Current CAD/CAM tech means it would be a relatively simple excercise to machine up Herse-style cranks and other aluminum pieces from billet on an as-needed small batch basis with little upfront investment beyond time on the machine and the cost of the billet. Some would say that you need to start from cold forged blanks (big money), but aerospace and auto racing applications have pretty well proven that not to be the case any longer- simple machinings from billet are commonly used in mass/strength critical applications like wheel uprights and airframe bulkheads.
A mildly updated Herse-style crankset almost visually identical to the original would give almost nothing away in terms of function to even the most modern touring triples. It's a basic design that really can't really be substantially improved upon even today. The question is would anyone buy them?
Kurt Sperry Bellingham WA USA
On 7/16/07, Mitch Harris <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Doesn't this all suggest that there would be a market for (more)
> reproductions of Herse parts. I know that I'd buy a couple of reproduction
> Herse look-alike cranks for non-Herse projects--who was it who showed a
> Herse-like crank at a bike show in the last couple of years? Maybe there
> not enough market for a crank that would be a close enough reproduction to
> supply the bi-coastal Toi/Jitensha market but also be updated enough as to
> BCD etc. to attract a more general market.
> Sorry for the hi-jack,
> Mitch Harris
> Little Rock Canyon, Utah
> On 7/16/07, Fred Rednor <email@example.com> wrote:
> > > > That Herse on the other hand... whole different deal.
> > > > That bike, once parted out, is probably destined never
> > > > to be anything near correct again.
> > > > Someone will buy the frame/fork (maybe) and the buyer
> > > > will surely realize at some point that it will be
> > > > uneconomic or impossible to properly refit it as
> > > > it was. Will the buyer at that point abandon the project
> > > > entirely or simply complete it with the wrong pieces?
> > > > Those look to me like the only realistic alternatives.
> > > > That Herse in its original conception and iteration is
> > > > probably irretrievably gone forever either way once the
> > > > boxes are sent out.
> > >
> > > The problem here is the demand for parts to hang on modern
> > > 'Toei et al.' bikes, which make the parts worth much more
> > > than the whole. If the whole, complete bike was worth as
> > > much as the sum of the parts plus some, then it would make
> > > sense for Grant Handley to sell the
> > > complete bike, or at least a "kit" with all the hard-to-find
> > > bits that belong together in one auction.
> > >
> > > But as they say, the market has spoken, and "it" has
> > > decided that a new Toei is worth much more than an old
> > > Herse with original parts.
> > In some ways, Jan's final point - while true - makes me
> > somewhat sad. Then again, if one is an admirer of this type of
> > bicycle, you might have to wait a lifetime to find one in your
> > frame size. And considering that these bikes had bespoke
> > frames, built for a specific person's physique, an example that
> > truly fits a prospective second-hand buyer might never appear.
> > Next, there are the shipping costs, which have become
> > exorbitant for a frame. Finally, you have to consider the cost
> > of restoration. Many of these old Herse and Singer bikes seem
> > not to have been treated, over the years, with the level of
> > care they deserve. In any event, if you were in Japan, where
> > would you bring the frame for restoration? To Toei? In that
> > case, from an economic standpoint, it might be better to have
> > Toei build a frame to your measurements and use the old French
> > derailleurs, stem, brakes, mud guards, lights, etc.
> > Cheers,
> > Fred Rednor - Arlington, Virginia (USA)