Readers’ Rides: Ron’s 1986 Ritchey Commando


Readers’ Rides: Ron’s 1986 Ritchey Commando

When it comes to the paint jobs of 1980s Ritchey frames, it’s hard to beat a Commando. These bikes were painted by Rick at D&D and remain one of the most iconic bikes of the mid-late 1980s. Ron sent in his 1986 Commando with photos by Mike Blanchard of RUST Magazine, so let’s check it out below!

I am fortunate to live in NorCal, in the shadows of Marin.

I started riding with the Anonymous Bike Club, aka ABC, in the mid 80’s. Riders surrounded me on one-off, prototype, and custom rides. I rode what I could afford, a Schwinn Sierra. However, I purchased a few new production bikes. I never had the means to own the top-of-the-line stuff, so I kept an eye out for cast-off deals.

As the first proto suspension bikes were coming out in the 90s, a friend needed to unload this Ritchey. I paid less than my first Schwinn. This bike is in remarkable condition despite it being ridden hard on the single track of the Sierra.

I replaced the modern SE self-energizing brakes for XT BR-MC70 supplied on the original build and added the Blackburn racks. The seat I bought was new in the 80s and has seen many miles under me. The portage pad is the original supplied by Tom.

DKG, a CNC fabrication shop in NorCal, made parts under license for Salsa, WTB, and others. These products made their way on this build.

The Shimano 600 freewheel I custom stacked with a rare 34-tooth cog. This was made possible by Bob Ward and the REI clearance bin. Bob is a true MTB pioneer, writing trail guides and leading tours in the Sierra. He used his clout as manager of the REI bike shop to order the hard-to-find parts for the hardcore riders.

I recently found these NOS Ground Control tires, inspiring me to share this time capsule. The bags are filled with Bloody Mary fixings and riding along the American river these days. Enjoy!


– Frame #1B135
– bottom bracket Ritchey sealed bearing
– Hubs WTB Grease Gard with early Salsa FlipOffs made by DKG
– Freewheel Shimano 600
– WTB design Ground Control tires
– Drive train Shimano XT, including rare steel XT seatpost.
– Bars Ritchey Bullmoose alloy clamp on
– Brake levers Dia Compe SS-5 “ Two Finger” with 6mm cables
– pedals Shimano Campus
– DKG mag light holder with camo Maglight/ LED conversion
– Oury grips
– Blackburn racks with Jandd Mountaineering bags

We’d like to thank all of you who have submitted Readers Rides builds to be shared over here. The response has been incredible and we have so many to share over the next few months. Feel free to submit your bike, listing details, components, and other information. You can also include a portrait of yourself with your bike and your Instagram account! Please, shoot landscape-orientation photos, not portrait. Thanks!