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Help ID a French/Swiss Randonneur frame?

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Help ID a French/Swiss Randonneur frame?

Old 10-10-21, 03:19 PM
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loosemilk
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Help ID a French/Swiss Randonneur frame?

EDIT: Thanks to MauriceMoss and others, this frame can be mostly identified. The stay crimping, lugs and serial numbers on the fork and bottom bracket indicate that it is a 1957 Express Werke Frame, made in Neumarkt, Germany (likely a Berufsfahrer or Model I) that has been modified with:
-Canti Mounts
-Campagnolo rear dropouts
-a 27.0mm bore seat tube (presumably reamed out to this diameter)

I do plan to repaint and rebuild this, though given these modifications I'm inclined to accentuate its uniqueness rather than do a faithful restoration.

This caught my eye at the local bike shop's warehouse/garage sale due to the underslung canti mounts and odd diamond-shaped chain & seat stays - they have a pronounced ridge on the lateral (outside) surface. A couple of other bike nerds started gawking at it and did the best they could to try and ID it, but to no avail. Their best guess was a French or Swiss frame, seems like '70s maybe. Takes a french-threaded headset, 27.0mm seatpost. I believe 700c wheels as well, though I haven't properly checked.
Measurements (all c-c)
Seat tube: 54.5cm
Top Tube: 56cm
Downtube: 60cm
Chainstays (center of BB to my estimate of the axle): ~45cm

IMG_2646101021
fork
IMG_2648101021
IMG_2649101021
IMG_2650101021
IMG_2652101021
IMG_2654101021
IMG_2665101021
BB Stamp Reads 1099 668


The cage and a few other parts of this Huret rear derailleur are Titanium. Anybody know the model?
IMG_2675101021
IMG_2672101021

Last edited by loosemilk; 10-14-21 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 10-10-21, 03:28 PM
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27 zip seatpost would be an unusual size for a French or Swiss bike; 26.4 or 26.6 is common. I've seen serial numbers on the outside of the BB like that on Cilo bikes but I have no idea whether this is a Cilo. Interesting bike and worth restoring.
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Old 10-10-21, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
27 zip seatpost would be an unusual size for a French or Swiss bike; 26.4 or 26.6 is common. I've seen serial numbers on the outside of the BB like that on Cilo bikes but I have no idea whether this is a Cilo. Interesting bike and worth restoring.
I certainly do plan to restore it. Hopefully those under-the-seat-stay canti mounts will jog someone's memory; I've never seen something like that before.
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Old 10-11-21, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by loosemilk View Post
I certainly do plan to restore it. Hopefully those under-the-seat-stay canti mounts will jog someone's memory; I've never seen something like that before.
Jo Routens did that, but he would route the cable right through the seat tube.

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Old 10-11-21, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Jo Routens did that, but he would route the cable right through the seat tube.

This is the only method I've found for underslung canti brakes in a few hours of searching--no frames with the cantis underslung and an actual bridge for the cable. I suspect it's easier to do it with the bridge if it's a production model rather than a custom where the seatpost is going to be just one height and you can drill through it.
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Old 10-11-21, 09:00 PM
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certainly is intriguing! Does anybody recognize those headlugs, and the fork crown? @juvela usually has something to add, let's see if he recognizes any of these frame details.
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Old 10-12-21, 05:50 AM
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Originally Posted by loosemilk View Post

The cage and a few other parts of this Huret rear derailleur are Titanium. Anybody know the model?
IMG_2675101021
IMG_2672101021
That's a Huret Duopar Titane.

Or just a Huret Duopar Titanium- what was the gold standard... or titanium standard for outrageously expensive touring bike derailleurs. Your example is pre 1984.
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Old 10-12-21, 06:12 AM
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What is the advantage to mounting the brakes on the underside of the seat stay? I imagine braking performance is going to be the same as if they were topside...is it just to get them out of the way of the rear rack area? I imagine this placement increases the chances for heel clearance problems with wide cantis, so I reckon there has to be a compelling reason to have them there.
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Old 10-12-21, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
That's a Huret Duopar Titane.

