Ricardo MTB Tourer

Ricardo MTB Tourer

Readers outside of Australia probably won’t recognize the Ricardo marque, and that’s fair enough. It’s the Aussie equivalent of a poor man’s Schwinn, manufacturers of road, triathlon and ‘entry-level’ mountain bikes, cobbled, albeit by hand, from nothing fancier than high quality Tange tubing.

Last week we featured the Naked Bicycles BBQ Butterfly, whose tubes were finished with a heat treated effect not unlike anodizing. A commenter reminisced about a similar ‘sooty tigerstripe effect’ that was seen on vintage Diamondback frames and I wondered what on earth he was talking about. Today, I came across Melbourne designer and bicycle polo player Chris Tomoya’s Ricardo MTB frame that he converted to a long distance tourer, and I was enlightened. The effect is achieved by forcing carbon deposits of soot on the frames surface using a candle, then applying a clear coat.

Chris has proved that it’s possible to polish the proverbial turd, and worked with Mark and Anthony at Melbourne’s Born Again Cycles to turn what was once a sluggish, confidence-expiring mountain bike into a reliable long distance tourer with trez-retro cool.

Chris proved the worth of the Ricardo’s construction and the ease of low-budget touring on a fully laden, 1,500km tour around Tasmania, which he documented on his excellent blog, hopskid. As the name subtly implies, it’s a commentary on two of life’s most important aspects, bicycles and beer.

Ricardo MTB Tourer
Ricardo MTB Tourer
Ricardo MTB Tourer
Ricardo MTB Tourer
Ricardo MTB Tourer
Ricardo MTB Tourer
Ricardo MTB Tourer
Ricardo MTB Tourer
Ricardo MTB Tourer

  • HB

    Gets my vote.
    nice appropriation.
    That paint job takes me back – I can almost smell the bike/skate shop I frequented in 1988.

  • Francis

    I have a lot of time for these honest hardworking steeds! reminds me of my similar experience touring with a muddy fox courier comp tourer conversion, albeit pretty vile in lurid green. It was super robust, super comfy and heaps of fun at fully laiden downhill break neck speed:)

  • Benjos

    I love the paint job! As someone who restores a lot of old road bikes thesedays for friends and family .. often simple, honest cr-mo and hi-ten frames, I applaud your efforts! Just goes to show you don’t need a rare Italian frame to make a good honest bike that you can have lots of fun on.

    Will be checking out your blog to try and work out how I can try out that paint effect in future 😉 Cheers!

    • mudplug

      +1 for the paint job.
      It’s given me some inspiration for re-spraying a bike as this year’s winter hack.
      Note that I’m in the UK which is why I’m already collecting ideas for my winter hack – just because it’ll be cheap and disposable doesn’t mean it can’t be fun and personal. I’m thinking of variations on snow-camo colour palette.

      I’m currently using a disposable MTB in Autumnal yellows / browns / neutral matt colours for blitzing round the green-lanes and BOATs (or BsOAT for grammatical correctness.)

      Likewise +1 for underdog bikes and substantially modifying them to suit a specific purpose.

  • Really outstanding.

  • SSS

    No idea why you would pan Ricardo’s so harshly, your being a bit Elitist I think. I have a number of these and they are great bikes. Mine certainly don’t hold me back on group rides or any of the major climbs up and down around Brisbane’s Northside. Nothing wrong with Tange cr-mo tubing, easily as good as Reynolds and Columbus. Also you forget that up until the late eighties these were Australian made to boot.