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PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 4:12 pm 
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Bernard Carré – Anatomy of a Full French - end of the seventies – possibly light !

This build is a bike that wishes to pay a tribute to French know how of bikes and bike parts at a turn of history !

I call that the “swan song” of the French bike companies and I place it at the end of the seventies, where they were quite a few high end French manufacturers of bike parts but uncannily, most of them would not adapt to the changing world or competition and they disappeared or were swallowed mostly during the 80’s

They are, Huret, CLB, Stronglight, Pelissier, Maillard, Vitus etc…

The bike shown here is based on a quite renowned French frame maker : Bernard Carré

Courtesy of Norris Lockley
"Bernard Carre was a legendary frame-builder, based in the town of Montreuil just on the eastern side of the Paris peripherique - the Paris inner ring-road."
"Although his work is very well known, and he was a prolific builder - what I call a two-a-day man. - as he seemed to have the ability to make frames quickly and to a well tried and tested recipe, as much of his production was destined for use by the leading French Pro riders, and it is known that he built most of Anquetil's frames in the 50s, as well as Geminiani's, Anglade's, to name but a few."
"His trade frames were workmanlike and designed and built to do a job of work, they rode well...but his personal custom frames are rarer and show more attention to detail and finish."
"He left his trade mark - his name stamped into the top-eyes - on many of his frames, but he never seemed to have down-tube transfers."
"Carre seemed to have a long working career; some say he was building in the 40s, and it appears he was still building in the late 80s even..."
Norris Lockley

The bike is built with Super Vitus 971, the top of the range of the French company at the time, very comparable to Columbus SL
(it was later follawed by SV 980 – which appeared in 1980 at the salon dy Cycle in Paris)

Its double butted with the thinnest parts at 0.6mm and the thickest at 0.9mm


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This tubing is always very light – frames in the region of 1800 g and forks at 650 g for a 55

The choice of the parts is going to be French high end parts possibly light.

Here it is – not mint but decent state.

The initial fork chrome was badly damaged but I managed to source a identical Supervitus 971 fork in very good condition
Will see if the funds allow to rechrome the original fork but it was not signed ( some of the Bernard Carré ones carry a fleur de lys)

Most of the times, Bernard Carré buid frames which did not bear his name

fork is 640 g
frame is 1770 g


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It has always been a mystery to me why, French parts makers did not really manage or seek to build complete groups completely in the wake of Campagnolo or Shimano.
But as Shaun often states, early on in the seventies, it was not the custom or fad to put parts from the same maker and actually, even campagnolo did not sell his nuovo record group as a whole I believe.
Its also possible that French companies had developed know how on certain parts but lacked in other areas ( for example with Mavic later in the 80’s - showed that they tried to market full groups but with parts subcontracted – mavic callipers were rebranded Modolos)

So cherry picking was the French habit.

Nevertheless , in the wake of unity , I searched what was possible as “ a group”

And actually one company tried to surf on the “group” wave in France: Huret

In 1977, they unveiled the Huret group.

Sorry for the “French” exercise :lol:

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So even if quite a few parts were rebranded – the brakes are CLB professional, the crankset is a Nervar, the hubs are Alpin , the seatpost JPR , only the derailleurs are really Huret ! it was a possible solution for this full French build

By sheer luck, I actually found such a group which is very rare , in its entirety but on a damaged frame

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But frankly the aesthetics and reliability of some of the parts did not please me.

I found the crankset were bulky, but I also discovered the hubs are actually not forged in one piece and sometimes known for the flanges to desolidarize from the body, so this solution was quickly forgotten, even If I find the hubs very airy

I decided to actually do as usual – cherry pick the best and better looking parts of the period
And possibly light.


1 ) CRANKSET SELECTION

The initial bike was sporting a Stronglight , but I found it too common so I looked at the competition

Here is the table after some weighing of the competitors ( driveside, left crank – total)

DURA ACE GA300/7110 397, 171, 568

TEVANO TA 409 , 173, 582

CAMPA NUOVO RECORD 416, 177, 593
plateau 51x43

DURA ACE GA200 441, 164, 605

SPECIALITES TA 5VIS 447, 161, 607

GIPIEMME CRONO SPRINT 424, 193, 617

STRONGLIGHT 105 bis 453,175, 628

HURET / NERVAR 463, 175, 638




Only one choice was left : the Tevano from Specialites TA

It is often dubbed a copy of the Campagnolo Nuovo Record but I find it better looking and it is 10 g lighter

Incidentally Tevano comes from the name of the founders of Specialites TA – the “Navet” brothers and they added an O probably to sound Italian

It appeared in 1979 so just at the limit

Here it is – sourced from another French bike

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It was actually pretty expensive ( showed here at 80 gbp in 1984 on a Ron Kitching catalog

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2) BRAKES SELECTION

The brakes could not be else than CLB professionnel. It is THE brakeset that was present on any lightweight french stud at that time

Here I am nice with the English speaking world :wink:

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The issue with these brakes callipers , is that they do not age well as there is a sort of coating that start to make bubbles at the surface

I managed to source mint ones.

