American Bicycle Manufacturing was located in St. Cloud Minnesota and was owned by Fred Schilplin. Early on, ABM was known for well fabricated aluminum frames and their patented adjustable head tube on the Montaneus model. The head cups were eccentric and held in place by pinch bolts. By loosening the bolts and realigning the headset cups you could change the head angle from 67.75 through 74.25 degrees.
ABM later hooked up with Joe Breeze to produce the American Breezer models. The bikes are pretty easy to spot by looking at the show or beauty welds. They are large "toothpaste" welds that were left unfinished.
In later years, ABM produced the Beryllium Comp Lite which was supposed to sell for a whopping $26,000.
Large list of American serial numbers are available for ABM%20Serial.xlsx (Courtesy of Joe Breeze)
Montaneus with adjustable head angle shown at the 1984 Long Beach bike show. Ten 20" wheel "mountain bikes" were made from converted BMX frames for the plater the company used.
February, April and June 1985 Montaneus Ads:
Montaneus with adjustable head angle. The frame was wide enough to fit a 2.125" tire, had 17.5" stays, bonded bottom bracket and weighed about 4 lb 7oz. Below is the 1985 brochure for the Montaneus which explains the adjustable head tube feature. Notice the misspelled words in the catalog including "Sigino" and "Ritchie".
Magazine review from the November 1985 Bicycle Guide magazine (below):
Montaneus Comp Lite with adjustable head angle, 16.5" stays and 2.0" tire clearance.
First year for the ABM American Breezer:
September 1986 ad featuring the Montaneus with and without the adjustable head angle plus a review of the adjustable head angle bike:
The Montaneus moves to a fixed head angle and retailed for about $950 (although the April 1987 ad below still lists an adjustable head tube angle). The Comp Lite continued on with fixed head and was about $1,500.
The Breezer used a little thicker tubing than the Comp Lite, used a 70/73 degree setup, 17.5" stays and sold for $1,595.
Also available was the Midnite Comp Lite with a black anodized frame and black components. Below to the left is a copy of the Breezer catalog page while the right scan is from the April 1987 Cyclist magazine:
November 1987 American Breezer bike review:
November 1987 Bicycle magazine article with several different mountain bikes including an American:
The Montaneus used Deore Components and sold for $1,150. The Breezer featured Deore XT and sold for $1,600.
There was a separate Browning Breezer frame to accept the Browning shifting system. The Browning system used an electronic shifter which controlled the hinged chain rings as seen on our Suntour History Page. There was not enough clearance on the chain stays of the normal frame to clear the rings so the chain stays became a single U shaped tube joined to the bottom bracket with an oval piece of tubing.
The Comp Lite was the quicker handling bike and was available in the Midnite version which featured a black hard anodized frame, black chrome fork and black components. Anodizing was available in natural, green, red, blue, purple and black.
Stems were available in 3 sizes, 6061 T6, show welds, hand polished. A new seat post was available using a clamping device that is similar to the later Syncros and Control Tech posts (under 300 made).
Tandems were also made with the assistance of Rodriguez. Later on Specialized purchased tandems as well.
May 1988 ad:
All ABM bikes started to use a replaceable derailleur hanger. The hanger can be easily replaced by bolting on a new hanger in case of accident. This is a very common feature on today's aluminum bikes.
The American frame sold for about $605 and used 17" stays with angles of 71/72. The American frame was intended to sell for a lower price than the other models, and was offered for this price only with a "brushed" finish. There was no other finishing done to the frame and if it got dirty enough that it would not hose off well, users were instructed to brush it with a Scotch Brite pad.
The Comp Lite frame sold for $720, used angles of 71/73 and 16.5" stays. The M-16 sold for $720 as well and used the Comp Lite angles but shortened the stays to 16". Anodizing was available in natural, green, red, blue, purple and black. Stems were available in 3 sizes, 6061 T6, show welds, hand polished.
Models included American @ $1395, Comp Lite @ $1750, M-16 @ $1795 and the Breezer @ $1995. ABM makes the aluminum Rodriguez tandems.
1990 Advertisement for American-made Rodriguez tandems:
Joe Breeze begins production of his own line of bikes but the ABM Breezer is still listed for 1991 @ $2000. The Comp Lite and M-16 continue on at $1800 each. The American soldiers on as the entry level bike at $1300. There are two new models listed for 1991: the CX Comp Cross cyclo-cross bike for $1300 and a road frame for $890.
The rear tire clearance on the mountain bikes is improved to accept the larger 2.5" tires.
Colors include polish, brushed, passion purple, phantom black, raspberry red, O.D. green, navy blue and natural heather (all anodized).
Stems available with roller, macaroni or side cable entry. There is also a listing for a seat post and a stem/bar combination.
July 1992 Specialized tandem (made by American):
December 1992 Bicycling magazine review of the Beryllium frame.
Models are listed as the new M-15 (15" stays?) frame for $720, M-16 or Comp Lite frame @ $925 and the new Comp Lite Beryllium for the astonishing sum of $26,000. The Beryllium bike was made with Beryllium tubing (top, seat, down, seat stays, chain stays) bonded into aluminum lugs. The bike was developed with Electrofusion Corp. in Fremont California. Much of the labor was donated by the company since there was some spare time due to the decline in Cold War business for the company.
Beryllium's atomic number is 4 just after Hydrogen, Helium and Lithium but the specific modulus (stiffness to density ratio) is seven times better than steel, titanium or aluminum, which are all essentially equal. The first frame was overbuilt and weighed 2.5 pounds. Of that, the Beryllium tubing was one pound (including one ounce chain stays), 1.25 pounds of aluminum lugs and 4 ounces of adhesive.
October 1993 Mountain Bike Action magazine Comp Lite review:
January 1993 American Beryllium:
April, Fred Schilplin, founder of American, passes on.