[CR]Pink Rene Herse...

(Example: Production Builders:Frejus)

From: "Norris Lockley" <norris.lockley@talktalk.net>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2007 01:44:00 +0100
Subject: [CR]Pink Rene Herse...

As readers of the List will already know, I am one of the doubting Thomases when it comes to joining the Rene Herse Fan Club.

This is not to criticise in any way the quality of Herse's frames as each one has some excellent quality workmanship about it, and style etc but I just cannot see what is so extra special about them. They have l ittle "wow" factor as far I can detect.

OK..some of the early ones have very attractive cast lugs, pleasing fork crowns, seductive fork rakes and, by and large,very well executed paint jo bs and quality chrome, but so far I could have been describing any number o f well-built and finished frames, from the hands of dozens of other artisan frame-builders.

Yes..the rear drop-outs are of a unique style, the deeply grooved treatm ent of the ends of the stays and fork blades are slightly more head-tu rning than the ubiquitous domed-and-slotted style..but what else is there?& nbsp; Internal rear brake cable routing....a very common feature, even if t h cable entry and exit ferrules are interesting.

There is a factory-built 70s Unic-Sport (built by Gottried) going through French Ebay at the moment. It has stay and fork-end treatment simil ar to the pink Herse..and the price stands at 40 euros...

During my recent holiday in France I spent a day with one of France's to p Ebay sellers. In his garden we were surrounded by dozens of very attracti ve frames, of both racing and touring varieties, that had been made in the 40s, 50s and 60s by small, lesser known French craftsmen. Some of them were exquisite in their detail. In the midst of the display my friend pointed t o his recently acquired Herse.

At first I thought he was pulling my leg as my eyes sought out a frame t hat should, in theory, have stood oput from the crowd....but didn't. Perhap s it should be explained that this particular Herse was of of his "second d ivision " frames...and very ordinary indeed, with grotesque pressed-plate c ombined brake cable stops and guides, of the type I have very often seen sp ot-welded onto production line frames.

My friend, surrounded as he was by some examples of craftsmanship as fin e as any to be had, was mystified why the American buyers with whom he is i n contact, only ask for Herse and Singer models.

My own opinion is that they should be searching out the work of Jean Fre lat/Sasebo, Alain Michel, Burdin and the like. Bernard Carre is now well-kn own for the "2-a-day" workmanlike frames he made for many of the Pro r iders, especially the Lejeune team models, but the frames he made for his p rivate clientele are a match for many a Singer/Herse product, although I ha ve never found one with cast lugs or unusual fork crown or rare drop-outs. I have however recently picked up a frame that Carre built for himself, and that really is interesting both in its quality of workmanship and its deta il. The stay and fork-end treatment are just mind-blowingly unusual. And th e bonus is...it is an all-chrome plate job..and in very good condition.

Do I hear a starting price of $2600 for this rare beauty?

Norris Lockley, Settle UK

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