While I was doing some research on high-end and boutique tandems I discovered that Rue Sports, aka, Ruegamer Uberlight had once again exited the market. Brent Ruegamer at one point in his career worked for Calfee Design and parted ways to pursue composite frames under his own brand.
Some of his early efforts were simply stunning designs that gained him a lot of exposure. He developed a bit of a following in the ‘weight weenie’ world as one of his trademarks was coming up with frames that were true to his brand: Uberlight.
He debuted what was purportedly an 18lb tandem a few years back that also garnered a lot of attention. Mind you, it wasn’t clear for whom the tandem was built, the 18lbs didn’t include a few things and the bike was also sporting some insanely light “Lightweight” wheels. However, while it’s practicality was not fully explored, it was a visually stunning machine with a trademark wild paint job.
Bottom Line: Ruegamer Sports, aka, Ruegamer Uberlight and Rue Sports has once again ceased doing business, subsequent to their relocation from Prescott, Arizona to Southern California.
The Beginning of the End: One of our BikeForums brothers commissioned a tandem from Brent back in July of 2008 and received it in April 2009. Throughout the process, there was a lot of angst and issues that seemed to suggest all was not well with Rue Sports. Sure enough, Rue Sports and Brent Ruegamer disappeared for a while and the word on the street was: down and out for the count by the Fall of 2009.
However, by the winter of 2010, Ruegamer was back and had a robust portfolio of bikes and frames at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show. There is a pretty nice article by Paul Skilbeck on the NAHBS site called “In the Game” that gives readers and overview of Ruegamer, circa Feb 2010.
However, there was apparently a lot going on in Brent’s life over the previous year, and that, in and of itself, caught a lot of folks off-guard. But, the cycling community is a pretty forward thinking world, so most folks accepted the change and focused on the products, which were as amazing-looking as always, case in point the 1800 gram tandem ‘Bre’ Ruegamer is holding in one hand at the Feb 2010 NAHBS, below:
Well, as I said, at the outset of this entry when I went looking to see what the status of Ruegamer / Rue Sports all I could find was a very sparse Web page with a single bike listed for sale and some disconcerting forum discussions at Fairwheelbikes.com. The thread had originally gone silent back in June 2009 and was raised from the dead by a Ruegamer customer in Europe on Oct 6th, 2010. Again, it’s not a pleasant thread, but on Oct 24th, 2010 one of the folks who supported the business confirmed that Bre Ruegamer had decided to exit the frame building business.
As to the Nov 13th, 2010 update by Lars, it paints a pretty ugly picture of the one of the worst-case scenarios someone could come up with for a custom tandem commission. Now, to be fair, our BikeForums brother’s Ruegamer tandem looked great, is still going strong and being ridden hard by that very robust team. So, I’m not sure the analysis of the ‘end of the line’ tandem is representative of what Ruegamer was building in better times.