The first bicycle was invented over 200 years ago, providing bicycle enthusiasts and history buffs with a plethora of iconic bicycles. Tifosi carefully combed through that history and the many innovating models produced over the years. We narrowed down the list to highlight some pretty epic bikes.
Let’s kick it off with the very first bicycle created, because what is more iconic than being first?! The Laufmaschine, also known as a “hobby-horse” or “draisine,” was invented by Karl von Drais in 1817. It was made of wood and the rider had to push off the ground with their feet since it did not have pedals.
Ariel Penny Farthing
James Starley and William Hillman built the original penny-farthing with the intent to make a faster bicycle. The high front wheel and the lower back wheel design did allow a faster ride but also a more dangerous one. This design proved to be a balancing challenge for riders and was difficult to mount and dismount.
In 1879, the “safety bicycle,” the Rover, was designed by John Kemp Starley (James Starley’s nephew). His model is much like the bikes we ride today. Starley’s bicycle featured a chain drive and equal-sized wheels. The chain drive was revolutionary and changed bicycles and their capabilities.
The Cheminot ushered in the first derailleur. The development of the derailleur, changed bicycles forever! Paul de Vivie, the inventor, neglected to take out a patent and did not make much money for his invention. However, he does get major props for creating an iconic bike and a place in cycling history!
Schwinn Paramount Racer
In 1940, Schwinn ushered in their racing model, the Paramount. “The craftsmanship that goes into a Paramount Racer is as precise as that on a fine watch.” Schwinn kept their focus on the races in the United States and only produced low numbers of the Paramount in a small bike shop.
Let’s take a walk down memory lane, many will remember the Schwinn Varsity as the “ten-speed.” Though it is often referred to as the “heaviest light bike ever built,” millions were sold from the 1950s to the 1980s. The Schwinn Varsity was the best-selling ten-speed ever made.
Speaking of memory lane (and Schwinns), remember this cool bike, with its banana seat and tall handlebars? When Schwinn discovered that California youngsters were customizing their bikes to look like motorcycles, they created the Sting-Ray. It proved to be a real hit with kids and went on to be Schwinn’s best-selling bike ever!
Peugeot PX 10
Bernard Thévenet won, respectively, two Tour de France races on the Peugeot PX 10 in 1975 and 1977. The Peugeot was affordable and desirable because it was good enough for Thévenet to ride to victory on. It proved to be a very popular purchase for nonprofessional racers.
Breezer 1 Mountain Bike
Mountain biking has made a definite mark on the bicycling industry. It’s hard to believe that the first mountain bike wasn’t created until 1977. Joe Breezer, made this prototype to withstand the rugged terrain of off-road riding.
The Stumpjumper secures its spot on this list because it was the first mountain bike to be mass-produced. The first Stumpjumper, built-in 1981, had 15 speeds but no suspension (ouch!). The current models only come in full suspension and have benefited from years of upgrades.
Mike Burrows advanced the monocoque framed bike by utilizing carbon fiber mouldings. Chris Boardman rode the Lotus 108 in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, winning the gold medal in the 4000m pursuit and breaking the world record in the quarter-finals.
Trek Carbon 5200 OCLV
Trek did their homework and studied aerospace engineering to help design their bicycles. Using this knowledge and technology, they created The Trek OCLV (Optimum Compaction Low Void). Utilizing a carbon fiber lamination process, Trek created the lightest frame in the world, weighing 2.44 pounds.
Hello, fatbikes! Last, but certainly not least, the Surly Pugsley made its debut in 2005. This made fatbikes commercially available to cyclists and gave riders a better option for riding on snow, sand, and rocky terrain.
We know there are many amazing bicycles, and you may feel that we left one of your favorites off of the list. We would love for you to share with us your number one and why you think it is iconic!