Saturday, August 7, 2010

Harold Koehler's Phantom


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It can be said that art is an expression of the mind that cannot be placed into words. It is my opinion that if you believe that art can only be found in the form of pottery or canvas, then you truly are a savage.

I believe that it was Frank Lloyd Wright that expressed that architecture is what we refer to as a “sermon in stone”. Architecture should express beauty, functionality, and be thought provoking. Many of us believe that machinery parallels this philosophy. Machines are much more than a sum of inanimate parts. To many of us they take on a status of life. At a young age I found many machines to be beautiful and thought provoking. In my eyes, the OSSA Phantom was that functional beauty.

In 1975 I bought an OSSA Phantom from a friend of mine that had ridden it to much success during the previous season. Fortunately he had the resources to purchase a new bike every season. He was quite taken with the Phantom and was going to directly replace it with a new one of the same year and model.

I had worked in the rice harvest that fall and happily purchased the bike for $800. If you have ever worked a harvest in agriculture you know that your daylight hours are spoken for. One fall night I purchased the Phantom from my friend and after work rode it in a very dimly lit equipment yard. I smiled all the way home.

For two seasons the Phantom was a joy to ride. It was light, fast, and had torque and horsepower that seemed to never end. My Phantom, as well as my friend’s, was in constant development. The mid to late seventies were the golden years for long travel suspension development. We laid the shocks down, installed dampening rod extenders, and built up pipes for the two Phantoms.

all pictures and text © Harold Koehler

You wouldn’t believe how excited we were when we learned of the two Phantoms that Marty Moates and Kenny Zhart were riding. And what was even more encouraging was that our Phantoms shared many of the modifications that they had... Read more


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