Swiss Road Bike, the Marque Juvela
“Juvela was a brand from Lausanne 1951-72 where I live and I don’t know why, very rare here! There is not a lot of information about, but as soon I got them, I’ll write you more about. Anyway a beautiful frame and even in the French part of Switzerland everything is Campagnolo!”
This is the information Felix sent me with these photos of his beautiful Swiss road bike, a Juvela, a brand I’d never heard of before. As you can see from the photographs, it is a beautifully painted bike with lovely details. To top it off, it is built with Campagnolo components which compliment perfectly the aesthetic of the bike.
Scraps of Information
When I first saw these photos, my first impression was that the bike reminded me of vintage Mondia bikes. The ornate decorations around the lugs, the flamboyant paintwork and hand-painted details were similar to the two Mondias that I had once owned in Seattle. I blogged about my other Mondia here, but that was a very different bike; plain and understated, though of excellent quality. I have done some research on the Juvela brand but there’s not much information out there, but I do know they were owned by Mondia, hence the aesthetic similarities as mentioned. Monida was a Swiss marque that did export their bikes to the United States during the bike boom, and they are very collectable bikes, often noted for their lovely paintwork.
It’s not surprising to me that this lovely frame was built with Campagnolo components; every Mondia I’ve come across has had Reynolds 531 tubing and good quality Shimano or Campagnolo parts. The Nuovo Record build is perfect for this frame, and the components themselves seem in excellent shape. The hubs are large flanged which were the best of the era, and they look in sparkling condition. However, the bike doesn’t boast a full Campagnolo groupset, as the brakes are Weinmann Vainqueur centrepulls complete with their matching levers. Of course, as this was a Swiss bike, the bottom bracket would be Swiss threaded and the headset French threaded, and I wonder if they were made by Stronglight. A closer looks reveals that the headset is indeed a French threaded Campagnolo NR. Very cool.
Swiss Paint Jobs
I know Mondias are not to everyone’s taste; some people prefer the clean lines of a monochrome frame with simple lugs, the understated elegance of simplicity, like this mid 1970’s Bianchi. Mondias are well known for their interesting paint jobs and ornamentation like their linear motifs on the main tubes. Many Mondias, just like this Juvela, were given half chome forks and stays, as well as very ornate headtubes. The chrome lugs and fork crowns are pretty special on this bike, it gives the impression that the frame was carefully built and detailed by a highly skilled hand. Personally, I love the details on this frameset, the colours are fantastic and the linear designs are perfect additions to the finish.
Juvela had a professional racing team in the 1950’s and in 1955 they were ranked 47th in the world, they wore a yellow jersey with a blue band and trim. You can see their team here. Interestingly, Juvela bikes were exported to the United States via specialist bike shops, and I’m quite sure one was based in California, so they were being ridden on American roads back in 1970’s. Still, I imagine they were only sold in small numbers. Finding one in the US these days is probably very difficult, but perhaps there are a few bikes still being ridden or stored in a garage somewhere. I’ve never come across one in France, though it must be said that I’ve never actively looked for a Juvela purely because I’d never heard of the brand. Mondia were a much more prominent name which exported bikes in much larger numbers, but that is not to say Juvela was a fleeting addendum to the company; Juvela bikes were made from the 1950’s to the 1970’s, and I wonder if they even had their own workshop.
What’s it Like to Ride?
I can’t answer this question as the bike isn’t mine, but I imagine with that full Reynolds 531 frameset and those Campagnolo Record components it would be a lightweight bike, perhaps around 20lbs. I would also imagine the rims would take tubular tyres, if they are era-correct, and this would make a difference to the weight of the bike. You have to love the 3t Record stem, it’s probably my favourite stem of this era, and it looks in superb condition. One can imagine that it’s a lovely bike to ride with such high quality parts in such great condition, with its 10 speed transmission and classic 52/42 crank with what looks like a moderately ratioed Maillard freewheel ( 13 – 28? ). Only Felix can let us know how it rides. I’d also like to get a picture of the complete bike, as he hasn’t sent me one, so we are yet to know what saddle he has on there!