My love affair with Rhygin Racing Cycles started with the Small Builders article in the June 1994 issue of Bike Magazine. It featured Christian Jones and the Rhygin Team Custom, a bike designed to be super agile on tight, twisty singletrack. Perfect for the northeast! I was well aware of Rhygin by the time this issue hit the newsstands, but something about the article just drew me in and made me want to get one of these beasts in my grubby little paws. I was riding a 1993 Fat Chance Wicked and sold it to purchase a 1994 Rhygin Ra, a bike I still have and enjoy riding to this day. Since then, I have added a 1997 Rhygin Metax road bike (#541) and a 1997 Rhygin Metax cyclocross bike (#653).
Rhygin Racing Cycles was started in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1991 and built about 675 frames during their brief tenure in the cycling world, which lasted less than a decade. They moved from Amherst on to Somerville and finally ending up in Boston.
Rhygin Racing Cycles didn’t have the cache Fat Chance or Merlin, but the quality of the bikes was certainly on par with those local competitors. Considering Rhygin had quite a few welders employed from the aforementioned fabricators, it would stand to reason that the bikes Rhygin produced were pretty darn nice.
Rhygin, and Columbus Metax for that matter, has a fair amount of infamy surrounding its name. You can't mention Rhygin without hearing some horror story of their business practices (Note: I have no opinion regarding this matter.). I wore my Rhygin T-shirt at the 2011 NAHBS and heard some very entertaining stories.
Columbus Metax got a bad name primarily because it was used for mountain bikes and the tubing was far too thin for such an application (two different Boston-area frame builders have told me this). The road and cyclocross Metax bikes, on the other hand, have withstood the test of time with Metax. I asked the Columbus rep at the 2011 NAHBS why Metax was discontinued and he informed me it was due to the German distributor not being able to meet the demand. Columbus Metax was also very difficult to weld and Rhygin had some of the best frame makers in the Boston area to build these beauties. One of these welders was Scott Spence who had been welding for Merlin Metalworks.
To start things off, I thought I’d show my 1997 Rhygin Metax road bike first followed by the cyclocross and mountain bikes (works in progress).
Here are the current specs:
Frame: 1997 Rhygin Metax
Fork: 2011 Peter Mooney, Henry James crown
Wheels: Mavic Ksyrium SL
Skewers: Cook Bros. Racing
Tires: Continental Grand Prix 4Season 700x28
Pedals: Shimano XTR
Crank: Syncros Revolution 175mm 130BCD with 53/39 Dura Ace chainrings
Rear Cogs: Shimano CS-7900 Dura Ace 11-23 10-speed
Bottom Bracket: World Class titanium 110mm
Front Derailleur: Shimano Dura Ace FD-7900
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Dura Ace RD-7900
Shifters/Levers: Shimano Dura Ace ST-7900
Handlebars: Nitto Noodle, 44cm
Headset: Chris King
Brake set: Ciamillo (Zero Gravity) Negative GSL
Saddle: Sella Italia SLR
Seat Post: Syncros titanium 26.8
Serial #: 541
Place of Origin: Boston, Massachusetts