Bernard Carre frame - What specification am I working to?


Retro Newbie
Hi, picked this frame up for a Winter build project.

It's a Bernard Carre frame and despite the paint being very rough, the frame and forks look sound.

I'm not looking to undertake a full Bernard Carre restoration, rather, I'd get the frame re-sprayed and build it up with approx. period parts and make it a single-speed. I've found a few articles on the 'Net on Bernard Carre, but specifications are light.

Would I be looking for 27" or 700c rims? Deep drop brakes or short? I think the BB and headset will be French (35 x 1), but don't know for sure just yet.

I've found a couple of B. Carre posts on here, so will have a read.


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Dirt Disciple
Hi, NGR-

Your Carre looks like one of his personal production framesets rather than a Lejeune, Delacroix, Bertin or whatever. The engraved stay caps, diamond lug cut outs and the modified fork crown indicate a Carre branded frame. It looks to be early to mid 1970s so Normandy Competition hubs with 700C tubulars, Stronglight V4 or P3 headset and Stronglight 49 or 93 crankset would be appropriate. Brakes might be Mafac Competition CP or, possibly, 1st Gen Mafac LS sidepulls of normal reach (about 55 mm to the center of the pad at the rim). This was a higher end frame so these components might be typical but much of his production was sold as framesets so be flexible re: equipment specifications.

The threading will be very likely all French in both BB and headset. Seat post will probably be 26.4 mm. The tubeset is likely to be French 531. There is a series on a Carre Bertin restoration here:

There's a 3 part series about Carre here:

If you need decals for the respray, reproductions are available here:

Hope this helps.


Retro Newbie
Hey, many thanks gents. Very much appreciated.

I was just looking for a cheap frame to move a load of late '70s kit onto (including Normandy hubs), but it was never going to be that straightforward was it ;) This project will take me a bit longer than I originally thought.

The bottom bracket shell and forks are numbered, "072" and "H82". If "early to mid-seventies", then "072" could be 1972(?). As for "H82", I cannot locate any reference to that on the 'Net.

I attach further pictures I have of the frame for interest. (Never seen a fork steerer "plugged" before.

Many thanks again all.


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Retro Newbie
Hi, yep I think I owe you 50p. I don't have too many spare bottom brackets and I had assumed this would be a French thread for the BB. Looks like your steer toward "BSA" is correct.

The cups I removed from an alleged Claud Butler I had , had a Bayliss Wiley cup on the LH side (other than name, no thread detail) and it fitted fine on the LH side. The RH cup was a 1.37 x 24 Tange cup, which doesn't want to fit on the Carre frame. However, having had a Brompton for eons, and kept all the parts I'd replaced, I had a BSA bottom bracket from that. Just for testing, it worked fine on the RH side.

Thanks for the steer on this.


Retro Newbie
It took a while, so apologies.

I got it resprayed and built it up out of period(ish) parts. French parts where I could. I built it single-speed as living near to London, there's plenty of flat to ride on and these builds are, "simple".

I replaced the Mafac brake levers I had with Weinmann ones. Main reason - the cable release on the Weinmann's, which the Mafac's don't have, plus, the Mafacs were a little scraped too. The Mafac calipers I sourced were a little beaten-up, so I managed to source a few new parts and made a couple of small, easy parts, on the lathe.

Handlebars and stem are probably the main offenders for not being French, however, I wanted a bike I could build and use.

Rims are Wolber. Rear hub is Maillard and front hub is a Sansin "Sunshine" lookalike.

Seat is my trusty Brooks B17 Narrow that I re-riveted years ago. Still a very comfortable saddle. It sits on a Mercier seat-post.

Chain-set is an un-named brand, "Made in France", but in good condition. Bottom-bracket turned out to be French.

I did have a Velo Orange French headset, but the stack height was too big, so I replaced with a Tange headset, which had a far better stack height for this frame.

Bluemels short mudguards (NOS).

Okay, so the pedals are SPD, but this is for comfort rather than appearance. I have several good pairs of quill pedals and two pairs of Lyotards with clips and straps, but SPD wins for me for simple riding.

Lastly, colour is RAL7001 (silver grey).

Love it!


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Dirt Disciple
Hi, NGR-

Well done! That's a lovely, subtle effect with the silver paint and silver components. I believe your 531 decals are correct as Carre didn't largely shift to Vitus until roughly the time he went to the narrower, concave, fluted seat stay caps. During your respray, you might have found "531" or "reynolds" pressed into the tubes at the top of the fork blades, on the down tube near the head lug or, perhaps, on the steerer.