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Everything GJS...

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GJS is kind of an interesting "cult" brand. They were never hugely popular back in the day. Not like GT, or Hutch or SE even. I remember thinking they were cool... I liked them, but not very many of us had them. They weren't selling in big volume relative to a lot of other brands. There aren't a lot of them around now either in the collecting scene. But when they do show up, they are typically met with praise and adulation.

 

They ALWAYS do well in BOTY. As a group... we love them on this site. This year, the over all winner was a 78/79 GJS. Freestyle winners the past two years have been GJS. Interesting because they weren't an especially well known or popular Freestyle bike. Maybe as adults we just appreciate the trickness and quality factor more. As kids... we were more swayed by the brands with bigger marketing budgets where freestyle was concerned. They are sweet though. No getting around that.

 

There's various generations of the gusset "a-frames".

 

Then there's the "big tube". Some say that was meant as a freestyler too. Can anyone confirm or deny it?

 

The dedicated GJS Freestyler is on the roster.

 

Then there was the "big gusset". Those seem really scarce.

 

And the rarest of all... there is at least one genuine GJS 24" around.

 

Please post all things GJS.

 

 

 

As mentioned, GJS is always popular with the members here and that is illustrated by how well the GJS bikes do in the BOTY. I'm going to start this thread with some BOTY winners and notables:

 

2006 80's class winner - Carbizguy's GJS (Nudged out Tim Cook's GJS and maybe Lionel's should have been in the 70's?)

GJS_005.jpeg

 

 

In 2007 Aaron (abombone) won the 80's class with this beauty:

abombgjs2d.jpeg

 

 

2010 Freestyle Winner (and closest a freestyler ever came to winning the overall) TrulyOdd 1985 GJS Freestyler

sideview1.jpeg

 

 

2011 Freestyle Winner Chromey's 1984 GJS Freestyler

gjs_fs_02.jpeg

 

 

 

 

Other notable BOTY GJS's:

 

Mark M's childhood bike was a close runner up in the 2009 survivor race, I bet it might have won if it were entered now, just because I think tastes have evolved in the community. But who knows:

GJS.jpeg

 

 

 

This one was also entered in the survivor class in 2009... apparently even the bike stand is his from BITD. :) Nicely done and an interesting composition, Hitman's 1980 GJS:

DSC02091.jpeg

 

 

 

And finally... here's TIM's GJS, an 80's runner up to Carbizguy's tangerine GJS in the 2006 80's 20 inch class. This one is pretty spectacular.

gjs-1.jpeg

 

 

 

Larock entered this beauty in the 2010 80's class. I love this... Bottema forks? Perfect. I loved this bike:

Larock.GJS.BOTY.2010.jpeg

 

 

This one was also in the 2010, 80's class. Presented byMattdub from England:

Mattdub.2010.BOTY.jpeg

 

Also... while not a true GJS, we can include it as an illustration of the love the brand receives... Thornton won the retro class in the 2011 BOTY with this 26" Supercross GJS-like cruiser, made by Supercross in 2005 as one of their series of retro bikes.

2.jpeg

 

 

 

If I overlooked any other BOTY, GJS's let me know. Didn't Gamstetter have one in BOTY?

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I entered the brown 82 in the 2009 BOTY.

Let me dig up a pic.

:)

gjs_before_after.jpg

gjs_boty09_9.jpg

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Cool Topic Steve

 

I do not remember them as a kid back in the day. The demographics where I lived mostly had Redline, Race inc, Cook bros. and of course Mongoose.

 

What intrigues me to the GJS is the frame design. To me, any bike that Stands out from the ordinary frame design catches my eye. To me GJS is like a work of art because of the unique frame design and is more enjoyable to look at :)

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I entered the brown 82 in the 2009 BOTY.

Let me dig up a pic.

:)

 

Oh yeah... and I just found at least two others. Just edited Larock's into the above.

 

I'm bound to have missed some. I can't find the planetX one... maybe was not entered in BOTY?

 

 

 

But also... let's make this a general "for the love of GJS" so post everything guys... bikes, soft goods, scans, whatever.

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This was the first interview I did for the site. I haven't seen or talked to Jeff in ages. We gotta track that guy down.

 

Jeff Utterback. We had talked of doing a sequel to this... but it's hard to find the time, and mesh schedules. It would be fun to do. Jeff is one of the coolest of the early legends.

 

 

I just noticed the jpg pages are huge in dimension and there for hard to read, here's the pdf:

JU Interview LR.pdf

JU_InterviewFINAL_Page_1.jpg

JU_InterviewFINAL_Page_2.jpg

JU_InterviewFINAL_Page_3.jpg

JU_InterviewFINAL_Page_4.jpg

JU_InterviewFINAL_Page_5.jpg

JU_InterviewFINAL_Page_6.jpg

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I raced a GJS in 1979/1980. I absolutely loved the geometry as it was fantastic on the track as well as the trails. It was my transportation, jumping bike, and competition machine.