Or just a Huret Duopar Titanium- what was the gold standard... or titanium standard for outrageously expensive touring bike derailleurs. Your example is pre 1984.
Just as I suspected! Thanks.

As for mounting brakes beneath the stays I have to assume it's to make room for a rack or bag. I recently switched the caliper brakes on my daily rider (early '80s Fuji S-12S) to this position to get them away from the rack and get the brake pads into a better position relative to the rim.

Last edited by loosemilk; 10-12-21 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 10-12-21, 10:51 AM
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Curious, what's the measure between the head badge holes?
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Old 10-12-21, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by francophile View Post
Curious, what's the measure between the head badge holes?
50mm

Last edited by loosemilk; 10-12-21 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 10-12-21, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
27 zip seatpost would be an unusual size for a French or Swiss bike; 26.4 or 26.6 is common. I've seen serial numbers on the outside of the BB like that on Cilo bikes but I have no idea whether this is a Cilo. Interesting bike and worth restoring.

-----



crown appears if may be a Georg Fischer item

wrt 27.0mm pillar size -

possible it began life at the predictable 26.6mm size and someone has reamed it out to this size because they had a pillar of this diameter they wished to employ


-----

Last edited by juvela; 10-12-21 at 02:45 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 10-12-21, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by loosemilk View Post
This is the only method I've found for underslung canti brakes in a few hours of searching--no frames with the cantis underslung and an actual bridge for the cable. I suspect it's easier to do it with the bridge if it's a production model rather than a custom where the seatpost is going to be just one height and you can drill through it.
For reference: my Snel Expedition touring bike. Most probably a Belgian Vaneenooghe-built frame:

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Old 10-12-21, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----



crown appears if may be a Georg Fischer item

wrt 27.0mm pillar size -

possible it began life at the predictable 26.6mm size and someone has reamed it out to this size because they had a pillar of this diameter they wished to employ


-----
Thanks a ton for your input--now to find out what that might mean for the frame/vintage. Your comment on the 27.0 ID is interesting. I don't have any tools to measure deep interior diameter but someone told me a 27.0 ID probably corresponded to a specific tube manufacturer/set. I forget what it was--Columbus, maybe?
I don't suppose the odd cross-section of the tubestays and chainstays means anything to you? Not something that's easy to photograph but they're visibly creased outwards on the outside. I've never seen anything like that before and assume it's either custom or highly specific to some tubeset manufacturer.
and non-fixie That's the very first example of a similar setup I've seen. Thanks very much for sharing--it did occcur to me that France/Switzerland was more of a ballpark since frame manufacturing standards and combinations thereof are all mixed up depending on who produced a frame when. Belgium came to mind but I didn't really know where to start.
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Old 10-12-21, 05:49 PM
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>> those under-the-seat-stay canti mounts

Lieke & Schefzyk -- now Schubert & Schefzyk -- two physicists from my home town who started a small bike manufacturing business.
They did the canti bosses like that to keep them from interfering with the panniers. Until today, I hadn't seen that elsewhere.
Cool!
cheers -mathias
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Old 10-12-21, 08:30 PM
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That is an interesting frame, loosemilk .

rhm beat me to it - mounting the canti (or centerpull) posts on the front of the seat stays is something you'll see relatively regularly on Routens (and Hugonnier) frames.
Also, as non-fixie noted, there were other marques that did this. Among the French marques, you'll find this approach on Rene Herse and Louis Pitard bikes, but I don't think I've ever seen it on a production frame before.


The crimping of the stays is also something that isn't very common but is not unique to this frame (or the marque). Of the French makes, Favor (of Clermont-Ferrand) comes to mind but I remember seeing others (would need to dig through some pics).


With all that said, however, I don't think this is either a French, Swiss or a Belgian frame.

