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Record Setting Design

Bicycling has long been a convenient means for travel.  Consider, it was likely the first vehicle you owned, the first you first sped in and the first you crashed.  It, at least for me, provided a misperceived sense of freedom in my early youth.  At eight years old, I rode my bike to friends’ homes, grocery stores and arcade games.  It managed to get me into trouble in multiple instances, one of which ended with me being hit by a car, whose driver I told, “Please don’t tell my mom.”  Of course he didn’t indulge me in my request; instead he loaded my bike into his trunk and drove me home.  I should add that the bike was hit so hard the top tube bent nearly in half; my head suffered the same misfortune, save it responded not by bending but with a severe swelling where it made swift contact with asphalt.  At that point in time, helmets were not mandatory and adults didn’t much pay attention to safety gear on kids.  A bit off topic, but relevant to this story, the question is simple.  How can anyone improve a design already so perfect that it has seen little change during its hundred and some years in existence? 

JHanebrink at Dunes 1993

As all improvements in design or inventions are introduced, this one is no different.  Dan Hanebrink is obsessively passionate about cycling.  All cycling enthusiasts understand, riding year round is an important need, but doing so is sometimes difficult.  I’ve experienced this myself, living in Orange County California mountain bike trails are closed after a day’s rain.  This never kept me away from a mountain bike ride, it was my clay packed derailleurs and tires that usually put an end to the ride.  The miserable walk back to my car was the reward for the attempt.  This and other situations never served as reminders to keep me from the next attempt at a ride in questionable conditions.      

So with this image in mind, consider what type of bike could survive soft back muddy conditions?  Traditional mountain, cycle cross bikes may be able to survive a descent in the mud or clay, but a climb?  This is the problem Hanebrink solved by building a bike that can be ridden anytime and nearly anywhere.  In 1991, he created the “Extreme Terrain” bike.  With custom frames, forks, tires and gearing.  The bicycle could travel through sand, mud and snow.  Places where traditional bikes could not and as icing on the cake it was still powered by you, the rider.  The joy of a muddy ride and the sense of freedom and adventure we all experienced as youth, is here again, this time personified by the Hanebrink X bikes.

Go anywhere; try anything, that’s how we ride our mountain bikes in hard pack in the spring and summer.  Now do the same on snow, sand, mud or during winter, a heavy rain and in the fall.  Use your imagination; where could a full suspension bike with capabilities to ride on any terrain take you? 

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