Cool as in color. As in how pristine this bike is. As in how rad is it that this Ritchey 1990 P-23 is still being ridden in Southern California? Cool as in look at all the Ritchey Logic parts, or those uber rare PAUL skewers. Cool as in those skewers were the first component PAUL made. Cool as in, yeah this bike is cool.
Carmella has a cool bike with an even cooler backstory, which I won’t even go into here because it’ll turn into a cool mess. Or hot mess. Ok, whatever. Here ya go.
So, apparently this bike was a custom order from a Santa Barbara native who raced the national circuit, which is where he met John Parker, the founder of Yeti. As the old owner tells the tale, Parker had already formed Yeti in 1985, but the whole teal color wasn’t a “Yeti thing” quite yet. After Parker saw this bike, however, he complimented the color and began using it on his own frames.
Now, a quick bit of fact-checking might shoot holes in this local lore. For instance, the P-series MTBs didn’t come out officially until 1990 and Yeti was formed in 1985. I’m pretty certain that Yeti used their iconic teal color prior to 1990. Which, as Mombat shows, was featured in a 1989 ad. However, as numerous sources recall, Ritchey apparently worked on the P-23 in 1988 and even seeded out a few frames to select racers… BUT the racing frames were fillet brazed and made by Tom, not tig welded. Unless a small batch of production frames went out to select racers beforehand. Which, if that’s the case, or even if there’s some slight wiggle room in the dates, it might actually be a legit story, not just local lore.
At any rate. This is a cool bike with a cool bit of lore attached to it and some sick skewers. It’s easy on the eyes and during its heyday the P-23 was one of the lightest chromoly frames on the market. Weighing in at only 23 pounds! Hence the name.