[CR] Who made the anonymous TDF bikes ?

Example: Production Builders:Peugeot:PX-10LE

Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2011 07:43:43 -0800
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
From: Jan Heine <heine94@earthlink.net>
Subject: [CR] Who made the anonymous TDF bikes ?

I suspect there were different makers of the "anonymous" yellow bikes in the Tour de France over time. As late as the 1950s, riders had a choice of bringing their own bikes or using the organizers' machines.

In 1953, Jesus Lorono won the King of the Mountains jersey on one of the organizers' bikes. Daniel Rebour published a drawing in Le Cycle (August 8, 1953) and mentioned that the bike was made by Robert Ducheron. In fact, Ducheron's typical seatstay caps (finished very concave) are clearly visible in the drawing. We reprinted the Rebour in Bicycle Quarterly Vol. 4, No. 3 as part of our history of racing bike technology. Interestingly, Ducheron was a constructeur who also built cyclotouring bikes, and the TdF bike has many braze-ons for shift levers, cable stops, etc., which was uncommon for racing bikes at the time, but normal on French cyclotouring bikes. (The geometry, with its super-long chainstays, is pure racing bike, though, rather than the shorter chainstays you found on French cyclotouring bikes of the time - funny how things changed, 20 years later, it was the racing bikes that had shorter rear triangles than the cyclotouring bikes!)

I also read somewhere that Geminiani crashed in the first stage of the Tour one year, and got a replacement bike from the organizers. He liked the "anonymous" bike so much that he continued riding it for the rest of the Tour. (I wonder know what his sponsor thought about THAT!)

So at least by the 1950s, the "anonymous" bikes were high-end machines made by very reputable builders. The equipment of Lorono's bike was state-of-the-art, with Simplex shifters, Stronglight cottered steel cranks with aluminum chainrings and what appear to be LAM brakes. The bike didn't feature the latest trends in racing bikes (no quick release wheels, aluminum cranks or Mafac centerpulls yet). Using equipment that was well-proven seems like a good choice for bikes that have to meet the approval of a wide variety of riders.)

Jan Heine Editor Bicycle Quarterly 2116 Western Ave. Seattle WA 98121 http://www.bikequarterly.com

Follow our blog at http://janheine.wordpress.com/

>I would not dare to question Norris, but I can remember an English
>language article which mentioned this and I suspect it was in a
>"Sporting Cyclist", witten by Jock Wadley.
>The maker was stated as "Alcynon" (apologies if spelling mangled)
>and it was said to be an open secret that they made them.
>I gather riders would arrive with their saddle and handlebars/ stem
>and they would be fixed to the rest of the bike, issued by the Tour
>I gathered that the bikes were tendered for, so, over the years,
>there may well have been aother maker (s)
>No idea if they were then kept, or given back.
>I do know that Tom Simpson had a Peugeot (ridden in the Isle of Man
>races and London Holyhead), made by Masi in Italy.
>John Purser
>Sudbury UK
>Message: 1
>Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2011 15:19:17 -0500 (EST)
>From: crumpy6204@aol.com
>Subject: [CR] Who built WHAT?
>To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
>Message-ID: <8CD83089E74C122-1830-DCE5@webmail-m071.sysops.aol.com>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
>OK Norris lets hear from you. It seems to me that all the bikes
>ridden in the TDF up to at least the late 40s POSSIBLY made by the
>same company, I would think (and at my age this is difficult) that
>it would have been a FRENCH concern, Norris our resident FRENCH bike
>expert. what company was this? Mercier possibly? Are any of these
>bikes left anyone on the list have one? It seems that you can't
>judge a book by its cover or some such, ref to Colins posts. Of
>course a handbuilt bike I would expect to be better than a massed
>produced one, Raleighs made by whom? Peugeots made by ???? Cinellis
>it goes on and on. Is the converted Hetchins, Bates Rotrax Claud etc
>you have GENUINE? makes you wonder! Cheers John Crump
>OldandgenuineBrit. Parker. Co USA