Vails and Gorski Advertisement for Murray Jan 30, 2010

Murray has always had a negative stigma attached to their name. Most of this is due to their background in low-end bicycles, sold to big-box retailers in the 1980’s like K-Mart, Walmart and Target. If I’m not mistaken, these professional track bikes pictured in this vintage ad from 1984 were made by Serotta; much like some of the Huffy track bikes from this era (John Slawta also made some of the Huffy’s – read up more about Hampsten’s Huffy on Belgian Knee Warmers).

Vails and Gorski were fierce racers who, as the ad says, both competed against each other on the same model bike. During the 1984 Olympics however, they raced on the same team. This vintage and others can be found over at Stonejf’s Vintage Ad Flickr set.

I want this Clément Tires ad as a poster…

  • justin

    I love the spoke holes without spokes in that pic

  • about the poster. If you download rasterbator ( (make sure to download it you get better quality) you can make posters from images (the higher quality the better) from a4 pages.

  • That is a great ad! I met Nelson Vails at InterBike probably 6 years ago. He was wearing a purple double breasted suit with tails, it was frickin amazing. I got to tell him how he inspired me to start track racing as a young messenger on the streets of philly. He is still my hero, even with that image of the purple suit burned in my retinas.

  • Very interesting, Prolly.

    This entry is a great example of what separates your blog from lots of other bike blogs in the U.S. This piece is not only your own unique contribution, but it’s very informative and thought-provoking–which is especially impressive considering that it’s only two paragraphs long.

    It makes me want to learn more. I’d be interested in reading an essay/piece that investigates the relationship between the rise in big box retailers in the 1980s+ and the rise of the low-end bicycle, particularly Murray and Huffy. Are you aware of any other essays in the past that explore this relationship?

    It seems that the rise of the low-end bicycle was good in that it allowed many people from a lower socio-economic class to enjoy the experience of picking-out/buying a new bicycle. However, it came at a cost. As we know, the bikes are obviously low-quality and many were assembled in a such a dangerous way–backwards stems, upside-down brake levers & bars, etc.–that they put peoples’ lives at risk. I’ve read that there are more bikes in the U.S. than there are cars. Unfortunately, most are sitting in garages. I imagine that big-box retailers and low-end bicycles are responsible for this. Arguably, an even greater cost, is that these bikes re-affirmed the misconception that bicycles are an outdated and obsolete form of transportation technology.

    The way I see the above Murray ad, is that it tried to de-bunk the myth that Murray themselves help construct. Except, in the Murray case, it wasn’t a myth. Nice Serottas, dudes.