Isn’t it interesting how we forget the pain of a particular experience, and only what a great time it was? Bombing down rocky single trail before suspension, ultra-light carbon fibre frames, disc brakes and clip-in pedals wasn’t too much of a painful experience, but in the days of rigid steel klunkers, it was close.
One man who probably remembers the pain of mountain biking’s early days is Joe Breeze, one of the sport’s pioneers. Well, fathers, really, considering the sport has only been around in an official guise since the mid-seventies. As if being credited with building the first modern-day mountain bikes isn’t enough, he also came up with a novel concept called the uni-crown fork.
This here’s a Breezer Lightning from around 1993 or 1994, but it’s got me stumped, the Lightning usually only came in Sparkling Black with Moonglow Pearl, the blue was reserved for the Thunder model. It’s been sympathetically restored with relatively period parts, not necessarily spec, but more so with comfort and aesthetics in mind. Azonic bars are a later innovation, but add a helpful angle to navigating one’s way down the mountain. The Paul brakes are a lovely, and effective touch, so is the Salsa stem and Chris King headset. Together with the Tom Ritchey hanger, this bike brings together a veritable who’s who of the early MTB scene. Once again, the entire build is really set off by a touch of leather, a Lepper Voyager saddle is both period correct and unique.
It’s worth noting that while we can appreciate Joe Breeze for his innovations in the sport of mountain biking, Joe deemed it necessary to thank Mount Tamalpais, the slopes of which inspired the Breezer bikes head badge.
Many thanks also to flickr member sirob07, check out his stream for more vintage MTB goodness. For the real juice, however, check out he Breezer page on the Museum of Mountain Bike Art and Technology website.