Rich Long & Gary Turner
Gary Turner professionally repaired custom trumpets and, in his spare time, drove race cars. In the early 1970s, these diverse talents frequently came in handy, since his son, a devout biking enthusiast, repeatedly roughed up his bicycle. After one particularly bad bicycle accident, Turner borrowed a friend`s tube-bending machine and reconstructed a bike frame that was more durable and stronger than conventional off-road frame designs. Soon, he was making bikes for the entire neighborhood in the garage of his Fullerton, California, home.
Turner became acquainted with Richard Long at a local bicycle motocross (BMX) track. Long owned a bicycle shop in Anaheim, California, and the two men became friends. Both shared a frustration with the bicycle products that existed, particularly for the upstart BMX market. Eventually, the two friends developed a vision for a bicycle company that would meet the needs of all age groups, while at the same time providing the quality and durability necessary for BMX and mountain bike environments. Since the demand for Turner`s home-built frames never subsided, the pair decided to launch their own company. In 1979, Long sold his bike shop, and GT Bicycles, the initials of cofounder Turner, was in business. Throughout the next decade, the partners expanded their line beyond youth bicycles, with special emphasis on mountain bikes. Long and Turner kept GT Bicycles private until 1993, when they sold majority interest to Bain Capital Company, which took the firm public in 1995.