David Wrath-Sharman used 700c wheels on his English MTBs in the 1980s, long before 29er-innovators did the same

Bike designer David Wrath-Sharman has died after a protracted illness. He was a partner in Highpath Engineering of Wales, and made mountain bikes before there were mountain bikes. His business partner was Chris Bell, of EGG-ring fame, who died in 2016.

Wrath-Sharman's mid-1980s Highpath "mountain bikes" used 700c wheels when the fledging US MTB industry had settled on 26-inch wheels. The MTB world caught up with Wrath-Sharman when it started to produce 29er bikes which, in effect, use 700c wheels.

Highpath Engineering was a specialist engineering firm which made and repaired one-off parts, including high-end bicycle hub brakes. In 1995 Bell and Wrath-Sharman manufactured many of the parts for the Brox quadricycle, an influential cargo bike. (The designer went bust owning Highpath Engineering many thousands of pounds.) Highpath was acquired in 2015 by Patrick McLoughlin, a former customer.

Wrath-Sharman was a contemporary of Geoff Apps, the "father" of English mountain biking. Apps' Cleland Aventura was the inspiration for the Highpath English all-terrain bicycles of the 1980s.

Spotter: Retrobike

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