I Bet You..
..£5 that you haven’t seen one of these before. It has nothing in common with De Rosa, the Italian brand par excellence. This is an entirely different kind of objet d’art. I’m not going to lie, I had never heard of this brand when Felix got in touch with me about it. I did a quick check online and found..nothing, not a single article, picture or presentation of one of these bikes anywhere. That’s how rare an Arosa is, so I challenge you to spot one in your neighbourhood or being ridden around your streets. So, look at the picture below for a minute and I’ll ask you two questions:
- Where do you think it originates?
- What components does it have?
What’s that you Say..?
It’s not French, and neither was it built in Italy, though the name sounds Italian. The Simplex rear derailleur may have caused you to guess it being French, and it does have some French connections. It’s a good looking machine, though obviously it was not built as a racing bike with its straight handlebars and vélo de ville accompaniments. For a much better insight, I will let Felix take it from here, below are his findings after doing some research on the history of bike name.
It’s History by Felix
“I never heard from of this brand. I thought it’s perhaps a under brand from a swiss bike like Mondia or Juvela . Or perhaps it was a Austrian bike who named a Swiss city as reference to quality? I wasn’t sure. restored the bike smoothly- it’s in a great shape!! But: nobody could tell me where this bike comes from! Nobody! Then I got a tip via Facebook and here I found the answers..
The name AROSA comes from the Danish city Aarhus in Denmark, the second largest city in the country. At the time of the Vikings this city called Aros (which means river mouth). So in Aarhus these AROSA bikes were put together. The frames aren’t made by this shop but they were bought ( from the countries around? ) and equipped with common accessories. This business existed until the 90s.
The Brand Today
When the shop closed, a bicycle shop from Frederiksberg (Copenhagen) bought the old stock, including the usual spare parts and a lot of the original decals. Today, they mainly sell vintage bikes and put together old city bikes under the same label AROSA (with the old original decals!). This business still exists today: http://arosacykler.dk/ I myself I own an original AROSA bike from the 70s!
Three in the World?
The frame probably comes from Sweden. The bike is in original condition ( apart from the Swiss porter? ) And in very good condition. The current owner of the AROSA cykler himself has seen so far only two originals AROSA bikes. I therefore assume that this was an absolute niche product in the smallest production! I love my very rare bike – it will be the perfect Christmas present for my brother (who loves the swiss canton Graubünden where the swiss Arosa is located 🙂 …)
Thank you to Felix for sharing the information about this very rare brand of bikes. I wouldn’t have guessed that it was built in Denmark. So what about its components? It’s a mixture of different brands: Ballila long reach side-pull brakes that were made in Italy and a rival of Universal in the 1960’s and 1970’s; Shimano 333 shifters which are a pre-Dura Ace model of the Japanese brand, probably dating to the early 1970’s. The Simplex Prestige front and rear derailleurs add to the functional set-up of the bike, all in super condition. Is the cottered crank a Solida?
Decades More Riding
The bike has been lovingly restored by Felix and the frameset seems in top notch shape. With its tough and efficient components, this bike could be on the road for decades more city riding. It’s a 10 speed, has horizontal dropouts and eyelets for the practicalities of mudguards. Yet, though it has simple lugs and is a practical city bike, it has just enough flair to make it also a headturner.It’s bright orange for one thing, and I really like it’s chrome capped fork crowns and black painted and detailed headtube, but what really sets it off is the build: the dynamo, rack and chrome mudguards, it’s an ideal Christmas present.