Ventana Bikes & Frames
Ventana Mountain Bikes are the product of over three decades of off-road bicycling experience. Since the early 1970's Sherwood Gibson, one of Ventana Bikes's two founders, has been assembling a wealth of bicycle specific product knowledge. Gibson began in 1974 as a BMX competitor in Northern California. Gibson's bicycle manufacturing interests first took form in BMX component and sidehack designs that he built in his dad's garage during the week, and raced on the weekends. In 1985 he built his first mountain bike frame-of steel. And by competing in the infancy of mountain bike racing, including the infamous Whisky Town Downhill, Gibson gained critical feedback about the integrity of his concepts.
Ventana Mountain Bikes, USA was formed in late 1988 as a joint venture between Gibson and Steve Blalock of Monterey, California. Gibson and Blalock remained partners until 1991 when Gibson became sole owner. The two shared a common interest in mountain bikes and their construction. Ventana is named for the rugged coastal wilderness in Big Sur, near Blalock's home. The company's first challenge was to produce an elevated chainstay mountain frame without the weight penalty most frame builders of the day were experiencing. The Ventana team succeeded, delivering to the marketplace in 1990 the well received Cone Peak. Mountain Bike Action wrote..."Climbing the Ventana was as efficient a process as any. The bike was stiff, and every pedal stroke went straight into the ground."
The quickly evolving mountain bike technology of the nineties brought new ideas and designs from Gibson and Ventana. Over the years, Ventana has introduced such classic designs as their carbon road fork, lite weight stems, sealed bearing hubs, hardtail frames like the Marble Peak, Cone Peak, Elite, El Chiquillo, and El Toro, full suspension frames with 2", 3", 4", 5", and 6" of rear travel like the Marble Peak FS, El Habanero, El Matador, El Terremoto, La Bruja, El Fuego, El Saltamontes, Pantera, and El Chamuco, and full suspension tandems like El Conquistador, El Testigo, and El Conquistador S&S. And, Ventana has consistently received accolades from industry trade publications, dealers, and customers alike for their industry leading welding excellence, meticulous attention to detail, stellar performance, luscious finishes and spot-on styling.
Sixteen years later, Gibson still designs every Ventana frame from the ground up to meet his stringent performance standards under his keen eye for aesthetic simplicity and impeccable drive for manufacturing excellence. 2004 brings four new offerings to the Ventana line-up... El Cuervo their 9" DH sled, X-5 their 5" woods bike, El Martillo their criterium racer, and El Martillo CX their cutting edged cyclocross frame. And while the designs have changed, the rave reviews still abound.
From their sexy CNC machined suspension pieces down to their smallest cable stop, every piece, of every Ventana frame, is painstakingly produced by Ventana. While other so called manufacturers market "Hand-Built, American" bikes actually built by large production houses in the U.S. and Taiwan, Ventanas are truly born and manufactured in the same region as the sport itself -Northern California.