[Bob in 1975]
The Mountain Bike Hall of Fame has recognized Portland resident Bob Crispin’s 1975 “Tankagnolo” as the “first mountain bike with a disc brake.” The bike is now on display at Portland’s first bike shop, 80 year-old Weir’s Cyclery in St. Johns.
[Bob in 2002]
Bob built his first Tankagnolo (there have been 3 versions) from a Schwinn Varsity ten-speed frame and added the unique features of a Shimano disc brake and alpine gearing for riding in the snow and dirt roads around his home in Spokane, Washington.
Here’s a great excerpt from an article on the bike from Bike World Magazine in 1978:
“I feel the world should know that it is possible to do. The bike turns railroad tracks and other city bumps into a velvet touch. It’s a Cadillac of bikes, both in feel and looks. With its trailer it becomes a workhorse also.”
Crispin suggests that anyone who desires such a machine get an old frame and parts, some welding gear to heat and widen the frame and have at it. It is worthwhile and also guaranteed to bring lots of laughs from the critics, he said.
Check out this detailed story about the bike on the Weir’s Cyclery website.