Re: [CR]weight-weenie French set up

(Example: Production Builders:Frejus)

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Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2008 21:14:57 -0700
To: Jerome & Elizabeth Moos <>
From: "Jan Heine" <>
Subject: Re: [CR]weight-weenie French set up

At the Handmade Show, René Herse Bicycles showed a historic frame that was the lightest bike at the Paris bike show in 1973. I found an article in Le Cycle that lists the components used to build that bike back in the day.

The frame was fillet-brazed from Reynolds 531 "3/10 mm" tubing, which was a French exclusive.

Parts included the Weinmann 500 brakes, CLB "Sulky" levers, Herse cranks, Jubilee derailleurs, Herse stem and TTT Superleggero bars, Campagnolo Super Record pedals with ti axles, Maillard 700 hubs, Super Champion Medaille d'Or rims (24 holes), Maillard 700 alloy freewheel, Dordoigne tubulars (170 g), a plastic Ideale saddle with ti rails, Simplex seatpost, etc.

The whole bike weighed 6.8 kg (just under 15 lbs.). Considering that others tried hard to beat that record, you can assume that these parts were the lightest available at the time. Some of the parts, especially the Herse cranks, were significantly lightened. Not by drilling holes (which doesn't do much), but by shaving off material.

The frame of the bike is seriously lightened in every conceivable way.

Coincidentally, the next issue of Bicycle Quarterly looks at the weight of bicycles, and we compare a 1947 Alex Singer 650B bike with two modern bikes, component by component. There are some surprises, as modern carbon components often are not as light as one might think...

Jan Heine Editor Bicycle Quarterly 140 Lakeside Ave #C Seattle WA 98122

>CLB made several different light brakesets.
>I've seen CLB "Compact" brakes offered at very
>high prices, but never actually seen a set "in
>the flesh". But I have some much less expensive
>CLB sidepulls that are quite light. CLB also
>made "self-energizing" (or some such) CP's which
>are really cool, though not as light as the CP's.
> Another option are Mafac superlight CP's.
>These had thinner arms and a conventional CP
>shoe attachment rather than the more complex and
>heavier Mafac shoe attachment, which is like the
>typical cantilever brakes. They also had
>superlight brake levers, with plastic rather
>than alloy bodies and no hoods. For seatposts,
>Atax made some that I've seen described as
>composite or carbon fibre, but I think maybe
>they are just black plastic. I have at least
>one, and it hasn't broken yet, but I haven't put
>all that many miles on it. For cranks, the TA
>Professional 3-arm crank might save a few grams
>versus the 5-arm French cranks.
> Regards,
> Jerry Moos
> Big Spring, Texas, USA
> wrote:
> George,
>CLB made a set of super light sidepulls. I remember lusting after them in
>the Palo Alto Catalog. Far more interesting than Weinmanns. You could
>also add CLB aluminum brake cable to shave off a few more grams.
>Yellow Jersey even seems to have them in stock
>Sounds like a fun project
>Best regards,
>Marcus Helman
>Detroit, MI
>Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2008 13:05:42 -0500
>From: "Earle Young"
>To: ,
>Subject: [CR]Vitus build
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>George Hollander asked:
>> I need help with a period "weight-weenie" project.
>> I have a Vitus frameset ( mid 1980's), and would like to outfit it with
>> the appropriate lightest weight French parts possible, from shifters, to
>> rims, tires, etc.
>> Can members provide me with this information, or make reference to
>> catalogues?
>George, Here's what I would use from that era to build an all-French,
>weight-weenie Vitus (remember, some of this will seriously lack
>and other parts will be phenominally expensive)
>Bar & Stem: Bellri made a pretty light stem and bar set that was stock on
>lot of nice French bikes of that era (besides, stem and bars is not a
>to cut weight to the limit)
>Headset: Nylfor nylon. Lighter than air, and I think Yellow Jersey has
>cheap in French thread. Buy a couple.
>Crankset: Stronglight 105 BIS ... factory drillium and classic French
>Shift set: Huret Jubile. Lightest ever made, and the stuff actually works.
>Wheels: Maillard 700 pro hubs with Maillard alloy freewheel, and MAVIC
>rims (200 grams!?!), mounted with Clement black label Criterium Seta Extra
>(and some other superlative after that, which I forget now) 195-gram
>Brakes: Weinmann 500 sidepulls with drillium levers. Or Mafac 2000. The
>Weinmann's are lighter, but not strictly French.
>Benotto tape
>Simplex alloy seat post and the lightest saddle you are comfortable on.
>You can probably build this out at under 15 pounds, but one good pothole
>would destroy most of it. I really like the idea of a French weight-weenie
>bike because the French did make some ridiculously light stuff, rather
>have medium weight stuff drilled, milled and shaved the way Italian stuff
>Earle Young,
>Madison, Wisc.
>Offering expert wheelbuilding service for classic and modern bikes.