The frame looks like it was an experimentation platform for someone. I think the canti posts and the rear dropouts are not original to the frame (the front dropouts don't match the rear). I'd also agree with juvela that the seatpost size was different originally.

Everything on the frame - stay and fork blade crimping, serial number location/format, head lugs, fork crown, head badge rivet spacing (in other words everything but the rear dropouts, brakes/posts and the seatpost size) - is consistent with the German marque Express (Express-Fahrradwerke AG from Neumarkt).

Judging by the serial number and the look of the headlugs (plus the lack of an oil port on the bb shell), it was likely made closer to the end of existence of the original company (before being absorbed into Victoria and DKW into Zweirad Union). This happened in 1958 with serial numbers being in the 1100000 range by then. Are there any small numbers stamped into the fork steerer? Some bikes had a [month.year] stamped on there.
On a side note, Express went from record production and demand in 1955 to having to lay off 1/6th of the workforce in 1956 to being insolvent by 1958.

The mystery frame could have been their top tier 'Berufsfahrer Modell' or possibly the Model I ('München-Mailand'), not sure. I've never seen an Express with canti posts (regardless of positioning) or with Campagnolo dropouts (Express frames of this period had stamped dropouts), which is why I was saying earlier that I think these are later changes.

Here are some pics:

Tube crimping:










Serial numbers:




Head lugs:






Fork crown:






Head badge rivet spacing:

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Old 10-12-21, 08:34 PM
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If you plan to restore it, Express had so many cool little details that, if I were restoring, I'd try to include in the final build. Everything from the wavy sword downtube decals, to the head badge, to the fender mascot to even the custom bells. Here are some pics of those:


Downtube decal:








Fender mascot and bell:







Some finished builds:

'Berufsfahrer Modell' - road version, slightly older than the mystery frame (note the slight difference in the headlugs)



'Berufsfahrer Modell' - track version



Model I ('München-Mailand')

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Old 10-12-21, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by MauriceMoss View Post
That is an interesting frame, loosemilk .

rhm beat me to it - mounting the canti (or centerpull) posts on the front of the seat stays is something you'll see relatively regularly on Routens (and Hugonnier) frames.
Also, as non-fixie noted, there were other marques that did this. Among the French marques, you'll find this approach on Rene Herse and Louis Pitard bikes, but I don't think I've ever seen it on a production frame before.


The crimping of the stays is also something that isn't very common but is not unique to this frame (or the marque). Of the French makes, Favor (of Clermont-Ferrand) comes to mind but I remember seeing others (would need to dig through some pics).


With all that said, however, I don't think this is either a French, Swiss or a Belgian frame.

The frame looks like it was an experimentation platform for someone. I think the canti posts and the rear dropouts are not original to the frame (the front dropouts don't match the rear). I'd also agree with juvela that the seatpost size was different originally.

Everything on the frame - stay and fork blade crimping, serial number location/format, head lugs, fork crown, head badge rivet spacing (in other words everything but the rear dropouts, brakes/posts and the seatpost size) - is consistent with the German marque Express (Express-Fahrradwerke AG from Neumarkt).

Judging by the serial number and the look of the headlugs (plus the lack of an oil port on the bb shell), it was likely made closer to the end of existence of the original company (before being absorbed into Victoria and DKW into Zweirad Union). This happened in 1958 with serial numbers being in the 1100000 range by then. Are there any small numbers stamped into the fork steerer? Some bikes had a [month.year] stamped on there.
On a side note, Express went from record production and demand in 1955 to having to lay off 1/6th of the workforce in 1956 to being insolvent by 1958.

The mystery frame could have been their top tier 'Berufsfahrer Modell' or possibly the Model I ('München-Mailand'), not sure. I've never seen an Express with canti posts (regardless of positioning) or with Campagnolo dropouts (Express frames of this period had stamped dropouts), which is why I was saying earlier that I think these are later changes.

