This vintage bicycle has challenged my research abilities. I purchased it recently on eBay and had this basic info from the seller: a post WWII Oscar Egg lugged mixte, no marquis, but probably French built, with top of the line components, including tubular Clement rims laced to F. B. hubs – plus a number of other interesting components that were new to me.
Immediately, I began to wonder about when this bike was made and why there is no marquis or headbadge to indicate the builder. But, I’ll put aside that weighty question, and present these photos taken before disassembly:
Favorit PWB cottered crankset – Prague Warsaw Berlin
Simplex shifter with cable stop
Fratelli Brivio (F.B.) hubs
Bluemels Lightweight Mudguards
Oscar Egg Mixte lugs – note the very small diameter tubes
Weinmann sidepulls – an 810 on the front and a 730 on the back
The bike shop in Kern Frankfurt, Germany where the bike was ordered.
An extraordinary Titan seatpost
Seatpost lug with gold paint to match the lug lining
Frame paint detail
An ornate pump peg, plus evidence of a front impact. The tubes appear straight and undamaged, however.
Frayed cable housing, french headset.
Clement 700c tubular rims.
A 4 speed Simplex Tour de France rear derailleur mounted on the model-specific and quite robust Simplex dropout. A real contrast to the delicate downtubes and chainstays.
Rare Scheeren alloy handlebars.
Oscar Egg head tube lugs.
Curved seat stay, presumably to allow the rear brake cable to lay flush against the frame
Lugged chrome fork, way more clearance than needed by these narrow 20mm tubulars
Melas fork mount dynamo. The front light is not original.
I am looking forward to having the time to undertake this fascinating restoration project! I have been involved with restoring a number of late ’40s bicycles. This one, I think, will add some depth to my knowledge base.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While 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.
I recently acquired an incomplete Peugeot which appears to be from the 1930’s or 1940’s. It is the ladies version, with a very nice mixte frame that needs a lot of cleaning, but is in pretty good shape overall. I will need to source a number of period parts to make the bike complete: a handlebar, brake levers, stem, wheels, fenders, racks, and probably a few other things that I can’t foresee yet.
The chain guard and crankset are in very nice condition. The brakes are by Jeay, a precursor to brazed on centerpulls. The Peugeot serial number is a mystery – probably the only revealing element is the ‘H’ indicating that this is an H model of some kind. The (possibly) original frame pump is working perfectly, and the Peugeot logos are still very vibrant, although the paint is a bit scratched and faded. A little bit of cleaning and polishing will probably help to bring out the original colors. Here is the frame after a day of cleaning:
The frame and fork are now ready to build. The paint polished up beautifully, and the bottom bracket was undamaged and in good condition. For cottered cranks, I use a cotterpin press built by bikesmithdesign.com. I love the matching colors still visible on the chain guard, and there is box style pin striping on the fork in a lovely blue color.
I needed handlebars, brake levers, wheels, fenders and racks. I came across this beautifully polished Pivo stem and bars, with original aluminum levers and wood grips. I can’t wait to see how this looks when everything is finished. I found another older French randonneuring bike that I am harvesting for parts, and that’s where I’ll get the wheelset, hammered fenders, and racks.