The bicycles that were popular during the Soviet Union era can be counted on one hand. Some models have long since fallen into oblivion, while others to this day continue to be the pride of collectors and fans of rare equipment. Bicycle “Desna” at one time was a coveted trophy of any schoolboy and adult. Folding design and reliability of mechanisms have done their job – for many decades bike “Desna” has remained among the leaders of sales.
However, about everything in order. Today the object of our attention will be the Soviet bicycle “Desna”. We will talk about the factory, where quite high-quality products were produced, as well as talk about the technologies that were used by Soviet engineers to create a good-quality vehicle. We will take a short tour and learn the history of the Desna bicycle. Who is the manufacturer? Let’s start the review by answering this question.
The history of the Desna bicycle brand
It began with a factory for melting iron – in the early 70s of the XIX century in Zhukovka appeared the first small factory in the Russian Empire. The enterprise at that time provided services for the supply and construction of railroads. During the First World War, the cast-iron factory set up the production of machine gun carts (the famous “wheelbarrows”).
In 1927 the factory in the Bryansk region mastered the production of carts, which eventually became the main production. A little later, the political situation in the world again forced the factory to re-profile and start working for the benefit of the army. In 1941, the factory was evacuated to the Penza region, where workers worked for the benefit of the frontline. World War II left only ruins in place of the cast-iron factory.
In the post-war period the plant was restored and the production of agricultural machinery was set up there. A new stage of Zhukovsky plant’s development came in 1958 – the production of two-wheelers began. The first “Desna” came off the assembly line in 1960, and 5 years later – the millionth copy of this brand.
The time of perestroika is known to everyone who has caught the Soviet era. It was a difficult period for the individual, as well as for the largest enterprises of the country. However, the Zhukovsky Cycling Plant survived the times of perestroika, but became totally bankrupt in 2004. Production was stopped, the equipment was sold – the period of inactivity lasted for 4 years.
The plant received its second breath in 2008, when renewed workshops with modern equipment began again to produce reliable and simple bicycles, available to each inhabitant of the country. The factory’s capabilities have been expanded – in particular, in 2011 it launched its own pipe-rolling production, which allowed it to become more independent of capricious suppliers.
In 2013, factory workers were able to master robotic welding, and in 2015 an automated bicycle painting line was launched. At the same time, Zhukovsky Bicycle Plant became the owner of the latest equipment.
Zhukovsky plant gained its former glory in 2016, when the Soviet Desna brand was revived in a renewed form. Today, one of Russia’s largest two-wheelers produces 6 varieties of bicycles and more than 100 thousand copies annually.
We have already mentioned automated painting lines and robotic welding, which are used in the manufacture of bicycles “Desna”. But this is not all the technology that allows to get reliable and affordable bikes as a result. The main components of the construction are made directly at the factory – these are steel elements of the frame, plastic parts and aluminum suspensions. The rest of the equipment is supplied by reliable partners of the domestic enterprise.
Manufacturing technologies have been proven over the years. These are:
- Disc hydraulics. To date, this is one of the best braking systems, proven by a huge number of cyclists. High braking efficiency even on a smooth surface is achieved by a sophisticated mechanism. It is very easy to operate – a light pressure on the lever is enough to make the bicycle stand up like a stone.
- cable routing. Hidden inside the frame, cables have a longer life (the lines wear much less due to minimal friction) and also benefit the exterior of the bike.
- Closed carriage type. Desna” city bike is equipped with a closed (cartridge) type carriage. Such a feature allows you to reliably protect the mechanism from the ingress of dirt, water, sand and other substances. In addition, the mechanism of such a plan is easy to use – to clean and lubricate the closed carriage is easy both in warm and in cold seasons.
- Threadless steering column. This component is part of the design of Desna mountain bikes and is a thoughtful modern product, which guarantees full control of the bike while driving.
- Triple layer of paint coating. You bought a brand-new bike and a year later you notice that in some places the paint has peeled off, there were cracks, scuffs and other defects. This is quite common, but not for bicycles “Desna”, the characteristics of which will be presented below. Quality paintwork provides not only reliable protection of the elements from rust, but also creates an attractive glossy shine.
- Increased tire width. What do you need for optimum rollability? Good rubber. And here the technologists of the Zhukovsky plant showed foresight. Bicycles are equipped with high-quality tires “Standard Plus” with an increased to 3 inches of the contact area. This provides better shock absorption, resistance to punctures, good traction with the road surface. In addition, such tires require pumping up much less often.
All these technologies combined with careful control at every stage of production allow you to create a truly high-quality and affordable to a wide range of consumers bikes.
Characteristics of Soviet-era bicycles
In Soviet times, the product lineup was not notable for motley and diverse. However, in the catalog you can find a couple of bikes, worthy of attention of the modern rider. These were children’s and teenage models, city bikes and cargo bikes. Especially for the elderly, the factory produced three-wheeled bicycles, which provided transport stability and high load capacity. By the way, today the range of bicycle products offers a lot of options for heavy riders and those who prefer to stay active even at a venerable age.
