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The Elan and Romic connection

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The Elan and Romic connection

Old 03-24-19, 02:44 PM
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The Elan and Romic connection

Awhile back, I picked up the pictured Elan bicycle. It is clearly French-- Vitus tubing, Super Vitus drops, Prugnat lugs-- although it is threaded English. The exact origins of this bike are something of a mystery-- searches on the internet yielded one other example, and the owner was attempting to figure out where it came from as well. There was an Australian shop that used the name, but it's not one of those; a Japanese builder used it as well-- not one of those, either.

To a certain extent, this is a meh problem. The bike is built to a high level of craft and is a very nice rider. When I bought it, it was set up much as it is now-- my additions were the bottle cage, pedals, bell, fenders and bag. Very nice 650B setup; the only disappointment was I had been meaning to build one up for awhile and this purchase took away some of the fun.

I have, however, found that just leaving the bike out there on the internet sometimes leads to more information. I posted it on a facebook thread, and a fellow commented on it with more information.

It seems that around 1981 more or less these bikes were imported into the US by Romic in Houston and sold by them. I think this was for one year only, 1981 is a rough guess. This would help explain the French build yet English thread, although French thread was on the way out by then. The gentleman who commented on my picture said he had been offered one by Romic.

Oddly, the next bike I worked on after this was a Romic, which I converted to 650b, thus fulfilling that dream. Pictured together, you can see clear similarities between the font used on the "Romic" and "Elan" decals. Unfortunately, the two share no letters, so a direct comparison is impossible, but I think they're very close if not the same-- both serif, both outlined.

Romic is slightly better known than Elan. I'd like further confirmation of this, so if anyone out there knows more, or has old Romic flyers/catalogs from the period, please add to this thread. The Elan does not bear any of the hallmarks of Bernard Carre or those of Alain Michel, probably two of the better known French builders of the period, so I don't think the Elans are their work. I'd like to trace down where these were built, but that would be a bit of a fool's errand if not for the internet.

Thanks any and all!

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