Re: [CR] Helyett Speciale on French Ebay

(Example: Framebuilders:Richard Moon)

Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2009 12:01:25 -0700
From: "verktyg" <>
To: Hugh Thornton <>, <>, <>
References: <>
In-Reply-To: <>
Subject: Re: [CR] Helyett Speciale on French Ebay


Many top quality French bikes came with Reynolds 531 main tubes and Durifort forks and stays. They had a Reynolds transfer on one of the main tubes and a red, white and blue Durifort transfer on one or both fork blades. Zeus used this combination too.

I'd never heard about the "too Flexible" idea. I always thought that bikes made with Reynolds or Columbus 3 main tubes were just a marketing ploy. The Reynolds or Columbus transfers were intended to draw in less knowledgeable buyers, suggesting that the bike was made with all premium tubing because it had a recognizable brand name decal. Same thing with straight gage Reynolds 531. The cost savings was over butted 531 main tubes was really minimal.

A lot of production frames were made with 1.0mm x 0.7mm wall thickness Reynolds 531(and Columbus SP)tubing. This was later called Reynolds Super Tourist tubing. The less expensive Durifort and Vitus 172 tubing had about the same wall thickness tubes as the premium brands and so would provide the same kind of riding characteristics.

I have a 1981 Bianchi Campione Del Mondo made with Columbus Tretubi tubing - 3 main tubes Columbus SL and the rest probably Falck which was chrome-moly steel just like Columbus. It's a very light bike and rides great, better than my all Columbus Bianchis.

Chas. Colerich Oakland, CA USA

Hugh Thornton wrote:
> Wow! Thanks for bringing that beautiful bike to our attention. My all-time favorite bike having grown up when my hero Anquetil was notching up TdF victories on one (I now want an early 60s Gitane too because he switched). Fortunately it is too small for me, so I am under no temptation. In my opinion this bike must be to the latter end of the date range given by the seller, if not beyond, for the following reasons:
> - The lugs are an updated design - much more flowing at the front of the head tube. Earlier ones had a more curlys bits.
> - The headbadge is stick-on. Mine, which I thought was 1957-59 has a riveted badge with apertures through which the head tube paint shows.
> - The rear dropouts seem to have the gear hanger in the same plane as the dropout, not cranked outwards like the earlier ones were to suit Simplex plunger type derailleurs. Does anybody know when these dropouts came in? I had assumed they came in with the JUY61 parallelogram gear (in 1961?), though I think the JUY543 will work with either type.
> - A frame made pre-JUY61 would have a double cable stop on the chainstay for the twin JUY543 cables - I cannot see whether this one does or not.
> I think Anquetil always rode a Pivo handlebar stem when he was with Helyett and perhaps also when he rode a Gitane.
> Earlier Speciales like mine were all 531, whereas this is main tubes only, if the decal is to be believed. Does anybody know why and when this change was made? I think I read somewhere, maybe on CR, that Continentals thought the Reynolds stays and forks a bit too flexible for good handling, but a lot of high end European bikes were nevertheless all 531 for a long time. Perhaps it was a myth to support cost-cutting, but one of my best handling bikes is a Coppi with 531 main tubes only.
> The paint on mine is very sad in comparison, almost to the point where I would like a repaint, but I think it highly unlikely that decals are available - please tell me if you know otherwise. Mine too had been "updated" but not as sympathetically as this one. Getting the right bits - LJ23 and JUY543 gears, high flange FB Simplex hubs with white QR rubbers, was an absolute nightmare - they come up on ebay from time to time but often get snapped up with outrageous bids. I am still running Stronglight 49D cranks with TA adaptor chainrings, but then I have seen pictures of Anquetil with the same setup. If it was good enough for him .............. . Getting the "correct" parts that match the condition of this frame will be a challenge for anyone who wants to do it.
> Hugh Thornton
> Cheshire, England