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Over The Bars

Klunkerz
By MBT Staff

Back to the Past

KLUNKERZ DVD Review
A Stocking Stuffer They’ll Never Forget

It’s been said time and again that our future depends upon our understanding of the past. This is true in all areas of society but perhaps even more so in the niche sport we love. Enter Billy Savage, a film producer out of Marin County California who has combined two of his passions into one incredible project, Klunkerz. We here at MBT have followed this ambitious film since its multi-city initiation and eagerly awaited its release to the home market. The moment we received a copy of the DVD at our offices, work (or what passes for it around here) instantly ceased so that popcorn and soda could be retrieved. Our collective behind was parked in front of the set so that we could share the Klunkerz experience with the world. Does Billy have a winner on his hands? Read on to find out.

Let us begin by telling you a bit about the picture’s production values. It is immediately apparent that Billy Savage is a top tier professional who takes his craft very seriously. As so often is the case with independent film productions, we feared an amateurish approach to editing, scene splicing, and audio work. Our fears were instantly dismissed! Klunkerz is on par with the type of documentary presentation we’ve come to expect on networks such as History, Discovery, Speed, and Biography. In fact it is very easy to forget that this is not some powerhouse network’s masterpiece. The presentation is really that good.

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.

We are very fortunate to be involved in such a young sport. Watching Klunkerz is about as close to traveling back in time to the beginning as a person could ask for. Many of the key players are still with us today and offer incredible insight that simply couldn’t be portrayed accurately through history books and word of mouth alone. Billy Savage has literally put together a chronicle of a revolution that will probably outlast the concept of the bicycle as we know it.

Klunkerz is now available on DVD and we simply cannot recommend a better stocking stuffer for the rider in your life. The beauty of this film is that it does not appeal only to die hard mountain bikers. We shared it with riders and non-riders alike and were surprised at the interest shown across the board.

Order the DVD directly here:
Klunkerz on Amazon

For more information on the film: klunkerz.com/

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