If anyone is able to view some issues of "Cycling"
from the early to mid '70's you'll see some
interesting component trimming there, too. The most
extreme was a bike ridden by either Alf Engers or
Derek Cottington that had it's Campagnolo hub and
pedal barrels slotted--the hub axle was painted in
world champions' stripes that were clearly visible
through the slot! This in addition to the usual
half-taped bars, hoodless brake levers, Campionissimo
Seta Extra tires on 24 spoke wheels. I don't remember
seeing weight specs on any of these bikes, it's just
how most of them were pictured with a few closeup
shots of interesting details. I haven't ever traveled
to or lived in Britain, it's just that in Los Angeles
ca. 1970 it was easier to find "Cycling" than
> While working on issue 4 of Vintage Bicycle
> Quarterly, dedicated to
> the famous technical trials, I came across a few
> interesting facts.
> Not only were the trials rigorously administered, so
> there is no
> doubt about the light weights - you will see the
> results sheets in
> VBQ 4 and 5.
> Also, in one event, Lionel Brans (a constructeur)
> entered a machine
> built with a Caminargent frame. To Americans, this
> may seem puzzling
> - how can Brans be the constructeur when Caminargent
> built the frame?
> Clearly, the French cyclotourists considered the
> person who put the
> bike together, who made sure fenders, lights, racks,
> derailleurs and
> all worked together, the constructeur. For them, the
> frame is only
> one part of the bike, maybe more important than
> fenders, wheels or
> other parts, but not by that much. In fact, it was
> common among some
> smaller builders to buy a raw frame, add braze-ons,
> paint and decals,
> build the bike, and sell it under their name.
> I have felt similarly about my Rivendell. While
> Rivendell provided
> the raw frame to my specs, the finished product
> (shown in VBQ 3) is
> very different from anything you can buy from Walnut
> Creek. When
> people ask me what I ride, I am reluctant to say "A
> because I don't want Grant et al. to get in trouble
> because somebody
> wants to order a bike with different clearances from
> standard, with a
> custom front rack, custom handle-bar bag QR,
> aluminum fenders, custom
> light mounts, etc.
> Of course, most of the well-known constructeurs made
> frame and bike,
> so that distinction does not apply. But it becomes
> apparent that the
> constructeur is NOT a framebuilder as we understand
> And finally, how did those bikes get so light? First
> of all, many of
> the older components were/are amazingly light.
> Second, a lot of
> drilling, and more importantly cutting.
> Which gets me to my question: How much is saved by
> drilling out
> parts? Somebody must have before/after weights, or
> be able to compare
> drilled vs. undrilled parts.
> I suspect the savings are small - Ernest Csuka once
> told me how they
> spent an hour to drill out a chainring, and then
> weighed it. They had
> saved 2 or 3 grams. I think to really save material,
> one had to cut
> away whole sections. How about pedals with the
> center sections cut
> away, so that the spindle is exposed? Or headsets
> with exposed balls.
> You'll see those in VBQ 5 (in fact, it's vol. 2, No.
> 1), part 2 of
> the technical trials.
> What is the point, you may ask? And you are right.
> The point was not
> to make superlight bikes, and many critics at the
> time were quite
> scathing about constructeurs "who exploited the rule
> book." The point
> was to make lightweight bikes (a good randonneur
> went from 33 lbs. in
> 1933 to 24 lbs. in 1936) that held up for hundreds
> of miles on the
> worst roads imaginable. Bikes that carried a load
> and handled well on
> mountain roads. Bikes that resemble the wonderful
> randonneur bikes
> built in France from 1946 onwards. And that goal was
> Shameless plug: Read all about it in Vintage Bicycle
> Quarterly. Info
> Jan Heine, Seattle