Re: [CR] 70's French Constructeur Bike - what rises to the top

(Example: Framebuilders:Chris Pauley)

In-Reply-To: <53DE81749AC34B61977108CF337063F4@peter5ca78cb10>
References: <> <> <a062309a3c5912ecb3f6c@[]>
Date: Tue, 13 Jan 2009 09:46:54 -0800
To: "P.C. Kohler" <>, <>
From: "Jan Heine" <>
Subject: Re: [CR] 70's French Constructeur Bike - what rises to the top

At 9:02 PM -0500 1/12/09, P.C. Kohler wrote:
>The subject of French "constructeur" bikes is enough to tempt me out
>from lurkerdom.
>The only frame I own in this category is a c. 1980-1 Gilles Berthoud
>racing machine I purchased on eBay (France) from Alex M. in
>September 2007 for what I felt was an astonishing (and frankly
>insulting) price of $225.

There are many bargains to be had, even among the big names. You were lucky, nobody else wanted that bike at that time.

Berthouds, especially the early ones, were very nice indeed. The Philippe in the aforementioned posts is a nice machine, too. I just objected to the gushing comparison to Herse et al... In the car world, an MGB is a very nice machine, but it doesn't compare to a Ferrari California Spider.

One of my favorite bikes, the one I raced for more than 10 years, was a humble Marinoni Columbus SL frame. Lugwork and paint were nothing special, but it rode very well, and took me to many race wins. And it held together for more than 70,000 hard miles, multiple crashes, even being rear-ended by a motorcycle. It had a great racing geometry that allowed me to out-descend most other racers on the then-popular criterium geometries. More than once, people following my line crashed, and I had not even been near the limit.

The Marinoni always will have a place in my heart, but for a collector, it would not be of much interest.

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