1940’s/50’s Goeland 650b

001 Here is a wonderful example of the work of Louis Moire, constructeur and founder of Goeland Cycles.  The idea behind Goeland was to offer a high quality hand built frame, but allow the customer to choose mid range components to help keep the cost reasonable.  Of course, high end components could also be chosen.  There isn’t much information about Goeland Cycles on the web, and there is definitely plenty of misinformation.  For example, one website claims that Goeland went out of business in the 1950’s.  Fortunately, I have a Daniel Rebour catalogue from 1962, where Goelands are prominently featured.  And, I have been able to confirm through various collectors that Goeland Cycles continued up until about 1970, having begun business in about 1935.  This Rene Herse site has some nice examples.

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One of my favorite things about Goelands are the beautiful logos.  Goeland means “gull” in french, and the headbadge and downtube logo feature a white seagull surrounded by clouds, flying over blue waves.   I can’t help but wonder if this name was chosen to combat the Raleigh Heron.

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The owner’s name tag is still intact (this was a requirement on all french bicycles of this era).  It would be fun if I could locate her family.  There is some confusion about the model year of this bike.  There are photos of this bike elsewhere on the web which identify the bike as a 1941 model, probably because there is a “41” stamped into the mounting tang of the rear rack.  However, based on discussions with the seller and by reviewing the components, I think it is probably more likely that this bike dates to the late 40’s or early 50’s.  Components include a Cyclo rear derailleur and shifter, Mafac cantilevers and levers, a Phillipe alloy bar and stem, Super Champion color matched aluminum fenders with JOS lamps, and a 650b wheelset with mystery steel rims and hubs, and a mystery freewheel as well.

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The original white rubber block pedals are lovely.  The crankset is unbranded except for this sweet logo of a bicycle stamped on the back side of the chain ring, along with “46” to indicate the number of teeth.

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The frame’s lugs are very fancy, and there are lots of nice features such as braze-ons for the Radios dynamo, chain guard, and pump pegs, an RGF bottom bracket, as well as double eyelets front and rear.  And, there is blue box striping on almost all the tubes.  The paint is in very good condition for its age.

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Unfortunately, there is damage to the frame – the drive side rack mount braze has failed.   There are also two other spots that need repairs as well:  the rack has one joint that needs re-brazing, and the sloping top tube lug has a small crack at the connection point to the seat tube (see below).  Sometimes it is hard to know whether one should proceed to make the repairs, not only because of the expense, but also because the bike will be “less original” when finished.

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Even though I have completed a frame building class, I know that I am not the one to do these repairs.  Frame building and this kind of problem solving are best left to those with many years of experience.  Fortunately, I have my favorite builder and I am hoping that he will help me select the right frame painter for this project.  The frame only needs to be re-painted in the areas where the repairs are made, fortunately not anywhere near the logos.

017While the frame is being repaired and the paint touched up where needed, I can start cleaning and overhauling the components.  A project like this can have many stops and starts, but I hope I can have this one completed before the end of the year.  My goal, of course, is not only to preserve this rare machine but to also make it rideable again.  While not a bike I will ride regularly, I plan to keep it in my permanent collection, for now.

2 thoughts on “1940’s/50’s Goeland 650b

  1. Wonderful addition to your collection, Nola!
    I am particularly fond of the Cyclo rear derailleur and the rear pulley canti brake setup. I love how the cabling snakes down, up and over. The crank, although unbranded, looks like it has seen very little use with the teeth being clean and sharp. That is quite a rarity for bicycles of that age! The last accessory I noticed was the Mafac levers. They have such a smooth, classic bend to them. It’s hard not to want to reach into the photograph and give them a squeeze!
    I feel the pull regarding your ultimatum to repair or not. If this is a bicycle you plan to keep, I wouldn’t have any qualms about having it repaired, with a skilled hand (I am curious who you use here in Portland), and then painted to match. Besides, bicycles are made to be ridden. If they sit as museum pieces, they don’t serve their ultimate purpose.
    Either way you take this project, I am anxious to see the results. Good luck and keep up the good work!

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