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1968 Rene Herse Gentleman's Bicycle

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1968 Rene Herse Gentleman's Bicycle

Old 01-17-22, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by 2flit
A Rene Herse Tandem for sale at a bicycle club in France....
​​​​​​https://tandemclubdefrance.fr/index.php/occasion/tandems-a-vendre/9-tandems-a-vendre/95-rene-hers
H**Y CRAP!

Glad its not my size.
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Old 12-02-22, 05:05 PM
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So I've returned after a five year sailing trip with my wife in our home made Farrier F36 trimaran (we didn't build it). I came back home to our property on Orcas Island . We have an unheated but fancy fully insulated barn with a nice cement floor and thermo-pane windows. I thought bicycle storage in their would be fine. I had twelve other bicycles in their (ten of them older that 1972) many with a repaint I did going back as far as 1979. They all came out looking like the day I left...
EXCEPT the Rene Herse
I am horrified but the paint on this frame aged 30 years or more while I was gone. I feel terrible about what I have done to this rare and special bicycle. There is all kinds of rust trying to show itself thru the paint and the Top Tube... Oh my god; it;s terrible. There is totally exposed 531 with surface rust over about 30% of the 1/8 top radius of that tube. And close-up pictures reveal paint that's thin and crackling/crazing all over the place.
I'm selling several of my bikes now and hoping the wife will let me spend the income on re-painting the Rene Herse (just sold a tricked out R20 for $1,030 USD on Tuesday) But looking into this..,. A proper repaint that 100% duplicates what's there now (probably) costs over $2,000.

I'm so embarased that I don't want to post pictures but I'll do just one.

And if any of you live in a humid climate and have fine vintage bicycles, I've now learned that they should be carefully cleaned and then heavily waxed before you take off.


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Old 12-02-22, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by 2flit
So I've returned after a five year sailing trip with my wife in our home made Farrier F36 trimaran (we didn't build it). I came back home to our property on Orcas Island . We have an unheated but fancy fully insulated barn with a nice cement floor and thermo-pane windows. I thought bicycle storage in their would be fine. I had twelve other bicycles in their (ten of them older that 1972) many with a repaint I did going back as far as 1979. They all came out looking like the day I left...
EXCEPT the Rene Herse
I am horrified but the paint on this frame aged 30 years or more while I was gone. I feel terrible about what I have done to this rare and special bicycle. There is all kinds of rust trying to show itself thru the paint and the Top Tube... Oh my god; it;s terrible. There is totally exposed 531 with surface rust over about 30% of the 1/8 top radius of that tube. And close-up pictures reveal paint that's thin and crackling/crazing all over the place.
I'm selling several of my bikes now and hoping the wife will let me spend the income on re-painting the Rene Herse (just sold a tricked out R20 for $1,030 USD on Tuesday) But looking into this..,. A proper repaint that 100% duplicates what's there now (probably) costs over $2,000.

I'm so embarased that I don't want to post pictures but I'll do just one.

And if any of you live in a humid climate and have fine vintage bicycles, I've now learned that they should be carefully cleaned and then heavily waxed before you take off.


Don't beat yourself up too much! This is now in the past. Rust and other imperfections are part of a bikes history. It's still in good hands since you have the means and the will to resolve the issue. I am looking at your pic and I am wondering if it could mostly be cleaned up with evaporust or oxalic acid and then protected with regular waxing and/or some other clear protectant over the exposed areas. It would be a pity to lose the original finish even if it wasn't as nice as it once was. A repaint would be last resort IMO.
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Old 12-02-22, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by 2flit
There is all kinds of rust trying to show itself thru the paint and the Top Tube... Oh my god; it;s terrible. There is totally exposed 531 with surface rust over about 30% of the 1/8 top radius of that tube.
Based on the older closeups, I'd venture to say that the bare spots were probably already there due to porosity of the paint, but it oxidized quickly in its current environment.

I'd echo what tricky said - this just might come off with an OA bath, including the rust (such as on the seatstay caps) which it had when you got it. No idea if the sign paint used for the hand-painted lining or downtube decal would survive, but it's worth a try dunking an inconspicuous area as a test.

I recently picked up a Moulton Mk.1 that's in surprisingly good shape but also has a layer of surface rust throughout it - I plan to OA it to see if I can literally wash it off and keep the original finish.

-Kurt
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Old 12-02-22, 09:48 PM
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Another surprise!

I've never seen this model of Rene Herse in Japan

Thanks millions
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Old 12-03-22, 01:51 PM
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Your modifications seem well thought out, except perhaps for the built-in tape dispenser on the top tube.
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Old 12-03-22, 02:02 PM
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DarkMoon,
This is not the original build... I tried to Private message you with an original unmolested build photo but your not set up to recieve PM's
I can't find the exact same design in the Herse Catalog either. The original owner (I'm the third) had a 69cm hiker built for him also and I suspect was a regular customer at the Herse shop.... So this was a very similar build the the 1968 "Gentleman's" bicycle without the chain guard. It was the original owners 'city bike'.
The tubing is incredibly light weight and most certainly not normal on a frame this tall.
I think allot of the Herse bicycles wound up being custom in one way or another
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Old 12-03-22, 02:13 PM
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Hi Ogden,
I have all the original parts in storage, and replaced the wear items with new stuff Jan supplies.
I don't think the paint is retrievable with just wax, I live on an island surrounded by salt water in the Pacific Northwet. It's not kind to paint this thin and old. I'm working on an estimate for a period correct exact repaint with Jeff Bock.
Until then, I plan to do some cleaning and waxing... but Oxalic acid scares the daylights out of me. Have you used this on 60 year old paint on very valuable frames?

