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1940s/50s Singer Grand Sport

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1940s/50s Singer Grand Sport

Old 10-10-15, 04:00 PM
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1940s/50s Singer Grand Sport

I wanted a go-to-coffee bike with a little more interest to it and also to broaden my horizons on how some older bikes work. So I picked up this Singer Grand Sport French city bike. No, not an Alex Singer and neither any connection to the British Singer bicycles.



Even though the paint and finishes could really use restoration my plan is to just clean it up and replace only those items needed to get to proper functionality. There is a lot of bare frame exposed but fortunately where I live rust progresses very slowly. None of any of the components so far have any dates to help zero in on the age of this bicycle. Any help in this regard would be much appreciated.

I have some comments and questions I could use some help with over time if anyone has some input.

First, on the rear derailleur, which I believe is a Simplex Route Leger, I think the sheet metal hook aligned with the idler pulley is used to hook to the extension spring to hold the derailleur arm up during a wheel change, is this correct? In this picture the hook is just under the nut at the lower pulley.



Secondly, the pulleys on this derailleur have some scalloping where they mate with the chain rather than teeth like a modern derailleur or smooth like some older ones. Were the pulleys manufactured this way or is this wear? You can see the scalloping in the picture above.

I also wonder why the idler pulley cage has a fork attachment to the derailleur arm. Is this for easy removal of the chain so the whole derailleur does not need to be removed when the chain is pulled? The disconnected cage is shown in this picture.



Any help to these questions or general observations of the bike are much appreciated,
Alex
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Old 10-10-15, 05:59 PM
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Really cool bike! The scalloping on the jockey wheels looks like it's intentional (manufactured) rather than wear, if that's what you're concerned about.
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Old 10-11-15, 08:23 AM
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It looks cool- it's got a very nice style to it.

Is it a lightweight?

Is it the Singer sewing machine "Singer" people?
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Old 10-11-15, 02:39 PM
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Thanks, I like the looks, details and design intricacies of it a lot.

Regarding the scalloping of the pulleys, I've seen the same model derailleur pictured with both plain and scalloped pulleys. I was only wondering if there was any functionality to it or if it was unintentional.

Is it a lightweight? The bike weighs 33 lbs as pictured. Considering almost all but the fenders and brake levers are steel, I'd say with more aluminum it could be a lightweight. The bare frame and fork weigh just under 7 lbs. It will be a flatlands bike so I won't mind the weight so much.

It is not related to the Singer bicycle and sewing machine company. The Online Bicycle Museum website shows a nice similar example and gives a brief account of the company and intimates this company may have made a practice of riding the coat tails of others. I think it is an interesting background to the bike. A google search for "1935 Singer Grand Sport" will lead to the site.
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Old 10-11-15, 04:53 PM
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That's interesting- it was Singer before Singer started Singer.

Does yours have the cool art-deco headbadge?
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Old 10-11-15, 05:52 PM
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So Alex owns a Singer bike which is not an Alex Singer. Cool
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Old 10-11-15, 06:16 PM
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I believe the derailleur pulley wheels were originally round, and the scalloped pattern is wear. These old toothless pulley wheels make a lot more chain noise than the ones with teeth.
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Old 10-11-15, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy
That's interesting- it was Singer before Singer started Singer.

Does yours have the cool art-deco headbadge?

It does. And it looks hand painted.



But the layout may add evidence that this Singer may have been none too creative in their designs, as compared to an early Stella head badge design (I'm into Stellas too). Who knows who came first, or maybe there was a template head badge design they both used. Apologies for borrowing someone else's photo.

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Old 10-12-15, 07:05 AM
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First, one of the coolest bikes appearing in the forum in a long time (IMO). Congratulations of finding a wonderful machine.

I believe the spring attaches to the hole in the arm above the top wheel to aid in holding chain tension.

