Nickel plated and as good as gold
Words by James Huang, Bike Radar // Photos by The Pro’s Closet
Joe Breeze made fewer than 100 mountain bikes in total. This Series 3 is considered one of the most coveted machines in the history of the sport.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Complete bike specifications
- Frame: 1983 Breezer Series 3
- Fork: 1983 Breezer unicrown
- Headset: Campagnolo
- Stem: Breezer custom
- Handlebars: Specialized aluminum riser
- Grips: Magura
- Front brake: Shimano BR-MC70
- Rear brake: Shimano BR-MC70
- Brake levers: Magura
- Front derailleur: Shimano Deore XT FD-M700
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Deore XT RD- M700
- Shift lever: Suntour
- Freewheel: Suntour 6-speed, 13-30T
- Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace Uniglide
- Crankset: Sugino AT, 170mm, 28/36/44T
- Bottom bracket: Phil Wood
- Rims: Araya (28-hole front, 32-hole rear)
- Hubs: Phil Wood with custom nickel-plated bodies
- Front tire: Specialized Stumpjumper, 26×2.125in
- Rear tire: Specialized Stumpjumper, 26×2.125in
- Saddle: Brooks B-72
- Seatpost: Shimano Dura-Ace
- Pedals: Suntour BMX
- Weight: 14.52kg (32.01lb, complete, as pictured)