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A Mid-1950s Express Werke AG (Bavarian) Road Bicycle

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A Mid-1950s Express Werke AG (Bavarian) Road Bicycle

Old 02-22-22, 12:30 PM
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Kilroy1988 
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A Mid-1950s Express Werke AG (Bavarian) Road Bicycle

Hello folks,

I trust everyone is doing well! Yesterday I had the good fortune to pick up this 1950s Express Werke AG road bicycle that was built in Newmarkt in der Oberpfalz in Bavaria. Express Werke AG was founded in the 1880s and continued to make bicycles until the mid-20th century. I received it from a gentleman named Jurgen who purchased it in 1958 from the original owner, who Jurgen described as an older man that had had the frame custom made. I have only come across a few of these bicycles when searching the internet so additional information is of course welcome. I purchased the bicycle primarily because I noticed the quality of some of the components in an otherwise vague eBay advertisement, and recognized the logo specifically from a similar bicycle sold by Steel Vintage in Berlin a couple of years ago... Only Jurgen's height was listed yet the frame turned out to be my ideal size, which is 24.5" (c-t) on the seat tube and 22" along the top tube. Jurgen had fenders, a rear rack and a lighting setup on the bicycle which I removed in order to wash, polish and wax the frame, which was done this morning before taking the photos shown below. I still have not cleaned the components much except to dust everything off, remove bar tape and use some Proofide on the saddle.

Jurgen said he put new tubes in the tires and was adamant that all of the components were original, which I believe based on research into the respective appearance on the market for each part.

I plan to replace the consumables throughout and re-grease everything to get it back into riding order but will otherwise maintain a sympathetic restoration.

The frame has crimped seat and chain stays with triangular cross-sections for added rigidity, and the upper inside of the fork blades are also crimped. I was unable to photograph these details on this overcast day but I'm sure when I get it all set up and out for a ride on a sunny day it will be apparent enough! The black paint is chipped and dull throughout but overall very presentable for its age, and the chrome on the fork blades and the rest of the components is also in decent condition with minimal pitting and I'm sure will clean up well.

The component list includes the following:

- Brooks B17 Champion Standard saddle
- Unmarked steel seat post
- Phillipe stem (~95mm)
- Scheeren steel handlebars
- Huret lever-actuated front derailleur
- Huret Tour de France rear derailleur
- Huret down tube shifter
- Unmarked forged 3-arm crankset (I suspect a German-made copy of a French model)
- Durex (German manufactured) Simplex 51/49 chainrings.
- Lyotard Marcel Berthet pedals
- Regina Gran Sport 4-speed freewheel
- Weinmann Type 730 brake calipers
- Weinmann AG brake levers
- Maillard Normandy high-flange hubs
- Rigida Chrolux steel 700c rims
- Aiglor front wingnuts
- F&S rear wingnuts

Overall, I'm very excited about this find, particularly because the quality of the frame and the components matches that of other 1950s bicycles I've restored piece by piece, yet here I got it all at once for a fraction of the cost! Expect some updates as I get it road worthy again!

-Gregory











Last edited by Kilroy1988; 02-22-22 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 02-22-22, 12:54 PM
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This is such a cool bike and I love the bell. Nice score. The only thing I don't like about seeing a bike like this is that it gets me thinking that I need to spend some even more time on eBay . . .


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Old 02-22-22, 01:27 PM
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-----

thanks so much for sharing this wonder

the completeness, originalness and lack of damage combine for a small miracle

seat binder looks to be one of the Way-Assauto models

---

there was a period during the 1950's when both Freres Huret & Juy (Simplex) offered these manual front mech models whose levers operate with a front-to-back action

the Juy ones were termed Randonneur -







-----

Last edited by juvela; 02-22-22 at 02:20 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 02-22-22, 02:05 PM
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You luck DOWG! That is spectacular! At first I was so excited thinking it was for sale and feverishly read the post to scan a number $!! Good for you!
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Old 02-22-22, 02:13 PM
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@Kilroy1988

The condition, completeness and correctness of this machine is absolutely fantastic, Bravo!
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Old 02-22-22, 02:14 PM
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Great score! I love half-step gearing, but I have never understood 51-49 or 49-47 two-tooth chainring drops, having always gone with 3 or 4 teeth myself, for a better ratio progression with 2-to-3-tooth spreads across the freewheel.

I love the head badge and the graphics, and I prefer your Huret front shift mech. over the more familiar Simplex unit.

Your rear derailleur is interesting, in the sense that the pivot really is supposed to be at the top of the cage. The Simplex equivalent is the opposite, but most get set up to look like yours and any conventional rear derailleur, with the jockey wheel on the bottom.
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Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger (2), S/N 42624, 42597
Carlton: 1962 Franco Suisse, S/N K7911
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Old 02-22-22, 02:32 PM
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Very, very, very nice. Congratulations on finding it, and what's more, in this size! Color me jealous.
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Old 02-22-22, 03:26 PM
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A pretty bicycle. Nice catch, Kurt Gregory!

