Re: [Classicrendezvous] Re: [chrome Paramounts)- Rene Herse's

(Example: Events:Cirque du Cyclisme:2004)

From: <>
Date: Sat, 21 Oct 2000 02:32:34 EDT
Subject: Re: [Classicrendezvous] Re: [chrome Paramounts)- Rene Herse's

In a message dated 10/19/00 2:25:24 AM, writes:

<< Jerry Moos wrote:

I have to say that despite all the nasty potential consequences of chroming, a

full chrome Paramount is still exquisite to behold, and I'd love to own one,

potential hydrogen embrittlement and all. I'd suggest Hilary do a Design

Classic spot on the full chrome Paramount, but perhaps Paramount can't generate

in UK the mystique that has always surrounded it in America.




Greetings Jerry and all,

When I was younger (20 years ago) a pal of Fred Delong (named Jay Howard, 80 years and still riding regularly) swore off chrome plating a full bicycle. He had a fully chromed Bob Jackson Tourer from the Early 1970s. He had a problem with internal and external rust and felt he had to have it repainted. The bike as far as I know is still being ridden (not by him) in it's repainted condition-it did not fail.

Was the bike improperly chromed? Maybe but this rider was well known for riding in all weather and not very fastidious on cleaning his bike, however well maintained otherwise. He was a rider and commuter that put in a weekend century (miles) every Saturday in all weathers since the late 1950s. He has cut back to 100km on Saturday as age is catching up with him now.

Was it the preparation, maintenance or decision to chrome the cycle that led to the premature removal of the chrome?

I talked at length to former Schwinn representative Keith Kingbay who I think was an engineer (not confirmed but a lifetime LAW member he was) at Schwinn of the repeated testing Schwinn performed on chrome plating techniques. They introduced dirt, water, salt, hot, cold, abrasion, and many other tests to see which technique would be as lasting as the Varsity! Just kidding as nothing out lasts a 38 pound Schwinn Varsity. He told me most chromers use a copper base to bold to the steel followed by the chromium plating and then polish. Copper adheres to steel while chrome will not. Chrome adheres to copper well so you have a durable surface....but the best solution is nickel over steel ( nickel is a copper an silver alloy) followed by the chrome plating. For anyone who has found an old nickel plating bike on a bike and tried to remove the plating ( Many 30's era and earlier bike parts made by Wald have nickel plating that is vastly superior to todays galvinized items) thay are suprized toi find it has great corosion resitsnace and staying power.

That is the prefered Schwinn way that must have been used on Paramounts as well as the the rank and file bikes. Few bikes of the late 60's forward from Schwinn have coorosion problems not attributed to fowl weather, salt or mistreatment.

In the early 1980's being fully cautioned by Jay I met a real cyclcing veteran in the form of Dan Henry. He was known as Capt Dan Henry (He was an airline pilot) and was a member of the fabled International Bicycle Touring Society. Many of the members owned Rene Herse's and other exotic touring bikes. His bike, though I feel stripped of the original accesories was fullly chrome plated and at least 20-25 years old and had never been cleaned or maintained. Under the ancient grime was sparkeling chrome. This Rene guy knew how to make that shiney stuff last.

I went to France as part of the US Paris Brest Paris contingent of about 93 cyclists and visited the workshop of Rene Herse and Alex Singer amoung others while in France. While Mssr. Herse had been buried with his cleats for a few years when I arrived his able son in law and daughter (who were married I might add) took great care to create my current ride in full chrome. It may have been the last frame to roll out of the shop in 1984 and now has 40 thousand miles with very little deterioration in the chrome finish. It has been ridden in lots of rain and until recently lovingly waxed and pampered.

I felt from past expirience no painted frame would show so well ( Best French 1999 and Best of show in 2000 at the Cirque du Cycle in Greensboro NC, USA) after so much use than my Herse. It really looked much better polished up in 1999 but I ran out of time for preporation in 2000 but managed a more elaborate presentation to win the day. Babble, babble, Chrome can be fine indeed if properly maintained or applied though I feel soon enviromental laws will confine the process to a few critical industrial processes.

My next bike (I hope) will be a full stainless steel Alex Moulton Speed (Pylon) with the works. At todays cost of about $7500 US dollars (before freight and duty) it is much cheaper than my Herse was when new $4400 US dollars in 1983 without wheels. I hope it will appriciate as well as the Herse ( Moulton's always seem to appreciate) as I wa offered $1200.00 US this past summer. The Herse is for not for sale fellas ( lady's as well) however but I'd glad to provide with a Moulton in your budjet if you like.

Thirty years after the fact and 50 miles away from town people still remember that Yankee ( he rode with Fred Delong in Philly as a young fellow) on that shinny chrome bike (Bob Jackson) that used to sit down and talk for a while at the country stores.

Hopeless Moulton Dealer,

Gilbert Anderson
Bicycle Outfitter
519 W. North St.
Raleigh, NC 27603
toll free: 800/321-5511