When Joe Breeze hand-built the first modern mountain bike in 1977, Breezer became the world’s first mountain bike brand. As a lifelong cyclist who has raced on the road and on the dirt, as well as toured all over the world, Joe has dedicated his life to making bikes for every level of rider. 42 years later, Joe has never stopped innovating. And with all those years of bike-building experience, Joe continues to make bikes with one goal: to deliver a bike that has a light and lively ride quality and that will put a smile on your face every time you head out the door for whatever adventure you choose.
After years as an avid cyclist, road racer and student of design and fabrication, Joe took his first steps into the world of frame building in 1974 by designing and building a limited number of road-racing frames. Those first frames would serve as his foundation for bicycle design. He was also riding off road, on decades-old fat-tire bikes. Eventually his combined skills led him to create the first all-new mountain bike, in 1977. Until that point, riders were modifying old cruiser frames and components for off-road riding. Joe built the Series I Breezer bikes with the goal of creating a new, stronger and lighter bike that would open up new possibilities for riders.
Joe Breeze begins designing and fabricating custom road-racing frames.
The first downhill off-road race – Repack – is held on October 21, 1976. Ten riders take part, and all ride repurposed Schwinn “klunkers” from the ’30s and ’40s.
Joe designs and builds the world's first mountain bike made from new parts. On its maiden voyage, Joe wins Repack.
Joe completes nine more "Breezers". Nothing like a Breezer has been seen before, and the first 10 bikes mark the birth of the modern mountain bike.
While hair-metal bands came and went during the 80s, Joe was busier than ever cranking out new advancements. To start the decade off, Joe built his Series II mountain bikes, a lighter frame design. He went on to design the uni-crown fork for Tange. Joe also created his more aggressive Series III Breezer bikes. Those bikes often featured the revolutionary Hite-Rite seat-dropper that Joe developed with Josh Angell. If this wasn’t enough Joe, with 11 friends, fellow racers and colleagues, also created the first mountain bike racing and advocacy organization: NORBA (National Off Road Bicycle Association). Joe was largely responsible for the NORBA self-sufficiency rule for racing, to keep the bikes relevant to everyday mountain bikers. To round out the decade Joe designed his first aluminum-frame bikes, the American Breezer. He was honored for his work by being inducted as a charter member of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 1988.
Joe designs the the unicrown fork for mountain bikes, introduced on the 1981 Kelly-Fisher "Montare" models.
Joe designs and builds the Series II and Series III Breezers, evolving geometry and construction along the way.
Joe and 11 fellow racers and cycling infuencers form the worlds first mountain bike racing organization: NORBA, the National Off Road Bicycle Association. Joe designs the logo. Joe and Josh Angell introduce the world’s first seatpost dropper device: the Hite-Rite.
Joe introduces his first aluminum Breezer mountain bike, made in the US by American Bicycle Manufacturing in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Joe is inducted as a charter member of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame.
In a time when the internet was growing to connect more people with information, Joe was making big steps to connect more people with his designs. Limited with the quantities of hand-built bikes that he could produce alone, Joe introduced three new models designed for mass production with different price points to meet riders’ budgets. These bikes, the Breezer Lightning, Thunder and Storm, were produced by Interjet of Japan to Joe’s specifications and allowed more people to experience the Breezer ride. With his bikes being produced in factories, Joe got to focus on further developments in frame technology. One important development for Breezer and other custom frame builders around the world was Joe’s Breeze-In dropout. This dropout’s very compact 3D design was half the weight while twice as stiff as commonly used, traditional flat dropouts. The efficient and elegant Breeze-In dropout changed the way frame builders designed their bikes and is still found on many custom frames today regardless of material. Other notable components and frame elements that Joe designed included the Vortex crankset using a hollow-chromoly arm design; the Backdraft rim, a super-light 390g design with drilled box septum; and D'fusion frame tubing. Joe remained an avid road rider, and for the 1993 model year he created the Venturi road bike, the first production frame with compact geometry. Joe also developed his first full-suspension mountain bike, the Twister, which used the Sweet Spot™ Unified Rear Triangle design. Toward the end of the decade, with the bike industry focused on recreational riding, Joe switched gears to focus fully on bike transportation advocacy. A founder of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition and creator of its map, he helped design local cycling infrastructure, and met with local, state and federal leaders to encourage better funding for bike-ped projects and Safe Routes to Schools.
