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Bernard Carre custom frame

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Bernard Carre custom frame

Old 10-15-17, 06:47 AM
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Bernard Carre custom frame

Hello C&V buffs, I've got a Bernard Carre custom frame to build up for my wife for next summer. Thought I'd share some pics before it goes to the painters and also see if this vast pool of experience and wisdom could shed any light on its provenance

It's not what I set out to find, I was looking for something a bit later, but I think it will be a beauty and it's small (50cm centre of bb to top) and light. I think it's Reynolds 531 Extra Leger:
  • (Bear with me, this conversation is a bit hazy) but I was told the steerer has been turned by the framebuilder, rather than machined in the factory and this makes it more likely to be Reynolds (rather than other tubing).
  • It's metric, frame is 1340g and fork 560g, and even though it's small and the dropouts have been filed down etc. that's still seem light for standard 531.
  • I think it's early 70s from some of the details, although I'm no BC expert and will revisit the pages I've scanned with dating clues. However I have been told by a knowledgeable source that French framebuilders had lightweight Reynolds 531 tubing earlier in the 70s than you'd expect.
Please school me on any of the above, it's largely based on a conversation I had a while ago and some internet searching.


Dropouts are Campag and have been filed and drilled - I guess when the frame was built. It has been oversprayed at some point, the original looks to have been a vibrant blue from what I can see (last 2 pics) and looks like part of fork and stays were chromed at least. I'm thinking about a light grey for the respray with a white seattube panel and lining and trying not to think about chrome!



Thanks!
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Old 10-15-17, 07:18 AM
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-----

Lugset Prugnat 62/s with added cutouts.

Member [MENTION=43980]CV-6[/MENTION] shall be along mementarily to she his considerable light...
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Old 10-15-17, 07:49 AM
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I know little about Bernard Carre bikes and can't help much on the provenance, but that is a very cool bike. Thanks for sharing. I would say that it's an early to mid 70s bike, almost certainly.

I can also say that at those weights, yes, it's most likely extra light Reynolds. That is very light. This is a weight weenie bike, for sure. There were superlight Vitus frames too, but I don't know if Carre ever used it. At any rate this is a quite high end frame, if you had any concern about that.

What are you going to build it up with? This bike might well have had Jubilee derailleurs and a TA crank originally, or similar frenchie parts.

Definitely looks like it was blue originally. I'd probably go for a metallic silver grey over plain grey, mostly cuz I can't imagine anyone painting a bike grey during that time. Chrome looks toasted. While the bike is worthy of a rechrome, it's extremely expensive. I'd be inclined to do a decent repaint and call it a day. Sounds like that's your plan.
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Old 10-15-17, 08:04 AM
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Seatpost diameter will help tell the tale, 26.6 or 26.8 I would eclectic.
What I knew of in 1973, the super light stuff was called 3/10 ga. .3 mm between the butted ends of 1.0mm
Interesting frame with the dropouts filed square in the Italian way. Gemini did that, and seen on some Motobecane Team frames... (Gemini built for Ocana and badged as Motobecane from time to time)
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Old 10-15-17, 10:17 AM
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Super nice frame, thanks for sharing! Personally I'd stick with a 'french blue" color which could even go to periwinkle if you are "secure in your masculinity".
The lightened and relieved DOs are a little concerning-looking but they haven't cracked yet so treat them with care and may you enjoy many years of riding on this beauty!
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Old 10-15-17, 10:21 AM
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Fine job with the photos.

One spot not shown - was wondering if it has the cable casing guide loop on the lower portion of the right hand seat stay.

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Old 10-15-17, 11:13 AM
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Hello all, thanks for your feedback, great to hear you think this is as nice a frame as I'm hoping.

It's too small for me unfortunately, bought for my wife from the start but the more I've looked in to it, the more envious I am! It's definitely a step up from my c&v bikes. Ahem, my c&v current bikes anyway
[MENTION=333224]juvela[/MENTION] no cable guide on the underneath of the rear stay, maybe there was and it disappeared in the respray but I don't think so.
[MENTION=17926]unworthy1[/MENTION] unfortunately my wife wants grey! I was pretty perplexed tbh but I have time to work on her. Although I can imagine a light grey would look good with white and chrome (on the bike or components). I'm contemplating a metallic lilac for another French bike so definitely not my doing!
[MENTION=57478]repechage[/MENTION] 27.8 - my callipers are out of battery, but looking at the scale they say 27.7 but a 27.8 seatpost just went in snuggly.
[MENTION=424205]Salamandrine[/MENTION] it's another "unfortunately", I have a great set of French components that I've been collecting for the potentially lilac bike mentioned above: Jubilee derailleurs (I'm actually selling these as I also have a set of Success which is more sense in the long run), Stronglight bb, headset, 105 ter crankset, Lyotard MB pedals, Ideale 2000 saddle and JPR seatpost, ..., eeeeee, but unfortunately it's not to be. I feel bad even writing this. She needs/wants brifters on this one, so I'm planning on a crossover set of Shimano 7400 - the rear spacing is 124, so I can fit in a 7 speed. The brifters are frickin ugly and expensive though, so maybe I'll do what others have written about in the forums and go for the early Campag ergopower with Shimano derailleurs. At least they look more classic. Anyway, that's just components, and they can always be changed at a later date!

