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  1. #1
    Lug Princess Veloria's Avatar
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    René Herse Mixte?

    Could somebody kindly point me to a photo of a René Herse mixte? I keep hearing about their unsurpassed beauty, but cannot find any pictures. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    - Stan

  3. #3
    Lug Princess Veloria's Avatar
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    Holy $#!+, thank you for those links!
    (don't know how I missed that very obvious website)

    Those bicycles are truly something!

    Does anybody here actually own (and ride) one?

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    Senior Member Chris W.'s Avatar
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    Check out JP Weigle's Mixte, it's a very close second IMHO

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/4935356...7614277912885/

    Cheers,
    Chris

  5. #5
    Lanterne Rouge cb400bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris W. View Post
    Check out JP Weigle's Mixte, it's a very close second IMHO
    A bike that pretty needs to have its picture posted.

    Laterally stiff yet vertically compliant.

    Viscount Aerospace Pro Trek 770 Cannondale Synapse

  6. #6
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    Rivendell has a couple of beauties, too. frame/fork, $1000-$1200

  7. #7
    ride on Cool Steel's Avatar
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    Why always the same old usual suspects (RH, Weigle, Rivendell etc.)?
    Didn't others build nice stuff as well?


  8. #8
    Rustbelt Rider mkeller234's Avatar
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    ^I wish I could understand myself, but I am pretty ignorant about Rene Herse. I have a few guesses. I assume he was probably early and ahead of his time. He was probably good at marketing himself. His product was probably known as masterful and entirely high end.

    Some builders just gain a status I suppose? Maybe someone in the know can explain it.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cool Steel View Post
    Why always the same old usual suspects (RH, Weigle, Rivendell etc.)?
    Didn't others build nice stuff as well?
    Well, for one thing, the fork bend on the Gazelle is considerably less elegant.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
    ^I wish I could understand myself, but I am pretty ignorant about Rene Herse. I have a few guesses. I assume he was probably early and ahead of his time. He was probably good at marketing himself. His product was probably known as masterful and entirely high end.

    Some builders just gain a status I suppose? Maybe someone in the know can explain it.
    Certainly marketing is part of it. What Herse - and the other top constructeurs - did was to create a bicycle that was a fully integrated whole dedicated to a specific purpose (i.e. not a frame with a bunch of bolted on parts that could be re-rigged for different uses). No one else was doing that to the same degree, aside from those few top-end French builders. One can argue the aesthetics of a Herse (or any other bike of course), but the details of construction are in many cases very well thought out and executed. Some of the parts were made in-house and designed for the specific bike model in question. Some also sweat the fine finishing stuff (i.e. lots of filing) but many do not; their "genius" is in their overall design and the degree to which they are precisely adapted to their owner and intended use.

  11. #11
    Lanterne Rouge cb400bill's Avatar
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    The Gazelle posted above, like many mixte bikes, has the seat stay rear brake position. Better to mount it where the top tubes intersect with the seat tube. That is a much better design.
    Laterally stiff yet vertically compliant.

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  12. #12
    ride on Cool Steel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Picchio Special View Post
    Well, for one thing, the fork bend on the Gazelle is considerably less elegant.
    Agreed, this is without a doubt the most important attribute of a bike.

    1. There should be quite some people who'd see that absolutely differently - those earlier fork bends can have something asthetically 'plump'. (So you could've very well marked that comment as your personal opinion = "IMHO".)
    2. The seat cluster of the Gazelle is "considerably more elegant" (IMHO). Now what?
    3. The Gazelle is completely made of top end tubing (531), has the most rigid stay construction, the best working derailleurs, blah blah - I could go on and on.
    So she might (!) even be the better bike (even if not equipped with decals that prove the particular bike is GREAT).

    What I wanted to point out is, that the usual suspects - be it french "constructeurs" or italian "maestros" [who just built ladies frames] of the past as well as some contemporary american builders - pretty much profit from a kind of hype [not] typical for the bike crowd.
    Just as in "italian snobs".



    Now come on, "let the flames begin" ... :-D

  13. #13
    ride on Cool Steel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cb400bill View Post
    The Gazelle posted above, like many mixte bikes, has the seat stay rear brake position. Better to mount it where the top tubes intersect with the seat tube. That is a much better design.
    Now that remark is as weak as the one above from Picchio Special.
    Would you please point out in which way the different brake position you suggest would be "better" (that is the term you used!)? Or does it just "look cooler"?

    ARGUMENTS, boys - FACTS, not opinions!

  14. #14
    Lanterne Rouge cb400bill's Avatar
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    My remark isn't weak. Plus, I'm not on here to argue with you or anyone else. Please remove one self from your high horse.

    Having the brake mounted on the seat stays makes the brake cable have to make two sharp turns and adds unnecessary length, too. These then add up to lessen the braking power. Though, I'm sure the bike stops just fine.

