Hi CR folks,
Sitting in front of me is a Jo Routens 650b frame that is a diamond in the rough. Probably late 50's or early 60's. Routens bikes have a reputation for being great riders, although they are often a bit heavy (such as this one). Routens is generally considered to be part of the big three of French constructures - the other two being Herse and Singer. (not that there weren't other greats, but those are even rarer).
This one is about 57is to top, a smidge under 56 to center, with a roughly 55 top tube cc. It is a frame / fork with shifters and a painfully cool cable actuated front Routens deraillieur. It needs a repaint for sure, although the downtube decal is pretty legible. The frame has a headbadge.
Two notable other issues I've caught - there is a rather big dent on the top tube near the headlug, and on one of the rear cantiliver bosses the tube portion that the canti slides over is missing. Not sure if that has to be brazed (should be able to grab parts from a canti and fix, but may need to be brazed on, not sure how those went together). The dent is a bummer, but I sense that the tubing is pretty thick on this frame so some body work before repaint is probably going to do the trick.
The only really proprietary part missing on this machine is the front rack (all the other parts are missing too, but the rack is tricky).
Price on this is $500 including ground shipping within the US insured. After paint, I bet you could be into this frame for less than some of the modern Asian frames sell for new - and this one should ride great and is the real thing.
Mike Kone in Boulder CO