I was thinking about gun metal grey - that's the toss up for the potentially lilac bike, as my other c&v is bright orange I thought I should go for something a little more restrained I can't help but think the head lugs on this one need to be re-chromed, the problem with re-chroming, apart from the expense, is it's hard to know where to stop. Maybe a metallic grey, with white lining and seatpost panel, chrome head lugs and fork crown. And ends. The stay caps really should be chrome as well. URGH.
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Old 10-15-17, 12:30 PM
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veloham-

That is a lovely, petite Carre your wife now has. It's probably an original custom as Carre used the diamond headlugs cutouts almost exclusively on custom framesets. The fishmouth tubing end cutoffs were originally a Carre innovation as was the use of the name embossed stay caps.The tubing may well be 531SL but Carre was known to build with Vitus and it may be one of their light weight tubesets. Once you have stripped the paint, look on the tubes near the lugs and there may be an engraved number like v.971. The French chrome on Carres tends to be junk and is better stripped or blasted and painted over. I restored a Carre Bertin C 37 a while ago and you and read the details here, if you wish. Your wife's Carre looks to be an early to mid 70s build from the metal work and the style of the seatstays and caps.

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Old 10-15-17, 12:36 PM
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There is a whole sequence of Carre posts at The Early Morning Cyclist which starts here, I believe.
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Old 10-15-17, 12:53 PM
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I'll guess that is very early 70s and could even be end 60s. Drilled drops were not yet common then, there is nothing common about this frame.
BC was almost always single color, sometimes single color w/chrome. On something like this the customer could and would have done anything but I would leave it as single color. If you want chrome the reasonably priced and reliable place to get it done is velociao.com. They do a lot of bikes, it is not a unique challenge for them. If you look at their price list it is really cheap, don't bet on that. Talk to them.
You meant to type 26.8 for seatpost? With metric tubing at 28.0 OD that would indicate tube walls of 0.5mm with a margin for heat distortion and you need a little gap or you'll never jam the post in. With careful work the weight could be achieved with fairly normal 0.8/0.5 tubes. And I am totally jealous because that frame was for sale a long time and I thought a lot about getting it for my wife. Decided not to because of risk of denting ultralight tubes in normal handling. If a 26.8 post fits well that kind of denting won't happen.
Many reasons why riders decline DT shifters and insist on brifters. One that I have encountered a few times is that rider has previously tried operating levers that were too darn stiff. On some other bike try her with Simplex retrofriction levers. And mount them an inch or two higher than normal. My experience is that most who say they hate DT shifting are fine with it once they use something set up right.
My Carré is exactly the shade of blue of your underpaint.
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Old 10-15-17, 01:18 PM
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[MENTION=362926]63rickert[/MENTION] Ha! How idiotic, I was looking right at the 26.8 engraved on the seatpost as well. So yes, I mean by eye on the scale of my callipers it measured 27 and a 26.8 post fit in nicely. Makes perfect sense now! Thanks for pointing that out. I'm UK based and there are a few options for re-chroming, my LBS does a good job, but it really pushes up costs.
[MENTION=297217]bertinjim[/MENTION] Nice looking write-up, thank you, I'll certainly read through it. Skipping to the last page and reading this line rang true. "It has been a long process, longer than originally considered, and more expensive" It's all about the journey I wasn't sure if I was going to strip the paint myself or just let the LBS blast it. I've got some environmentally friendly (supposedly) gunk that takes the paint off slowly and quite gently - in the past it has shown up a lot of interesting details, but it's really slow. In my limited experience, blasting by the LBS will take off any light engravings like tube stamping.

I did see those posts on The Early Morning Cyclist, that was a good read. Funnily enough, it was a grey and white picture of that bike from another thread on the forum that has led to my wife wanting hers in grey with a white seattube panel. I'm trying to imagine all the other grey tones as shiny chrome and aluminium!

