[CR] Caminade serial numbers

Example: History

Date: Mon, 18 May 2009 22:07:11 +0000
From: nicbordeaux <nicbordeaux@yahoo.fr>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Cc: Jan Heine <heine94@earthlink.net>
Subject: [CR] Caminade serial numbers

Dear List, Dear Jan,

Not often that I have any useful "fact" or evidence to contribute, but on the Caminade serial numbers, all seems clear: one of mine, a ladies bike, dates from 1940, nubered 137x (x meaning I don't have to mind the digit and I can't be bothered to turn the bike upsd and check, it's a big job to turn a bike over without adequate tools). Above that number, also on the BB are the number 9-40, September 1940. A friend with a similar bike but from 12-40 has a serial number just 50 digits away. Other bikes from the same year have slightly lower serial numbers. Tempting of course to file off the 9-40 and that first digit and have a first production year number :))

Post war, my info is that the last known bike produced is in the 3500 range and dates 1956. Some debate as to whether the serial numbers started afresh after the war, no proof either way, but it seem's doubtful from what little data I've collated. Even then, total production would be in the area of 5000-6000 bikes.

The reason caminades have been long due for a massive price explosion is that they are industrial art, are a unique concept for the time, and have an appeal as art deco (is it art deco ?) outside the bike community.

On the pre/war/post war production, times were hard in France in 1940 (viz 50 bikes produced in 2-4 months). I'd guess that with most metal and production facilities being used by the occupying forces for their war efort, the bikes were made out of what was available from the parts stock, so it would be hard to date from parts. For example, the history of my 1940 bike is known right back to it's original purchaser. The bike, apart from saddle and lights (and pedals, all of which I know who retrofitted) comes with octogonal steel cranks, chrolux steel rims to caminargent alloy hubs. The other 40's identical model I know of has alloy rims and alloy stronglight cranks.

Anyway, my guess is that although the 7000+ buck Caminade may have been a "freak" sale (time will tell soon enough), Caminades even if they have survived in quite "large" numbers because the don't rust, are the hottest investment around, and those who have bought in at the 1000 - 1500 euro mark are sitting on a very valuable asset. And also a very desirable piece of cycling build and history.

BTW, my bike being 100% surefire original, I can confirm that the head lugs were paint filled, and that the inserts into the fork blades were likewise painted, as the brass fork DO's.

Nick March, Agen 47000, France

Subject: Re: [CR] Very strange but absolutely true! Caminade Redux To: Edward Albert <ealbert01@gmail.com>, CLASSIC RENDEZVOUS <Classicrendezvous@bikelist.org> Message-ID: <a0623091cc63658d5cdb0@[]> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; format=flowed

At 3:18 PM -0400 5/17/09, Edward Albert wrote:
>An absolutely original
>(except saddle) Caminade Caminarget track bike serial #573, Stronglight inch
>pitch track cranks, Caminade bars and stem, and.....Caminade wheels
>(although the rear is in rough shape with several spokes pulled out through
>the rim). Rims have Caminade decals in tact and............the downtube has
>two perfect (although dirty) Caminargent decals. I never thought they even
>existed in the flesh. Additionally, contrary to what some have said, the
>lugs were filled in with Red (oxidized) paint and the cranks had pointed
>flutes -- the bike is pre-war the parts original. I would say that the idea
>that rounded flutes mean pre-war and pointed post is not, in fact, the case.

Wow! Congratulations. That seems like a really, really neat bike. Much better than the over-polished e-bay machine with its cobbled-together parts, many of which were bought separately on e-bay in recent months... (A listmember sent me all the various auctions that the seller won to "complete" your bike.) In any case, the e-bay Caminargent has mis-matched cranks... one with rounded, one with pointed flutes.

I agree on the red paint in the headlug windows - the Caminargent in "The Competition Bicycle" has that as well, and it doesn't look like that one has been messed with a lot.

Regarding the pre-war Stronglight cranks: When you look at Stronglight ads from pre-war, they all show the rounded flutes. For example, see


and click on the bottom left page. In addition, all verifiable pre-war Stronglight cranks have the rounded flutes.

Do you have a date for your latest bike? History? It is possible that some pre-war Stronglight cranks matched the post-war pattern, but it's just as likely that your bike was upgraded after the war, or even is a post-war machine... I don't think anybody _knows_ the Caminargent serial number pattern.

In any case, I'll be very happy to see the new Caminargent at the Cirque. We can discuss the cranks then.

Jan Heine Editor Bicycle Quarterly 140 Lakeside Ave #C Seattle WA 98122 http://www.vintagebicyclepress.com