Re: [CR]Singer is Awesome!

Example: Humor

Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2002 09:41:16 -0600
To: "Douglas R. Brooks" <>
From: Bicycle Classics inc <>
Subject: Re: [CR]Singer is Awesome!

As a Singer and Herse fan, I must respectfully disagree with Douglas on his lukewarm assesment of the Singer race frame. Myself and several others have been saying for some time that Singer frames, and an example such as this, are perhaps the most underrated vintage frames in existance. There are several reasons why a frame such as this is extraordinary.

The first is that constuction is not as simple as meets the eye. Notice the roundness of the lugs where the tube junctions meet. There is extensive filleting of brass on TOP of the lug to make the joint a seamless whole. In fact, and I don't know for what frames this is true, Singer (as did Herse) often made their own lugs and it is likely that homemade lugs might be more likely to receive this treatment. Regardless of whether the lugs are homemade or not, there is considerable extra work in a frame such as this - even if some of the other details are not up to American standards for crispness.

The second feature of Singer frames is the ride. Douglas lists a number of great frames that any of us would certainly like to have. But in my mind, after having ridden all the frames Douglas lists, the quality of the Singer ride is on par with all those listed. In fact, for sport-road geometry, I'll go out on a limb and say that the Singer is still the reference standard - some current makers of such bikes have not paid enough attention to what comes out of Paris when they consider their own designs and tube selections.

Then consider history and rarity. In many years, only 50 frames came out of the Singer shop - in the era of both Csuka brothers were there. And the frame for sale is of the era when Roland was doing the building - grab an Herse, grab almost any other great European bike, and you don't know who built it - but this one came from the hand of the great master himself. To some, Singer bikes are not as desirable as Herse because Singers are still available. Yes they are, and new ones are very nice and anyone with the means should buy one - but they are not as nice as the older ones and Roland is not around to make them (but his brother still makes perhaps the finest stems and racks in the world and oversees frame production).

Finally, yes, the bike under discussion is not a touring bike loaded up with all sorts of features - but the frame itself is the ultimate feature. Herse and Singer built bikes for all types of uses - and the reality is that in the world of go fast sporty bikes for long day rides, a Singer really is a gem.

Mike "wanna sell me a Singer?" Kone in Boulder CO

At 03:33 PM 4/9/02 -0400, Douglas R. Brooks wrote:
>Louis and Singer buffs,
>> I have some closeup pics of the lugs on the Singer that is on ebay if anyone is interested. I'm not smart enough to put them on a website, so email me and I'll forward them to you. There is more small scrapes and marks on this frame than I would have expected by the description. And, the pinstriping around the lugs is definitely hand painted--looks like the painter had too much coffee that morning. Lou Deeter, Orlando FL
>The paint on Singers is never all that great, especially in comparison
>to what American restorers (JB, CyclArt, Mr Baylis,, if there are
>others of this remarkable caliber...) can do. It is passable over all
>and the pinstriping is definitely not always even or clean. The charm
>of these bikes is, to my mind, the simple fact that they are not frames
>with parts added but built _with_ the parts very specifically oriented
>towards the bike's purpose. In the case of the present eBay-Singer
>the example is not well-taken since it lacks the carriers, mudguards,
>lights, generators, internal wiring, and the braze-ons that make for
>the best of these bikes. The French, as Jan Heine can explain far better
>than me, make a distinction between frame builders and "constructeurs",
>the latter building only whole bikes. Truly it is a gestalt that is
>prized---and while Waterford uses this term to refer to their notion
>of overall design, when you see a Singer, Herse, or Mariposa (or others
>of this very special ilk), you get a clear idea of what this would mean.
>Paris-Brest-Paris bikes in the old days forbade clamp-on parts which
>meant that braze-ons were done for nearly everything imaginable. Anyway,
>a racer style fenderless Singer is a really beautiful bike but not
>to my eye allllll that special in comparison to others. Pinstriping on
>both my 700c Audax and my 650B Singers is only fair...but the ride and
>the workmanship...oooolala! For a "race" bike/ten-speed/all over bike
>I'd rather have a Sachs/Baylis/Rivendell/Your Favorite...the Singer is
>not really in this league, imho.
>Douglas Brooks
>Canandaigua, NY