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Interesting French constructeur bike

Old 09-02-19, 10:54 AM
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Interesting French constructeur bike

I spotted this bike on eBay.fr (don't ask me what I'm doing there ). The listing has ended as not sold but I'm interested in messaging the seller.

It is listed as a Dujardin, who was a constructeur active from the 30s to the 60s according to Jan Heine. He was known for purchasing the Nivex derailleur factory near the end of the Nivex's production.

The bike looks like the product of a custom shop, being fillet-brazed, with a nice, worked-over fork crown, and of course the Nivex dropouts, which has been horrendously modified to take a parallelogram derailleur. Whoever did that also hacked off the original Nivex chainstay mount.

I'm tempted to make a low offer, citing the lack of transfers, modifications to the frame, and repaint. I'd be willing to fabricate and braze the chainstay mount and repair the driveside dropout. But I don't know where I'd find a Nivex derailleur, let alone a compatible hub. The only Nivex on eBay is $2500





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Old 09-02-19, 11:14 AM
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TenGrainBread -

Same place as the bike, EBay France. Very nice randonneuse, by the way.
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Old 09-02-19, 12:14 PM
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@cb400bill meant to post this in regular C&V, can you move it? Thanks ☺️
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Old 09-02-19, 12:30 PM
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Thread moved to C&V.
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Old 09-02-19, 12:59 PM
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-----

Wondering why designer chose to place rear canti on seatstays rather than laterals.

Makes for an unnecessarily awkward cable path.

Sure to be a good reason am not seeing...


-----
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Old 09-02-19, 01:15 PM
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Mafac cantilever brakes protrude a leg catching amount.
More torture for the cable, less for the legs.
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Old 09-02-19, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----

Wondering why designer chose to place rear canti on seatstays rather than laterals.

Makes for an unnecessarily awkward cable path.

Sure to be a good reason am not seeing...


-----
Only reason I can think of is chainstays being short enough that there is no room for straddle cable between tire and seat tube. And perhaps maker didn't want to place straddle around seat tube because straddle would need to be very long to make this work, reducing mechanical advantage.
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Old 10-29-19, 05:41 PM
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I just bought it

We'll see how things go. I'm going to try to restore it to its Nivex-licious glory, pending Jan Heine's possible introduction of repro Nivex derailleurs. In the meantime, there's always the Suntour S-1!
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Old 10-29-19, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
I just bought it

We'll see how things go. I'm going to try to restore it to its Nivex-licious glory, pending Jan Heine's possible introduction of repro Nivex derailleurs. In the meantime, there's always the Suntour S-1!
This is your chance to reverse engineer a Nivex as well as a lever front derailleur!
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Old 10-29-19, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
I just bought it

We'll see how things go. I'm going to try to restore it to its Nivex-licious glory, pending Jan Heine's possible introduction of repro Nivex derailleurs. In the meantime, there's always the Suntour S-1!
Hell yeah!! I saw it got relisted recently and the thought crossed my mind again as well given the RH repro in dev. Glad you pulled the trigger!
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Old 10-30-19, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
I just bought it

We'll see how things go. I'm going to try to restore it to its Nivex-licious glory, pending Jan Heine's possible introduction of repro Nivex derailleurs. In the meantime, there's always the Suntour S-1!
Grats on your new bike. Please post some pics as you go!
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Old 10-30-19, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by TenGrainBread View Post
Hell yeah!! I saw it got relisted recently and the thought crossed my mind again as well given the RH repro in dev. Glad you pulled the trigger!
Just curious, have you seen anything that implies that RH will be offering the repro Nivex for sale? Other than the fact that there has been at least one produced, so most of the R&D is complete and it would likely be just a matter of producing them?

I think it would be awesome to see it go into production, but compared to the other offerings by RH that, while boutique, are more or less standard equipment for modern bikes I can't really see any place for the Nivex repro in the bicycling world outside of custom builders.

