Chris talked to the Germans

Yo Eddy!

New member
If you mean what I think that you mean I have to say that the spring at the rear is intended to bring the seatpost to it original position after it has been in a lower position (for a descend or performing tricks). A Breezer invention :idea: for as far as I know.
 

scant

New member
thanks for the translation! much appreciated :)

the spring is a hite rite. I sold 1 a while back & have since regretted it!
peteMcC still has 1 on his FAT ti :)
 

Mountain Goat

New member
Hite Rite

I had a hite rite on an old breezer I recently sold (that rare occasion I sell anything) ............ it was great ........... a retro gadget that actually does what it says on the can .......... wish I'd have kept it really.

RetroBri
 

BobM

New member
Ha - this is a funny coincidence. I just found this site tonight (linked to it from a Fat Chance listing on ebay). This was the 2nd thread I clicked on - and what the heck - that's me in one of those pictures! I'm the skinny guy with my left arm almost chopped off in the picture outside 331 Somerville Ave. Also in the picture are John Driller, Chris & Wayne(?). I remember having that picture taken ~1981 right after we made the big sign hanging over the door.

I was in high school at the time & worked there during the summers. Frame production (road bikes only in those days) was very low (maybe 1 a week). I spent most of my time as shop gopher & did lots of braze-ons, frame alignments/repairs, etc to help pay the bills.

Very cool to find this site & see how these bikes are still appreciated!
Anyway - thanks for the reminisce!
 

scant

New member
exceptionally cool to have you on board Bob!, you appreciate now you're going to get bombarded with questions :)

Any other stories/ info regarding FAT , please let us know! :D
 

rick

New member
early days at Fat City

Bob,

As Scant said, expect lots of questions.
Did you work there very long? There is a person with a very early (pre-Fat City) Chris Chance road frame around here somewhere, you might have an interesing conversation together.
I would be very interested in hearing stories about the "old days". I'm sure that others feel the same way.

rick
 

BobM

New member
Well - I worked there for 3 summers (81-83), so I guess I got to see the transition from road to mountain bikes. My memory is still pretty good about how the bikes were made (although a bit marginal for people's names!).

In 1981 we made very carefully handbuilt road frames (I am still fortunate to have mine). Frame geometry was done on Chris' HP calculator for each customer. Chris was very picky about all aspects of the bikes - I remember spending hours hand filing lugs so they were perfect thinness all the way around (but never seemed to be quite perfect enough!). Precise frame alignment, perfect tube mitering & silver solder brazing were all standard policy. Paint jobs were in Imron which was probably poisoning the guys from the bar next door when they were fighting in the alley behind the shop.

Seemed to be very little money in those days. Me & the other guys in that photo were paid a pittance, but all of us ended up building our own frames, so that was pretty good barter. Most of the profit to support the shop was paint jobs, frame repair, braze-ons, etc. We used to replace entire front ends (top, head & down tube) on crashed bikes. In those days most of the good road bikes were Italian and the US bikes were pretty cheesy. However, as quality "American" frame builders I remember we all took some perverse pleasure when hacksawing Masis & Colnagos in half when they came in for repair!

There was definitely some bravado against the Italian bikes - they looked beautiful, but sometimes we found the brazing quality, alignment or mitering gaps were not that great. Sometimes they were tack welded inside the bottom bracket which meant they were brazed off the jig (which possibly explained some of the alignment issues). Chris always pointed this stuff out to make sure it didn't happen on his frames.

The thought of welding anything on a bike instead of using low-temp brazing was definitely scorned. The '82-'83 mountain bikes were all fillet brazed (they didn't make lugs big enough in those days). It was in '83, when Gary showed up (pulling his welder on a trailer behind his bike), where the welding misconception was cleared up.

Although the modest bike production was starting to show signs of life by '83 it was definitely still "small time". I have to say I'm very impressed with how successful those guys ended up getting (and all the other fat city spin-offs). In retrospect it was the right time for a relatively new idea (mountain bikes) and there were not too many other shops delivering the high quality/engineering/craftsmanship standards that Chris insisted on.

Anyway, looks like I've written quite a bit. Regards, Bob
 

rick

New member
early days at Fat City

Bob,

Great stories, interesting reading.
Another question that perhaps you can shed some light on.
I have an 82 brazed Fat (serial #8213); any idea how many were made in the early years?
Would like to see photos of your early road bike too.
Thanks,

rick
 

BobM

New member
I'm not too sure what the production of the early Fats were. When I took off in Aug of '82 I think only 1 bike had actually been made (& Chris was working on another). Up to that point there had never been any use of serial numbers, but I assume 82=year & 13=13th bike. Based on output at the time (and I'm using the word ouput generously) I wouldn't be surprised if yours was close to the last produced that year. I'm really just guessing, but for sure an '82 bike has got to be pretty rare.

By Summer of '83, on the other hand, things were humming (relatively). I was only there for a short time that summer, but it seems like we were cranking out 5+ bikes a week.

I moved away from the East coast after that so really didn't keep in touch but I visited again in '93 or 94? (to get my bike repainted) and they had moved to a much bigger shop in a new building a few blocks down. It looked like they could produce a deecent number of frames at that stage. Rick or Scant - you guys may have a better idea of how many bikes were being made in those years?

BTW -I somewhat recall running a few errands on that 1st FAT from '82. I was really only familiar w/ road bikes at the time & frankly while the "FAT" was kind of neat I thought it was more of a novelty. As a teenager I was pretty comfortable crashing my 10-speed down hills & through bushes - but I didn't think a purpose built bike for such immature activity would have much of a market. So much for lack of vision!

I'd be happy to put some digital pics of my bike in the owners pictures forum. I see some people have their pictures stored on this site - how can I upload?

Thanks! Bob
 
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