The jockey wheel looks worn

Happy Coffee Breaks to you!
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Old 10-12-15, 07:14 AM
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A French Singer bike not made by A. Singer? Go figure.
Singer in the U.S. has been making sewing machines since 1851, so it couldn't be them, eh…
Nice bike. The derailleur pulley does look worn, but I think you'll just have to use it as is.
Can you imagine finding another one?
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Old 10-12-15, 09:50 AM
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I like it! Not sure if your pictures of the derailleur are from the same bike, but they resemble this:
VeloBase.com - Component: Simplex Grand Tourisme / Rigidex 35 (steel pulleys; rounded lower pulley cage; slotted hanger)

Note the instruction sheet and tension spring. Bell crank design and non-tooth pulleys. According to that listing, dated mid to late 1950's.

Thanks for sharing your find~

Last edited by crank_addict; 10-12-15 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 10-12-15, 09:51 AM
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Here's a pic of a similar Simplex derailleur from a 1960 Peugeot. The lower pulley (assuming it was original) definitely had teeth:

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Old 10-12-15, 10:09 AM
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Pulley looks replaced, I'm pretty sure they were smooth steel.

If you can't find a pulley, buying a "parts derailleur" maybe be a reasonable option. Looks like the French made Cyclo parts would fit.
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Old 10-13-15, 11:38 AM
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Scroll down in this link:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/veloclassique/

or

https://flic.kr/p/zpo1vG
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Old 10-13-15, 12:46 PM
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Brakes by Jeay

Thanks for that reference, I'm looking for other examples of this model. My bike is fitted with the same cam operated centerpull brakes as that one. That's why I'm thinking the bike may be late 40s/early 50s
The brakes look a lot like the Casin model shown here:
page de brake obscura...

-----
I was mistaken about the brand of brakes, although they are cam driven. Front and rear brakes are made by Jeay (pictured in the same brake page reference cited above), but with subtle differences between front and rear. The front appears to be more cosmetically attractive with only the front bi-leaves of the brake arms bright chromed. The ID markings are stamped differently, they use slightly different hardware, and the rear uses aluminum spring pin rivets instead of steel.

Apparently Jeay brakes are mounted on frame and fork fittings specific to these brakes, the position is not common to other cantilevers. I'm not sure if the holders are MAFAC, but all the pads fitted are, maybe as serviced though the years.

Here is a picture of the front assembly:


And a comparison shot of the differences in the brake arm construction, front single brake arm (lhs in pic) and rear single brake arm (rhs in pic):


Probably more minutia than most would care to note, but thought I'd get it down for the record.
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Old 11-01-15, 10:10 PM
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I'm still looking for clues as to the age of this bike, I've stripped it down mostly and have yet to find any date stamps on any of the components.

From the catalog page shown here https://www.flickr.com/photos/strong...7601987782099/ it appears the Feature Cut of the lugs is a Nervex Type 45 and the Profile Cut is a Type 158. Only the head lugs have been painted blue, and outlined in gold. I've not found other frames with this lug cut combination (45/158), yet.



At the base of the lower head tube lug is stamped "61 NERVEX 61". I'm assuming the 61 refers to the down tube angle for the frame builder. Anyone know if this was a common practice to leave this stamping, or did they just not bother with filing this off on this particular frame?



Another interesting feature of this frame is that all the lug joints were pinned prior to brazing.

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Old 11-08-15, 11:48 PM
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Butted Spokes!

Anyone know how long butted spokes been around in common use? Both wheels on this bike have butted spokes, the ends are 2.0 mm diameter and the middle 1.7mm. The spoke heads have a trade mark which looks like a spoked wheel. (Pardon my use of thumbnails, I haven't figured out how to attach the pictures as full size yet.)


Both rims are Rigida DECO =Std= and have a stamp marking "A FLANCS PLAT", which in French I guess means "has flat sides" referring to the brake tracks?


Both front and rear hubs are marked RMM, I assume they are the manufacturer.


