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 Post subject: 1975 Alex Singer 650B
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 10:07 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:46 pm
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Location: Montpellier, France
This is a 1975 Alex Singer Randonneur with 650B wheels.

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The general plan is to strip everything, clean it and rebuild it. It is in good condition and is complete except for the front rack and light – I’ve fitted a TA front rack and won’t bother with the dynamo lights. Will probably replace the mudguards as the rear has a light connected to the dynamo. I’ve also taken off the rear rack as I will probably only use a handlebar bag for short day rides. There are a few rust spots on the paint but nothing structural. I like the Shellac on the bar tape and will keep it as it is. The indoors photos are from the seller – the rushed outdoors "get a photo before the rain comes lashing down" photo is of the bike, minus rear rack but with TA front rack, in my garden.

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It has typical period parts : bars and stem from Belleri, an Idéale TB90 saddle, MAFAC levers and MAFAC Raid centre-pulls, Huret derailleurs and shifters, Lyotard pedals, a TA triple crankset, 5-speed Cyclo block, Super Champion rims laced to Normandy hubs, and Maillard spindles. More importantly, it fits me like a glove… I wasn’t sure about the sizing – it is a 56cm frame and I ride 54cm 700C frames, so I sent my measurements to the seller who confirmed that it would be suitable. Spot-on.

As far as I can tell this is one of the out-sourced Singers (made by CNC - Comptoir National du Cycle - in Paris) that Alex Singer sold when demand was very high, as opposed to the custom-built bikes made by the late Ernest Csuka. There is no tubing sticker but apparently they were made from Reynolds 531 at the time. I have a copy of the original receipt – the original buyer bought two identical bikes, one for him and one for his wife – sadly I couldn’t stretch to buying the smaller one (made for his wife) too. It was bought on 15th July 1975 and cost 1,210 Francs… It would have been nice to keep them together, but there you are. Alex Singer are still going strong ( http://www.cycles-alex-singer.fr/ ) and 650B bikes were dying out a few years ago but there are a few ardent defenders of that wheelsize, notably Jan Heine / Compass Bicycles in the States ( http://janheine.wordpress.com/ ), and also a club not far from where I live (La Confrérie des 650B - http://www.confreriedes650.org/ ), who have Cyfac make a 650B frame and have also been instrumental in pressuring tyre manufacturers to keep making 650B tyres.

Nicolas Sarkozy is a cycling fan and apparently owns two handbuilt Alex Singers. If only I had as much time on my hands as he now has… :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 2:19 pm 
rBoTM Winner
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Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:48 pm
Posts: 455
Location: N. Herts
Hi, very nice, quite a collectors piece. I'm going to have a go at that shellac and tape approach to the handlebars this summer with the 1933 Jean Louvet I'm restoring, I hope it looks as good, once I've finished with it - any tips, I have my amber shellac ordered. Terry


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 2:29 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:46 pm
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Location: Montpellier, France
Thanks for the comment Terry - you might find this of interest:

http://velo-orange.blogspot.com/2009/01 ... guide.html


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 2:35 pm 
rBoTM Winner
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Thanks that's exactly what I needed, but I am quite sure I am still capable of making a mess of it. Will update the list later in the summer. Terry


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 Post subject: Lovely
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 8:19 pm 
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:03 pm
Posts: 5105
Location: held captive by baby haggis in a cave in Scotland
That looks great, in both guises 8) 8)
I love reading about the history of the individual bikes in these threads.
Would love to hear your ride impressions of this fine machine.
Lucky man :wink:

Jamie


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 8:32 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:01 pm
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Location: Saarfend on sea
More Randonneur inspiration!

That's lovely Rich.

The bike has real character, glad to hear that you will be retaining it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 10:27 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:06 pm
Posts: 11
Location: South London UK
I was living not far from the Alex Singer shop in Levallois, just outside Paris around 2002 - 2004. I didn't have a road bike there with me and would often gaze through the shop window.

The bikes in the showroom were always beautifully finished. The whole place had a wonderful art deco feel to it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 7:20 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:46 pm
Posts: 962
Location: Montpellier, France
Thanks for the comments... I look forward to finding out how it rides too, other than a quick up and down the road to see how it feels (and feeling it's in need of some TLC more than anything else) I haven't taken it out properly yet.

Pearson: the Alex Singer shop in Levallois is a pilgrimage I will make one day... They were featured in a short clip on France 24 the other day about how French business rates prevent small companies from expanding (social security costs for each employee etc.) and Olivier Csuka was explaining that they have more orders than they can produce but he only has one employee and can't take on any more. At least the positive news is that they'll be there for some time yet...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 8:02 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:01 pm
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Location: Saarfend on sea
Just wondered if you have made any progress with this Rich?

I am sure you have plenty of other things gnawing at your time..

Looking forward to more pics and info!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 7:56 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:46 pm
Posts: 962
Location: Montpellier, France
Not yet Simon, I'm still away at work unfortunately. Still going through the "perusing eBay for parts" phase, need to source tyres and tubes and cables and will probably go for shiny new mudguards too. An old Gilles Berthoud handlebar bag slipped through my fingers on eBay a few days ago so I'm still looking for one of them. Might buy a new one but period would be nice.

Due to the work rotation I'm currently doing this is a long-term project unfortunately... :roll: I hope to get the bike rebuilt and running in a few weeks time though, other than cleaning up it doesn't need any real restoration work so I hope to get it rideable then do a bit at a time. I have other bikes to work on too and I don't want them getting jealous. My '90 Cinder Cone is probably the hardest bike in my garage and could take on all the others no problem, so I have to share the love and WD40 equally...


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