The 1970s and '80s were an amazing time. Like almost everyone and everything back then, track bikes were experimenting with what they could and couldn't get away with.
A shining example of this endless curiosity is the 'lo-pro' bike, such as this amazing Masil Pursuit found on eBay.
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What the heck is a lo-pro bike?
Lo-pro bikes — sometimes known as ‘funny bikes’ in the US, after the term used to describe drag racing cars with different sized wheels — enjoyed a brief period of popularity in the late seventies and early eighties, particularly among the UK’s booming time trial scene of the time.
The arguments for a lo-pro bike make sense; by running a smaller wheel at the front (usually a 650c wheel), riders could do away with drops, instead running aero-friendly bullhorn bars at a staggeringly low height. The smaller front wheel also allowed riders to tuck in closer behind their teammates during a team time trial.
‘Funny-bikes’ saw some success in the mainstream, most notably with the US team taking the Bronze medal for the team time trial at the 1984 LA Olympics aboard a fleet of lo-pro Raleighs — with the team also kitted out with finest aero regalia of the day.
However, for the majority of racers, the bikes presented little real advantage, with handling highly compromised. And while it’s highly subjective, there’s no getting around the fact that they look a little bizarre.
Aesthetic concerns needn’t have mattered as the era of the lo-pro bike came to a crashing halt in the late nineties when the UCI formally banned bikes with different sized wheels, as well as far more stringent rules regarding geometry and rider positioning.
In recent years, the lo-pro has been embraced by trendy fixie-istas the world over, because riding with one gear and no brakes clearly wasn’t hard enough already.
This pristine eBay specimen is the kind of bike that, if you find it interesting, might just raise alarm about how deep down the cycling rabbit hole you’ve fallen. We're absolutely not judging, we're just saying.
Are you super flexible, have way too much disposal income, and want to make riding a little cringeworthy? Don't stress too much as this £4,500 / $6,400 / AU$7,949 example of lo-pro goodness has a load of time left.