I discovered a rather unusual bike this morning. Like the Specialized Stumpjumper Classic of ’07, it’s a vintage recreation. But, in this case, it’s a recreation of a bike that never existed. Which means it’s not a recreation, but I don’t know what else you would call it.
The bike is the Louis Garneau Gordy. You probably know the name Garneau for their clothing line, but they’ve also had a small bike line for a few years now. Garneau the man, is a former track cyclist from Quebec, who is a member of the Order of Canada, and he’s famous for getting a little too chummy with the Queen.
To my knowledge, Garneau did not sell bikes back in the early 90’s. But, in the last four years, they’ve been selling the Gordy in Japan.
On the right is – I believe – the ’12 model, and it looks like an old steel bike from 1993, but with modern parts on it. It has cantilever brakes – but it has disc mounts too – polished rims, silver hubs, and black spokes (my preferred setup when I build my own), nice matching saddle and grips, and way too many headset spacers.
It works exceptionally well because all of the new parts used don’t stand out as new parts, which was the failure of the Stumpjumper Classic. But the Stumpy was an early 80’s bike, and this is an homage to something far more modern, so it’s easier to make it look right.
For 2014, they stepped up their Gordy game considerably. That model featured a super nice bullmoose-style stem, Microshift thumbshifters, and skinwall tires.
But holy cow guys – slamthatstem.com! That’s ridiculous.
And to take things back even further, they brought out an elevated chainstay bike. It has a 9-speed drivetrain with Microshift thumbshifters, Shimano Alivio/Altus bits, and Tektro brakes. All for 95K yen, or about CDN$1000.
The frame design is close to what Norco and Nishiki used, but it’s different. Which tells me that they designed and engineered a brand new old bike.
This, to me anyway, is incredible. The only bikes that are at all similar in North America are the city bikes like Linus or Simcoe. Except that they’re not building those bikes as an homage to something that doesn’t exist anymore. Their bikes are new versions of a style that never really went away.
The Gordy however, is a bike that is most definitely obsolete. I can’t imagine what a magazine like Mountain Bike Action would make of it. They’ve only just recently accepted fatbikes as legit – but only as a second bike meant for fun. Your 130mm trail bike with tubeless tires and a shorter than stock stem is your real bike.
To be fair, it’s listed as a urban bike on the website. I don’t think they’re trying to say it’s a genuine mountain bike. We’re talking about Japan here, so it’s going to be for someone with money that wants to feel like they’re into vintage without having to round up all the parts.
But with a set of reproduction Panaracer Timbuk IIs it would really look the part.
Then imagine it with a Manitou 2 fork…