Tom Ritchey was already a skilled frame builder, and had already made a name for himself before MountainBikes was established. After seeing one of Joe Breeze's Breezers, Tom went off to work on his own custom-built klunker, which would later prompt a conversation with Gary Fisher after one of the Repack Races. Ritchey worked closely with Gary for the next few years as the primary frame builder for the company, building hundreds of frames each year and developing many new features for mountain bikes, such as the Bullmoose handle. He left the company in 1983, after disputes over how the company should progress into the future. Before then, his name was so closely was his name associated to the company that many people has assumed Ritchey was the owner of MountainBikes.