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S&G Cycles

S&G Cycles 1) was founded by Drew Lawson and Ari Hadjipetrou “during a card game in an ex-pat bar in Saudi Arabia.” 2) S&G Cycles imported Araya's MuddyFox mountain bike into the UK from 1983 until around 1991, replacing the S&G/Muddy Fox/Araya branding with the simpler “Muddy Fox” in 1985. The Muddy Fox Bicycles brand continues today (Muddy Fox), with new owners but they're no longer made by Araya nor in Japan. 3) Arraya continue to make their own line of MuddyFoxes along with many other bicycles, presumably in Japan 4)

They had to come up with a new name and realised that this new market warranted a grungier name than S&G Cycles. The Araya Bikes were named as 'Fun Picnic' and other such tosh but one was called “Muddy Fox” so they picked that as their name - it sat nicely with off-road biking. retrobike and wikicorporates

It's not likely that S&G imported more than a couple hundred Muddy Foxes into the UK before dropping the Security & General Finance from each bike. Otherwise, no other Araya branded mountain bikes seem to have ever escaped Japan to the west.

There remains a small bike shop in Cambridge, England, named “S&G Cycles.”5) Probably unrelated - but …

S&G Cycles, Cambridge
S&G Cycles, Cambridge google map pics

Ari & Drew
Ari & Drew

Araya Bicycles of Japan

Araya started making wooden bicycle rims in 1903 in Yamanaka, Japan. 6) In 1980 it launched its industry changing 7x bmx rim: a light weight, highly robust, 32mm wide aluminum rim. Not only did it drop pounds off klunkers, it could brake when wet, it could survive Repack and it was cheap 7). What most people outside of Japan 8) don't know is that Araya makes mountain bikes 9).

In 1983, Araya's series of mountain bikes spanned a range of twelve models 10), all of which were called MuddyFox. Prices ranged from $800 for a fillet brazed version 11) to $260 for a basic lugged, but quite competent, complete mountain bike.

2021 Araya Catalog
2021 Araya Catalog araya 2021 catalog

1983 S&G Muddy Fox made by Araya

Date verified by serial number. Missing grips but seems to match Araya's 1983 catalog:

So, is this an S&G? An Araya? A Muddy Fox? Answer: it's all three, but S&G comes first on the branding, so it wins the entry in the timeline. Araya is undoubtedly the designer and manufacturer - and deserves a page of its own.

1984 S&G Muddy Fox
1983 S&G Muddy Fox retrobike

1984 S&G Muddy Fox made by Araya

Appears to be later than a 1983 due to component and sticker upgrades. Araya's “MB-MF26A” early model number is clearly shown. This model wasn't available from Araya later years. This was their mid range Muddy Fox.

1984 S&G Muddy Fox
1984 S&G Muddy Fox flickr

1985 Muddy Fox Courier

The branding change-over occurred in 1985 and sales improved while heading more down market. Ari states that they sold 30,000 Couriers in a two day trade show. 12) Muddy Fox really brought mt. biking to the UK.

1985 Muddy Fox Courier
1984 Muddy Fox Courier retrobike

1989 Pathfinder

Shimano Exage (Country/Mountain?) (1989), with Muddy Fox branded shoulder strap/bag & disc wheel covers.

1989 Pathfinder
1989 Pathfinder

1990 Adventurer

SunTour XCM (1989-90)

1990 Adventurer
1990 Adventurer

1991 Alu Pro

Shimano Deore (1989-90)

Ad Campaigns

Thanks to Drew, MF had many good ads. A few should be attached.

See also a TV ad: youtube

Muddy Fox Ad
Muddy Fox Advert, from Drew's Facebook page: Drew's Facebook

Muddy Fox Ad
Muddy Fox Advert, from Drew's Facebook page: Drew's Facebook

Muddy Fox Ad
Muddy Fox Advert, from Drew's Facebook page: Drew's Facebook

Jacquie Phelan
Jacquie Phelan, three time NORBA champion.
See: mmbhof, wikipedia and her account of the pic: Jacquie's flickr 13)
Drew's Facebook

1997 Intereactive Ultimate

A little skip ahead to 1997, to focus on some amazing Muddy Fox tech. The Intereactive 14) first appeared in 1995, during the wild scramble of all bike makers to find the sweet spot of perfect suspension: stiff while pedaling, compliant while descending and balanced while braking. The single shock, controlling both the front and rear, kept the bike even. But not pretty.

1997 Muddy Intereactive
1997 Muddy Intereactive Ultimate iconicmtb

Production Notes

[1]. Early numbers seem slim, as few examples remain.

[2]. The Muddy Fox Courier really took off. As Ari Hadjipetrou states above, they sold 30,000 Couriers in a single day. Whether they delivered is unknown, but Muddy Fox's early great success implies that they exceeded this goal early on.

S&G comes from the name “Security & General Finance”, see: retrobike
Short review in bikebiz of the documentary: Mountain Biking: The Untold British Story
3) states that: “Muddyfox can lay claim to the first Mountain bike brand in Europe.” Cleland & Schauff both started in 1981. Centurion of Germany started in 1982.
See Araya's web page:
Its only web presence is a humble facebook page.
See google translation of company history: google.
And only came in 20“ and 26” sizes for BMX bikes, setting mt. bike rim standards for decades.
And Thailand: In the US, the Araya website is all about rims:
Starting in 1983 and lasting through today. See:
Probably the most of any maker in 1983 - but the differences were minor.
See the excellent documentary on Youtube: Mountain Biking The Untold British story
Also see the video: First Wednesday: Unmitigated Gal with Jacquie Phelan and Friends, where Jacqui describes how the shot was made.
Note the spelling adds an 'e'
sng/start.txt · Last modified: 2023/08/06 18:21 by mtbtimeline