Jan did a lot to popularize wider supple tires for bikes, and I know that getting roadies on to that bandwagon was a huge feat and he and the RH/BQ team deserve a lot of praise for their efforts, but trying to get people to buy in to a derailleur standard that is so different from everything else seems a little unrealistic. I mean, a lot of people will drop $160 on a pair of tires to try out something new, especially since if you don't like it you can just switch back.

But exploring the world of a Nivex repro involves a much bigger commitment. At the very least it would involve having an existing frame modified with new dropouts and RD mount, and then you're stuck with a bike that you can only use that particular derailleur on.

And considering what would likely be a very limited run, can you imagine how much the RD and shifter would cost? If RH already charges close to $200 for a single centerpull brake, of which they make a lot of, I can only imagine that it would end up being close to $1000

Not trying to be a downer or overly critical, as the first time I saw a picture of that RD on Instagram I got really excited. I just really can't see much of a market for it. Although I suppose that there are enough people with interest and enough money that would cause the first production run to sell out immediately. I mean, I would go for it if I could
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Old 10-30-19, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
I just bought it

We'll see how things go. I'm going to try to restore it to its Nivex-licious glory, pending Jan Heine's possible introduction of repro Nivex derailleurs. In the meantime, there's always the Suntour S-1!
Congrats!

The S-1 is interesting, thanks for mentioning it. I've never heard of that one before. Looks to be quite an affordable option as well
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Old 10-30-19, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by abshipp View Post
But exploring the world of a Nivex repro involves a much bigger commitment. At the very least it would involve having an existing frame modified with new dropouts and RD mount, and then you're stuck with a bike that you can only use that particular derailleur on.
Is that a true statement? I think the chain rest we tend to see on the dropout is more of a nice-to-have than a necessity, and I don't think the Nivex mount would get in the way if you decided to use a more common RD. Perhaps an alternate method for hanging up the chain when removing the wheel could be devised, so that you can use normal wheels.

Just curious, have you seen anything that implies that RH will be offering the repro Nivex for sale? Other than the fact that there has been at least one produced, so most of the R&D is complete and it would likely be just a matter of producing them?

I think it would be awesome to see it go into production, but compared to the other offerings by RH that, while boutique, are more or less standard equipment for modern bikes I can't really see any place for the Nivex repro in the bicycling world outside of custom builders.

Jan did a lot to popularize wider supple tires for bikes, and I know that getting roadies on to that bandwagon was a huge feat and he and the RH/BQ team deserve a lot of praise for their efforts, but trying to get people to buy in to a derailleur standard that is so different from everything else seems a little unrealistic. I mean, a lot of people will drop $160 on a pair of tires to try out something new, especially since if you don't like it you can just switch back.

And considering what would likely be a very limited run, can you imagine how much the RD and shifter would cost? If RH already charges close to $200 for a single centerpull brake, of which they make a lot of, I can only imagine that it would end up being close to $1000

Not trying to be a downer or overly critical, as the first time I saw a picture of that RD on Instagram I got really excited. I just really can't see much of a market for it. Although I suppose that there are enough people with interest and enough money that would cause the first production run to sell out immediately. I mean, I would go for it if I could
I'm not sure if I would actually like a lever front derailleur, but I daydream about RH offering one plus the braze-ons to mount it to a frame. All of the geometry and testing done, you just need to decide on your big chainring size and have it stuck on a bike by a framebuilder. How cool would that be!
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Old 10-30-19, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Is that a true statement? I think the chain rest we tend to see on the dropout is more of a nice-to-have than a necessity, and I don't think the Nivex mount would get in the way if you decided to use a more common RD. Perhaps an alternate method for hanging up the chain when removing the wheel could be devised, so that you can use normal wheels.

I'm not sure if I would actually like a lever front derailleur, but I daydream about RH offering one plus the braze-ons to mount it to a frame. All of the geometry and testing done, you just need to have it stuck on a bike by a framebuilder. How cool would that be!
I suppose you could have both the Nivex mount as well as the standard Campy hanger, but then you would have a superfluous braze-on all the time. I suppose that I'm assuming that this would be done the "right way" with all of the appropriate accouterments (like the chain rest, vertical dropouts with extended front bits, etc), but I suppose that's just because I don't like having unused stuff like a bare derailleur hanger.