There were trails behind St Peters church in Bellevue, Wa. The best feature was a hill, roughly 20 ft above the trail. We built a jump on top of that hill, where we practiced table tops, cross-ups and simply who could fly the greatest distance before landing on the trail.

GJS frames are known to crack behind the seat mast, and all those jumps proved it. Not only did I crack the frame, I bent a set of Super Maxy cranks. My high school shop teacher welded the frame and painted it black for me. When cars and girls came around, the bike was sold to a kid in Seattle for $50. Here is a photo prior to the damage:

 

gjs80.jpg

 

I have often thought about recreating the bike, but there are some parts simply impossible to find (like the yellow label Comp IIs with red sidewalls, or that early Robinson frame pad). Additionally, this bike had bullseye hubs, cook bros seat post, araya 7c rims, cook bros stem, redline bars, haro plate, and so on.

 

And, here is my current GJS:

 

gjs01.jpg

 

It is a second-gen frame with the thin/thick gusset tubes. The forks are GJS too. Both frame and forks absolutely needed paint. his bike has cycle pro snake bellies mounted to Araya 7b rims + bullseye hubs. The cranks are Super Mighty with a first gen bullseye bottom bracket. Bars are Race Inc, and the stem is a Tuf Neck. I used an Avocet Race seat as these were also used on 1970s SE Quad kit bikes. I have ridden this bike around the neighborhood, which is both thrilling and goofy.

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here's an 84 freestyler i acquired this year but haven't built yet. unfortunately the forks are actually repops. however, they look pretty damn good/close if you ask me!

 

298545_10100509813975561_6006254_56891712_1141817647_n.jpg

 

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Excellent idea for a thread, Steve...I know there is a lot of good knowledge out there about how to ID the generations of frames. Hopefully, those guys will chime in with specifics.

 

The fact that Jeff Utterback is such a cool guy make these old bikes that much cooler in my eyes.

 

I would love to own one one day.

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IMG_8272.jpg

 

Here is a first gen frame with the enhanced brake bridge that I have laying around in my bike stuff pile.

 

As for Jeff U, He is around as I see him occasionally at the local supermarket.

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Where to start....well, most of this info is race bike related.

 

BITD, my group of friends was 6 guys. 3 of us had GJS's. Red, blue and chrome. I still have mine, and my buddy still has his chrome one. I pester him once or twice a year trying to acquire it. So far, no luck. But, he did send me a picture of his purchase receipt, so, I'm making progress! So, they were pretty popular in Colorado. Possibly because the best older rider, Steve Shepherd rolled one out and he was dang fast. And, they of course do look so cool.

EditedReceipt.jpg

 

Debut:

GJS debuted at the 1978 Mongoose Grand Nationals. October 30th, with Clint Miller making the debut. This is where there is a bit of confusion on 1978 being a valid GJS year. We don't know if any GJS's made the retail chain in 1978 or not. There was a mere 60 day window here for them to make it. Up through at least July of 1979, there were no serial numbers, so there's no help there. I've generally elected to sort of roll with the car release convention due to the late start, and call all the Gen1 GJS's 1979s, as they are all identical up through at least July.

GJS 1st Logo.JPG

 

Model ID:

Simply put, you ID a GJS by the head tube gussets.

The Gen1 GJS had 2 matching size gusset bars. 1979, maybe into early 1980.

GJS.Type1.Gussets.jpg

The Gen2 GJS, the upper gusset bar was reduced in size. Early 1980 through probably a large segment of 1981.

GJS.Type2.Gussets.jpg

The Gen3 GJS, the upper gusset bar was removed, and there was just a single lower gusset. Generally, the 1982 model.

GJS.Type3.Gussets.jpg

The Gen4 GJS is the plate/gusset model. The 1983 model.

GJS.Type4.Gussets.jpg

The Gen 5 GJS is the 1984 model, known as the A-84. Basically a throwback to the 1979 GJS with two of the larger size gussets.

 

 

Colors:

The ads for the Gen 1 models listed colors as Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue and Black. By the end of 1979, chrome was showing up, as were serial numbers. We also see yellow and orange were dropped, and replaced by chrome, up through 1982. In 1983, only chrome was available. I've only seen pics of yellow and orange Gen 1 bikes. And they were JU's race bikes. I don't know if Lionels is OG color or finish, so, I don't know if there are any survivors that aren't red, blue, black or chrome. Probably over 50% of the Gen2 and Gen3 frames I've documented are chrome.

 

Stickering:

Early Gen1 frames came with blue stickers. Later, chrome stickers showed up. My buddy's 12/79 GJS came with 2 sets of stickers, one of each color in the box, my 7/79 GJS came with blue attached.

Gen 2 frames had the same chrome stickers as the Gen1 chromes.

