Interbike 2011: Breezer Lightning Team 29 and Venturi

Return to steel for new road and mountain models

Breezer are bringing back all of their classics. Many will remember their Lightning Team from its first time around, and now this steel hardtail is back with 29in wheels. For 2012 the company will also offer a new steel road bike called Venturi, an adaptation of the original, which was last produced 14 years ago.

Lightning Team 29

The new Lightning Team takes the design of the Cloud 9 carbon 29er, introduced last year, and molds it from Joe Breeze's favorite medium: good old chromoly steel. The new bike sports a BB92 press-fit bottom bracket, Breezer's chainstay-located rear disc brake mount and a super-light integrated, though not tapered, offset machined head tube. It also employs an offset seat tube and asymmetric chainstays, like the carbon bike.

Joe Breeze with his new Lighting Team 29 frame

While not tapered, the head tube is thicker at its back where the top and down tubes are welded, by 0.2mm, when compared to its front. The machining reduces weight, while the integrated bearing seats allow Breezer to spread the spacing between the top and down tubes as far as possible for the best possible handling attributes.

Joe Breeze always says "the tubing is the star of the show" – in this case it's D'Fusion, a seamless, custom-butted Japanese-made chromoly tubeset that's hydroformed to allow the steel to shine when ridden. As always, Breeze eschews gussets and large machined pieces, as he believes they deaden the ride and add weight. The metal is completely formed, machined and welded before heat-treating, which is said to offer the strongest, most durable finished product.

Breeze says that full use of steel tubing by minimizing forged and machined pieces wherever possible offers a better, more magical ride

The Lightning Team 29 frame will sell for US$899 and Breezer will also offer a complete bike, the Lighting Team 29 Pro with SRAM X9, for $2,249. A version of the frame designed for 26in wheels will also be available.

Venturi road bike

Joe Breeze designed the original Venturi when he was racing on the road in the 1970s as a Cat 1 in Northern California, and the new bike adopts the same geometry – 74° seat and head angles (size medium), plus 405mm chainstays through the line. The feature set is similar to the Lightning Team: an integrated 1-1/8in head tube, BB86 press-fit bottom bracket, asymmetric chainstays, and a custom D'Fusion steel tubeset.

A look at the Venturi's press-fit bottom bracket and asymmetric chainstays

The 'Radius' seatstays give the bike a unique look. They're said to flex (for comfort) as much as those with an inward (concave) bend, but their convex orientation is said to better resist braking forces, giving a better braking feel, according to JT Burke, Breezer's product and brand manager.

The Venturi frame will be sold with a Breezer designed carbon fiber fork (with alloy steerer tube) for $999. A  Shimano Ultegra equipped bike, with Shimano's WH-6700 alloy tubeless wheels (without tubeless tires), will cost $2,599.

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