Any info on any of these parts is much appreciated. Belated thanks for all prior comments, too.
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Old 11-09-15, 08:12 AM
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thanks for sharing this wonderful find, am really enjoying it!

with regard to the spokes (rayons) i checked for you at the spoke head directory. think i found it but unfortunately it is listed in the unknowns section toward the end of the list.

interestingly, it states that the spokes were used on a Payan french machine from the late 40's - early '50's time. they were laced into some NewStar hubs.

to see the listing scroll down to the unknowns section near the end of the list -

Spoke Head Identification Chart

it is located between the listing for "7" and for "8"
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Old 11-09-15, 10:14 AM
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Thanks for the lead on the spokes (fr. rayons), juvela. That does look like them. Not sure why all the little details on this bike have captured my interest, and I fully expect I may never track down many of them.
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Old 11-09-15, 05:00 PM
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wrt the marking on the hub barrel -

was thinking that the m and m could stand for maurice maillard, founder of maillard/atom/normandy, but that does not explain the r.

checked at tonton and there were not hits for "rmm" nor for "r.m.m."

wonder if norris would know...

have you found any markings on cranks, bottom bracket fittings or gear block?

looking forward to following developments.
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Old 11-09-15, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela

have you found any markings on cranks, bottom bracket fittings or gear block?
Both crank arms are stamped "LPF" within a diamond. The bb spindle is 136mm long, symmetric, and along with the adjustable cup and the single 48T chain ring, are all stamped "RFG" within an oval. No apparent date codes on any of these. What was it with French manufacturers mostly using three letter company names back then anyhow?

The freewheel is a four sprocket Cyclo. I'm going to have to pick up or fabricate a puller for it, my Suntour type is too small.

I'll continue to post as parts come off, I appreciate the comments.
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Old 11-10-15, 08:00 PM
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thank you for the response and additional information.

we all know that the rgf is raccords gargatte freres of st. etienne but the lpf is unknown to me. so checked at tonton, bikelist and ebay.fr without result. have you discovered anything about this name? thought perhaps the diamond could be a clue to acier diamant. made me wonder if lpf could have been a company behind acier diamant...or another badge from the same maker. however the acier diamant logo is something akin to a shooting star or comet.

pm if require assist with gear block removal.
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Old 11-12-15, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by juvela

pm if require assist with gear block removal.
Much thanks for the offer of help, it I come to an impasse I will contact you. (I don't have the 50 posts yet in order to pm anyone.) I think I will give it a go duplicating the Cyclo removal tool shown in their catalog.

For reference, here is a shot of the crank arms showing the LPF logo.

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Old 11-12-15, 12:38 PM
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thanks very much for the photo.

have not before heard/seen this name.

to see the letter p written largely in the centre makes me wonder if it could stand for peyrard. company name is etablissements peyrard. the letter f could be for freres. many french company names end in this (eng. brothers). the letter l could be an initial for a first name. just wylde speculation...

must be extremely rare to go unmentioned at tonton.

as you write, for some of these details we may never learn the answer.

Last edited by juvela; 11-13-15 at 12:44 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 11-19-15, 10:57 PM
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Thanks for the info and speculation, juvela. They're all leads I can look into. I have discovered tontonvelo and I spend hours google-translating the French posts looking for clues.

I made a freewheel tool, not quite a duplicate of the tool steel channel picture in the Cyclo catalogs, but it worked. I bolted it up in a vise, snugged it on with an axle nut, and it required about 10 lbs in each hand at the rim to break the freewheel loose. It gave way with a sudden snap, not a slow release. Threads look fine on both the freewheel and hub. At some point in the distant past the chain has been dropped inside the inner sprocket and has done a number on the facing spokes, but they're so encrusted with dirt I'm going to save cleaning that for another day.

Interesting that it appears all the sprocket faces have been lathe turned, I would have expected they would have been stamped and just the threads chased and tooth tips chamfered.

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