Cyclepedia: Iconic Bicycle Design

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Tresoldi & Casiraghi
Pocket Bici – 1963

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Cycles Hirondelle
Rétro-Direct – 1925

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  • Varnished steel frame
  • Weight: 41.2 lbs.
  • Wheels: 28-inch
  • In the 1920s, the Rétro-Direct provided an alternative gear system to other bicycles on the market.
  • The redirecting mechanism for the chain enables the rider to pedal Listwards when reaching
    difficult terrain.
  • Hirondelle patented a single-chain version in 1903, while a two-chain version was patented by Barberon and Meunier in 1969.
  • Ultimately, the derailleur gear mechanism was favored in the evolution of the design, which enables the rider to change gears by moving the chain from one sprocket to another.
  • Hirondelle created the first mass-produced front derailleur in the 1920s.
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Schulz
Funiculo – 1937

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  • Varnished steel frame
  • Weight: 32.6 lbs.
  • Wheels: 26-inch
  • Jacques Schulz innovated and redesigned every detail of his bicycles.
  • In Paris, 1937, the Funiculo was promoted for its flexible frame.
  • The gear system could accommodate sprockets of up to 40 teeth, allowing uphill riding using only one front chain ring.
  • The design of the rear brake is advanced, as the brake is activated by parallel cables running internally through the frame. A bicycle pump can be stored in front of the seat tube.
  • Despite the overall advancements in design, the tires are standard and easily damaged.
  • Only three Funiculos are known to exist; this is the only one that can still be ridden.
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Caminade Caminargent
Bordeaux–Paris – 1937

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  • Aluminum frame
  • Weight: 18.3 lbs.
  • Wheels: 700c
  • Many attempts were made in the nineteenth century to reduce the weight of a bicycle through the use of aluminum parts. Few examples have survived.
  • Pierre Caminade's 1936 design incorporated octagonal aluminum tubes housed in finely detailed lugs.
  • Despite the screws used to strengthen it, the frame of the Caminargent is very fragile, susceptible to twisting and fine tears.
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Sironval
Sportplex – 1939

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  • Varnished steel, adjustable height
  • Weight: 44.1 lbs.
  • Wheels: 22-inch (front), 24-inch (rear)
  • The recumbent, or reclining, bicycle design was popular in France in the 1930s.
  • After Charles and Georges Mochet's design broke the world hour record in 1933, recumbent bicycles were banned by the International Cycling Union (UCI) because of the advantage given by extra support provided by the Listrest.
  • Only 200 of the Sironval Sportplex were sold.
  • The number plate was required during the German occupation of France during WWII.
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BSA (Birmingham Small Arms)
Paratrooper – 1940

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  • Varnished steel frame
  • Weight: 29.9 lbs.
  • Wheels: 26-inch
  • The Paratrooper was used by the British military in WWII, designed to fold in half and be dropped to the ground using a parachute fastened to the wheels.
  • Troops were advised how to use the bicycle upon its first landing.
  • The handlebars and seat would hit the ground first to absorb impact.
  • A frame any smaller would have been lighter for a parachute, but less suitable to the terrain.
  • More than 60,000 were produced for the British military.
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AFA
1954

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  • Varnished steel frame
  • Weight: 29.1 lbs.
  • Wheels: 26-inch
  • Before smooth roads, a bicycle's suspension system was necessary to create a more comfortable ride.
  • The French company AFA designed an integrated suspension system using springs made from fiberglass rings supported by a stem.
  • The design features centerpull cantilever brakes and the pedals have no axles.
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René Herse
Démontable – 1968

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  • Varnished steel frame
  • Weight: 24.3 lbs.
  • Wheels: 28-inch
  • The Démontable belonged to the first generation of folding bicycles.
  • Each René Herse frame was unique, with braze-on parts crafted by skilled artisans.
  • As cars became increasingly popular in the 1960s, a demand for folding bicycles rose.
  • The frame splits into two pieces, which are connected at the top and lower tubes by quick releases.
  • At the historic Paris cycle show in the early 1960s, it was displayed flatpacked in the trunk of a car.
  • The Bike Friday followed on from this idea almost 30 years later.
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Trevor Jarvis Cycles
Flying Gate – c. 1980

