simple clean and neat of course
The Official
Swiss Army

The Offcial Swiss Army Bicycle is shown here in the latest model, redesigned in 1995.

excellent around town bike

the consumate utility bicycle

These photos were uploaded on Bastille Day, 14 July, 2003
The Swiss Army Bike we supply is the newest model and the third major revision in a long tradition.

The Swiss observe a famous neutrality enforced by an efficient broadly based citizen army, one of the world's last countries to observe the Roman militia system. In Republican Rome, all adult men served from eighteen to 35 years of age. The Swiss adhere to a more modern but equally equitable system wherein all adult men must serve but with a more limited period of active duty followed by a long-term reserve commitment. Since virtually every Swiss is trained, skilled and armed, Swiss neutrality is surely and effectively guaranteed.

Beginning in the early years of the twentieth century, the Swiss adopted bicycles for patrols and reserve duty. In that era, all the great powers used bicycles for portions of the infantry. (A more thorough discussion will be found in the excellent book "Bicycles In War" by Caidlin and Barbree). Those of you who read Caesar will remember that a column can only move twenty miles in a day. That human limit has not changed. But, beginning in the late 1800s, the innovation of bicycle mounted infantry extended that range by a factor of up to five. The British, who were the world's preeminent military power of the time, notably used bicycle brigades effectively in the South African Boer campaigns.

The Swiss, then, also brought a military roadster, quite similar to the famous Raleigh DL-1, to their troops just after the beginning of the twentieth century. Mechanized warfare after World War I saw diminishing use of military bicycles except by the Swiss, who expanded their bicycle patrols and introduced a better, lighter more modern model in 1946. That model began to look long of tooth by the end of the century and in 1995, to great international interest, the Swiss Army let a new contract for an improved model.

For the first time there were multiple speeds, seven, and major foreign components, notably a Shimano seven speed drive train (with a derailleur!), British Reynolds frame tube, a Nederlands leather sprung saddle, assorted Italian items (handlebar and stem) and even a French Mavic Ceramic coated rim.

Because every item was procured under a military contract (with all that entails) and because the assembly was done by Swiss in Switzerland arranged through Condor SA (a top quality Swiss bicycle manufacturer better known for professional racing bicycles) and finally because exports must fly on SwissAir, the flag carrier, these wonderful bicycles not cheap.

Two models are offered, a standard and a deluxe, at $4000 and $5000 respectively. The Deluxe or Officer's model differs in having a front tubular British steel handmade luggage rack and double rear similarly fashioned baskets. The front rack and the side baskets mount with Swiss stainless steel 8mm allen bolts and Swiss stainless steel aircraft locking nuts. (most bicycles use a 5mm plain bolt there). The front rack and baskets are compatible with standardized military gear mounts. Steel fuel and water cans, a radio, ammunition cases, a mortar with base and a stationary heavy machine gun with tripod can all mount directly as they would on any other military vehicle. Both models include a rubberized canvas duck dispatch case in the center of the frame with a right-side waterproof access panel and left side documents case. Both models include a tool kit with Swiss Eldi tools in a fitted hard nylon case behind the seat tube. The tool case has a three-latched door on the left side panel and includes a full size Swiss floor pump. Running gear includes a beautifully finished Edco Swiss cold-forged crank with chain guard and heavy clear anodized finish. Magura Swiss-made hydraulic brakes have special brake blocks for the ceramic-coated rims. Hubs are Swiss cold forged Hugi front and rear with stainless axles and sealed cartridge bearings. The tool case includes a wrench for those. Spokes are DT Swiss stainless of course. Full Swiss nylon mudguards are standard as well and an Esge-Pletscher Swiss aluminum double stand is standard. A geared belt-driven dynamo runs from the front hub with a quick-engage peg and drives a Swiss Halogen headlamp surrounded by a tubular steel hand brazed bash guard. An integral tail lamp is fitted to the rear mudguard.

The frame and fork are Swiss hand brazed at Condor from specially drawn seamless British Reynolds high-alloy steel. The frame lugs and fittings are cast Swiss SCM by DuBois and the finish is a durable military olive matte.

Since the introduction of this ultimate patrol vehicle in 1995, the Swiss (who are immersed in radical social changes of late, what with allowing women to vote and for some inexplicable reason recognizing the silly United Nations, which is comprised of many lesser states that the Swiss certainly could have really done well without) have since disbanded their bicycle patrols so there will be no more of these fine machines.

Update Autumn 2004
The last has been sold.

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