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Refurbing a Ralph Cycles MTB

While we all love the Shark around here we still often ride other bikes. The Ralph Cycles 17-inch hardtail shown here is being refreshed with a good, thorough cleaning and some parts replacement to bring it back to serviceable condition.

Ralph Cycles MTB frame circa 1995
Ralph Cycles MTB frame circa 1995

This particular Ralph frame was one of 6 built by Tom Teesdale in about 1995 for the Ralph Cycles racing team. This frame is serial #3 and I raced it inthe WORS series as well as MTB races in Minnesota and Iowa. It is in pretty darn good shape considering it was my primary MTB for about 3 years but has been mostly siting around since. Built from Reynolds 853, it is a strong, light frame and incorporates Ralph’s T-Bone seat stay that we used to help keep the seatstay flex down with the then powerful V-Brakes.

For this refurb job we are going to leave the color original for a couple of reasons.

  • I like it
  • Paint is still pretty good
  • Can’t get Ralph Cycles decals anymore

The RockShox Judy fork is a pretty stock unit but has Arlo Englund Air Cartridges in. Hopefully those still work but I am not opposed to going back to urethane or whatever the bumpers were. This will not be a competition bike any more and may even get a ridged fork.

More as the work progresses.

If you have an older but loved bike consider throwing some love at it! If you haven’t got the time, shoot us a note. We’ll treat the old girl like she was one of our own.

4 thoughts on “Refurbing a Ralph Cycles MTB

  1. Love the bike. I was looking for more information on the Ralphs, but it’s hard to find. You’d love my Ralph tshirt that I found in our local Salvation Army. Someone customized the back to say, “Because not every BIKE is born in a factory in Taiwan.” Later!

  2. Greg,

    I was Ralph’s partner in crime back in the mid-90’s so here is a bit of background.

    Ralphs were made in very limited numbers. Originally by Ralph Henderson, an Iowa bike racer, and then by Tom Teesdale who built them for a few years. Not sure how many total were made but in the 20 to 25 neighborhood. Maybe. I still have an original Aermet frame that Ralph built along with the Red TET built frame here.

    The T-shirts were made for Interbike and the saying was all Ralph! There was a companion version that said “It’s a Ralph, now go lay down by your dish!” I still have a few originals!

    Greg (too!)

  3. Thanks for the 411. I am considering making a counterfeit Ralph out of my Mongoose Beast fatbike. For laughs of course. Should have some pics on in the next weeks coming. I remember seeing Ralphs at Decorah Tt as well as Sugarbottom races. Someone broke a prototype stem in Decorah but finished still. Thanks again and keep those originals for posterity!

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