Naysayers claim that the modern mountain bike was the product of convergent evolution - that road and BMX bikes on at least three continents had begun to develop the vestiges of what would eventually become the first recognized mountain bike well before Joe Breeze brazed together Breezer number one and then rode it to victory on its maiden voyage at the Repack Downhill race October, 1977 near Marin, California. Cycling is infamous, however, for its many revisionists, who incessantly rewrite history to defend their own cultures as the recognized birthplace of all significant inventions - so I'm calling bullsh*t on the convergent theory.
Breezer number one is the Homo Habilis
of the modern mountain bike. While it may be true that creator Joe Breeze could not have escaped their influences; place an English three-speed, an Asian Flying Pidgeon, a Swiss Military cycle, a US Paperboy balloon-tire bike, or a 26-inch wheel BMX racer beside the Breezer number one, and the only possible conclusion is that they are lesser apes - undeniably, the lowest branches of the mountain bike's family tree. As Charles Kelly states in his book, "Fat Tire Flyer: Repack and the Birth of Mountain Biking:"
|The most important bicycle of the 20th century. ...the first chrome-moly mountain bike frame assembled with all-new components.|
Joe breeze, who now is the curator of the Marin Museum of Bicycling
, is much too nice of a man to make such claims, but he did take the time to show Jarrad Lokes from The Pro's Closet his original Breezer, and walk him through the creative process, from conception through construction, of this beautiful and historical bicycle in the following video:
Joe Breeze made a number of his Series-1 models, most of which were snapped up by fellow Repack racers and San Francisco area riders who had been making do on converted Schwinn balloon-tire single-speeds. For a short while, Breezers dominated California's budding racing scene. The '78 Breezer Series-1 featured in these still photographs belongs to Otis Guy - a Bay Area pioneer and racer who was (and is) an absolute crusher on a mountain bike. I believe that it is Breezer number two.
Breezers quickly evolved, and the twin lateral tubes were abandoned in favor of the simplified diamond-frame hardtail design used today. The nickel plating, however, remained the hallmark of Joe Breeze's handiwork. Before Joe moved on from frame-building to become a cycling designer and advocate, he and friend Josh Angel invented another product that would also alter the landscape of off-road cycling: the Hite-Rite
seatpost dropper system. Eventually Joe sold the rights to the Breezer brand to Advanced Sports International, where he also resides as a consultant and ambassador.
Special thanks to The Pro's Closet
for the opportunity to share its vintage photo and video collection.