Saddleback Retro Exhibition At Malverns Classic – Watch Now!

8 September 2021

By Nicki Giles

Man looking at Saddleback Retro Exhibition Malverns Classic

At Saddleback we love all things bike, especially those with history. Here’s what we got up to at the Malverns Classic, showcasing retro goodies from TLD, Sidi and Castelli.

The Malverns Classic is a major event in the UK MTB calendar, with plenty to do and see for fans of enduro, cross country, trail and BMX, plus fun spectacles and atmospheric live music to entertain the entire family.

For mountain bikers looking to steep themselves in MTB culture, the Retro Show is the crown jewel of the event, and the Saddleback team joined in to showcase the history of the renowned TLD, Sidi and Castelli brands with our own retro exhibition.

Putting on a show with Troy Lee Designs

We’ve missed going to shows and getting to chat to cycling enthusiasts of all types, so we went with the aim of creating a display that people would connect with, which would inspire them to share their stories with us. Luckily, being the UK distributor of some of the world’s top cycling brands means we have great connections, so we were able to put on a unique show.

First, we delved back into 40 years of Troy Lee Designs. Our retro collection included several original Edge helmets that were not only the first designed by TLD, but the first full face DH bike helmets ever! Amongst these amazing, custom-painted lids was a one-off painted helmet, donated for display by photographer Geoff Waugh.

Alongside them we hung a selection of classic ’90s jerseys, many of which had been sponsored by TLD and Castelli. Also on display was a photo of MTB legend John Tomac wearing a custom painted TLD helmet, along with two more pictures of Steve Peat competing in the 1997 Kaprun Grundig World and Mike King competing in the 1998 Stellenbosch Grundig World Cup, both in TLD lids. To get a look at some of these rare items, watch our Malverns Classic show diary video now!

And, while you’re at it, you can check out two retro clips of memorable moments in the careers of former TLD rider Sam Hill and current MTB Ambassador Steve Peat. You’ll see Hill suffer a setback at Val Di Sole in 2008, while Peat makes a grand entrance at Fort William WC in 2005.

Sidi shoes take you back in time

Display case full of Sidi retro slippers

We displayed some inspirational Sidi images alongside the TLD ones, showing brand athlete Thomas Frischknecht wearing Sidi’s shoes at the 1992 Vail World Cup and another sponsored cyclist, the flamboyant Tinker Juarez, showcasing his Sidi shoes, circa 1992 or 1993, while riding a gorgeously detailed Klein Adroit.

Best of all, we were trusted by the brand to exhibit a selection of retro slippers, including a fabulously colourful pair of 1991 Sidi Challenge MTB shoes, never worn or cleated, which had come to us direct from the vault at Sidi’s headquarters in Maser, Italy.

Again, you can spot these cheerfully eye-popping shoes, reminiscent of a free and easy time in MTB history when shredding was considered more an outliers’ hobby than a sport, in our show diary.

Castelli mountain biking kit – yes, really!

These days, few would hear Castelli and think “mountain biking” – after all, the brand has made a huge name for itself in the road cycling and triathlon worlds. But in the formative years of mountain biking, Castelli had clout with the sport’s stars and in fact sponsored the late, great Jason McRoy, who we displayed a picture of wearing Castelli kit at the 1993 Vail USA Grundig World Cup. You can check out a video of his 1993 Kamikaze run here.

Saddleback employee reading an old issue of Mountain Biking UK magazine

Castelli also sponsored Myles Rockwell, shown in the Saddleback tent racing at the 2000 Slovenia Tissiot World Cup, and Olympian Paola Pezzo. We displayed three images of Pezzo, who is famously a fan of bright colours and incredible MTB fashion, including one at the 1998 Canmore Grundig World Cup and another at the 2000 Olympic Games, where she won her second gold medal.

It’s all about the mountain bikes

The final piece of our retro exhibit was 10 incredible bikes owned by Saddleback staff – well, we did say we love bikes with history!

These included a 1994/5 Fat Chance Yo Eddy in Harlequin Aqua Fade colours, a gorgeous 1995 Yeti ARC AS and another 1995 Fat Chance Yo Eddy with original paint. The latter, owned by Saddleback founder Andy Wigmore, received a Rosette and came in the Top Ten of the Muc-Off Retro Show and Shine.

The win rounded off our weekend nicely, but there were so many highlights of this show. We enjoyed the heart-pumping action of the Schwalbe Downhill, the incredible stunting of the Dirt Wars Mountain Bike Dirt Jumping, and the full-on fun of the Ixs Air Bag Jump and the raucous, wet TRP Lake Ride.

Frame of award-winning 1995 Fat Chance Yo Eddy bike

Most of all, we enjoyed being in the company of other MTB fans. Whether chatting to them about their treasured bikes and favourite rides in our tent or watching them take their first steps down the competition road in the Pinkbike Balance Bike World Championships Downhill and Funnduro Race, it felt amazing to be in the middle of a like-minded crowd of die-hard MTB fans again.

If you haven’t already, check out our Malverns Classic show diary video to view the incredible Troy Lee Designs, Sidi and Castelli kit we had on exhibit. We’ll hope to see you at another show soon!

Saddleback staff member polishing an exhibition bike
A display case full of original Troy Lee Designs Edge lids
Classic 90s Giant cycling jersey on hanger
Saddleback founder and staff talking to the public in exhibition tent at Malvern Classsic