    With Gazelle using the brake design that they did, it smacks of parts bin manufacturing. I'm sure they probably used the same brakes on their diamond frame bikes, as well.

    But, my remark in this case was more about the appearance of the design. I believe it just looks nicer with the brake mounted on the top tube.
    Laterally stiff yet vertically compliant.

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  15. #15
    Rustbelt Rider mkeller234's Avatar
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    On top of extra cable, there is slightly more hardware which means slightly more grams. Obviously that probably does not mean much.... but it is a fact.
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  16. #16
    Rustbelt Rider mkeller234's Avatar
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    Better is always a matter of opinion right?
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cool Steel View Post
    ARGUMENTS, boys - FACTS, not opinions!
    It is a fact that the fork bends on the Herses and the Weigle are more elegant than the one on the Gazelle. "Plump," perhaps, but elegantly so.

    Always interesting that the reverse snobs are more adamant than the imagined "snobbery" windmill they're tilting at.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    One advantage inherent in the Gazelle frame is the use of a full-diameter top tube brazed to the seat tube, versus the twin laterals in conventional mixtes, and as shown in the Herse pictures. The fully tied top tube provides better frame resistance to longitudinal twist during hard pedaling, than do the spaghetti noodle twin laterals. One may argue that pedaling efficiency or at least stiffness (remember "planing") is not a significant concern in a bike such as a mixte, but why not?

    Several reasons: the large diameter tube is at least twice the diameter of one lateral tube, and hence has four times the torsional stiffness. It is tied rigidly to the seat tube, so it reacts to seat tube torques as applied by hard pedaling (really, by any pedaling). It is shorter, so even if it had the same length (full frame length, around 1.1 meter instead of around .55 m) it would be a stiffer torsion spring.

    So, sometimes stiffness is good and sometimes it's not, but it hard to argue that the Gazelle will not have more torsional stiffness, and that conventionally it should be a more efficient machine.

  19. #19
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cb400bill View Post
    My remark isn't weak. Plus, I'm not on here to argue with you or anyone else. Please remove one self from your high horse.

    Having the brake mounted on the seat stays makes the brake cable have to make two sharp turns and adds unnecessary length, too. These then add up to lessen the braking power. Though, I'm sure the bike stops just fine.

    With Gazelle using the brake design that they did, it smacks of parts bin manufacturing. I'm sure they probably used the same brakes on their diamond frame bikes, as well.

    But, my remark in this case was more about the appearance of the design. I believe it just looks nicer with the brake mounted on the top tube.
    +1

    I generally do not like steptroughs w der (only IGH w coaster) for this reason. Always crappy rear brakes becouse the long bent cable.

    Also the centerpull on the mixte placed on the extra seatstays istotally cool and gives much better brakes with the shortest possible dstance from the handlebars.
    °Empty drums make a lot of noice... (Old Hungarian proverb).

  20. #20
    ride on Cool Steel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
    One advantage inherent in the Gazelle frame is the use of a full-diameter top tube brazed to the seat tube, versus the twin laterals in conventional mixtes, and as shown in the Herse pictures. The fully tied top tube provides better frame resistance to longitudinal twist during hard pedaling, than do the spaghetti noodle twin laterals. One may argue that pedaling efficiency or at least stiffness (remember "planing") is not a significant concern in a bike such as a mixte, but why not?

    Several reasons: the large diameter tube is at least twice the diameter of one lateral tube, and hence has four times the torsional stiffness. It is tied rigidly to the seat tube, so it reacts to seat tube torques as applied by hard pedaling (really, by any pedaling). It is shorter, so even if it had the same length (full frame length, around 1.1 meter instead of around .55 m) it would be a stiffer torsion spring.

    So, sometimes stiffness is good and sometimes it's not, but it hard to argue that the Gazelle will not have more torsional stiffness, and that conventionally it should be a more efficient machine.
    Sniff, sniff - I wasn't expecting someone with real knowledge and something to say (other than about taste) anymore. Well put, and thanks for the "physics" part - was new to me and interesting at that, actually I'll have to let it "soak in".

    I think it was 'Stronglight' who pointed out, that none of the stepthroughs will ever be as stiff as a diamond frame [ceteris paribus], even the Gazelle 'cruisframe' flexes (a bit) more than a men's frame, but not as severe as a pure mixté.

    Quote Originally Posted by Picchio Special View Post
    "Plump," perhaps, but elegantly so.


    That reminds me of the 250 pound lady painting her finger nails and combing her hair.


    Quote Originally Posted by Picchio Special View Post
    Always interesting that the reverse snobs are more adamant than the imagined "snobbery" windmill they're tilting at.
    Who?
    You don't really mean me, do you?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cool Steel View Post
    That reminds me of the 250 pound lady painting her finger nails and combing her hair.
    I was going more for Rubens.

  22. #22
    Lug Princess Veloria's Avatar
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    Gosh, threads here do have a tendency to take on lives of their own. I don't want to sound ungrateful for the OT replies, but I am aware that there are many fine frame-builders out there, including Weigle's "Rene Herse-inspired" mixte. I was asking about the original design though.

