RIH was founded in 1921 by Willem (Wim) and Joop Bustraan. They were of the first Dutch frame builders who could build lightweight frames. They did no advertising whatsoever for their business in the Westerstraat in Amsterdam, the clientele came naturally. Among these customers was Gerrit Schulte pursuit world champion in 1948 (beating the great Fausto Coppi). Arie van Vliet, Jan Derksen and Jan Pronk also achieved successes on RIH bikes. In the early 90’s when Leontien van Moorsel and Ingrid Haringa became world champion RIH sponsored the National Track Team.
Wim Bustraan brazed his frames in a little workshop above the shop. When he was brazing he allowed no one above. If only he felt the tiniest bit of draft all hell broke loose. The rate of cooling has a major influence on the properties of the steel. Sudden cooling is harmful and can cause a brittle weld which makes a weak spot in the frame.
After the death of the brothers Wim van der Kaaij took over the business. Wim learned the trade from an early age because he always helped in the shop. He still builds frames, mostly track bikes. You can also stil contact Wim to restore your old frame (only RIH-Sport ofcourse).
One misconception is that RIH is an abbreviation for Rijwiel Industrie Holland (Bicycle Industry Holland). RIH is the name of the black stallion Kara Nemsi rode in the books of Karl May and means “fast as the wind” in arab.
Peter Post only rode on frames built by Willem Bustraan during his professional career (both on the track and road). When he was riding for Willem II-Gazelle and Flandria, the frames were painted in the team colors of his sponsor, and made into “Flandria” or “Gazelle“.
There is no other brand that delivered as many world champions, Olympic medalists and national champions as RIH. According to Bart’s fire-engine red RIH Super Course decals there are 63 of them. Pretty impressive.
If you own a RIH and want to share your story about the bike, please let us know, just as Liam did.