Re: [CR]St. Etienne Marque

(Example: Events:Eroica)

Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2007 10:16:02 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jerome & Elizabeth Moos <jerrymoos@sbcglobal.net>
Subject: Re: [CR]St. Etienne Marque
To: MARK <mhoffman0@snet.net>, classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
In-Reply-To: <890363.4086.qm@web81414.mail.mud.yahoo.com>


St. Etienne, of course is the city which was once the center of the French bicycle industry, in the same way that Detroit was the center of the US auto industry.

The brand St. Etienne I remember as one of the "bike boom" brands imported into the US from France in the early 70's. There were a number of such marques that had never been heard of in the US before and vanished from the US market again after the bike boom demand subsided. I always thought most of these marques were invented just for the US market and that the brand names had no historic connection to the actual manufacturers.

Typically, St. Etienne bikes were inexpensive models equivalent to a Peugeot UO-8 or even a bit below that, with gaspipe tubing, cottered cranks, stamped dropouts and cheap Simplex Prestige derailleurs. This was also true of other bike boom marques.

However, one does occasionally see a quality model of one of these marques, with 531 tubing, Simplex forged DO's, cotterless alloy cranks and Simplex Criterium derailleurs.

I never know what to make of such rare high-end models of such normally low-end marques. Perhaps it is evidence the the particular marque in question was in fact a geniune one in France, where they made a wide range of models, but only exported the cheap models to the US, and then only during the bike boom. On the other hand, it could be that the US marketers of marque invented for the US market wanted a small number of a high-end model, mostly to sit in dealer store windows, lending some status to the more numerous low-end models actually being sold.

Regards,

Jerry Moos Big Spring, TX

MARK <mhoffman0@snet.net> wrote: Yesterday, still another bike "fell from the sky" into my humble stable. A dump find, kindly bestowed by a cycling friend.

At first glance, it looked like a Gitane sticker on the head tube, even though he told me it was a St Etienne before bringing it by. I was curious about the St. Etienne brand itself, and also any connection to Gitane.

The bike looks like 531 main tubes, simplex drop outs and criterium derailleurs, mafac, belleri, and nervar star components. It had only the rear tubular rear wheel witha normandy luxe hub.

Any comments or info appreciated.

Mark Hoffman Breathing easy after the 33rd NB Crit is over in New Britain, CT