It’s a golden age for mountain bikes right now with a wealth of fantastic options in all sorts of different specialties. If you had the idea of riding off-road nearly four decades ago, though, your options were distinctly more limited as the sport was just getting off the ground. The solution? If you were Joe Breeze, you just built it yourself.
Of all the mountain bikes of historical value, few are more highly coveted than original Breezers: the first bikes purpose-built for riding off-road, and of which Breeze made fewer than 100. Like the two generations that came before it, this 1983 Series 3 is built with fillet brazed chromoly tubing and horizontal Campagnolo dropouts, all finished in a gorgeous – and incredibly durable – nickel plating that not only looks fantastic but has stood the test of time.
Joe breeze is today better known for his townie and commuter bikes (he’s a big advocate of using bikes as transportation) but he was truly one of the earliest pioneers of mountain biking
One of most coveted labels in mountain bike history
The matching fork bears a sleeved unicrown construction that boosts strength in a critical area without requiring larger-diameter tubing throughout the whole length (which would compromise the ride quality). Up top, the custom stem employs a novel threaded/threadless hybrid setup with a threaded headset but a stem that clamps on to short stub brazed into the steerer tube.
Geometry reflects the thinking of the day, with long chainstays, short (and level) top tube, and slack seat tube, all of which were tailored to backcountry exploring and bombing down treacherous dirt fire roads.
Such sleeved rigid forks are rarely seen these days
The beautiful fork features a sleeved, fillet brazed unicrown
Dedicated componentry was more widely available by the time the Series 3 came out, and many of the brands featured here are still recognizable today. The drivetrain includes Shimano’s first-generation Deore XT derailleurs, Suntour thumbshifters, and a forged alloy Sugino AT crankset. Shimano also provided the wide-profile cantilever brakes, which were matched with beefy Magura two-finger levers – that were made in West Germany before the two sides were unified.
Wheels were built with Phil Wood hubs (with matching nickel-plated bodies!), Araya rims, and DT Swiss 14g straight-gauge spokes, all wrapped with original Specialized Stumpjumper tires.
Short chainstays were very much not the norm in the 1980s
Chainstays were seriously long back in the day
If you must know, total weight as shown here is a hefty 14.52kg (32.01lb) – not exactly light as a feather. Measured in terms of its significance, though, original Breezers are about as heavyweight as they get.
Instead of using paint, joe breeze plated the entire chromoly frame with nickel to protect it from corrosion
Special thanks go out to the folks at Pro’s Closet in Boulder, Colorado