I think the sword transfer is my favourite part.

Last edited by Ged117; 03-30-22 at 02:08 PM. Reason: foof brain
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Old 02-22-22, 03:56 PM
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Thanks folks! Regarding the transfer my hunch is that Express Werke's association with Nurnberg made the sword an appropriate mark. My undergraduate degree is in European history and I have long studied the manufacture and development of medieval armament, and Nurnberg was a center of the German arms industry throughout the later medieval and renaissance periods. Seeing a high quality bicycle that was made nearby is a neat way to appreciate the rich industrial history of the region.

John E I hear you on the Simplex derailleurs of the period. I have one I'll need to set up on that Carlton Super Python and need to remember they did it somewhat counter-intuitively!

juvela I haven't had the opportunity to use the Simplex lever-actuated derailleur like in the catalog picture you show, but my understanding is that the lever was turned from left to right around an axis on that model. With the Huret derailleur on the Express it is in fact a back-to-forth motion.

-Gregory

Last edited by Kilroy1988; 02-22-22 at 04:14 PM.
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Old 02-22-22, 04:49 PM
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----

Freres Huret catalogue pages of MCMLVI illustrating the machine's gear ensemble (or something close thereto!)...

​​​​​​

-----
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Old 02-22-22, 05:13 PM
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Kilroy1988 
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
----

Freres Huret catalogue pages of MCMLVI illustrating the machine's gear ensemble (or something close thereto!)
-----
I have a feeling we're talking about different derailleurs, or perhaps your last post was not a response to my last.. I was referencing the pivots on the front derailleur levers - the Simplex moves left to right while the Huret moves front to back.
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Old 02-22-22, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
I have a feeling we're talking about different derailleurs, or perhaps your last post was not a response to my last.. I was referencing the pivots on the front derailleur levers - the Simplex moves left to right while the Huret moves front to back.
-----

here are some additional images of the Juy Randonneur serie manual front mechs which operate by moving the lever in a front-to-back direction

the Juy Competition serie manual front mechs operate by twisting the lever






they were produced as late as nineteen & sixty-one

-----
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Old 02-22-22, 06:22 PM
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Kilroy1988 
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juvela I see the difference in those mechanisms now, while I did not notice early when I glimpsed at the catalog images. I have not seen one of the Simplex randonneur front derailleurs before. Cheers!

-Gregory
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Old 02-22-22, 07:30 PM
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Great bike! Was it Jurgen Borgmann out of Munich? That guy has some spectacular stuff.
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Old 02-22-22, 07:52 PM
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Love it! Very classy bike. Congrats on the score.
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Old 02-22-22, 08:21 PM
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Kilroy1988 
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
Great bike! Was it Jurgen Borgmann out of Munich? That guy has some spectacular stuff.
No, although in the past this Jurgen did live in Munich, as the rear fender has a Munich bicycle license attached! It was his personal commuting and touring bicycle for a couple of decades. He lived between Bremen and Santa Barbara with his wife, who recently passed away, so his daughter is helping him to sell some of the things he had at the house in California as he will be relocating back to Germany permanently. I picked it up from him in person yesterday.

-Gregory

Last edited by Kilroy1988; 02-23-22 at 07:17 AM.
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Old 02-22-22, 09:28 PM
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I anguished over bidding on this one, even had it in my watch list.
I'm really glad you got it!
Brent
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Old 02-23-22, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
----

Freres Huret catalogue pages of MCMLVI illustrating the machine's gear ensemble (or something close thereto!)...

​​​​​​

-----
Thank you for posting that. I have seen the nested right-side downtube levers from Huret and Simplex in the past, but I did not know they made a left-mount pair, as well.
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Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger (2), S/N 42624, 42597
Carlton: 1962 Franco Suisse, S/N K7911
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1982 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069
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Old 02-23-22, 06:17 PM
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I took the Express out for a quick ride on this brisk, partly cloudy afternoon just to see how it feels. It is indeed sized just the way I prefer and the ride was very stable. The grease must not be totally gone as everything spins freely yet there is little noise from bearings jumping around anywhere along the drivetrain. I've decided that what I'll do is take it apart one weekend, clean everything up and get all the fresh grease on, and also touch up the frame with proper black automotive paint that I have handy to keep it from rusting in the future, let that cure for a week then put it back together the next weekend with fresh consumables. I may have time to do all of that sometimes before Easter so that I can enjoy riding it a bit during the spring holiday.

'Til then, cheers!

-Gregory
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Old 02-27-22, 01:32 PM
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Very gentle! I think you will be pleased
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