    A.Winthrop -- I did see renehersebicycles.com. At first I thought it was an enthusiast website; then I realised it was a modern builder who bought the name. Personally I am not a fan of that business model, but I suppose it is better that he bought the name, than a mass-producer in the Far East.

  23. #23
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veloria View Post
    . . .

    A.Winthrop -- I did see renehersebicycles.com. At first I thought it was an enthusiast website; then I realised it was a modern builder who bought the name. Personally I am not a fan of that business model, but I suppose it is better that he bought the name, than a mass-producer in the Far East.
    That would be Mike Kone, who bought the name with the blessing of Lily Herse. This isn't the same
    as say Bikes Direct buying the Motobecane name (among others) and slapping it on just any bike.
    Mike and Mark Nobliette (sic) are building modern bikes, in the best style of Herse. They are truely
    carrying on the marque, not just the name.
    Look at the web site and look at the work being done, also look at the NAHBS photos from either
    last year or this year (forget which) for details of the work being done on the new Herse bikes.
    I think (and I guess Lily Herse agrees) that Rene would be proud of what is being done in his name.

    that said, I hate the buying of names and putting them on trash bikes. Hell, I don't even like
    the 'new' Hetchins.

    Marty
    Sono più lento di quel che sembra.
    Odio la gente, tutti.

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  24. #24
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    fashion vctims

    Quote Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
    ^I wish I could understand myself, but I am pretty ignorant about Rene Herse. I have a few guesses. I assume he was probably early and ahead of his time. He was probably good at marketing himself. His product was probably known as masterful and entirely high end.

    Some builders just gain a status I suppose? Maybe someone in the know can explain it.
    Herse made incredibly ligtweight steel bikes in his early days, everything was calculated for minimal weight, the whole bikes were planned and thought out in a manner nobody else was approaching. Other bilders soon came out with IMO similar quality stuf. But in the "cyclotouiste" or "randonneur" community, Herse had made an indelible mark. I've seen a late '30's special (custom) build bike which although lacking the finesse of lug filing of Herse, is every bit as light if not lighter than the Herses it preceeded, so other builders were out there, but their production numbers were too small or something.

    Why is Herse so desirable/famous/prestigious nowadays ? Hmmm... This could get me a bad name
    Whilst bike collectors in France where only interested in Penny Farthings and "system" bikes pre1920 back in the 70's (notable exception being Caminades because of the ever so distinguishing features/construction/design), some people from Japan decided that the finest bicycle ever made was the René herse. They started turning up in France and finding people who could track down Herse bicycles for them (in exchange for what was the an absolutely extortianate amount of well thumbed greenies). Two factors then became involved: the herd instinct, meaning that if so and so is buying a bike for a stash it must be the best bike ever and "I" need one bad, and speculation fuelled glorification of Herse bikes by quite a few guys who had a nice trade in running Herses to Japan. You'll find a similar situation with JOS lights, especially the tail ones. Some of them were light, Herse used mostly (only ?) JOS, so whilst a JOS is no better than say a equivalent small model by some other French maker, they at one point fetched totally incredible prices. Irrelevant of the fact that a whole load of "junkers" had JOS lights factory fitted to them, said junkers being bought up by the cartload, stripped of their JOS and junked. The JOS then getting put on herses, or sold on ebay, where gentlemen mainly from Japan would get into bidding frenzies.

    So there you have a brief explanation of the Herse cult. Which doesn't stop most Rene Herses being absolutely brilliant bikes, and highly desirable.

    I expect the usual culprits will be horrified and feel that this is "Herse bashing", and will proceed to post obnoxious mails to me privately, and post to the forum about my knowin' nuffink. I forgive them.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Batman_3000 View Post
    Why is Herse so desirable/famous/prestigious nowadays ? Hmmm... This could get me a bad name
    Whilst bike collectors in France where only interested in Penny Farthings and "system" bikes pre1920 back in the 70's (notable exception being Caminades because of the ever so distinguishing features/construction/design), some people from Japan decided that the finest bicycle ever made was the René herse. They started turning up in France and finding people who could track down Herse bicycles for them (in exchange for what was the an absolutely extortianate amount of well thumbed greenies).
    I believe this phenomenon followed Herse's introduction to Japan at a bike show circa 1960 (at least some variant of that story is involved). This, of course, in addition to a strong interest in Japan in French culture generally, which has also contributed to record prices for things like French Impressionist art and cult Bordeaux wines. Most Japanese, though, could not afford a Herse (much less a Monet) as Japan's post-war economy struggled to find its footing. This led to the creation of a cottage industry of indigenous copiers of Herse bikes, with TOEI being perhaps the most well known. The copiers in some ways arguably exceeded their models, at least in terms of finish and attention to detail. Homespun variations in the constructeur mold followed, in particular the "pass hunter."

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