KLUNKERZ: a film about the history of mountain biking

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Using archival footage, still photographs, and interviews, KLUNKERZ tells the story of the earliest days of mountainbiking, from those who were there. Some of the biggest names in the industry, as well as some more obscure characters, recount the people and events that gave birth to the modern mountain bike.

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Description

 

Using archival footage, still photographs, and interviews, KLUNKERZ tells the story of the earliest days of mountain biking from those who were there. Some of the biggest names in the industry, as well as some more obscure characters, recount the people and events that gave birth to the modern mountain bike.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s San Francisco was the vortex of America’s counter-culture movement. Just over the Golden Gate Bridge, in Marin County, another movement was under way. The kids here would shake up a 100 year old American industry, and within a decade, create a worldwide phenomenon.

Long before the mountain bike entered our global consciousness, the cycling enthusiasts of Marin rode modified pre-WWII bicycles down the slopes of Mount Tamalpais. They developed their bikes through rigorous field-testing, often risking life and limb to do so. Only the strongest, heaviest parts could withstand the abuse that Mount Tam dished out.

Some were Category-1 road racers looking for a new way to cross-train during the off-season. Others were simply fun-loving hippies, checking out a new way to commune with nature. They had little in common, except for the bikes they rode and the Bay Area music scene that, like the trails on Mt. Tam, surrounded them.

The pioneer’s bikes were scavenged from dumpsters and junkyards, sometimes adapting motorcycle parts to suit their needs. It was from these humble beginnings that a billion dollar industry, a new form of recreation for the masses, and an Olympic event, were born. These hefty steeds were affectionately known as Klunkerz.

Director: Billy Savage
Format: NTSC
Language: English
Region: All Regions
Studio: William Savage
DVD Release Date: September 26, 2007
Run Time: 90 minutes

Additional information

Weight 0.32 lbs
Dimensions 9 x 6 x 0.5 in
Pricing Options

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Reviews

  1. The film itself manages to make clear a subject that is often clouded: the origin of not only the mountain bike, but also the mountain biker. Names like Joe Breeze, Gary Fisher, Charlie Kelly, and Tom Ritchey are often thrown around in discussions of the roots of our sport but Savage filters through the rumors by going directly to the sources. Expect tons of vintage footage (where Billy got all of this early film is beyond us) and narration by those who were there.

    What we found most interesting about the sport’s foundation was the down-home, grass roots approach to what would eventually become a multi-billion dollar industry. It was clearly all about getting down the mountainside in the beginning. Frames of the era were snapping left and right so these resilient pioneers dug out pre World War II Schwinns. Coaster brakes were becoming so heated from drag that the grease literally boiled right out of them so it was time to retrofit discs from motorcycles. Once the prospect of actually pedaling up the hill was presented, it was back to the dumpster to find old road bike derailleurs and cogs. What we consider a modern day mountain bike is really the evolution of needs first uncovered by these characters. They filled these needs with whatever parts they could scrounge, collect, and swap-out, all in the name of fun.

    Long before there were factory warranties or purpose-built components there were simply a group of hippies looking for the rush that could only be fulfilled by ripping down the side of Mount Tam. Billy Savage takes the viewer along into a simpler time where social status and market-driven labels take the backseat to simply having fun.
    — Mountain Bike Tails
    http://www.mountainbiketales.com/reviews/klunkerz.htm

    KLUNKERZ PRESS ONE-LINERS

    USA TODAY
    “Savage’s funny and often poignant film looks at how a bunch of semi-stoned hippies in Northern California developed a unique style of off-road bike riding through collaboration and competition…KLUNKERZ is worth checking out, even if you’re not a bike nut,”

    THE NEW YORK TIMES
    “The titular vehicles of William Savage’s aptly-named documentary KLUNKERZ are, in fact, pre-1941 bicycles, gamely converted into mountain bikes. In his documentary, Savage takes a fond glimpse at this international craze.”

    MOVIEMAKER MAGAZINE
    “Documentaries of this nature always appeal to a very niche audience, but KLUNKERZ is just as enjoyable for those of us who aren’t cyclists.”

    STUFF MAGAZINE
    “KLUNKERZ looks at the origins of the sport and the Californians who went big on street bikes back at the start of it all, way back in the hair-and-flair ‘70s.”

    MOVIE MAGAZINE INTERNATIONAL
    “KLUNKERZ is a small, but important, film that traces the history of modern day mountain biking.”

    IDAHO STATESMAN/THE MIAMI HERALD
    “KLUNKERZ is definitive-and destined for classic status…Savage succeeds in making the story appealing to movie buffs and bike geeks alike.”

    THE DURANGO HERALD
    “ It’s colorful characters and the community they created is what makes this movie completely stand out.”

    PARK CITY RECORD
    “Savage calls it a labor of love and it seems true in every aspect.”

    MARIN INDEPENDENT JOURNAL
    “It’s a great ride.”

    THE SANTA BARBARA INDEPENDENT
    “Classic footage and even more classic denim-armored characters-some of whom have gone on to mountain biking royalty like Gary Fisher and Joe Breeze-makes this an enjoyable, educational, and entertaining movie.”

    BIKE MAGAZINE (Best of the Year ’07)
    “KLUNKERZ is the most compelling bike film made in quite some time.”

    MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
    “Maybe the most remarkable thing about the film is you don’t have to be a mountain biker to be thoroughly entertained.”

    BICYCLE RETAILER AND INDUSTRY NEWS
    “Finally, a mountain biking film that captures the history of the sport, KLUNKERZ has many of the same traits that made films like Riding Giants and Dog Town so great.”

    VELONEWS
    “It was a period of camaraderie and innovation that has been loving and masterfully documented by Billy Savage in his film KLUNKERZ.”

    RIDE MAGAZINE SOUTH AFRICA
    “Combine the hedonistic philosophy of the times with the sort of expendable income and spare time for recreation undreamt of by earlier generations, and it becomes a no-brainer… William Savage perfectly captures this era.”

    MOUNTAIN BIKE TALES
    “Billy Savage has literally put together a chronicle of a revolution that will probably outlast the bicycle as we know it.”

    THE BICYCLE PAPER
    “KLUNKERZ is a funny, informative journey from beginning to end…a must see.”

    COMPETETIVE CYCLIST
    “KLUNKERZ is now required viewing to anyone and everyone who rides a mountain bike.”

    SPOKES MAGAZINE
    “KLUNKERZ is definitely a classic that will be worth sharing with friends as well as watching over and over again.”

    DIRT MAGAZINE
    “Watch this film, then go out on your bike…you’ll feel differently about the way you ride, I’m sure of it.”

    DIRT MAGAZINE U.K.
    “KLUNKERZ is a film from the heart and soul of Billy Savage.”

    BIKE RADAR
    “The right people in the right time spawned the mountain bike, and KLUNKERZ does and excellent job of letting them tell their story.”

    MOUNTAIN BIKING MAGAZINE
    “KLUNKERZ is a very special film…this is definitely one to have in your collection.”

    XLR8R MAGAZINE
    “Fascinating!”

    MOMENTUM MAGAZINE
    “…you get a real sense of excitement… it’s hard not to get a contact high.”

    MOUNTAIN LIFE MAGAZINE
    “This movie will have you dying to bomb a hill on a one-speed, coaster-braked, beach cruiser.”

    FM4 AUSTRIA
    “KLUNKERZ is warmingly nostalgic without being a mere history lesson.”

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