Wilderness Trail Bikes

WTB Phoenix SE

1998 WTB Phoenix SE
1998 WTB Phoenix SE
WTB Phoenix fleet
WTB Phoenix fleet
WTB Trek Paul Thomasberg
WTB Trek Paul Thomasberg

1988 WTB  catalogue front (taken from www.mtb-katalog.de)
1988 WTB catalogue front (taken from www.mtb-katalog.de)

I always wondered, what´s so fascinating on that brand, so that even people name there Classic MTB avatar after it - Wilderness Trail Bikes, WTB Rider, All things WTB, etc.

This is my personal story with this brand, things I would like to emphasis, knowing  there is a longer history and so much more to say about the brand and masters behind - Steve Potts, Mark Slate and Charlie Cunningham - all members of the legendary Marin county fat tyre Klunkerz crew.

My journey began when I bought a Fat Chance 10th Anniversary and WTB Drop bar, I wanted to build with a reference to Kleiningham.

I found some parts, among this NOS WTB Classic hubs and Powerbeam rims - beautiful. These high flansh rims really hit me deep into my heart, the grease guard technology, their sound with the cogset - little smooth noise, amazing spin. But this was only the beginning, the bike was def to small and I was not a drop bar fan.


A year later, I got the chance to buy a Merlin (see here the write up) with roller cam and BAAM, it got me.

WTB - exclusive and innovative parts

Reading the 1988 catalogue, I was impressed how many innovations Wilderness Trail Bikes had already launched. 

1988 WTB catalogue front (taken from www.mtb-katalog.de)
1988 WTB catalogue front (taken from www.mtb-katalog.de)

I was really happy with my Merlin and the roller cam brakes. But the hunt began, because the most fascinating part was missing - The  WTB CK Headset but also an appropriate wheel set, of course with the WTB Classic Grease Guard hubs. Both can´t be more iconic for this golden, exquisite area of classic mountain bike parts. Here nice shots from later build.




WTB / King Grease Guard Sealed Bearing Headset and others

Phoenixes following the parts

After this excessive parts search I digged deeper into the WTB world. I read the review of the Phoenix and listened to a Classic MTB friend living close, how fantastic the Wilderness Train Bikes Phoenix run, a steel Cunningham.

The Three WTB Phoenixes

After one or two years of extensive parts search, trades and lots of luck finding them, I could take this picture, I build all three frame sizes of the bike with the perfect geometry, the un-spectacular perfect trailer