1972 Rickert Spezial modified by Mark DiNucci and repainted by Dick Spies in 1984
Hugo Rickert Bicycles (1952-2002)
Hugo Rickert was a frame maker in the artisan tradition. Born in 1928, he was a teenager in post WWII Germany. Like many, he initially struggled to find work, but he eventually landed an apprenticeship with bicycle builder Paul Brose in his hometown of Dortmund in West Germany. After learning welding and brazing under Brose for several years, Rickert decided to open his own workshop in 1952. His initial marquee was “Ric Super”. After litigation with a company that had a scooter carrying the same name, Hugo adopted “Rickert Spezial” as his brand name. “Rickert” or “Rickert Spezial” appeared on his subsequent bikes until he retired in 2002 after a series of strokes.
Hugo Rickert remained a solo builder through his six-decade career and famously never took on apprentices. A Rickert was a bicycle made by Hugo Rickert. Despite being a solo builder, Hugo Rickert developed a strong reputation, particularly within the racing community, and he was a prolific builder. He was in high demand from national and professional teams, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s. While most of his work was done for customers in Germany and the Netherlands, some of his bikes made their way into the United States when Ted Ernst and his brother entered into an exclusive import agreement with Hugo Rickert.
Rickert bikes were lugged frames and he primarily utilized butted Reynolds 531 tubing. Since he usually built for the racing community, his bikes tended to be austere and efficient with very fine detail work but little to no chrome. There are examples of Rickert frames with extravagant chrome and pinstriping, if ordered by a customer, but they are the exception rather than the rule. Hugo’s wife Doris was actively involved in the finish work on frames and bike assembly. She would paint lug lining and apply horizontal “Doris Stripes” to the seatstay caps as distinguishing features of Rickerts.
Rickert built race bikes have won numerous Olympic medals, World championships and national championships on the road and track. Rickert bicycles have been ridden to gold, silver, and bronze medals in five different Olympic Games. Rickert was an innovative thinker in his approach to bike building and he also sought innovations from component providers. Rickert had an ongoing supplier relationship with Tulio Campagnolo and Hugo was actively involved in the design and development of the high-low flange Record hubs that were popular with racers in the early 1970s.
While less known in the United States, Rickerts remain highly sought after and collectible bicycles in Germany and Europe.