Breezer Lightning Pro 29: Out Of The Box: by Guitar Ted
Recently I announced the arrival of a fine looking steel hard tail from Breezer Bikes. Here is the Out Of The Box post for you to check out with all the pertinent specs and some images to chew on as well. Let’s jump in….
Breezer Bikes is the oldest brand existing to have made purpose built, modern era mountain bikes. Starting with his original run of ten bikes, which began in 1977, Joe Breeze hand built the first Breezers to tackle the down hill race at Mount Tamalpais in Marin County for himself and his friends. Soon, others were asking for their own Breezer bikes, and before long Joe Breeze found himself in the bicycle industry as the head of his own company. Things changed along the way, but Breezer Bikes are back into mountain bikes and as of last year, they are into 29″ers as well. The Lightning Pro marks the first time a steel Breezer 29″er has existed.
Here we have a steel hard tail frame with many unique ideas from the mind of Joe Breeze who is very much involved in the process at Breezer. The first thing that strikes you though, is the beautiful blue paint job with the white “darts”. This is a nod to the bikes Joe Breeze first used off road in the mid-70′s which were pre-War, (WWII), Schwinn Excelsior frames which Joe and other Marin off roaders turned into “balooners”. (A reference to the fat tires these bikes sported) Later riders called them “clunkers”, but most sported the darted paint schemes that were popular in the 1930′s. The Lightning has them as well.
The Frame: The Breezer Lightning features a hydro-formed steel frame using D’Fusion custom butted chromoly steel tubing. The down tube and top tubes are formed into “D” shapes where they meet the head tube, which is claimed to “diffuse” stresses coming into the front end of the frame in such a way that a down tube gusset is unnecessary.
Other frame highlights include the custom machined and integrated head tube, the asymmetrical chain stays, the Apex brake mount, Breeze-in drop outs, and the unusual for steel BB-92 bottom bracket, which makes the bottom bracket shell as wide as possible without going to a longer crank spindle.
The BB-92 actually was a big part in the design for the Lightning. It allowed Joe to design in shorter, 439mm chain stays and still have room for bigger tires. The wide shell allows the welders to attach the stays at the widest possible point, and speaking of stays- The chain stays are another unusual feature of the Breezer Lightning Pro as well.
The left chain stay, which doesn’t have to snake around a tire and a crank set, is enormous compared to the skinnier, squished drive side stay. This helps with bottom bracket stiffness, according to Breeze, and without using the longer bottom bracket shell, this would not be possible. One gets used to seeing asymmetrical carbon fiber shapes, but this steel rendition seems a bit shocking to the senses. I’ve gotten used to seeing steel frames with perfectly balanced proportions, so this stood out to my mind as being unusual, but perhaps only for steel is this so.
The Apex brake mount, which forces the curved seat stays to be employed, is a smarter way to mount a disc brake caliper, according to Joe, since it re-directs braking torque to force the rear axle into the drop out instead of pulling it away from the drop out, as in seat stay mounted brakes.
Of course, the Breeze-in drop outs, which are a Breezer invention, are here and this design is widely copied to this day.
Specifications: Okay, how about some numbers now? Here are the angles and pertinent measurements:
Sizes- S(17″) M(18.5″) L(19.5″) XL(21″)
Seat Tube (mm) 430 470 500 530
Top Tube (mm) – Effective 590 605 615 630
Chainstay (mm) 439
Chainstay (mm) – Effective 435.5
Front Center (mm) 628.5 643.5 653.4 668.4
Wheelbase (mm) 1061.7 1076.7 1086.7 1101.7
Fork Offset (mm) 45mm
Head Tube Angle (deg) 71*
Head Tube Angle (deg) – Sagged 72*
Seat Tube Angle (deg) 72*
Seat Tube Angle (deg) – Sagged 73*
Components: The Lightning Pro comes with some heavy, (as in a lot, not in terms of weight. ), SRAM spec. The hubs are something we’ve yet to spend a lot of time on, but initial impressions are good so far. The hubs are laced to WTB Laser TCS Trail rims which are tubeless compatible. The SRAM spec then continues with a X-9 rear derailleur, X-7 shifters and front derailleur, and a SRAM OCT Hollow Forged crank set with a 26T and 39T ring set up. This turns a Shimano chain which in turn rotates the Shimano 10 speed cassette with an 11-36T spread. The fork is a SRAM supplied Rock Shox Recon TK Gold with a traditional 9mm quick release. The travel is set to 100mm. Brakes are SRAM Elixir 5 units in a contrasting white with a 180mm front/160mm rear.
Tires are WTB Bronson 2.2″ers. (We’ll be testing the TCS versions of these soon as well.) The cockpit consists mostly of Oval branded parts which are painted white and contrast with the blue of the frame really nicely. MSRP on this bike is $2499.99USD. There is also a frame only option in black with white darts for MSRP $999.99USD
Stay tuned for the First Impressions post coming soon. In the mean time, check out Grannygear and Joe Breeze talking about the Lightning Pro frame only last year at Interbike.
Note: Breezer Bikes sent over the Lightning Pro for testing and review at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches. We are not being bribed, nor paid for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.