Wilderness Trail Bikes
Wilderness Trail Bikes (usually shortened to WTB) is a privately owned company based in Marin County, California, USA. Founded in 1982 as a company that specialized in mountain bike parts, today WTB sources and sells its product worldwide supplying bike manufacturers and bike shops with components including tires, saddles, rims and grips.
Marin County is the birthplace of the mountain bike, which had its origins in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Steve Potts, who was already building bike frames in Mill Valley in 1980, teamed up with Mark Slate to help meet demand. Charlie Cunningham, in Fairfax, had been building mountain bikes since 1979 with heat-treated aluminum frames which had unique Type II forks, roller-cam brakes, custom-made hubs and other components that were among the first of their kind designed specifically for mountain bikes.
Steve Potts, Charlie Cunningham and Mark Slate worked together informally from 1980 on limited production components, almost exclusively for the bicycles that they produced individually. In 1982, they founded Wilderness Trail Bikes, or WTB. Increasing demand and per-unit price advantages had led the three to form WTB to produce components for the new and fast-growing sport of mountain biking in the mountains of Marin and to market the components that they were producing.
In 1988, Patrick Seidler, a practicing lawyer, began working with WTB, in connection with Wilderness Trail Bikes Licensing, Inc. This new company focused on licensing technology developed by WTB to mainstream bicycle industry manufacturers. Examples of technology developed by WTB that were produced under license include designs for tires made by Specialized Bicycle Components, the Blackburn B-52 water bottle cage, geometry for the 1987 Trek Bicycle Corporation mountain bike line and the use of Greaseguard in the top-end Suntour XC Pro component group.
Seidler eventually took over as WTB's CEO and managed day to day operations. During this time WTB began OEM'ing parts to major manufacturers like Gary Fisher Bikes, Marin Bikes, etc.
In 2002, Cunningham and Potts ceased to be part of WTB, leaving Mark Slate as the sole original member.
Over time, WTB has evolved to become a seller of tires, saddles, rims, wheels, grips and other parts mass-produced overseas. Today, WTB components can be found on bikes all around the world and are used for transportation, recreation, adventure and racing.
WTB continues to support racers, providing sponsorship for riders who use the company's products.
Wilderness Trail Bikes has created a sister 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization called Transportation Alternatives for Marin (TAM). TAM’s mission is to develop safe bike routes for commuting and for schools throughout Marin. TAM is not currently registered with the IRS, and their tax exempt status has been revoked.