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Axel & Mélanie's 26 inches story

Amazing Treks from the 90's / Antelope 800 and Singletrack 930 SHX

I met Axel a few years ago in Brussels. At the time, we'd been hired as seasonal bicycle mechanics by a local non-profit repair shop/organization. Back then, I was an apprentice and I remember being quite impressed by Axel's bicycle builds and his exquisite attention to detail.

I was very happy when he invited me to take photos of one of his most precious bikes: The 1993 Trek 930. But he had more in mind, he'd assembled a beautiful 1991 Trek 800 for his girlfriend Mélanie and offered me to do a photoshoot of both bikes together. Glorious! But that's not all, Mélanie is an architect and came up with a great idea for the setting: The CBD building from the architect Constantin Brodzki, a late 60's piece of architecture that falls in the category of "new brutalism". Stunning prefabricated concrete modules with an "organic" touch and an intense colored glass are the background of this photo session.

Mélanie's 1991 Trek Antelope 800 / size 14,5"

The bike is built around a solid chromoly steel frame, equipped with an original 90's drivetrain Shimano STX. The front rack is a Pelago which is supporting a handsome and very useful Wald 139 basket. The bike is fit with a Shimano dynamo hub and a front lamp that's been installed asymmetrically on the Pelago rack. As any classic rigid MTB from the 90's, the wheels are strong and proud 26 inches, accommodating comfortable Schwalbe Big Apple 2.00 inches wide.

Axel's 1993 Trek Singletrack 930 SHX / 18"

Solid steel frame, true temper double butted made in USA, the last generation of lugged frames of the Trek house. The bike was originally equipped with a 40 mm suspension fork which has been replaced by a rigid fork. This new fork's been modified (at a local frame builder and repair shop called L'écurie) to host a Surly 24 pack rack and a WALD 139 basket. The drivetrain is an original Shimano LX from the 90's with the super thumb shifter XT. The tires are Schwalbe Big Apple 26x2.15 inches.

The two bikes were bought some years ago for a few tens of euros. Over time, these solid steel frames have proven to be of good manufacturing, built to last.

The 26 inches wheels, originally meant to stand off-road tracks, seem to behave nicely in the streets of Brussels. They have the reactivity needed for dynamic riding, sharp corners, up and down the kerb, dodge pedestrians and fly comfortably over cobble stones.

Axel has made sure to equip them properly for utilitarian purposes, not compromising on style and achieving a pleasant balance between the familiar look of the 90' and some contemporary touches.

A bicycle can mean a lot

Over the years, there's been a lot of care and love put into these two charming bicycles. The bikes have been part of their love story, in Axel's words:

" Pour l'anecdote, j'ai acheté ce vélo à mon arrivée à Bruxelles en 2014. J'ai rencontré Mélanie en 2017 qui est presque autant tombée amoureuse de moi que de mon vélo. Il était donc logique que je lui monte un vélo à la hauteur de notre amour."

" For the little story, I bought this bike when I arrived in Brussels in 2014. I met Mélanie in 2017 who fell in love with me almost as much as with my bike. So it made sense to build her a bike that would match our love."

Thanks to Axel and Mélanie for showing us their beautiful bicycles as well as a glance of Brussels architectural heritage.

Are you into 26 inches bikes ? Have a look at this stunning Thorn Nomad !


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