I am now the proud owner of a 1995 Breezer Storm. Few companies can boast the pedigree of Breezer, what with Joe Breeze welding the first purpose-built mountain bike frames in the late 70’s. This Storm is not one of the high-end models, nor was it welded by Joe, but it’s still just a great looking bike and for $100, I couldn’t resist.
But, what do I do with it?
Normally when I buy a bike, I have a good reason. Like; I need a commuter, it’s got good parts for another project, it’s a Rocky Mountain – all good reasons. But this time, I didn’t really have a reason other than I thought it looked good, and it’s a Breezer.
This is a winter commuter that’s been well used. In fact, the number one selling point was it’s studded tires. No mention of the bike brand in the ad even. It was just a mountain bike to the seller. It’s far from stock, and it’s got the kind of upgrades you always see on old bikes that people are just trying to keep on the road; Shimano Deore V-brakes, mis-matched wheels, weird grips. At least the seat looks right, and it’s a super nice Rolls, but it’s very worn.
I would love to get it back to a more period correct spec. It’s got that great little cable guide for the rear brakes, so it really needs to have cantilevers. That bolt-on adapter required to run V-brakes (on the top tube near the seat tube) really bugs me. The cranks could be original, the rear derailleur is not. The rear wheel doesn’t match the front, and it’s probably new – bad curb jumping leads to so many wrecked rear wheels – mechanics know this all too well.
What would be perfect for this bike is the Shimano LX groupset that debuted in 1993. It was all-black, for canilever brakes and featured 8spd trigger shifters. Or alternatively, the STX group of the same time. Tons of bikes were sold with these two groups, but the parts still can be hard to find.
In fact, they are stupidly expensive. A set of the black Shimano LX brakes run $50 on eBay. The 8 speed STI combo levers from that group are $80. The bike only cost me $100, and I think it will be VERY hard to sell it for more than $200 even with those parts. I might do better on eBay, but then shipping costs are outrageous – If you’re looking at $200 or $300 bikes, spending another $100 on shipping is silly.
And in Edmonton, the number of vintage mountain bike aficionados are low. I remember putting together a really nice Kona – a ’98 Caldera – and the guy that came to look at it for his son goes, “See! I TOLD you this guy was a bike guy!”
But that’s the exception – everyone else is just looking for a cheap bike. I doubt most would know, or care, that this bike is designed by Joe Breeze, one of the fathers of the sport, and welded up with Ritchey tubes, designed by Tom Ritchey – another father of the sport. And most probably don’t care if it has period-correct Shimano LX rapid-fire shifters on it. As long as they work, it doesn’t matter.
If I really wanted to do this up nicely, with LX or STC parts, I’d have a much better time just waiting on another bike coming up for sale and stripping the parts off it. Now I know that just because something is on eBay for $50, doesn’t mean it’ll actually sell for that, or more importantly, it doesn’t mean that $50 is the market value of those parts, but it’s still crazy that people do this.
As I sit here looking at the pictures of this Breezer, I feel that it deserves to be restored properly. I think it would be a really cool companion to the old Cannondale that I also need to sell. Maybe there is someone out there that can appreciate these old bikes, it just takes a while to find them.