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Old 11-14-10, 05:08 PM   #1
keidal
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Can anyone identify these forks please ?

Hi, I have a battered French frame which probably dates from the 1950's - 1960's period. It has been repainted and there are no original decals / transfers or front badge etc to identify the manufacturer. The two vertical holes on the head-tube for the badge rivets are at 46mm centres.
The forks which were originally half-chromed have stamped on the steerer tube, a small diamond containing the letters GB.
Can anyone please tell me what the letters mean, or identify the forks which will in turn probably identify the frame [with intricate lugwork] ?
The frame is currently being professionally rebuilt.
The headset, which looks almost new and a copy of Stronglight, has the word Legerer on the serrated washer. Has anyone heard of this manufacturer please ?
My email address is :- keithdales@live.co.uk
Thank you.
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Old 11-14-10, 05:39 PM   #2
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Hi keidal !

I suspect that the GB might stand for Gerry Burgess - a British parts maker of stems and bars (at least).
- Is your bike French threaded?
- Pics would help. Some of the fellows here are good at sleuthing old frames, but a photo is prerequisite.
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Old 11-14-10, 09:35 PM   #3
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I take it you've determined the French origin of the bike based on BB threading and fork threading, or the like?

GB could hardly stand for Gerry Burgess if it's stamped into the steerer tube. Gerry Burgess made stems and brakes and such, mostly of aluminum. They didn't make frames or frame components.

Your best bet is to show us pictures. We are visually oriented people. We recognize stuff from photos, not from descriptions.
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Old 11-15-10, 01:23 AM   #4
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Hi, thanks for the lead. The frame is with my frame builder as I believe that it was at some stage involved in a road accident. I bought it recently on eBay and the item number is 330491043573. There are several good photographs of the frame.
I have removed the head badge which doesn't give any clue as to the manufacturer - it's one of those "happy cycling" type badges. Underneath is metallic red paint. The frame has obviously been repainted coffee / cream [in a fashion !] and ALL the decals [ Robert Latru etc. ] applied - probably a cycling shop in Clermont after the repaint.
My frame man believes that some of the braze-ons are not original. There are only two stampings on the frame - 72 at the top of the seat tube and obviously referring to the frame angle and a serial number on the RH drop-out, which I haven't noted. The front LH fork blade is bent and the rear stays are also bent although they have been "repaired" the rear end is approx. 1/2" out of line with the rest of the frame. All of this will be put right.
The rear stay bridge is drilled vertically for a mudguard / fender bolt fitting which would have been tapped to receive a stub brake caliper spindle.
I am wondering if the frame might have been manufactured by A. Bertin ?
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Old 11-15-10, 09:30 AM   #5
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I looked at the ebay photos. Nice frame, I look forward to seeing what you do with it!

I don't have any expert insights, but will comment anyway.

--single shifter stud on downtube suggests a bike that was built for no front derailleur, or a lever-operated front derailleur; either way, I think 50's or early 60's is indicated.

--the style of the fork crown does not harmonize, in my eye, with the style of the frame. I'm inclined to think it a replacement.

--brazed to the back of the left fork blade, and under the down tube: are those eyelets for the wires to the lights? Really wild, I've never seen that before.
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Old 11-15-10, 10:46 AM   #6
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Interesting, I've seen what appears to have been the same frame. IIRC, it was outfitted with Huret Svelto rear derailleurs which would place it no older than 1963. I beleive the front shift lever used a Huret peek-a-boo clamp, which allowed the rear shifter boss to protrude though it. The only difference I recall was that the fork didn't appear to have a lighting bracket, though it did have the cantilever bosses. Same colors too! I'll see if I can find the pics that I saw.

Prior to boom, thoughout Europe there was a large cottge industry of small framebuilders, catering primarily to the local residents. Based on the existance of a complete set of decals, Latru would appear to have fit into this category. There's no reason that they may not have repainted one of their own frames for a customer.

Edit: Found them. Check this out. I would would think that given the remarkable resemblance, with the exception of the lighting bracket, that they are from the same builder and it's legitimate.

http://monsieurbricabrac.co.uk/index.../robert-letru/

Last edited by T-Mar; 11-15-10 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 11-16-10, 12:58 AM   #7
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Thank you very much for this information. My frame man believes that the front and rear lamp bracket and the wiring eyes [at least] were added before the frame was repainted "coffee / cream". It was definitely originally metallic red with chromed front fork ends - the forks are chromed, but you can see where the original red paint finished, approx 150 mm up. This frame also apparently had Bluemel mudguards and Mavic Cantilever / Racer brakes, but again he believes that these were not original items.
Can anyone give me information on the manufacturer IIRC please ? Were they one of the Saint Etienne companies who produced basic frames virtually for any retailer ? This arrangement also worked in Italy I believe with Legnano for example. From memory the frame number is 72*** which suggests a very busy manufacturer. I'm told by a historian that there were over 5000 frame "manufacturers" in France in the 1950's, which decreased rapidly from that time on. Thank you once again - you're brilliant !
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