WTB Throwback Thursdays: 1996 Raptors Ad

05 December, 2013

So, what's sweeter than Raptors and Lasers?  That's right, nothing.  Well, there may be something... or someone. Yep, that's Todd Franklin, one of WTB's original crew of employees, sweating up the slick rock.  Todd, who still adamantly shreds today - he was one of the first out around Pine Mountain at the Appetite Seminar / Turkey Day Ride one week ago, and at the time of this shot, Todd was working as a tour guide for Matt Hebberd (one of the absolute first WTB employees aside from the founders themselves) who still owns Rim Tours in Moab.  At the time of this shot, Todd measured and boasted about his quality of life based on how many nights he slept under the stars.

Susie Weaver didn't sleep under the stars, but she did direct this lovely shot.  Matt Hebberd kindly provided floor space at his house where Susie and the photographer, Carl Gooding would crash.  Mornings consisted of meeting Todd for breakfast, filling up the CamelBaks with ice - it was June in Moab, tyrannically (watch out, that's almost a WTB tire of the time) hot, then shredding the gnar, snapping shots of the rad.  Wow, I really did just say that.  Todd knows all crooks and crannies of Moab and would lead the crew to the prime photo ops in the secret ways that it seemed only he and Moabians knew how to quickly access.  In June in Moab, it's set up quickly time.  This shot was captured closer to the evening at Evolution Point.

If you've been lucky enough to meet Todd, you know that he's got lovely, long flowing hair and if you've caught a glance of him, on his bike, as he quickly zips about, you know that his mane steadfastly resists the constricting confines of a helmet.  Not ok for Susie Weaver.  This photo is proof that at a snapshot in time, Todd's hair was subject to the burden of a helmet cast upon it.  You can still see it in the shot, resisting arrest, and rioting out the back of the helmet - long blond locks, the same as today.

So, enough jibber jabber about the people and places, time for product, eh?

Listed below is the accompanying tread guide that would appear page side on the various magazines this ad graced.  WTB introduced its new measuring system, which metrically designated the casing width and tread width of tires.  At the time of this ad, the system still didn't have a name but it would later be referred to as GMS, Global Measuring System.  Casing is listed first, tread width second.  One thing you'll notice, that points a little to a sign of the times, is that many of the menacing raptors displayed have wider treads than the bubbles (casing) they rest upon.  Tire rubber compounds were a lot harder in general so you could get away with a lot more overhanging tread.  Also, tires were relatively narrower, which allowed design wiggle room for extra buttressing of the side knobs - even back then there were gram scrutinizers.  Fortunately, the general public wasn't quite as feverishly obsessed as today, which is why you won't find weights listed for the ad.

So I guess the moral of this one, if there is one, is that you can take WTB family out of Marin, but regardless of where WTB is, you can't take the family out of it - whether it's sleeping on Matt Hebberd's floor in Moab, drifting a fall away corner at a French Enduro, set a scorching time down Tour Divide, get in one more shuttle in Ashland, rack up an alarming number of miles at a 24 hour race in Australia or explore the unknown, or traipse the vast interior aboard a bicycle in Mongolia, it's all family.

Until next time, keep it real.

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