Today the model range of bicycles “Desna” is represented by the following categories of bikes:
- urban and road samples;
- mountain and folding bikes;
- speed models;
- classic copies.
Zhukovsky produces women’s, teenage and men’s models in various configurations and design solutions. Each year the factory offers consumers updated collections and improved versions of its top models. Let’s look at the main categories:
- Folding bikes. The series is represented by three popular models:
- “Desna 2500. The model is characterized by the largest wheel diameter – 24 inches. The bike is assembled on a 14-inch frame of Hi-ten steel. It comes with a chain guard, rigid fork, threaded handlebar column, a kit carriage and a foot brake. Optimal tire width (2 cm) ensures decent rolling and steering performance. The model is available in 7 color variations – from the strict black classic to the romantic purple.
- “Desna 2200”. Model on 20-inch wheels assembled on a sturdy steel frame. The bike is presented in 5 color variations, complete with a foot brake, aluminum rims, plastic pedals, a rigid handlebar.
- “Desna 2100”. Compact bicycle on 20-inch wheels. Technical specifications and equipment correspond to the previous model. The bike has a stylish appearance – two-color coloring will appeal to young and active people who want to move around the city comfortably.
- Mountain bikes. The line consists of maneuverable bikes for adult riders who prefer to occasionally traverse varied terrain. Some of the most popular models include:
- Niners on 29-inch wheels, which are especially appreciated by professional riders.
- “Desna 2910D” and “Desna 2910MD”. The bikes are available in different modifications: on a frame of 17, 19 and 21 inches. They differ and brake systems: the first model is equipped with hydraulic disc brakes, the second – mechanical disc.
- “Desna 2600”. Reliable mountain model, which comes in three variations, different from each other by the type of braking system: disc, hydraulic and V-brake.
- “Desna 2600V”. The model is of the greatest interest on the part of charming cyclists. The bike is equipped with derailleurs and shifters from Shimano Tourney, a closed-type carriage and a threadless handlebar.
- “Desna 2610D. The model, presented in several variations: the mechanical has an index MD, and the variant with V-brakes has a corresponding prefix. Absolutely all modifications on 26-inch wheels have a bright design and the presence of additional equipment (fenders and a luggage rack). The model is in particular demand among beginner riders.
- “Desna 2710V”. Model with a universal wheel size – 27.5 inches. Quite modern design of the bike makes it one of the most popular models of the domestic manufacturer. The bike is equipped with V-brake brakes, wide enough tires, steel rear and front hub, closed-type carriage.
- Teen Bikes. The collection of bikes for beginner cyclists is represented by three series of maneuverable and compact bikes – Phoenix, Sputnik and Meteor. The range consists of bikes on 20- and 24-inch wheels. Brief information about teenage models:>
- “Phoenix. Compact bikes with single-speed drivetrain, V-brakes at the front and foot mechanism at the back. Mountain design and rigid front fork allow young riders to feel like they are in the saddle of a real mountain bike.
- “The Meteor. Another collection of mountain bikes for active youngsters. Bicycle on 24-inch wheels with V-brakes or good old-fashioned mechanics.
- Dual-suspension sports bikes. The line is represented by only one model so far – “Desna 2620V”. The bike is assembled on a solid steel frame, features a bright design execution. Wheel diameter is 26 inches, tire width – 1.95 inches. The model is equipped with lightweight aluminum rims, lever-type shifters and shifters Microshift.
- City Bikes. The line is represented by two series – “Voyage” and “Desna”, which differ in design execution and adaptation to female physiology. As for the other parameters, they are almost identical: 28-inch wheels, a set of carriages, steel hubs, foot brakes and aluminum rims.
The range of products of the domestic bicycle factory leaves a pleasant impression. Most buyers note that the quality of assembly and equipment is quite in line with expectations.
Most buyers, choosing a suitable means of transportation, are first guided by the design of the bicycle and its cost. For some reason many people prefer to ignore such a parameter as the size of a bicycle in terms of growth and purpose of the bike. But this is the most important criteria for choice. Also it is necessary to take into account:
- Frame bicycle. Its size should correspond to the size of the person who will ride on a particular model.
- The degree of shock absorption. Road models are equipped with a rigid fork, which does not absorb shocks. On hardtails, the shock absorber is in the front, the tail part remains rigid.
- Wheel diameter. Mountain bikes are usually equipped with 26-, 27.5 and 29-inch wheels. Urban models have a wider range of sizes.
Choosing a model of a particular manufacturer, it is worth contacting official representatives who can provide a guarantee and documents certifying the quality of products.
The characteristics of modern bicycles “Desna” quite satisfy the requirements of buyers. Given that Zhukovsky factory – it is a full-cycle production, the output is affordable in the price segment bikes, distinguished by decent technical characteristics and attractive design.