Joe launches a full line of mountain bikes, the Lightning, Thunder and Storm. The bikes are built in Japan to Joe’s specifications by InterJet in Osaka.
Joe introduces the Breeze-In dropout; offering half the weight and twice the stiffness of standard dropouts. The design is still used by custom-frame builders to this day. The dropout is featured on another creation of Joe’s; the Venturi road bike. The bike offers a compact geometry; a new innovation for road bikes.
Joe introduces his first commuter-focused bike; the Ignaz X. The “Iggy” uses a Nexus 7 internally-geared hub. Its styling and name are tributes to Ignaz Schwinn, the founder of Schwinn Bicycles.
Joe introduces his first full-suspension mountain bike - the Twister - using the Sweet Spot™ unified rear triangle design. He also introduces Breezer hydroformed D’Fusion tubing for both steel and aluminum frames.
Joe begins to intense period of focus on bicycle transportation advocacy in Marin County, California.
After years working to improve infrastructure for cycling and encouraging people to choose bicycles for transportation, Joe knew the missing element in the US was a bike built for everyday trips. He devoted the Breezer brand to “Transportation for a Healthy Planet” and designed a new range of bikes fully equipped for shopping in town, commuting, and combining with public transit. During this time Joe also helped with some start-up bikeshare projects with the goal of creating a bike-friendly environment in the US, as he had seen in other areas such as Amsterdam, where over 60% of inner-city trips are made by bicycle instead of car. With his new range of bikes Joe was recognized in the general media, as well as the bike industry, for his leadership and innovations. He received his first of six Editors’ Choice awards from Bicycling Magazine. Breezer went on to receive two more awards for transportation bikes before the close of the decade. In 2008 Joe teamed up with Advanced Sports to improve the distribution of his transportation line and introduce a new line of mountain bikes. On the new Breezer Lightning and Thunder, Joe’s D’Fusion tubing was hydroformed to manipulate the tube shapes to diffuse frame stress in critical areas. Most leading bike frames today mimic this D-shaping on top and down tubes.
Joe Breeze re-focuses Breezer with “Transportation for a Healthy Planet”, a campaign dedicated to getting people out of cars and onto bikes. Breezer develops a full line of transportation bikes.
Breezer is awarded Editor’s Choice for “Best Commuter Bike” from Bicycling Magazine for the Breezer Villager.
With the establishment of Breezer’s range of transportation bikes Joe has continued to tinker with his designs. Building upon the success of the Breeze-In dropout, Joe developed the Breeze-In Split dropout, which allowed the ability to install a belt system for drivetrains, and later the Breeze-Through dropout; a through-axle dropout design that shared the same outer-profile as the original quick-release design but with the ability to house thread-in axles and offer replaceable derailleur hangers. For bikes, Joe joined forces with leading suspension-kinematics experts to design Breezer’s first multi-link suspension bikes, the Repack and Supercell, which used the MLink suspension design. Breezer also developed its line of adventure bikes, which pay homage to some of Joe’s and other pioneers’ early designs of creating versatile bikes that allow riders to tackle multiple types of terrain while touring, bikepacking or racing your buddies over the nearest mountain.
Breezer re-introduces the aluminum Thunder and steel-framed Lightning models using hydroformed D’Fusion tubing; one of only a few bikes in the world using hydroformed steel.
Breezer is awarded its fourth Editors’ Choice award for “Best Commuter Bike” from Bicycling Magazine. Joe also introduces Breeze’s first carbon fiber model; the Cloud 9 29er.
Joe introduces the Breeze-In Split dropout and his first belt-drive transportation model; the Beltway. Breezer is awarded its fifth Editors’ Choice award.
Joe Breeze re-enters the full-suspension market with the new Repack and Supercell models, featuring MLink suspension technology developed by leading kinematics experts.
Breezer launches its adventure bike range with the 700c Inversion & RADAR, 650b Doppler and re-designed Lightning 27+/29er hardtail. The models pay homage to early bike designs from Joe and other cycling pioneers from the 1970s when bikes were built with versatility in mind to allow riders to tackle wide varieties of terrain while touring or racing.