When the Dordoigne tubs -these really were the time-triallists dream tyres in the UK - disappeared off the market in the early 80s (I think), I was fortunate in linking up with Ets Duret SA, a high-end wholesaler based in the Loire valley in France.
Luckily for me not only did I gain access to Jean-Marie Duret's extensive range of Geliano tubs, and to the Czech BARUM range that he imported, but also to the Dugast range.
At that time the high fashion in the UK was very slim tyres...I think that 16mm was the slimmest I ever used..but 17, 18 and 19 were very common. When the fashion turned to frames becoming low-profile and needing a 26" or often a 24 " front wheel then supplies of decent tubs were rare indeed.
Jean-Marie was able to supply me with DUGAST tubs in both 26" and 24" diameters, and with 17mm treads. I'm not sure whether these were commonly available world-wide or whether Dugast, a friend of Jean-Marie, made them specially for him.
I do remember clearly that the fine file treads were often made by Vittoria and sometimes by Clement...and even Wolber. What perplexed me in the early days was that the treads for the smaller ie non-700c tubs were just 700s cut to length and bonded into place.
However DUGAST really knew his adhesives and I never over a period of several years ever had one tub whose joint "bumped" or came unstuck, such was the quality of the feathering together of both ends of the tread.
I think it was in 1985 that I met M Dugast and his close friend Christian Marquet at the Paris Show, where they were both showing their products on a very small stand.
Both were exhibiting very high-end products but whereas M Dugast had only tubs in his display, M Marquet had only high-end wired-on pressures tyres ( I think you call them clinchers). The marketing slogan for these tyres whose name was MUTAN was - Revolutionary Technology in Bicycle Tyres.
The carcasses and the treads of both the tubs and the pressures were very similar..using silk and Egyptian cotton, but the MUTAN also incorporated Kevlar..quite an innovation in those days when Wolber was still slipping a layer of fine metal mesh under the treads of the Invulnerable . Clement or Vittoria had a similar, line with the Imperforabile , I think
The real innovation withn the MUTAN tyres was down to the fact that the latex inner tubes were stuck very accurately to the inner wall of the tyre's carcass along the latter's centre-line., with a band of some clever adhesive about 1/2 inch wide.. This permitted very accurate and rapid demounting of the tyre/tube assembly. In the event of a puncture the inner tube could be gently peeled back from the carcass, repaired and then stuck back on.
Marquet claimed that his tyres could not roll off he rim, and that they had all the qualities and attributes of the finest of Dugast's tubs - a claim that Andre did not dispute. There were sixteen tyres in his range varying in weight from 120gms for an extra-light silk track one to 200 gms for a road tyre with fine cotton and a Kevlar road at the same weight.
Norris Lockley Settle UK
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