And yes, I do have a road bike converted to fixed gear with a naked Huret hanger hanging out in the breeze, but lets just ignore that for right now...

I would love to try out a Nivex or Cyclo type drivetrain after reading about how well they supposedly shift. I'm with you on the lever front derailleur, I think they are really cool looking and I would love to ride with one someday, but I don't think I would like it all that much for a daily driver
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Old 11-03-19, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Is that a true statement? I think the chain rest we tend to see on the dropout is more of a nice-to-have than a necessity, and I don't think the Nivex mount would get in the way if you decided to use a more common RD. Perhaps an alternate method for hanging up the chain when removing the wheel could be devised, so that you can use normal wheels.
I've been thinking about this a fair amount, and I don't think you'd need a special wheel, just a special axle. Something could be made pretty easily with a lathe, and mass-produced. Beyond that, it's possible that you could make the left dropout minimal enough that a normal hub/wheel could be moved laterally to clear a chain on a chainrest after falling 2cm from the dropouts. Even the chainrest isn't a dealbreaker. What about the old Campagnolo portacatena? Something bolt-on seems easy enough to mass-produce, or even 3D-print.

Originally Posted by abshipp View Post
Just curious, have you seen anything that implies that RH will be offering the repro Nivex for sale? Other than the fact that there has been at least one produced, so most of the R&D is complete and it would likely be just a matter of producing them?
Nope, this is pure speculation, based on exactly the factor you mentioned.

I think it would be awesome to see it go into production, but compared to the other offerings by RH that, while boutique, are more or less standard equipment for modern bikes I can't really see any place for the Nivex repro in the bicycling world outside of custom builders.

Jan did a lot to popularize wider supple tires for bikes, and I know that getting roadies on to that bandwagon was a huge feat and he and the RH/BQ team deserve a lot of praise for their efforts, but trying to get people to buy in to a derailleur standard that is so different from everything else seems a little unrealistic. I mean, a lot of people will drop $160 on a pair of tires to try out something new, especially since if you don't like it you can just switch back.

But exploring the world of a Nivex repro involves a much bigger commitment. At the very least it would involve having an existing frame modified with new dropouts and RD mount, and then you're stuck with a bike that you can only use that particular derailleur on.

And considering what would likely be a very limited run, can you imagine how much the RD and shifter would cost? If RH already charges close to $200 for a single centerpull brake, of which they make a lot of, I can only imagine that it would end up being close to $1000

Not trying to be a downer or overly critical, as the first time I saw a picture of that RD on Instagram I got really excited. I just really can't see much of a market for it. Although I suppose that there are enough people with interest and enough money that would cause the first production run to sell out immediately. I mean, I would go for it if I could
I totally agree. It would be a big pain to put them together and they would probably cost a thousand dollars. Which I probably would not pay, given that I'm stretched to the limit with bike hobbies as it is, and I have a perfectly good Suntour S-1 and a brazing torch. What I would really hope for is that Jan might realize he can't break even on them unless he charges way too much, and so ends up cutting his losses and calling this a labor of love, and releases the plans to the public. Then I'd machine myself two of them.

Originally Posted by TenGrainBread View Post
Hell yeah!! I saw it got relisted recently and the thought crossed my mind again as well given the RH repro in dev. Glad you pulled the trigger!
I am glad you don't think I am stepping on your toes for buying it!!
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Old 11-03-19, 09:18 PM
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@scarlson Didn't step on my toes at all. I have other projects to work on.
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Old 11-25-19, 09:26 PM
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I got the bike fairly recently. It shipped OK although one of the MAFAC pads somehow slipped its binder bolt and escaped. It was nowhere to be found in the box.

In any case, it came with some cool stuff. Since we're on the subject of brakes, here is a mystery for you all.

