In the early 1970s Allegro’s business relationship with Village Cycles also ended. For the Kemps, an increase of other European brands being imported into the United States and the volatility of the Swiss Franc were taking their toll on distribution.
US importation of Allegro bikes would be passed to two other sources – Colnago dealer Jim Beres at Jim’s Pro Bikes in Akron, Ohio and ex-pro Otto Rozvoda of Czechoslovakia with his shop, Otto’s Racing Bicycles in Santa Monica, California.
Otto Rozvoda met Arnold Grandjean during his stellar racing campaign in Europe. In a story not unlike Greg Lemond’s, Otto first gained national success as a track and field star and switched to bicycles only after an debilitating injury ended his running career. It was not a poor decision on his part. Not only did Otto win his first bike race, he won 17 Czech national championships over the course of his tenure and would go on as a pro with the Mercier and Peugeot teams in which he rode ten Tours de France during the Coppi period. Bicycle racing being big in Czechoslovakia, Otto had become as big an icon in his home country as Michael Jordon was here during his heyday.
After his pro career and twelve years after escaping to Canada due to complications in the Czech political structure, Rozvoda moved to America to open a bike shop and searched for a mainline European manufacturer to bring with him. Passing over the french made Follis and Peugeots, as well as some Italian bike lines he settled on Allegro, because as he said, “they were best made”. This relationship with Allegro would continue for a seven – year period out of Otto’s shop in Santa Monica. Rozvoda sold his business in 1972 to Frenchman Patrick Lachovarn who continued selling them for a few years after that, until once again the increased fluctuations in the Swiss franc took it’s toll and made importation unprofitable. In many cases Patrick lost money on Allegros he had ordered – sometimes even before the shipments had arrived – so he opted to carry Raleigh instead.
The sole importer of US shipments from Allegro’s Marin facility rested with Jim Beres in Akron, Ohio. Jim purchased a large quantity of Allegros completely assembled. Soon the mountain bike market took off and sales of road racing bikes slowed. Jim eventually closed his doors and placed all of his remaining Allegros in a barn on the family farm in Ohio. Slowly Jim sold off bikes and parts as people had a need and found him.
Allegro in the 1980-90’s searched for ways to export their bicycles to other countries. Mountain bikes had taken away market share and Allegro struggled to keep the factory afloat. By the 1990s Allegro was purchased by Mondia, which carried the Allegro name on bicycles for a few years.
acing Bicycles in Santa Monica, CA