A. Sutter ten-speed made in France
Anyone ever hear of a ten-speed made by A. Sutter? The frame said made in France. The price was $129 new in 1973.
If i recall correctly, Sutter - which was a French company, made bikes during the "boom" of the mid '70's. Their main bikes imported into the US were very similar to the Peugeot UO-8, in that a simple steel frame, cottered crank, with simplex plastic and mafac racer brakes. Also very similar to Gitane of the same era. The price you quote sounds about right for that period.
I may have a catologue at home.
Anyway, how about a picture please?
Sutter was founded in 1896 by August Sutter. Circa 1973 it was run by his grandson and was a relatively small company with about 40 employeees. They produced a full range of bicycles, including a Super Competition model comparable to the peugeot PX10.
The bicycle in question sounds like a Sutter Sports or Sports Deluxe. They were about equivalent to a Peugeot A08 and UO8: Hi-tensile steel frame, steel cottered crankset (Solida if I recall correctly), Simplex Prestige derailleurs, CLB Racer brakes and Atom/Normandy hubs (quick release on the Deluxe version) laced to steel Rigida rims.
Workmanship on the samples I've seen was good, but quality lapses were quite common during the boom for most European manufacturers, so I wouldn't be suprised if things like paint and brazing weren't perfect,. However, being a small, family owned company they should have had closer control over quality than a large company like Peugeot. I've never ridden one, so I can't comment on the ride but I suspect it would be comparable to a U08. Even cosmetically, the bicycles the bicycles were reminescent of Peugeot, though the decals were slightly more restrained. They were not from the Gitane/Jeunet foil decal school of thought. About the only area that they really deviated from Peugeot was with their prefence for CLB brakesets. I guess you have to do something to distinguish yourself from the big players.