I've also attached the best pic I've seen of an original BC, similar blue and one of the few I've seen with the downtube decal. If I spoke better French I'd get in touch with the guy. Not sure what I'd say though

https://bike-cafe.fr/2014/08/rouler-...-ca-se-merite/
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Old 10-15-17, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by 63rickert
My Carré is exactly the shade of blue of your underpaint.
If you have any pictures, it would be great to see them at some point
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Old 10-15-17, 02:23 PM
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I hope the restoration series proves helpful. My production Carre Bertin came with a 26.4 seatpost sizing on a standard 531 frameset. To round out the seat tube opening, I went to 26.6 mm after reaming and honing. The 26.8 mm sizing of your seatpost seems to indicate a lighter weight tube set, as might be expected in such a small frame size. As you suggested, you might be better off to hand strip the paint yourself which will let you know what the OEM colour might have been as well as preserving the light imprint of a tubing id. Decals for the custom Carres are available through Bicycle Decals here.

In case you were curious to compare your wife's frame to a known Carre, my 60 cm ctt Carre Bertin frame and fork weigh 2,845 gm completely stripped down.

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Old 10-15-17, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by veloham
@Salamandrine it's another "unfortunately", I have a great set of French components that I've been collecting for the potentially lilac bike mentioned above: Jubilee derailleurs (I'm actually selling these as I also have a set of Success which is more sense in the long run), Stronglight bb, headset, 105 ter crankset, Lyotard MB pedals, Ideale 2000 saddle and JPR seatpost, ..., eeeeee, but unfortunately it's not to be. I feel bad even writing this. She needs/wants brifters on this one, so I'm planning on a crossover set of Shimano 7400 - the rear spacing is 124, so I can fit in a 7 speed. The brifters are frickin ugly and expensive though, so maybe I'll do what others have written about in the forums and go for the early Campag ergopower with Shimano derailleurs. At least they look more classic. Anyway, that's just components, and they can always be changed at a later date!

I was thinking about gun metal grey - that's the toss up for the potentially lilac bike, as my other c&v is bright orange I thought I should go for something a little more restrained I can't help but think the head lugs on this one need to be re-chromed, the problem with re-chroming, apart from the expense, is it's hard to know where to stop. Maybe a metallic grey, with white lining and seatpost panel, chrome head lugs and fork crown. And ends. The stay caps really should be chrome as well. URGH.
For inspiration, I always thought the mid 70s Motobecanes in gun metal grey were very good looking bikes. Double contrast panels in a sort of a charcoal black give them a nice frenchie look. Here's a nice one I found on the interwebs:




Regarding the brifters, as you say, they are only parts. I don't think they necessarily will destroy the coolness of this bike. I wouldn't sweat modern drivetrain parts for the most part, but I think the crankset, brakes and wheels are important for the overall look of a bike. I'd probably put Microshift brifters on before 25 year old 7400's. Those things don't last forever.

For more inspiration, take a look at some of the current Alex Singer bikes. They put black brifters on them, and shellacked cotton tape. It still works somehow. Gotta love it...

Alex Singer bikes website (French)




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Old 10-15-17, 03:54 PM
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Wow those Alex Singer bikes are amazing! Definitely inspiring. My thought process was the 7400 7 speed freehub would fit the rear spacing - the rear derailleur can handle up to 26t (I have a 14-26) and it looks cool - the brifters should work fine, just an 8th phantom click. Also the 7400 aero brakes are very easy on the eye, so could swap out for those and dt shifters at some point.
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Old 10-15-17, 04:07 PM
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Jim thanks for the comparison. Yep I was pretty depressed about my bikes when I came home and weighed this frame! I can’t remember exactly but they were significantly more than 10% heavier (I have a 54 and 55) and I guess the weight increase due to size would be less anyway as the middle sections of tubes are lighter than ends and lugs.

I think I’m resigning myself to stripping it. I like to know for sure if possible.

Also as a result of this thread we’re off the white seattube panel. All one colour now 👍
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Old 10-15-17, 05:43 PM
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Would like to respond to your request for photos. Tried again. This time the Manage Attachments pane has been crusted into every corner of my computer, hundreds if not thousands of new files have been created and hidden, and various email recipients are wondering why they have been sent bicycle photos. But no pics posted.

Do not let anyone sandblast your frame. The painter will likely do that lightly just before spraying and you have to accept it, otherwise it is unnecessary wear and tear. Stripping will go quicker if you sand the frame first. Use 80 grit or finer and don't worry at all about light contact with metal. The gentle strippers (don't know exactly what is on your market) will usually work best if you put them on very thick, cover with plastic, and leave overnight. Best reason to do your own stripping is the chance to look at the whole frame in bare metal. This frame will look good.
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Old 10-15-17, 06:01 PM
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At that weight I would wager that it is Super Vitus. I have seen a fair number of Carre frames built with it so it seems that he favored it. That's a great little frame. Fun project.....
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Old 10-15-17, 06:24 PM
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I vote Chemical strip too, but would go "aircraft" chemical warfare stripper, outdoors, with respirator, correct gloves.
Saran Wrap or similar does help, with any potion.
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Old 10-15-17, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela
-----

Lugset Prugnat 62/s with added cutouts.