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  • Varnished steel frame
  • Weight: 21.83 lbs.
  • Wheels: 27-inch
  • Trevor Jarvis based the Flying Gate on a 1936 design, "Baines VS37."
  • The Baines factory closed in 1954. Jarvis obtained the rights from Baines to manufacture the frame in 1979.
  • The frame has excellent road handling due to the configuration of the short wheel base—the distance between the axle of the front and rear wheels.
  • A vertical tube allows the rear wheel to move closer to the bottom bracket, shortening the drive.
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Solling
Pedersen – 1978

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  • Varnished steel frame
  • Weight: 26.2 lbs.
  • Wheels: 28-inch
  • Mikael Pederson (1855 –1929) was a Danish blacksmith, musician, and inventor.
  • His design originated in the 1890s and focused on creating a frame that could accommodate a rider of any height.
  • The frame includes a flexible saddle suspended with a plastic-coated steel cord.
  • When the rider sits down, the bicycle gains stability as a result of tension to the thin, light tubes.
  • The Pederson was first manufactured in the U.K. before WW I, which then continued in Denmark around 1978 where they are still produced today.
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Capo
Elite "Eis" – 1966

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  • Varnished steel frame
  • Weight: 24.3 lbs.
  • Wheels: 26-inch
  • A "skating" bicycle developed for icy streets, the Eis utilized a skate blade as front tire and was produced in very limited numbers in Austria.
  • The heavily studded rear tire designed for traction also presented a hazard for riders in an accident, which were reportedly frequent.
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Raleigh
Tourist – 1973

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  • Chromed steel frame
  • Weight: 46.1 lbs. (men's), 43.7 lbs. (women's)
  • Wheels: 28-inch
  • "The All-Steel Bicycle" was Raleigh's advertising slogan to suggest greater durability at a time when aluminum parts were beginning to displace steel.
  • This model featured a fully enclosed chain and rod brakes, which are still widely used by Raleigh for the India market.
  • A special feature at the time was housing the light batteries inside the channel of the seat tube.
  • The integrated child seat made this bicycle popular for young families.
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Taga
c. 2008

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  • Aluminum alloy frame
  • Weight: 44 –64 lbs. (depending on configuration)
  • Wheels: 16-inch, (single side hub)
  • The Taga is a hybrid style bicycle invented in Europe and designed for families with small children.
  • The child seat is located at the front of the bicycle, facing forward between the handlebars. The Taga can be used as a bicycle, or converted into a children's stroller in approximately 20 seconds.
  • The design won the 2008 Eurobike and iF Magazine Award in the City Bikes Category. Eurobike is the world's premier bike trade show.
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Tur Meccanica
Bi Bici – 1980

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  • Varnished steel frame
  • Weight: 49.6 lbs.
  • Wheels: 26-inch
  • This short tandem design dates to the 1880s. Shorter than most tandems, the Bi Bici turns and maneuvers more easily than traditional tandems and features four gears.
  • The stoker, or second rider, must mount last to prevent a wheelie. An unintentional wheelie was also an issue if the stoker was substantially heavier than captain.
  • While the rear pedals appear to drive the rear wheel, a second chain transfers the stoker's efforts to captain's transmission.
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Buddy Bike
1988

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  • Varnished steel frame
  • Weight: 60.6 lbs.
  • Wheels: 26-inch
  • This tandem, with a design conceived before 1900, was intended for riders who preferred socializing over performance and was quickly nicknamed "the sociable."
  • The bicycle was designed so that only the left hand rider steers and cannot be ridden by one person.
  • The Buddy required a balanced load to function so both riders have to be similar in weight.
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Smith & Co
Long John – 1983

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  • Varnished steel frame
  • Weight: 70.5 lbs.
  • Wheels: 23-inch (rear), 20-inch (front)
  • One of the first 2-wheeled cargo bicycles ever designed and the longest with a load capacity of approximately 300 lbs. including the rider.
  • Easy to balance, even when loaded, the well-conceived steering design passes under the cargo area
    and bypasses the front wheel when it turns.
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Bike Friday
New World Tourist – 1997

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  • Varnished steel frame
  • Weight: 22 lbs.
  • Wheels: 20-inch
  • Alan & Hanz Scholz initially experimented with tandems, but a friend inspired them to build touring bicycles that could be easily transported on trains and airplanes.
  • The angled hinges on this bicycle allow its parts to avoid each other when it folds down neatly into
    a suitcase that can be towed behind as a luggage trailer.
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Skoot International
Skoot – 2001

