Category Archives: Vintage

Johan the Gazelle mechanic

I wish I was this guy.

He’s in a clean, open shop that looks very well organized. And that shop coat? I needs it. It has racing stripes!

He cares about his job, you can tell by how tidy his station is. He cares about the shop too I figure – and the shop cares about him. I’ll bet there’s a great cafe across the street where they know all the mechanics by name. The coffee and biscotti are awesome. If the Dutch do biscotti that is.

He’s probably got some Dutch sports talk radio on in the background – just loud enough to hear, but not loud enough to annoy. They’re discussing the latest cycle racing gossip, which he says he doesn’t care about, but he follows avidly.

I think his name is Johan. He’s been a mechanic for probably 40 years. He’s had a nice life as a mechanic, since in the Netherlands, bikes aren’t considered to be toys. He keeps people moving, and that’s worth something.

He’s not rushed. He takes a little longer maybe than the younger mechanics, but whatever he does, it’s 100% when he’s done. This very nice Gazelle (a Dutch brand btw) cyclocross bike will be ready to race as soon as he takes it out of the stand. It’ll just take a few more minutes, why not go get a coffee?

It just looks like a terrific environment. I’d like for my shop to be like this, but I’ve got a ways to go. Step one is that coat…

I figured this picture for the mid-70’s at first, but closer inspection shows aero brake hoods, and those came along in the mid to late 80’s. Maybe Johan’s style is mid-70’s then. But that’s OK, because Johan is getting it done.

You can relax if this is your Gazelle he’s building, because it’s going to be great, no matter you use it for.

Rocky Mountain Hammer

In The Simpsons’ 6th season, a new student arrives in Lisa’s class. Lisa is head and shoulders above her classmates – head, shoulders, arms, waist, and legs above Ralph Wiggum – but Allison (voiced by Winona Ryder) proves to be as smart, if not smarter than Lisa. And she’s younger too, having skipped a grade.

Lisa Simpson

At one point, Lisa accepts her new fate as second best, and imagines herself in The Second Best Band in America with Art Garfunkel, Jim Messina, and John Oates, performing their #2 Hit “Born to Runner Up.”

Which brings us to the perennial second steel bike in Rocky’s lineup, the Rocky Mountain Hammer. It wasn’t always second in the lineup – it was sometimes lower – but it was always behind the Blizzard. But this certainly doesn’t make it any less of a bike.

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Specialized Stumpjumper

If you’ve spent any time here you know I’m not a fan of Specialized. I know this puts me in the minorty, but I don’t care. I don’t think their bikes are particularly…… special – Specialized, Giant, Trek, whatever. Plus their actions as a corporate entity don’t serve the industry or the community – just their brand and their bottom line.

Yes I know it’s a business and businesses  have to behave in a certain way in order to stay businesses, but other companies don’t do the things that Specialized does, and look at them – they still exist.

Anyway, I digress. Stay on target!

Specialized Stumpjumper

The Specialized Stumpjumper debuted in 1981 and was hugely important to the fledgling sport of mountain biking as it was the first production mountain bike. Prior to the Stumpjumper, you needed to custom order a frame from Tim Ritchey or Joe Breeze, try to round up the right touring and motorcycle parts, and then put it together. But now, you could walk into a shop, and ride out minutes later on a fully functioning mountain bike.

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Review of reviews

I have seriously neglected my duties here at, so if you’re following along at home, my apologies.

I promise that I will post more, and what I’ll start with is more reviews of vintage companies. I have a list to work from, and it’s a long list.

But, before we get there, let’s check out what I’ve covered already, just in case you may missed something.

Here’s my list so far;














Now, there is one here that’s not like the others, and that’s Gaulzetti. They’re certainly not a vintage company, but they make bikes that look like vintage bikes. Well, they used to anyway. It’s been a while, and honestly I don’t know what they do anymore.

Get ready for some new posts – I’ve got nearly two dozen more lined up.