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AeroGut 12-29-20 03:13 PM

Browning bikes
Not sure who made these "lugged Belgian Steel" bikes for Browning, but the ad copy is great:

If you can't read the text in the ad, it says:

"How to get a Browning Ten Speed for Christmas

If you want a Browning Ten Speed for Christmas, you're in good company. Kids all over America want one.
But wanting isn't enough. You've got to get in there and fight!
Here's the plan:
1. Write or telephone for the Browning Bicycle Catalog in your dad's name. Today, before you forget. He's probably looking for gift ideas anyway.
2. Tell your Mom about your plan. She'll be able to soften old Santa up a bit.
3. Talk your dad into going down to your Browning Dealer's with you. Any excuse will do. . . . tell him you want him to try on a Browning Hunting Vest for his Christmas present.
4. After he's tried on the vest, steer him past the bicycles. If he doesn't stop, yell "Hey, Pops, look at this. . . Browning Bicycles!"
5. Casually point out the quality Browning features. . . lugged Belgian Steel frames, the smooth-shifting derailleurs, the 'racing style' handlebars, and the sure-stopping brakes. Point out the instruction book with its assembly, adjustment and maintenance instructions, riding check list, safety rules and guarantee. Your dad will agree that a company who cares enough about their customers to provide them with that complete of an instruction book must make a good bike.
6. To cinch the sale, wait 'til you're on the way home and ask, "Dad, why does Browning sell bikes? I thought they made guns." If he's ever shot a Browning he'll tell you we make the finest guns you can buy. He'll probably talk about Browning quality and tell you how Browning Dealers are known for sticking behind what they sell.

See, you've got him!
Follow our plan and it's pretty certain that on Christmas morning there'll be a Browning 10-Speed under the tree for you."

Image is from a CL post here:

tiger1964 12-29-20 03:43 PM

Rifled tubing?

canklecat 12-29-20 08:17 PM

Yup, I remember the early warning signs of Browning's identity crisis. They were delving into that gray zone of Sears and Ted Williams branded sporting goods, which didn't really suit the august reputation of Browning's origins as a manufacturer of innovative firearms based on the inventions of a self-taught American genius in the raw.

I suppose around 1970 Belgian made might have seemed sexy in bicycling because that was the peak of Eddy Merckx's domination. But it didn't translate to an American market that was still barely aware of bicycle racing.

In later years Browning marketed redesigned firearms made by Beretta, SIG and others. But I can't remember the last time I saw a Browning labeled bicycle.

Too bad Browning never made a folding or take-down bike equivalent to the SA-22 rifle. That might still have some appeal, if it had matched the lasting appeal of that particular rifle. The Brompton is the nearest thing in terms of engineering, although I still wish the STRiDA functioned as well as it looks.

Velo Mule 12-29-20 10:42 PM

That ad is ... uh.. is that how they did it in 1973?

This ad was probably intended to sell both bikes and guns with one ad in Boy's Life magazine. Interesting angle. I don't think that the ad agency would be pitching this ad nowadays.

canklecat 12-29-20 11:13 PM

Yeah, it was a different era. In both New York (well, Long Island, a rural community then) and Texas where I finished high school in the early 1970s, it wasn't unusual for students to have firearms in their vehicles and in certain classes for hunting safety and JROTC. Not much different from my father's era.

Back then I worried more about my bike being stolen at school.

homelessjoe 01-03-21 06:42 PM

the FN factory famous for the Belgium Browning and Mouser guns made bicycles since the late 1800s......I currently own a mark 5 like in the add ....531 Reynolds with chrome fork and stays.....a beauty

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