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  • Plastic & steel frame
  • Weight: 32 -lbs.
  • Wheels: 12-inch
  • A bicycle in a suitcase. The Skoot retracts into the plastic case to pass as wheeled luggage. The plastic frame material is the same as what is used for automobile dashboards and bumpers.
  • Although heavy to carry more than a short distance; the Skoot stows easily as luggage on public transportation and does not require extra ticketing.
  • The plastic body provides room for a briefcase or laptop when riding, making it an ideal in-city bicycle.
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Strida 1
1988

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  • Powder-coated, aluminum frame
  • Weight: 24.3 lbs.
  • Wheels: 16-inch
  • Designed by Mark Saunders, the Strida was introduced in Britain in 1987. In 1988 it won Best New Machine, Best British Product, and Best in Show at UK Cyclex Bicycle Innovation Awards in.
  • Commercially successful from the beginning, the fifth generation Strida is currently produced in Taiwan.
  • The Strida, which folds up in approximately 10 seconds, features a toothed belt drive, inlaid cable pulls, and plastic wheels with integrated reflectors which are mounted to the frame on one side only.
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Elettromontaggi
Zoombike – 1995

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  • Aluminum frame
  • Weight: 22.7 lbs.
  • Wheels: 14-inch
  • Designed by Richard Sapper, a designer for Alessi, Artemide, Mercedes-Benz and more. Zoombike was launched in 1998 after ten years in development.
  • The bicycle was designed for city dwellers and to be used in conjunction with public transportation.
  • When folded, Zoombike's triple-gear derailleur sits neatly in the central tube along with a headlamp and battery; a cleverly placed LED in the top tube served as the rear light, and the internal Bowden cables bent with the frame.
  • Although popular in design circles and after some 60 prototypes failed, the bicycle never made it into series production.
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Sachs
Tango – 2000

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  • Plastic coated, aluminum frame
  • Weight: 45.4 lbs.
  • Wheels: 16-inch
  • Designed by city car specialists, Urban Solutions, The Netherlands, the Tango won first place at the Vision 2000 design competition in 1997.
  • The bicycle features full suspension, cables laid in bodywork, and a polyurethane coating.
  • Not a commercial success due in part to its weight and high price, the bicycle faded away after several successive attempts by German motorcycle builder Sachs and then Volkswagen Motors to market it.
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One Off
Moulton Special – 1991

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  • Titanium frame
  • Weight: 21.2 lbs.
  • Wheels: 17-inch
  • A unique bicycle made in 1991 by Mike Augspurger with cycle designer Alex Moulton at Augspurger's company One Off, which specializes in producing made-to-measure pieces in titanium.
  • Augspurger wanted to produce a Moulton AM from titanium with a frame that could not be separated and special Moulton parts in an attempt to make a significantly lighter bicycle. The resulting bicycle was only 1.1 lbs. lighter and the project came to a halt.
  • It was left to the second owner of One Off to complete the frame and fork to make the bicycle functional. They ultimately produced only one piece, and it is the bicycle featured here.
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BMW
Super Tech – 1997

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  • Varnished aluminum frame
  • Weight: 29.3 lbs.
  • Wheels: 26-inch
  • A revolutionary full-suspension folding mountain bicycle with an aluminum frame produced in Bologna, Italy.
  • The HS Products/BMW telelever system provides an anti-dive effect, so that the bike barely dips forward when braking. As a result, the risk of the rider going over the handlebars is drastically reduced.
  • In the great BMW tradition, when customers purchase the bicycle they receive detachable mudguards, lights, an air pump for the suspension elements, a user manual, and a repair manual.
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Breezer
Beamer – 1992

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  • Varnished steel, carbon frame
  • Weight: 25.6 lbs.
  • Wheels: 26-inch
  • The Beamer, as shown, was developed by mountain bike legend Joe Breeze who incorporated a springy saddle post, first introduced at Interbike Expo in California in 1989, and a Softride Suspension (1991)
  • The Beamer, outfitted with steel springs in the fork and rear, won the Downhill World Championships
    in 1992.
  • The Breezer Beamer is still being produced.
  • This model without front & rear suspension was found to be more suitable for road racing.
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Slingshot
1991