The seller says the brakes are MAFAC. I just don't know. The straddle yokes are, for sure, old-logo MAFAC (M.A.F.A.C. with all the dots between the letters, as opposed to the newer logo that doesn't have the dots). But the brake arms themselves don't say anything! They look really high quality, all the hardware is brass or bronze except for that one rusty steel eye bolt that lost the brake pad in shipping (and which I will replace with a bronze one I make). Here are some pictures.






You can see in the last picture that MAFAC has been faintly scratched into the brake arm by ...someone... I know it's possible to tell the age of MAFAC brakes by the logo. So can anyone tell me when the "chicken-scratch logo" was used?

In all seriousness, I looked through all of VeloBase and found nothing that looked like these. I am stumped.
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Old 11-25-19, 09:51 PM
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scarlson take a gander through Amir's Flickr. He has the most extensive documentation of MAFAC components I've seen. Plus as a bonus, a few pages in he has a crazy amount of photos, drawings, and catalogue scans of Nivex derailleurs and dropouts!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mafac_brakes/albums/
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Old 11-25-19, 09:54 PM
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What is the distance between the center of the brake pivot and the center of the post mounting holes? MAFACs are 23mm for the Criterium brake and 25mm for the Tandem. The design didn't change over the years, so if you measure and it's off from these, it might be a copycat, which there have been known to be.

In the Flickr I posted above I also seem to remember Amir having a few photos with dimensions of the thin hex bolts used on MAFAC cantis. Another part to measure against.

I'll say to my eyes the arms look a little thicker than MAFACs. Just an eyeballed guess though.
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Old 11-25-19, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by TenGrainBread View Post
What is the distance between the center of the brake pivot and the center of the post mounting holes? MAFACs are 23mm for the Criterium brake and 25mm for the Tandem. The design didn't change over the years, so if you measure and it's off from these, it might be a copycat, which there have been known to be.

In the Flickr I posted above I also seem to remember Amir having a few photos with dimensions of the thin hex bolts used on MAFAC cantis. Another part to measure against.

I'll say to my eyes the arms look a little thicker than MAFACs. Just an eyeballed guess though.
So when you say copycat, do you mean fakes or did maybe Herse, Singer or the like make their own from scratch which of course is not a stretch by any stretch.

These look to my eye to be very close to the real thing and just as well made.

Maybe these are no name ala Campy priceless grail version from the time warp.
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Old 11-25-19, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
So when you say copycat, do you mean fakes or did maybe Herse, Singer or the like make their own from scratch which of course is not a stretch by any stretch.

These look to my eye to be very close to the real thing and just as well made.

Maybe these are no name ala Campy priceless grail version from the time warp.
Herse's brakes were quite different from the MAFAC cantis. They had a more triangular geometry. MAFAC came out with their Jacky model cantilever in the 70s, which were closer in design to the Herse brakes, but many years after Herse designed his.

Singer is well-known for his cam-driven brakes which are even further from the MAFAC design.

I've heard rumors of MAFAC knock offs here and there. I don't have any specific examples though.
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Old 11-26-19, 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by abshipp View Post
I suppose you could have both the Nivex mount as well as the standard Campy hanger, but then you would have a superfluous braze-on all the time. . .
The Suntour S-1 mounts to an inconspicuous threaded boss brazed underneath the chain stay and uses the usual derailleur hanger for a chain hanger similar to Nivex and Campagnolo Porta Catena. So a bike with an S-1 would be easy to convert back to a conventional derailleur.
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Old 11-26-19, 07:05 AM
  #24  
unterhausen
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If you look through the Hirose videos on youtube, there are a couple where he makes a Nivex style derailleur. I have found that it's a really bad idea for me to watch any of his videos, I don't need any more projects.
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Old 11-27-19, 04:10 PM
  #25  
rhm
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What would be really cool is if someone would reverse engineer a Nivex mech for 3D printing and make all the parts downloadable. Having all the parts printed commercially wouldn't be cheap, but just having them available would be great
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