11: The Scorcher Will Teach You
One hundred Scorchers were made. They weren't lighter, stronger, faster, smoother, more comfortable or beautiful. Black was the only color. They were hard to ride and had none of the latest technology. Other bikes with more features and technology could be had for a fraction of the price of the Scorcher.
Despite all that, they sold out immediately. That was a decade ago, and now they are unquestionably a "cult bike".
When you ride a Scorcher, you join a special club that nobody knows exists, except you maybe, somewhere deep in your soul.
The Scorcher was a pure cycling experience and nothing else.
On paper, they didn't pencil out. We made them because we wanted to ride them, damn those marketing studies anyway.
About your only chance to get one now is on eBay or craigslist, but you need to move fast, and be prepared to open you wallet.
These were the words we wrote to our good friend Sal Ruibal for an article he wrote in USA Today a few years ago describing the Scorcher. He was writing an article about fancy expensive high tech road bikes that appealed to dentists and doctors. Then he wrote a counterpoint that featured the Scorcher. Heres's a link to Sal's article: http://www.usatoday.com/life/lifestyle/2005-03-22-bike-ibis-sidebar_x.htm.
The Ibis Scorcher
One of the more celebrated bikes we did at Ibis was the Scorcher. We talked about this bike a bit in the earlier piece on Wes Williams
The Scorcher was a single speed fixed gear bike. Yes, it’s heard that right, Ibis made a fixie way back when. They were made in 1993. We only made 100 of them.
The frames were made in our Sebastopol shop out of Tange butted 4130 tubing. We had Tange make some nice forks for them; they were made especially for the Scorcher, and were chrome plated.
You could get the Scorcher in any color as long as it was black.
There were three sizes: small, medium and large.
We outfitted it with a Brooks B-17 saddle, and adding to the comfort factor, the tires were Specialized Nimbus in a 41C configuration.
The bars were custom made by our friend Chris Paretich, tube bender extraordinaire. We bought a bunch of 7/8” Chrome Moly, had Chris bend it, and then we chrome plated them. In hindsight, we should have done 200 or 300, we’ve had a lot of requests for these unique retro bars over the years.
You might be wondering why? Why a Scorcher?
We named the bike after renegade, rules-be-damned cyclists called Scorchers. We must have been drawn to the fact that they were scorned by pedestrians and traditional cyclists, when the Scorchers ruled the sidewalks.
Here’s a frequently cited poem about Scorchers, and one we used for our inspiration:
I am the scorcher!
That appertains to my spine!
With head ducked low
Over man and beast, and woe
Unto the thing
That fails to scamper when I ting-a-ling!
Let people jaw
And go to law
To try to check my gait,
If that's their game!
To kill folks
But I will do it, just the same.
They clear the tracks for me;
Because, you see,
I am the Scorcher, full of zeal,
And just the thing I look like on the wheel.
We commissioned artist/illustrator Sheryl Chapman to do some Scorcher artwork for us.
First she painted us a pretty picture of Uncle Fester (also the name of one of our tandems) riding a Scorcher. We apparently had a bit of an Addams Family fetish back then. Must’ve been Morticia.
Later we made a t-shirt with a line drawing of the Scorcher art.
In 2008 the Single Speed World Championships were held very close to us in Napa.
We did a commemorative T-Shirt for the event. They were dope.
Scorcher Serial Numbers
We’re not really sure how this happened, but we apparently actually kept track of the Scorcher’s serial numbers. Don’t ask us about other bikes, we don’t know the answer.
Here's the original flyer we did on the bike:
There used to be a website dedicated to off road fixed gear riding. Actually, it still exists, but there's no longer content being added to it. They did a nice story and interview with a bunch of Ibisians. Clicky below for a link.