The Gen 3 and Gen4(Gusset models) came with chrome, but, an extra line of blue above and below the long orange line was added.

I don't know I've seen enough OG Gen 5 (A-84's) to know what was used.

Freestylers used different frame design stickers than the race bikes.

 

Oddities and other info:

The Gen 4 and Gen 5 models, due to seat post breakage got a mild redesign. The seat stays came up the side of the seat post, vs. directly on the back. Although I'm not sure of the true nature of breakage, I know a 7/8th's post is a very loose fit, and my bike still sports the 1979 Pepsi can shim used to keep the seat tight. So it appears the tubing was a bit thinner than other bikes. Was the breakage due to the thinner tubing, or, due to the need to overtighten so much that it put extra stress? Or a little of both?

EarlySeatStay.jpgType4+SeatStay.jpg

 

Late Gen1 models got the brake bridge reinforcement. This ran through 1983, and was gone again on the A-84.

 

Gen 2 models have a run where the head tube is flared a tad on the top and bottom. This just appears to have been a tubing issue where it got a stretch at the factory. It's not a custom model or anything, just a minor tubing accommodation.

 

I've seen pics of the chain stay/BB junction with different spacing of the 2 tubes, but, I don't attach any significant model/generational difference to it. Just the natural progression of design and manufacture.

 

Frame info:

Gen1-Gen3 Serials run up almost to 3100. The Gen 4 Serials used a "G". The Serials picked back up again on the A84 with SN 3100 documented, and run up a bit from there. The Freestyles and Big Tubes used "F" and "B". Based on documented SNs, it appears less than 500 of each were made. Maybe less than 200 Big Tubes.

 

So, total GJS manufacturing looks to have right around 4000 or less. (Compare this to SE, which in 1981 has records of about 11,000 PKs and Mini Rippers being produced).

 

Design influence:

From the reading I've done, the GJS was loosely based on the Mongoose. In early 1978, the SE team was racing on Mongooses, with the 18.5" TT and the guys liked the feel. The GJS is a 19" TT, so, a bit longer and I think the BB a tad higher. Also, Team Mongoose/DeCoster forks and GJS forks are both straight leg forks. Coincidence? The early prototype frame had very obvious Mongoose similarities on the rear triangle.

GJS_Prototype.jpg

 

The Freestyle and Big Tube frames are other examples of the out of the box design thinking GJS had. The freestyler had some with regular chain stays, some with square chain stays. The Big Tube seems to have been years ahead of the industry in using larger tubes. I'm not even sure non-department store race bikes can be found with 1" tubing anymore. GJS was using large tubing in 84/85. A decade or more ahead of the times.

 

Other GJS products:

In 1980, GJS introduced other things like forks and bars and seat post clamps.

1980 GJS Ad.jpg

 

The seat post clamp was a crazy design, but, never really could get enough torque to hold a seat super tight I've been told. They're funky, and show up from time to time.

 

Forks are a rare bird. Maybe 1 set a year turns up that isn't attached to a frame. The earlier model the base of the fork is semi-circular. The later model, it's just flat.

 

More rare than rare are GJS bars. I've seen 1 set on eBay in 4 years, and pictures of only 1 other set.

 

GJS closed up shop summer of 1985.

 

I'll try to add some pictures later. If I've made factual errors/omissions, please PM me, I'll EDIT my post and get it addressed.

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So Mark looks like he might need some help gathering information! tongue.gif

Thanks for sharing Mark!

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I've always loved GJS's, although they really weren't available in my neck of the woods back in the day. I didn't realize there were so many awesome one's around.

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wow, that's a boatload of GJS info there! you learn something new (or a lot of things) every day. thanks for sharing!

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I also entered a GJS in this years BOTY but this F&F has been through the BOTY when Aaron had it entered in 2007.

IMG_3070.JPG

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Sheez. I worry myself sometimes. Sorry... Jon. That's a good one too!

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I will post pics of the three I had, tomorrow. Well other two anyway. I owned Lionels after he did.

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GJS frames were always cool in my book. I always liked unusual, but functional designs.

This is one of them.

And it would be really cool if we could get some more interviews like the one with JU...

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i also have this jersey and pant of factory GJS rider Jeff Parscale.

His father was the owner of Ultramax, hence the name on his leathers.

IMG01784-20120105-1952.jpg

 

IMG01785-20120105-1953.jpg

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I love them as well.

A good friend of mine back home had a candy red 1st gen. It had Ambrosia rims and polished and chrome everything. It was a beautiful bike. I wish I knew where it was now.

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Love a GJS....the craftsmanship on the ones I have seen is top notch...The grinding of the welds on the caps for the stays, just awesome.

 

Big thanks to MarkMc for that run down...I was fortunate enough to ride down to LA with him; I am still trying to process all the info...having a hard copy helps! Dude can research like a mother...

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