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Rene Herse Demountable

Old 03-20-19, 12:28 PM
  #1  
eswright
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Rene Herse Demountable

Hey folks,

Through a fortunate series of events, I acquired a Rene Herse Demountable. Not sure of the year, but my guess would be 1971 or 1972. There's another valuation thread on here where folks quoted the bike at $5,000, minimum. I'd like to get some opinions on this one because it differs in some ways from the other thread, that I'll list below.
  • It's outfitted with Campy parts, not Rene Herse-made parts (crank, etc).
  • Side pull Campy brakes, not center pull brakes, as I've seen on other versions of this bike.
  • Rear brake is professionally altered to facilitate a cable quick release mechanism. It's pretty neat.
  • I believe these are the parts the bike was originally outfitted with-- no swapped parts. The sidepull brakes are integrated with the front and rear racks that tell me that they were purpose-built with side pulls in mind.
  • I replaced a few consumables. New Paselas, new brake blocks, new chain. Other than that, everything is original.
  • The frame had significant rust damage in parts, particularly the chainstays, BB shell, rear dropouts, and rear rack. Not sure if this is just cosmetic or if it's structural.
  • In general, I messed with the bike! I didn't see it and go "holy cow, I need to sell this to a collector ASAP." I saw it and said "wow, I want to clean this up and ride it." So that's what I did; I did my best to remove most of the rust, grease and lube places that needed it, etc.
I rode this bike for the first time this morning, other than around the block. WOW it is a wonderful bike. It was a lot of fun, but it's not for me. Call me crazy, but I want to let this one loose to someone who'll really appreciate it and then buy myself a comparable, currently-in-production or custom bike.

I have a local buyer in mind, but want to make sure I'm asking the right price without burning him or being taken advantage of myself. So, what do y'all think it's worth, particularly noting the rust / cosmetic damages?

ALSO, I have photos but I canít attach them or post a link to a Google album until I have posted 10 times. Reasonable, but annoying in the moment. Any tips? Just blast a bunch of threads so I can unlock the link posting privilege?

Thanks!
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Old 03-20-19, 01:29 PM
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Post the google link and just put spaces where there are periods, and we'll work it out. Or just go around and say "nice bike!" on 10 threads.

Sounds very cool.
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Old 03-20-19, 02:30 PM
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Before photos (put a dot between each line)

photos
app
goo
gl/62EsCbciLVbCPeie6

After photos (put a dot between each line)

photos
app
goo
gl/hqzr8qweFcT7Hyq87
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Old 03-20-19, 02:32 PM
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Whoops, sorry. Here's the correct "after" link:

photos
app
goo
gl/VradyvkbBzya8MDY6
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Old 03-20-19, 02:35 PM
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Link assist.

Before: https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...RvRnY2NXRDblpB

After: https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...hRV05GZGktTFJB
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Old 03-20-19, 03:25 PM
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Amazing looking bike, thanks for sharing.

I would strongly advise moving the light from the head tube, it could rub off the fragile paint of the RH logo there.
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Old 03-20-19, 08:47 PM
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I have no idea on valuation, sorry. I'm sure if it had better chrome it would be a $5000 bike, but I'm not sure in its current condition. I agree about the light, ditch it.
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Old 03-20-19, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by eswright View Post
Hey folks,

Through a fortunate series of events, I acquired a Rene Herse Demountable.

Thanks!
I am interested in these fortunate series of events. Can you share the story of how you acquired it? Who owned it? Is there a back story, a history on the bike?
This is a true dream bike for me. Can you share? (My dream is to find one of these beauties at a yard sale, or in an old barn.....)
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Old 03-21-19, 10:32 AM
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Needing rechromed etc I dont see 5k either. And lack of Hearse parts. At least for me as I would rechrome something like that minimum. But, this is something @gugie might be best to give a valuation of. So take my comment with grain of salt.
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Old 03-21-19, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Bikerider007 View Post
Needing rechromed etc I dont see 5k either. And lack of Hearse parts. At least for me as I would rechrome something like that minimum. But, this is something @gugie might be best to give a valuation of. So take my comment with grain of salt.
The Classic Rendevous Google group might be another place to get an eval. A Rene Herse label will fetch a good price.
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Old 03-21-19, 01:04 PM
  #11  
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Thanks y'all, I popped the light off.

The story:

I was volunteering at my local bike coop / youth cycling org helping them inventory and organize their warehouse. Hundreds of dusty bikes just piled up.

I was sifting through, bike by bike, when I noticed a quick release on the stem of one of the bikes. I thought "huh, that's weird." Kept looking, and saw the quick releases on the top and down tubes. Saw the shifters on the seat tube. I thought "whoa, this is very interesting." Wiped the dust off the down tube and saw Rene Herse and told the employee I was working with "holy smokes, this is a nice bike!"

I went home, did a little bit of research, found the other Bikeforums thread I've mentioned, and let the staff know that this is potentially a really valuable bike. They're a small nonprofit, overworked, etc etc and don't have the capacity to restore old bikes as a source of income, so they offered it to me for sale. I snagged it, spent a few weeks working on it, and now I'm riding it!

The story got cooler once I had the bike in my possession. The bike still had two luggage tags on it, one front and one rear, from the original owner. It was a local Judge's bike. I google'd his name, saw that he passed in 2016, and assume his Demountable was donated during an estate sale or something like that. I tried reaching out to his surviving son, but reached someone with the same name as his son. This guy who wasn't the son said "I'm not his son, but I used to ride with him all the time, for years. I have one of his bikes too." Crazy!

THEN I took the bike to a local bike shop that specializes in vintage bikes. I needed replacement Campy brake blocks. The owner sees the bike and says "I've been waiting for this bike to come in here!" Apparently, somewhere between 5-10 years ago, the son of my bike's original owner brought in a step-thru Herse Demountable that belonged to his mother. He sold it to the shop owner, and told the owner "my dad has one too, but he still rides it." To which the owner replied, "well when he's done riding it, bring it in here. I'd like to buy it."

Fast forward to present day, I stroll into the shop with the bike that this shop owner's been waiting for for years. It's been fun restoring the bike, but also uncovering its history.
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Old 03-31-19, 08:24 PM
  #12  
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bumping this up. any thoughts?
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Old 04-01-19, 06:36 AM
  #13  
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The easiest method would be to sell to the shop owner. This is also a good move as you know he will take care of it and it will stay local. Plus shipping a bike like this is always a nightmare because you never know what could get damaged in shipping.

It is a very uncommon bike so it's hard to give a valuation. Definitely in the thousands. $5000 is a major stretch. The Herses I've seen go on ebay for near this price are in very, very good condition with Herse parts.

The way to get the most money on this is an ebay auction.

What didn't you like about the ride?
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Old 04-01-19, 10:20 AM
  #14  
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Thanks for the "major stretch" comment, that's what I was looking for. I'll most likely sell to the shop owner and I think I have a figure in mind.

The ride was actually pretty fantastic; surprisingly fast and nimble. Compared to all the other bikes in my stable, this was the first one I've ridden in a while that made me really want to accelerate. I'm letting it go not because of poor ride quality, but because I think it's a very special bike that someone else will appreciate more than I would. Although I would love to keep it an mount it on my wall, as it's a beautiful thing to look at.
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