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  • Varnished steel frame
  • Weight: 26.3 lbs.
  • Wheels: 26-inch
  • Designed in 1985 by Mark Groendal after he broke the down tube on his mini motorbike and discovered the break made for a more comfortable ride.
  • This model design with a single top tube connecting to a fiberglass bridge followed many experimental variations of cable and tubing combinations.
  • The level of comfort can be changed with the adjustable cable & spring.
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Biomega
MN01 – 2001

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  • Varnished aluminum frame
  • Weight: 26.2 lbs.
  • Wheels: 26-inch
  • The ultimate designer bicycle, the MN01 profile is likened to a sprinter on the starting blocks as a result of the unusual superplastic aluminum frame formed from 2 semi-monocoques, which actually results in amplified road noise.
  • The non-traditional use of Rohloff speed hubs with 14 integrated gears which require no maintenance and can be changed under load is a further innovation.
  • This bicycle is as heavy and expensive as many mid-range mountain bicycles.
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Biria
Unplugged TM Design – 1998

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  • Clear-coated carbon frame
  • Weight: 26.9 lbs.
  • Wheels: 26-inch
  • Beautifully designed, carbon-fiber bicycle with tires mounted on one side of hub with an underdeveloped suspension system.
  • Approximately 27 bicycles were produced at an incredibly high cost of production & design. The top model came with 24-carat hard gold-plated chain.
  • Given the retail price and lack of buyers, only half of the bicycles were finally assembled with the rest sold unbuilt at auction.
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Schauff
Wall Street – 1993

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  • Varnished carbon frame
  • Weight: 25.6 lbs.
  • Wheels: 28-inch
  • The exquitely detailed Wall Street is a trekking bike disguised as a mountain bike, with narrow 700c tires borrowed from a racing bike.
  • It won the coveted benchmark "Rote Punkt"or Red Dot Design Prize in 1992.
  • The Schauff company only produced some 20 copies of this model, which features a blow-molded carbon-fiber reinforced plastic frame with internal cabling.
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Trek
Y-Foil – 1998

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  • Carbon fiber frame
  • Weight: 20.7 lbs.
  • Wheels: 700c
  • Produced by Trek for only two years in 1998 and 1999, the Y-Foil features a streamlined carbon-fiber frame with beam suspension.
  • A beam frame is designed to have the seat sit on a beam instead of a tube that runs straight to the bottom bracket. This gives some flex to the seat, reducing road fatigue for the rider without taking away from overall frame rigidity. Beam frame design has been popular with several builders.
  • When the UCI banned all frames that did not have a seat tube from sanctioned events in 2000, Trek shut down production of this bicycle.
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Lotus
Sport 110 – 1994

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  • Clear coated carbon frame
  • Weight: 21.8 lbs.
  • Wheels: 700c
  • The Lotus Sport 110 was revolutionary. In the early 1990s, designer Mike Burrows and the Lotus technicians used a monocoque carbon composite to make the frame incredibly lightweight.
    The resulting frame helped create the first superbike.
  • The bicycle quickly made cycling history with Britain's Chris Boardman racing it to gold-medal victory
    at the 1992 Olympic Games, and shortly afterwards also taking the 5000-metre world record.
  • The Lotus custom racing models were followed by this more affordable "street" version at only the price of a small car.
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GT: Vengeance
Mark Allen Edition – 1998

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  • Varnished aluminum frame
  • Weight: 20.5 lbs.
  • Wheels: 26-inch
  • This triathlon frame was developed by GT for the 1996 US Olympic team in Atlanta and set an important new aerodynamic standard for the field.
  • Six-time Triathlete of the Year Mark Allen endorsed and rode the GT Vengeance making the design famous. In 1997, GT introduced the popular version of its competition bicycle as the Mark Allen Edition in 3 frame heights.
  • Founded in 1979, GT went on to build mountain bikes and racing bikes as well, but went bankrupt on September 11, 2001.
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Diamant
Ironman SLX – 1992

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  • Varnished steel frame
  • Weight: 22.5 lbs.
  • Wheels: 28-inch
  • Designed in Belgium in the early 1990's, the Ironman was created for demanding use by extreme triathletes.
  • Featuring an almost cartoonish extremely forward-leaning, canted geometry for its frame and seat, the bicycle visibly accelerates. High design meets high-performance results.
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Bob Jackson
Tricycle – 1995