Here are some pics:
Wow, yeah these are some dead ringers on the lugwork and stays. This is so interesting! Thank you for sharing your expertise--I knew the community here would have somebody who would know this right off the bat.
The number on the steerer is 2 57. I'm guessing that makes this frame 64 years old... That would jive with the high serial number (just shy of 110000).
What's left on the bike is certainly evidence of a serial tinkerer, with the mismatched derailleurs and the clamp adapter for the braze-on front. I guess they decided to switch to the Ultegra after they had already added the cantis and repainted...? If that's the actual history.
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Old 10-12-21, 11:34 PM
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@MauriceMoss is (as usual) just gawdamn AMAZING!
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Old 10-13-21, 03:49 AM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
@MauriceMoss is (as usual) just gawdamn AMAZING!

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Old 10-13-21, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by MauriceMoss View Post
that is some smooooth sarsaparilla!
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Old 10-13-21, 05:13 PM
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-----

Our Maurice knocks yet another pitch clean out the ballpark and into the carpark!

We would all be just fumbling in the dark without him!



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Old 10-14-21, 04:25 PM
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I managed to find a '58 catalog for Express Werke (https://velopedia.online/File/SmallP...%201958?token=), which is for the model year after my frame here.

While going through this I noticed a couple of interesting details that make me think this is a higher-end road frame - in this catalog, called the "Modell 65 L Rennrad"

1- Nearly all of the other models listed (including the Modell I) are very practical bikes that come with rear racks that attach to tabs on the rear side of the seatstays. My frame does not have this feature, and neither does the Modell 65. But, hey, maybe they just got chopped off.
2- Neither the Modell I pictured by Maurice above and the Modell I in the catalog have a pump peg at the upper headlug, as my frame does. the Modell 65 is pictured with a pump peg at the upper headlug. But, again, maybe this is variable between years or sizes? There are several other models in the catalog with the pump slung under the top tube, but they don't have a peg at the head lug, the pump is held in the middle of the tube somehow.
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Old 10-17-21, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by loosemilk View Post
I managed to find a '58 catalog for Express Werke (https://velopedia.online/File/SmallP...%201958?token=), which is for the model year after my frame here.

While going through this I noticed a couple of interesting details that make me think this is a higher-end road frame - in this catalog, called the "Modell 65 L Rennrad"

1- Nearly all of the other models listed (including the Modell I) are very practical bikes that come with rear racks that attach to tabs on the rear side of the seatstays. My frame does not have this feature, and neither does the Modell 65. But, hey, maybe they just got chopped off.
2- Neither the Modell I pictured by Maurice above and the Modell I in the catalog have a pump peg at the upper headlug, as my frame does. the Modell 65 is pictured with a pump peg at the upper headlug. But, again, maybe this is variable between years or sizes? There are several other models in the catalog with the pump slung under the top tube, but they don't have a peg at the head lug, the pump is held in the middle of the tube somehow.

The first model I mentioned (Berufsfahrer Modell - 'Berufsfahrer' roughly translating to 'Professional Rider' - their top model) is the 65L you see in the catalogs.

As for the pump peg, that is something that moved around depending on the year, but also something that wouldn't necessarily match the catalogs 100%.
You have to keep in mind that around this time (1956-1958) Express was cutting jobs, the management that failed to foresee the drop in demand of bicycles and motorcycles (in favor of cars) had resigned and the interim management was in place. Instead of adjusting to the new market conditions, they doubled down on investing in bicycle production. All of this meant that the workforce morale and confidence in management was pretty low. There are documented stories of theft of parts/components, with employees smuggling stuff out of the factory and assembling at home, then selling the bikes privately.

Anyways, here's a 1958 Berufsfahrer Modell with the pump peg attached to the top head lug:







Not that you need more eye candy that will balloon your budget but this crank would be a nice addition :

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Old 10-17-21, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
that is some smooooth sarsaparilla!
Sioux City Sarsaparilla FTW!
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