We’ve teamed up with Jeep, who are celebrating their 75th anniversary this year, to shine a spotlight on some of the ultimate renegades from the world of action sports – past, present and future. Here we take a look at the bikes known as “klunkers”, the crazily primitive machines from the earliest days of the sport, and the equally crazy men who rode them – the pioneering Repack Racers of Marin County, California.
No suspension, plaid shirts and, most scary of all, no helmets – the mountain bikers of the seventies are almost unrecognisable from those of today. In fact, these guys wouldn’t even call themselves mountain bikers, just cyclists. Instead of mountain bikes, they rode Klunkers.
“These guys wouldn’t even call themselves mountain bikers, just cyclists. Instead of mountain bikes, they rode Klunkers.”
Klunkers were messenger bikes with ten speed drivetrains on them taken “up into the hills to have a ball”. This was mountain biking without the advertising campaigns, social media hype or wheel size debates of today, it was far more about racing your mates and having a blast. We’d say it was taking it back to the roots, but, well, these are the roots.