Here there are

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And the levers

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Was also lucky to source some NOS hoods as these age also badly

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The story will continue with Bottom bracket, headset , derailleurs , wheels etc….;


Last edited by bduc61 on Wed Oct 22, 2014 1:57 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 6:17 pm 
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Looking forward to seeing that built up - very nice too


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 8:00 pm 
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Superbe!

Now that's a well documented topic start :).


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2014 1:09 pm 
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3) WHEELS and HUBS

Selection of hubs followed this path :
After having decided not to use the huret/alpin, I went on the search. I wanted high flange ones, and possibly rather rare.

Here is an interesting article from a 1976 review on hubs available on the market
Sorry for again the french exercise :wink:

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What is actually very interesting in this document is the ability to compare the available hubs at the time but also see the prevailing hierarchy which is derived from the pricing of the hubs.

Incidently one sees that Campagnolo had always an extreme pricing policy compared to competitors. It is actually true that the quality of these Campa hubs strikes when you undo and clean them. It was a time where probably price had a rather linear relationship with quality of materials and build quality - not always the case now :idea: :lol:

I wander what was the value FF/GBP in 1976 - 1977 will have a look :idea:

Normandy high flange 100 F a pair
Maillard 700 high flange 185 F a pair
Alpin / Huret high Flange 210 F a pair
Dura Ace small flange 260F
Pelissier 2000 Professionnel 265 F la paire
Zeus Ref 82 280 F a pair
Maxi Car 320F a pair
Mavic 501 350 F a pair
Campagnolo high flange 410F a pair


Maxi Car are very renowned but being more “randonneuse” oriented. Mavic are nice and of very good quality and durability but being only small flange and seen quite often, I did not want to go down that route.

But I fancied very much the Pelissier 2000 professionel high flange which have a design rather original and are with annular sealed bearings (like the mavic)

They are hubs which are actually very hard to find ( in France you very rarely see them in high flange or even small flange contrary to the high flange Normandy or Normandy Luxe Competition which are much more common)

Here again Courtesy of Norris Lockley :wink:

"Pelissier on the other hand was the brand name of the hubs made by Ets. (Etablissements) Perrin, at Boen, not far from St Etienne, some 500 miles or so to the South. Perrin had been about for a very long time and was one of that group of accessory manufacturers such as Lyotard, Stronglight, Haubtmann (Solida) and Peyrard (Nervar) who established themselves within a very short drive of St Etienne which was the hub of the French cycle industry.

In the 70s they developed a range called Pelissier 2000 which were at the time probably the finest hub available anywhere. They had larger than normal LF flanges (S/F also availablea0, with asymetrical cuts. The main feature was the pair of rectified and balanced sealed bearings (remember Hardens?) which just ran and ran smoooothly... The L/F flanges were larger than normal and had very large asymetrical cut-outs. They were very popular with time-trialists in the UK who used them laced radially with aero spokes to deep section Wolber 18mm sprint rims. They were expensive at the time.. and a luxury"


So it seems Norris would approved the choice :mrgreen:


Here an ad on these hubs

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Finally, I sourced these already on a pair of wheels mounted on nice Mavic Module E ( which in clincher is the only acceptable choice for a full French :idea: )

Even if I am careful of weight, for ease of use, I don’t refute clinchers compared to tubulars. I’ll compare later with other wheels I have got with tubulars but I don’t have in stock as nice hubs as these so for the moment so they are IN.

And the Module E was apparently designed to accommodate for tyres that could compete with tubulars. The Michelin Elan was the French company try at that. Luckily I have some decent condition Elan or Bib that can do the job

Here there are

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Last edited by bduc61 on Tue Oct 07, 2014 10:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 10:19 am 
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really good !