Member @CV-6 shall be along mementarily to shed his considerable light...
Nothing for me to add. Several posters have already covered the frame quite well. I will throw in my 2 bits for Vitus also. Agree with top of the line early 70s. The OP's wife is going to like the ride.

RE: the photo of a frame marked L.B. Carré. That is the first time I have actually seen those markings on one of BC's frames. I wondered where the eBay seller got that notion. Most I have seen have been unmarked, marked only with Super Competition WC bands, or had a small Carré headbadge. Of course they carried the trademark B. Carré on the caps.

I have a BC I need to share. I will try to post photos soon before it goes off to Franklin Frame.
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Old 10-16-17, 04:05 PM
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[MENTION=297217]bertinjim[/MENTION] I got in touch with Bicycle Decals a few weeks back, with a view to getting the seattube stripes added to the set. The gentleman I've been emailing with sent me a few pics, including this one. I hope he doesn't mind me posting it, but at least there have been a few good plugs of his work
[MENTION=43980]CV-6[/MENTION] these were the only 2 examples I've seen with the downtube decals. I'm sure I've seen a thread somewhere where the author stenciled some on himself but I can't find it now and searching I just found another one on this flickr page Flickriver: Sauvage_Lejeune's most interesting photos but no accompanying info.

I've also only seen a few with the headbadge, one nice one on a thread in this forum:
https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vi...bikes-70.html.
and as per the flickr example it seems to get put on other tubes too. Maybe originally or obviously maybe at some point later in life.

I've seen plenty with just the 'special competition' stripes, this thread has a great example and I love the bill of sale!
Forum Tonton Vélo ? Afficher le sujet - Bernard CARRÉ 1974

If money was no object (and it was what my wife wanted ) I'd go for the chrome pattern on that orange frame and those decals. [MENTION=424205]Salamandrine[/MENTION] I think the gunmetal of that Motobecanes is classy, enjoying it again on a bigger screen now. That with the chrome and colours in the decals would be
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Old 10-16-17, 07:33 PM
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Some more tubing possibilities. Basically if there are no hallmarks it is guesswork. Perhaps the tubing is very light and there is a liner at top of seat tube. If it is there you could feel it simply by poking your finger inside and going down to the step. If the liner is long try to feel a step with the end of a spoke. So far as I am aware Super Vitus 971 was simply 0.9/0.6 for all three main frame tubes. That will have trouble building a sub three pound frame and will not likely give a 26.8 seatpost fitting without reaming. If reamed the marks would be visible. If no liner and no ream plain old Reynolds Club Special at 21/24 gauge or 0.81/0.56 would be a contender. So would Gautier-Troussel AHR at 22/24 or 0.71/0.56. Could Isawata have found it's way to France? Other high end Japanese parts did.

There was always more tube available to builders than the well known and easily sourced. 1300 gram frame is just special. Just barely possible with relatively ordinary tubes. Hilary said it was the lightest normal constructed he'd had on a scale. Could be anything in there.
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Old 10-16-17, 09:48 PM
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Really neat to see this frame and I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with the build. I've been way more than happy with the Carre frame I picked up earlier this year (the one mentioned earlier that I shared on The Early Morning Cyclist.) If mine is any indication your wife is going to love her new bike. Regarding the decals mentioned: I created the art for that head badge graphic for them. I've been thinking about repurposing the art to make a cycling jersey or t-shirt. Just an idea at the moment, though.

Keep the build pictures coming!
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Old 10-16-17, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by AZORCH
Really neat to see this frame and I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with the build. I've been way more than happy with the Carre frame I picked up earlier this year (the one mentioned earlier that I shared on The Early Morning Cyclist.) If mine is any indication your wife is going to love her new bike. Regarding the decals mentioned: I created the art for that head badge graphic for them. I've been thinking about repurposing the art to make a cycling jersey or t-shirt. Just an idea at the moment, though.

Keep the build pictures coming!
I would buy a shirt if it were made. The jersey is an interesting idea also. Gotta be wool.
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Old 10-16-17, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by CV-6
I would buy a shirt if it were made. The jersey is an interesting idea also. Gotta be wool.
Velo-retro will print t shirts from a file, you must indicate size and placement.
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