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  • Varnished steel frame
  • Weight: 29.3 lbs.
  • Wheels: 700c
  • This bicycle combines a competition bicycle and a tricycle with a third wheel added to a Hetchins Magnum Opus bicycle with its elaborate lugs.
  • Tricycles are less stable than one might imagine and are prone to veer off course or tip over with inexperienced riders.
  • While Bob Jackson still hand crafts tricycles, this custom lugged model is the only one produced.
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Sablière
1988

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  • Polished aluminum frame
  • Weight: 18.7 lbs.
  • Wheels: 700c
  • The perfectly filed and polished welds of the Sablière's polished aluminum frame creates a sleek, sensuous time-trial bicycle and is reminiscent of high-spec airplane design.
  • With time-trial machines such as this, the race is against the clock rather than the opponents.
  • The Sablière's design is vulnerable to tipping over if a side wind hits the back wheel. To counteract this, and retain good stability while riding, there are centrifugal weights in the back wheel. As the wheel rotates faster the weights move outwards assuring an unwavering course.
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Moser
Hour Record Replica – 1984

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  • Chromed steel frame
  • Weight: 21.8 lbs.
  • Wheels: 650c (front), 700c (rear)
  • After the end of their racing careers many cyclists start building bicycles. For Francesco Moser these two careers overlapped and he was able to win races and break records on bikes bearing his own name.
  • In 1984 Moser broke the 12-year-old one-hour record with an average speed of 50.808 km an hour. He went on to break his own record with a ride of 51.151 kilometres an hour, which would remain unbeaten for nine years.
  • This Moser belonged to Austrian cycling champion Bernhard Rassinger. It was commissioned after Moser broke the world one-hour speed record riding the model. It is engraved with Moser's record of 51.151 km an hour on the handlebars.
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Cinelli
Laser – 1985

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  • Varnished steel frame
  • Weight: 20.9 lbs.
  • Wheels: 700c
  • This bicycle marked a new way of thinking about aerodynamics in bicycle design. A prototype was first unveiled in 1979 and the first production models appeared at the 1983 Caracas Pan Am Games. It was designed to break records and notched up a series of impressive victories.
  • The tubes were drop-shaped in cross-section and had no lugs because the joints were lined with sheet metal and sanded down by hand.
  • Several road versions of the design are commercially produced today.
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Messenger Bike
1978

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  • Varnished steel frame
  • Weight: 17.6 lbs.
  • Wheels: 700c
  • The ultimate track bicycle when it was developed in the 1970s, this Italian-made model with single-gear, fixed wheels is enjoying a resurgence of fashion with recreational users.
  • To brake without brakes, the rider shifts weight forward and stops the rear wheel using the pedal cranks.
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Kirk
Precision – c. 1988

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  • Varnished magnesium
  • Weight: 22.9 lbs.
  • Wheels: 27-inch
  • First presented in 1986 at the New York Cycle Show—with frames composed of aluminum purporting to be magnesium alloy—the star-crossed design was very popular and received a lot of orders initially.
  • The bicycle was to be cast from magnesium alloy, which is lighter than aluminum, but it required casting solid frames for strength, which lost the weight advantage. The bicycle also proved to be prone to warping and was only available in two frame heights, which ultimately diminished its success.
  • As fate would have it, the factory burned down a few days after production began due to magnesium dust spontaneously combusting in the air, so there are very few extant bicycles.
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Corima
Cougar – 1991

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  • Varnished carbon frame
  • Weight: 19.6 lbs.
  • Wheels: 700c
  • Produced in France for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona by Cooperation Riffard Martin, the Cougar is a powerful, muscular track bicycle. British cyclist Chris Boardman broke the world hour record on a Cougar in 1993.
  • Carbon monocoque frame was each precisely fabricated to measure for individual athletes, with around 1,000 of these rare framesets produced to date.
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Bianchi
C-4 Projekt – 1987

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  • Varnished carbon frame
  • Weight: 25.1 lbs.
  • Wheels: 26-inch (front), 700c (rear)
  • C-4 frames made their debut in cycling competitions in the spring of 1987 at the Giro d'Italia (Cycling Tour of Italy).
  • The frames were years ahead of their time as the entire carbon monocoque body was created using the most up-to-date NJC (No Joint Construction) technology.
  • The design features no saddle pipe—the adjustable seat pin accomodates all dimensions with three unique frame sizes—and a carbon monocoque front fork.
  • Bianchi C-4 Project models were usually equipped with Campagnolo Record components, though this bike features Shimano Dura-Ace components that are widely used on racing bicycles today.
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