I own a Buck Shaver. It’s a ’95 in ‘arrest me red’. I had it set up as a single speed for a while, then a townie, then a friend stole it for a stint, then I managed to get it back as a bare frame and THEN I decided to start from scratch and devise a build for it as a new project. Through all of its various iterations, I had never quite found the perfect build for it that suited my taste. I decided that this time I would attempt to find period correct parts and build the buck shaver as it was originally intended. As any good collector would do, I rummaged through junk drawers in the back rooms of bike shops and scrolled through online forums and, of course, scoured Ebay. In the end, I had a build that wasn’t perfect. Certainly my more experienced collector friends turned a blind eye to some of the inaccuracies of my interpretation, but I had gotten a lot of satisfaction out of the project and I had learned some cool stuff about various bike parts in the process. What more could a bike nerd ask for? Let’s not forget that the actual purpose of a bike project is to end up with a functional bicycle, right? Well, I finally managed to find the quick and nimble handling that had eluded me over the years. Still though, in all of my research, I hadn’t thought much about the origins of the name: Buck Shaver.
I knew it was a more economic version of the Yo Eddy. The Buck Shaver employed the same aggressive geometry that Fat City Cycles had pioneered while using slightly less expensive materials. The Buck is also constructed with ‘wishbone’ style seat stays – a frame detail that allows for the rear triangles of all frame sizes to be made in one run without custom tube mitering. This saves some labor costs but also creates a unique aesthetic for the frame.
Anyway, back to the name…Buck Shaver… The bike’s head badge is intriguing. There’s an image depicting a winged face wearing glasses and hovering above a mountain bike crank-set. I wanted the whole story. I started asking around and it turns out the head badge was drawn by a Fat City employee, Gary Mathis. Gary told me that the bike was a memorial to Pat who worked at Fat City and wore a bowling shirt embroidered with none other than the name…Buck Shaver. I was still curious so I kept asking around and looking for more information. Pat, the employee at Fat City was Pat Egan and through a friend of a friend, I met a fellow, Steve, from my hometown of Durango who was originally from Boston and knew Pat back then.
Steve is a character and as much of a die-hard Yankee as you can be; A real New Englander; a Red Sox fan I’m sure. Steve had worked at a bike shop in Boston with Pat and the two became friends. Steve told me that he was a cyclist when he started working at that shop but he wanted to learn more and ride more. He saw Pat as someone who could help him do that. Pat was a hardcore cyclist and, furthermore, a mountain biker. We looked at an old photo album with several pictures of Pat and I finally saw the face from the head badge. Steve told me that Pat didn’t own a car and didn’t believe in cars. It was Pat’s girlfriend who drove them to Steve’s first mountain bike race in New Hampshire. Steve remembers that she did not enjoy the experience as much as they did.
Pat left the job at the bike shop to work for Fat City. Steve left to work as a bike messenger in Boston. Pat and Steve stayed friends and continued to ride and race together until sadly, Pat passed away in an accident while collecting firewood in western Massachusetts. Steve remembers Pat as a good friend and a passionate cyclist. Pat also had an endearing reputation for being…frugal. According to FCC catalogues, he was “always on the look out for a good deal.” He raced mountain bikes in that bowling shirt with “Buck Shaver” embroidered on it and hence the model name was born.
I really enjoy my ‘Arrest Me Red’ bike and I’ll probably own it for a very long time. I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to a mountain biker than a high quality work of art like the Fat Chance Buck Shaver.
Author: Brendan Shafer