Thursday, October 21, 2004

Swiss Condor Tires

Detailed information about the pre-1995 Swiss Army bicycles is scarce on the web, at least in english. I wanted to know what size tires the bicycle used, to see if it was possible to purchase them in the United States. Stefan Schäfter is a former Swiss militiaman, and he has written one of the only articles about these bicycles that appears online in english. He writes:

The original Militarvelo tyres were produced by a company called Maloya using a bead system dating back to the end of the 19th century. They stopped production years ago. You can buy a Chinese Maloya clone, but the rubber feels like cheap plastic.

Andrew Muzi of Yellow Jersey, Ltd., a bicycle shop in Madison, Wisconsin, was kind enough to write to me to explain the Swiss Condor tire situation in detail:
That bike, like most of its era, uses true 'clinchers' ( the tire has no wire edge, it wraps fully around the tube and locks under the rim edge). It's a 26x1.5 clincher.Modern MTB series tires have wire edges and are 'demountable wire ons', not clinchers. The diameter is different. Please also note the commonly available Chinese 1.5 clincher tires are several mm smaller than the Swiss ones, and cannot interchange. The 1946 issue machine also uses 3/16" roller chain. Other equipment is generally standard to modern bikes.

Not very encouraging, but useful information. Yellow Jersey carries a variety of excellent European-style utility bicycles, from Kettlers to Birias. They even carry the archaic Eastman roadster bicycles, Indian-made clones of the venerable Raleigh DL-1.


Blogger James said...

Do you have a MO 05? The company in arkansas that sells swiss army vehicles has spare tyres listed on their website. A while back I was obsessed with that bike and found a few sources for parts, unfortunately I would have had to have called the shops and I can't understand swiss german.

May 27, 2005 10:05 PM  
Blogger Justin said...

Sadly, no, I do not have an MO 05, I merely covet one. I decided that if I were to use one for everyday bicycling, I'd have to replace the wheels with some modern size that would fit (perhaps 26"). The tires are available from Swiss Army Vehicles, but they cost $73.33 a piece (!), and don't appear to have any of the advantages of modern touring tires costing a third as much, such as Kevlar-belted Paselas. I thought also of building up 26" wheels around the bicycle's original hubs (the rear hub, as I understand, contains a drum brake), but this started to seem like a lot of work...

August 14, 2005 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI, sorry it's taken so long for me to find your posts and comment, but the chinese (actually thai) reproduction tires do fit. they are produced by a company called: Deestone. I have replaced them myself (takes alot of effort, but does work.) feel free to find more current info at our facebook group:
thanks and have fun!

November 26, 2010 7:54 PM  

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