My very first encounter with a brake-rod roadster was in-fact with a Phoenix. The famous Shanghai brand which started in 1958 and was the 3rd of the "Famous Four" bike makers in China. However, my encounter was NOT in China. It was in Moshi, Tanzania, where many a local was mounted on large framed, double-bar, fork-trussed, 28" wheel roadsters!
As I was later to learn, Africa is a huge and important export market for Chinese brands.
Phoenix is a very large concern and makes bikes and eCycles of every possible kind, but of course it is their brake-rod roadsters in which we are interested. These come in the exact same sizes and varieties as Flying Pigeon, Forever or any of the other roadster manufacturers. Parts will interchange, and of course this was intentional and back in the bad old days, necessary. Still, that doesn't stop there from being a high level of variation when it comes to the details. Take a look at the following picture of 2 men's 28" roadsters (and one barely seen 26" women's roadster). You immediately see the differences: different decals, different grips, one has a chain case the other doesn't, different seats, fork trusses on one, but not on the other...etc...etc...etc.
So how do you identify a Phoenix from the other Chinese roadsters? First and foremost,THE LOGO. The most beautiful and elaborate logo in all of bicycling.
The Feng Huang (Phoenix) is the legendary Chinese king of birds. This is different than the middle-eastern Phoenix or Firebird, with which it shares an English name. The downtube logo is a long, multicolored Phoenix coming to rest on a Lotus, tail feathers resplendent behind it. A nice touch on an other wise, staid black bike.
But of course the elaborate Phoenix logo is not appropriate for all bikes, even if they do wear the Phoenix name. Modern style bikes look...well more modern. I have to say...I like the traditional flair better. How about you? Phoenix Bicycles