Frame builder Joe Breeze is a member of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, is featured in the movie Klunkerz, and acknowledged as one of mountain biking’s founding fathers and his development of the first successful modern mountain bike. Breeze is still involved in the sport and continues to innovate and advocate for bicycling.
Breeze sold the Breezer brand to ASI, parent company of Fuji bikes in 2008, but the company in turn gave Breeze development power, and he is still hard at work with bikes for transportation, mountain biking, and once again the road.
On display at the Sea Otter Classic 2016 was the new for 2017 Inversion Team prototype road and gravel bike. A Breeze gravel bike? The idea might sound blasphemous to those familiar with Breeze’s contributions to mountain biking, but it’s an obvious evolution if you think about. Mountain bikes back then were often used on dirt and gravel roads, were fully rigid, and most of the time, had taller gears than today’s gravel bikes.
Getting past category labels, the Inversion Team gets back to Breeze’s fully rigid steel roots. Planned as $2000 USD for an Ultegra/ R685 equipped bike, the Breezer Inversion road and gravel bike is built with steel sourced from Japan from JFE Industries, as specified by Breeze.
He wanted a non-heat-treated steel so that it was easier to work with during frame building. After construction, the entire frame is heat-treated, similar to how some aluminum frames are made. That process is challenging with the need to predict frame warpage during heat treatment since cold setting is subsequently much harder. But Breeze likes the structural integrity and ride quality of the finished frame using this construction method.
The Inversion has a conical tapered head tube that is CNC machined, 34.9mm diameter downtube and rack and fender mounts, with the fender mounts hidden on the Breezer designed 12mm thru-axle fork ends. Breeze pioneered a rear dropout style that many custom builders use today, and he designed a new Breezer 12mm thru-axle rear end for this project. There are also three bottle mounts too so you shouldn’t run short on hydration, and a BB86 bottom bracket was selected to offer a wide stance for the chainstays. Even with the new WTB Exposure 30 tires, these is ample room for more.
The rear caliper mount is specifically post-mount, between the seat and chainstays with each tube sharing the brake load force. Mark Vanek, product manager for ASI and Breezer told us this is to avoid the pitfalls of style-centric flat mount, which requires reinforcement of the tube ends by either increasing the tube gauge or diameter, or using a pre-formed endpiece, all of which add weight and alter ride quality.
Vanek said the prototype is close to the finished product, which is due early 2017. With the build and attention to details, it sounds like the Inversion is overall a great value.
While the Team model will retail for $2,000 USD, there is also a Pro model that will be $1,400 USD and equipped with Shimano 105 mechanical shifting and TRP HyRd brakes.
More info: breezerbikes.com