Flohmarkt Finds

Vienna has a passion for flea markets, and lots of them pop up at different times of the year - often set up like neighborhood festivals, with food stalls and music. The big year-round flea market is next to the famous outdoor Naschmarkt in the city center. It is open every Saturday and it is enormous - with stalls stretching as far as the eye can see selling everything from antique silverware and gramophones, to locally made wool socks and Chinese designer knock-offs.

I walked through the Flohmarkt this Saturday on my way to lunch with a friend, and spotted two interesting Austrian bicycles. The first is a very old Steyr.

I am thinking this can't be later than 1920's, because of the "spoon brake" - that single rod brake with just a pad to stop the wheel from spinning. Any opinions?

On the headbadge is a woman with a shepherd's staff. She looks either sleepy or grumpy, which I thought was funny. I have seen Steyr bicycles in Vienna before, but none quite this old.

The second bike was this all-green Bergkönig ("Mountian King").

Could this be the original mountain bike? Hmm...

The handlebars are flat-ish and with a short reach, once again suggesting a mountain bike design. The grips are real rubber and are partly melted. Dynamo powered lighting; side-pull caliper brakes.

The sprung leather saddle is unmarked. Very neat that even the springs and the seat post are painted green. Not sure what that metal wrap is on the top tube - any ideas?

As I was leaving the market, the sun finally came out, so I snapped some shots from the U-Bahn platform.

Here is another. I have been to this flea market many times, but this was the first time I've noticed vintage bikes. Despite the rust, I think they are pretty good finds for someone local who has the room for them. I would love to find out more about their history, so if you have any information please share.


  1. I like the grumpy woman on the bike - that was definitely me this morning! If another fixie passes me within an inch of my elbow without saying ANYTHING, he shouldn't be surprised to find that elbow in his ribs - after all, I had no idea he was there!


    OK, I clearly need the grumpy lady headbadge/warning sign!

  2. the primitive rod brake on the steyr is called a "spoon brake". not sure of the origin or time period for that type of brake, but i know they were common in china.

  3. Charlotte - That is too funny. And parallels my experience with fixie riders.

    somervillain - "Spoon brake"! That's the term I was looking for but forgot, thanks. Will edit the post.

  4. dukiebiddle said...

    Lemme see, all matching frame/components/rim, weird tube protector thingy, Frida bars...

    Eek! Run for your life! It's the original fixie!

  5. The Bergkönig was particularly interesting - I'm sure that green is a cheap repaint - it even shows up on some spots of the headbadge, but it clearly is not just a tweaked road or cruiser bike. Perhaps the mountain bike is just an American copy of an Austrian bike, with some of the niceties stripped off!

  6. Neat finds! Like Charlotte I wouldn't mind having a grumpy lady headbadge. Beware, inconsiderate fellow cyclists, pedestrians and automobile operators alike! :)

  7. I love the headlight on the Steyr - it's more like a searchlight :-)!

  8. Very cool find. And coolest headbadge ever, in my view.

    Please don't get me started on riders brushing my elbows without saying a word. On my commute, it's lycra racers, not fixie riders though. I've been known to send a string of unprintables after them.

  9. What fun discovering vintage beauties at the flea market!

  10. Wow, you've got a great blog. Thanks for everything including your links to other great reading.

  11. Oh, that's the Matterhorn on the Bergkönig. Although I doubt that anybody could cycle up there, it's a lovely headbadge.

  12. This mountain king has a crazy long wheel base. Must be exceedingly stable downhill. And look at that frame clearance by the rear triangle. I bet this was a comfortable offroad ride in its time. Add baloon tyres and you don't need suspension for anything.

  13. MDI: In the early days of mountain biking, guys like Gary Fisher were bombing down fire trails on old baloon-tire Schwinns, which had extremely long wheelbases as well as fat tires. It wasn't until mountain bikes started to take elements of design--and use some materials--from road bikes that anyone thought of adding suspension to them.

    I love those flea market finds. I've seen a few Steyrs here in the States. If I'm not mistaken, the marque goes back to the very early days of cycling.

    And, yes, I love the "grumpy lady" headbadge. I must admit, though, that the sort of person (and cyclist) I was when I was younger could turn me into that grumpy lady now!

  14. I have a circa 1940's wartime Puch that has the "spoon" type brake. It also has removable handlebars for easy storage on troop trains. I'm not sure how much longer the spoon type brake was used after the war, but that Steyr looks pre-war to me.

  15. the woman :) on the steyr is a blacksmith - the famous steyr "schmied" - because steyr bicycles are the origina "waffenrad" - steyr produced rifles, bicycles, tractors etc. their brandname "waffenrad" got so famous in austria that every black old bicycle is called waffenrad nowadays.
    the schmied holds a gun in his hand and to his left leans a waffenrad bicycle :)
    this bicycle was produced before 1925, then steyr waffenrad changed the logo to the famous target logo.
    it also could be that this was a license product of czech - then its about 10 years younger.
    there are many parts that are not origin on the bike. but stil its nice and rare with the schmied.
    the other - bergkönig - is a bicycle that was named by a dealer, not a producer. i think its a german bike, ot autrian, could be produced in bielefeld. the handlebar is wrong, the bike could be from the late 30ties.

    the brake system on the waffenrad was the standard brake system on all bikes in austria, germany, czech, etc. from ca. 1890 till 1960.

    best regards, max


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