Wilderness Trail Bikes

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