Last edited by 2flit; 12-03-22 at 02:14 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 12-03-22, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by 2flit
DarkMoon,
This is not the original build... I tried to Private message you with an original unmolested build photo but your not set up to recieve PM's
I can't find the exact same design in the Herse Catalog either. The original owner (I'm the third) had a 69cm hiker built for him also and I suspect was a regular customer at the Herse shop.... So this was a very similar build the the 1968 "Gentleman's" bicycle without the chain guard. It was the original owners 'city bike'.
The tubing is incredibly light weight and most certainly not normal on a frame this tall.
I think allot of the Herse bicycles wound up being custom in one way or another
Hi, 2flit!

I've just checked "receive other members' PM" button.
Try it again, please.
I'm looking forward to see your pic!
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Old 12-03-22, 07:53 PM
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That's the first time I've seen details of the 'gusseted' 'lugged' 'reinforced' whatever mudguards. Oh my.



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Old 12-04-22, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by jonwvara
Your modifications seem well thought out, except perhaps for the built-in tape dispenser on the top tube.
Let's not put him down in his hour of crisis; trying to figure out what to do with a Herse that's blooming rust is bad enough. Let's all help him through this with our collective knowledge.

Better some padding on the TT than a bunch of scrapes to the metal. My '46 Humber is victim of that over it's life and I pop a bit of foam insulation on it whenever moving it.

Originally Posted by 2flit
Oxalic acid scares the daylights out of me. Have you used this on 60 year old paint on very valuable frames?
The one thing I've had with OA is that when the frame comes out of the bath, the paint often has a chalky white layer on top which can be unsettling. This comes off with a polish, and in one case where I couldn't get to a fork for two days after pulling it out of a neutralized bath and wiping it, I found the original color had returned on its own.

Feel free to look at the OA baths I did in these threads:

It wants to be a Sports: Rusty 1954 Ralegh Superbe Tourist content lurks within
"Saturday's Haul," a.k.a: A story of 3-speeds to rusted 531 (There are multiple bikes in this thread - you want to follow the story of the Marinoni).

More than happy to guide you through it. I'd be less concerned about the paint and more concerned about how the hand lining and lettering will come out. It looks like the period equivalent of One-Shot sign paint that is still sold here IIRC. Dunking some cured One-Shot on a frame with a similar finish might be a good baseline.

-Kurt
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Old 12-04-22, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888
Let's not put him down in his hour of crisis; trying to figure out what to do with a Herse that's blooming rust is bad enough. Let's all help him through this with our collective knowledge.
I am rightly chastised. I didn't mean to sound snarky--I honestly couldn't figure out what the tape was all about.

I would only suggest that OP not do anything in haste. A repainted bike is repainted forever, and it's not like this one is going to crumble to dust if it isn't refinished right away. Find a drier place to store it and mull things over for a few years, preferably while out riding the bike itself. Maybe you'll decide that keeping the original paint, flaws and all, is the right move--or rather, non-move.
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Old 12-04-22, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by jonwvara
I am rightly chastised. I didn't mean to sound snarky--I honestly couldn't figure out what the tape was all about.

I would only suggest that OP not do anything in haste. A repainted bike is repainted forever, and it's not like this one is going to crumble to dust if it isn't refinished right away. Find a drier place to store it and mull things over for a few years, preferably while out fiding the bike itself.. Maybe you'll decide that keeping the original paint, flaws and all, is the right move--or rather, non-move.
No worries

Agreed that the decision can't be a rash one, whether it's taking steps to preserve the existing finish or a refinish. Has to be done right, regardless. I must confess, I'm hoping someone shares their experiences (and pictures, perhaps) with Evaporust on an existing paint job.

-Kurt
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Old 12-05-22, 02:54 AM
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Originally Posted by cudak888
No worries
I must confess, I'm hoping someone shares their experiences (and pictures, perhaps) with Evaporust on an existing paint job.

-Kurt

I once partially submerged a fork in Evaporust for about 24 hours. Part of the steerer and crown race were above the water line, at an angle (I filled a wallpaper tray with a whole gallon and my intent was to get all the paint under the surface).

The Evaporust etched nice straight lines on either side of the crown race and a left a black parabola shaped discoloration (because of the angle) on the steerer.

Never again.
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Old 12-05-22, 06:58 AM
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I have successfully used Evaporust on a couple of complete frames frames. There's a thread out there called something like "Immersing a 63 cm frame in 2 gallons of Evaporust" that describes how to do just that.. It could probably be found via Google, given that the BF search function does not actually work.

I would hesitate to try it on a historic frame like this one, though, given that others have had issues with staining, lines forming, etc.. The final results probably depend on paint chemistry and various other unknown unknowns.

PS--Here's a link to the thread mentioned above:

Immersing a 63 cm frame in 1 1/2 gallons of Evaporust
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Old 12-05-22, 07:17 AM
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OA definitely improved this Pug mixte, but the finish was still pretty beat.
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Old 12-05-22, 04:17 PM
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IMO, if the rust can be minimized, I think a repaint would be worse than letting the rust bloom in the first place. Losing paint that was applied by the maker himself would be a sad thing. That said, we haven't seen detail photos of the rust. Side note, but I would remove that tape from the top tube. It's probably holding in moisture.

You can try OA or Evaporust by dipping a bit of paper towel in the stuff and then applying it to some place inconspicuous like under the chain stay an then wrap it in saran wrap to keep it moist for the duration of the instructed treatment time. If you are considering a repaint anyways, you have nothing to lose.
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