Marin County was a bustling time for the early mountain bike scene from the late 70s and well into the 80s. Names like Tom Ritchey/Gary Fisher/Charlie Kelly at the MountainBikes store, and Joe Breeze, Charlie Cunningham, and Steve Potts psychically and physically shaping the future of the then-fledgling sport with their fire-road ripping designs, torches and tig welders.
We’ve reported on Cunningham and Potts’ involvement in Wilderness Trail Bikes (known widely as WTB) over the past few years along with Mark Slate. In 1983, Cunningham, Potts, and Mark Slate founded WTB, and the trio began developing components in Marin, leaning on both builder’s fondness for innovation and exquisitely unique craft. While Steve loved to shape tubes with brass fillets, focusing on the form regardless of weight, Charlie would tig aluminum and shave grams anywhere he could. The two made for a dynamic duo of constructeurs.
By the time 1985 rolled around, mountain bikes were a legitimate tour de force within the bike industry. Even though they gravitated towards completely different frame materials and processes, Cunningham and Potts were credited with crafting some of the most iconic bikes of the era and still found the time to collaborate and share ideas.
As with many of the influential characters and pivotal moments in the early days of the almighty mountain bike, collaboration was key, and sometimes, it took two talented individuals to make a single bike…