Bike Building

Bicycle Factory Visit: Helkama Velox Part 2

5 Comments 19 October 2010

The factory tour which we started describing yesterday continued to the “archive room” of Helkama where there were hundreds of bikes from several decades. The oldest bikes looked like they were from the 1920s or something, and there were quite interesting rarities in there as well. Join us on our interactive walk-through!

The first thing that caught my eye was a familiar looking frame design, but this one wasn’t from Trek – and it actually even wasn’t an Y-foil as it has a seat tube.

Helkama was famous of their Mopeds, renamed in Finland to mopo by Helkama, meaning a motorized bicycle. This Raisu was in prime condition.

This Strida from the 1980s was a very flimsy and I’m not even sure if they were ever sold.

Speaking of beautiful bikes, these Swedish Itera plastic bikes from the end of 1970s were just as horrible as they look in the photo. Just dreadful.

Then again, the later decades weren’t very nice on bike looks either. This 90s Helkama mountain bike won the Finnish Championships. Of course it did, it even says “Pro Power” on the down tube. Sad thing, bikes still say things like that.

There were classics as well: This 1970 Helkama Jopo Rodeo was a rare Jopo e-ve-ry-bo-dy wanted. It was a sweet lava red colored, long leather saddle cruiser with – I think, 22″ wheels and I never had one. I was jealous to kids who did.

This bike was so ugly the camera had a hard time focusing on it. It looks like the number 2000 relates to all ugly Helkama projects.

Whatever this thing is, we don’t know, but it might be the first oval-shaped pedaling arc machine thingy. Very weird though.

These bikes were from the very old history of Helkama, and they were seriously old. We could have spent hours in that room.

So you’ve got a full carbon frame? This one from Peugeot is from the 1970s. Yeah, let that sink in for a while.

We also found an old bike shop sign that has the old Helkama logo and the word “Bicycle master” in it in Finnish.

Why would someone weld two Jopos together? We asked the same thing. Turns out this is a side-by-side tandem!

Yes, it says Helkama, Shimano and Gold in the tubes. And yes, it’s a Helkama bike with Shimano parts and it’s covered in real gold. Yes, it was heavy.

That gray and purple Big Power you see there? Prime example of the big tubing phenomenon of the 90s, this one weighed like sin.

Naturally they had most of Helkama’s models ever produced, including several versions of the classic Jopo, including the first post bike dubbed logically as the “post jopo”.

That room was so full of awesome in both great and terrible, and it would take weeks to go through every bike and document them properly. Sadly we only had an hour or so, so this is all you get. Sorry!

I think we’ll have to go back there some day!

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Markus is a bike commuter gadget freak who is learning the ropes of the bike world, you can find him all around the web - but you can start with his twitter at @banton.

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  • Sami

    Interesting! But as you can see, Helkama has always (or at least the past couple of decades) been the dorky choise. ‘Helkama’ sounds dorky. Tunturi has always been cooler. About Nopsa we don’t even discuss. So it’s a shame that only Helkama makes bikes in Finland nowadays.

    I think Helkama should introduce a totally new bike brand so that we could ride a Finnish bike with pride!

    Or is this just my inner snob talking…

  • SamCamp

    Maybe they should do a english upgrade to the name and conquer the extreme market’s with HellStuff brand. … or not…

  • Yeah, I can’t disagree with that. At least they’ve always been consistent, if boring. I don’t think they’ll do “trendy” bikes during this generation. I think they’ll focus more on their safe products like the Jopo, but if that gets people biking, all the better.

  • Sami

    HellStuff, HellDope, Special edition, black matte paintjob…

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Coming Thru (or Coming Through - as that URL was taken) is a daily updated bike magazine - a collection of writings and links that relate to biking in its every form. The idea started from when Maarten met Markus decided to finally start collecting the things we like about bikes and talk about our everyday adventures in dodging moving objects at high speeds.The site is run by a collage of cyclists, most notably by Canadian Johanna MacDonald, Belgian Maarten Patteeuw and Finnish Markus Sandelin.

It all started in the spring of 2010, after a record breaking snowy winter when Markus bought a house 25 kilometers from the office and decided to handle the commuting with a bicycle. It turned out the bike wasn’t up to standards for that kind of stress and the first weeks were more tragicomic than glorious. Thus the idea began to brew to actually document this journey.

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