect for those who came before them.

  6. Michael says:

    Un-American! CONSUME. :)

  7. KlunkerBill says:

    Those are such great videos. Seems like a perfect snapshot of the whole thing. I’m just sorry I didn’t uncover them during my research for Klunkerz.I bet the outtakes were insane. It sure is great to see more and more stuff coming out about the history of the sport. I hope that more folks come across ‘some old boxes in the attic’ in the near future. Thanks for posting.
    Ride on,

  8. Marina Eckler says:

    I didn’t know you could do that without spandex!
    How fun!

  9. Karen says:

    As high school teacher I developed a lesson on the history of mountain biking for my students who were going to be riding down Pikes Peak. Wish I had found this. The kids would have loved it!

  10. Jeremy Van Hoy says:

    One of my favorites, Noel! I go to CB and ride every summer. Once, I went to Aspen… but over Taylor Pass. Guess I’m a wuss :(



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