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 2:57 pm 
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4) BOTTOM BRACKET

The choice of the bottom bracket was rather straightforward

To compete weightwise, it had to incorporate titanium, which had been used on bikes since the beginning of the seventies
Remember luis Ocana and the Speedwell in 1973 :idea: Possibly it also would incorporate sealed bearings for easier use.

See the potential design candidates here on an period article on sealed bearings bottom brackets ( again French lesson :facepalm: )


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I happen to have a few “with titanium” bottom brackets.

Some are actually all titanium ( apart from the bearings) and were manufactured by workers who were bicycle fans in the aeronautics industry in the eighties in a firm called Malichaud.


Again passage on the scale was organized. For comparison, a regular steel axle BB was included in the comparison ( but is not on the picture) . Here is the result


Bottom bracket all titanium - Axle - cups - cage - "Malichaud" 246g
Threadless BB – Mavic like - Titanium axle - Stronglight 225g
Bottom bracket – titanium axle – plastic cage - alu cups - Stronglight Competition 189g
Bottom bracket "Malichaud" cups and titanium axle 179g
Specialites TA - AXIX TA light titanium axle - alu cups 160g

Stronglight Steel Axle and Aluminium bearings cups 234 g


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As the Specialites TA was actually manufactured later , and the Malichaud were possibly eighties , the Stronglight bottom bracket at 189 g which is in the middle of the picture was chosen. It should be a “650” reference.
The right cup on the pic has been changed to regular Stronglight Competition one ( I had some which allowed a precise tune of the chainline)

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:18 pm 
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5) SADDLE and SEATPOST

Saddle

The main french manufacturer of saddles in France was Ideale. A very old French company founded in 1890 by a Monsieur Tron
Funnily, his daughter married a famous French champion in the 20’s Marcel Berthet and the Tron Berthet company developed to sell the Ideale saddles. Berthet was possibly an ingenious person , skilled for marketing and at using his name as Lyotard sold a Marcel Berthet pedal, the MB23 which was the first flat pedal on the market.


Later on Daniel Rebour - famous for his sketches of cycling parts - who was a friend of Berthet , suggested to sell saddles whose leather had already being made more supple for comfort. This is why at a stage , the Ideale saddles bore engraved TB for Tron Berthet in the front and "Rodee main facon Rebour" on the back :idea: But I digress :mrgreen:

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Ideale was famous for the first alu rail saddle, the N°90 R which compared to steel rail saddles gained 100 to 150 g.

But in the 60’s the Unicanitor with a plastic base recovered by leather opened a new era.

The Ideale 2002 was such a French model

Here a ron Kitching catalog scan

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For the sake of comparison, I have shown an array of 70’s saddles and compared the weight.

Cinelli Unicanitor 442 g
Italia Sprint 408 g
Selle Ideale 2002 406g (The titanium rail one was 325g)
Gi Lux 3000 405 g
Arius Gran Carrera Special 400 g
Concor Supercorsa 359 g

What is striking is that all these saddles look pretty simila apart from the Concor supercorsa which appeared in 78

Apparently the 3T Super Leggera Alu rail at 260 g would have been the winner

Here the Unicanitor, the precursor of recovered plastic saddles


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The 4 others : Concor Supercorsa /GI – Lux 3000 / Arius Gran Carrera / Italia Sprint

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The French final choice - the Ideale 2002 but with steel rails

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Seatpost


The competing seatposts at that time on the French scenes were

Laprade with the Laprade 505. Laprade is a famous name as the company is the inventor of saddle fixation system with only one vertical allen bolt. The patent rights were sold later to Sakae Ringo which sold its SR Laprade in much bigger numbers in the 80's

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http://www.google.com.ar/patents/US4142 ... CBwQ6AEwAA


JPR (For Jean Paul Routens) which was also renowned for its framemaking business notably with randonneuse style bikes


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Finally Simplex ( or being rebadged Spidel) with the SLJ 4164, Spidel being a company gathering the best parts of the French cycling industry and promoting them under one name. It was created in 1976.


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Comparison of weights for a 26.4 seatpost suitable for this Super Vitus 971 frame gives

Laprade 210 g
JPR 206 g
Spidel SLJ 195 g


Despite , the Spidel being the lightest, its probably not going to be chosen as the tuning mechanism is very cumbersome and “ a pain in the neck”. So presently, it should be the Laprade which should be mounted.


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Last edited by bduc61 on Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 7:30 pm 
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Very nice topic !
Can't wait for the final weight


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:29 pm 
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Nice build thread, I like the effort you've made in trying to detail the difficult decisions you have to make. Chapeau!


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:49 am 
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Incredible.


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