This is a 1975 Alex Singer Randonneur with 650B wheels.
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.
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…
"The champions have better bikes, more expensive shoes, many more pairs of cycling shorts than we do, but they have the same roads" - Tim Krabbé