Hi CR folks,
So far the response to the Rene Herse post has been overwhelming - I'm spending a chunk of time time this morning responding to posts from folks interested in getting into the bike/frame que!
Initially, the Rene Herse bikes will be available with Herse racks and stems and front deraillieurs (only on a bike intended for vintage components though).
The intent is to have Herse brakes and cranks as well, but those will follow a bit later. Herse brakes are still cutting edge (although a user friendly centering adjustment would be a welcome addition). Herse cranks are a wonderful design, but the originals used an alloy that was a tad soft. But the bolt circle lends itself to triples and compact doubles that are very appealing relative to current components.
That said, I don't want the project to get too deep into debt with tooling costs as that puts pressure on sales and output, and therefore gets the horse ahead of the cart. Right now, other than for a few sunk costs that are already paid for, there is little financial pressure. I want the pressure to be on building the best bike possible and not on how to appease a bean counter. So cranks and brakes (and perhaps other components) will follow in time, but maybe not this fall.
Rene Herse Bicycles Inc.
Congratulations. What an ambitious and audacious project to undertake!
Much of the unique charm of Herse bikes is for me all special and beautiful componentry Rene made or had made to his spec, stems, brakes, cranksets, front derailleurs, special hubs etc. as well of course as the racks and such. These pieces really helped distinguish his best bikes and made them special and unique. His bikes featuring off the rack components are still wonderful but for me lack the character and charm of the ones extensively carrying his own componentry.
Any plans to emulate his extensive, innovative and unique use of special componentry to distinguish the brand and honor the history of the marque?
Kurt Sperry Bellingham WA USA
On 6/16/07, email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: Hi CR folks,
The deal is that Rene Herse Bicycles Inc. will be making bicycles that are extremely close to the originals, and also bikes with the Herse design elements but which utilize modern oversize tubing. With Herse this is a no-brainer, though, as Herse bikes were using "oversize" tubes 50 years ago! I expect some folks will purchase a bike designed for vintage components. Others will want a cutting-edge touring or randonneur bike that can exceed the performance of the modern alternatives.
The key to making this work is Mark Nobilette. Since Mark is great at making lugs and bb's, the most elegant and labor intensive "classic" Herse frames are the ones that will be enthusiastically emulated. I love the look of handmade lugs with the built-up brass fillets at the joints. And of course, that means that frames requiring unique angles are built with lugs and bb's that are tailored exactly to fit!
The intent is for output to be low - and each bike when compared against the production of "classic" Herse bikes will be a standout (in our opinion). It would be very easy, and very profitable, to use (or get made) cast lugs in the Herse style, cut a few corners, and make a bike that is cost effective to produce and which takes advantage of the Herse name. But that won't happen. The intent is to send photos of each completed bicycle to Lily Herse and her husband (the last maker of Herse bicycles and a builder for Herse in the 1940's) so that they can feel proud of the bikes that carry the family name.
The only downside? The bicycles will not be inexpensive compared with many other bikes on the market. But - and important to note, the bikes will have an extraordinary amount of time built into them. Time will be taken for both construction and sorting out of details so that the buyers money represents true value - not some payment for a name and a marketing effort.
We are set up to take orders and for folks to get into the cue (two folks in the cue already, and one is a famous frame builder on the CR list!). If folks have a "classic" Rene Herse and need racks to replace a missing or damaged one, that work can be taken quite quickly with about an 8 week turn around time. We also have a chromer that is doing great work here in Denver, which is quite important for or task.
If anyone has any questions, please contact me. I'm sure that many folks will be skeptical that we can uphold the name - and I myself am usually extremely skeptical of others engaging in similar ventures. That is why I know this one will succeed. But nobody should take my word for it. The bikes will be the proof - it is going to be an exciting adventure!
Rene Herse Bicycles, Inc.