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A visit to Alex Singer Cycles in Paris

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A visit to Alex Singer Cycles in Paris

Old 06-20-12, 02:05 PM
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A visit to Alex Singer Cycles in Paris

Wow.


[IMG][/IMG]

That was my main thought when I walked into this historic shop. Anyone who reads BQ and has read St Jan wax poetic about this place knows of its' glories, past and present. This small shop has been in business for ages in Paris, producing some of the finest constructeur bicycles in existence. The folks were kind enough to not only spend time with me (and tolerating my barely-comprehensible French), but also to let me into the fabrication area to shoot pics of the tools and workspaces used for many years.

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The spares closet alone was a drool-worthy storehouse of classic parts to make a C&Ver swoon:

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While I couldn't afford a custom bike this day, I showed my appreciation by purchasing shop jersey, bidon, and caps. Should I come into some serious money (and with the still-strong Euro it'd have to be a lot) I know where I'd be headed. Right back to AS to get my order in the queue.

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If you find yourself in Paris, you need to make time to visit this bike shop.

A few parting shots:

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Last edited by poprad; 06-20-12 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 06-20-12, 02:18 PM
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Very cool. Thanks for posting.

How far away/ how difficult is it to get to the store from the city center? Any idea of the rough cost of new frame set, or complete bike?

I've looked at their web site, but don't speak French
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Old 06-20-12, 02:21 PM
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Just a few more to round out the "picture", as it were. The showroom:

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Some bike detail shots:

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Misc stuff, and work in progress:

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And a humble photo tacked to the wall, tribute to The Man:

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And so that was it. The best 2 hours I spent in 5 days in Paris, and in Paris that says a lot. I left with a sense of reverence for place and a real appreciation for how down-to-earth the folks in the shop are. I could have spent 2 weeks watching them work and trying to glean a minute understanding of the craftsmanship that goes into their machines.

If you get the chance....GO
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Old 06-20-12, 02:21 PM
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Whoops. Just found the "Galerie" and the google translate button.

Looks like I won't be buying one any time soon either
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Old 06-20-12, 02:24 PM
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Easy to find, their website lists the address, but it's about a 20 min walk from the metro stop that's closest. The adddress is:

Cycles Alex Singer :: 53, rue Victor Hugo :: Levallois Perret (92)

If you're not a francophile and don't like figuring out the metro, just cab it. It's not that far from city center, it's kind of north and central.

Cost of a complete bike? North of 7 - 10k EURO depending on what you want. At today's rates that a lot of USD. For that much R&D and artisan workmanship though, it'd be worth every damn penny. I can't imagine a better bike for the Paris-Brest-Paris, next held in 2015.
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Old 06-20-12, 03:08 PM
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I better start savind then that's a lot of Euro's, and I don't even count in dollars! Thanks for the wonderful pics, too bad Paris is not on my schedule for this summer.
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Old 06-20-12, 03:21 PM
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I think they'll be around for awhile Ital! Put it on your list with the Musee Du Cycle...
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Old 06-20-12, 03:26 PM
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Nice post. Great pictures. Can you please identify the man in the blue coveralls by name?
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Old 06-20-12, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by poprad View Post
I think they'll be around for awhile Ital! Put it on your list with the Musee Du Cycle...
I will! And Ghisallo should be on that list too. But Ghisallo IS on my route this summer . I spend the entire day overhauling my bike, and tomorrow I'm getting my wheels trued (can't true these pesky straight-pull spokes) for a few weeks of hammering in the breathtaking Italian mountains! But first, retroronde van Vlaanderen, the first of july.
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Old 06-20-12, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by poprad View Post
Easy to find, their website lists the address, but it's about a 20 min walk from the metro stop that's closest. The adddress is:

Cycles Alex Singer :: 53, rue Victor Hugo :: Levallois Perret (92)

If you're not a francophile and don't like figuring out the metro, just cab it. It's not that far from city center, it's kind of north and central.

Cost of a complete bike? North of 7 - 10k EURO depending on what you want. At today's rates that a lot of USD. For that much R&D and artisan workmanship though, it'd be worth every damn penny. I can't imagine a better bike for the Paris-Brest-Paris, next held in 2015.
I walked it once from the Gare St. Lazare rail station - about 45 minutes (guys, you need to use a Google map to understand this). Good thing there's a tavern (really a tavern/smoke shop/lottery shop/minor grocery) on the corner north of the Singer shop!

If you walk up from the shop to that tavern, there is a metro stop about 1/4 mile to your right. Total walk from the Singer shop is about 5 minutes, not counting your stop for beer and a baguette sandwich.

Who was the gent in the blue coveralls? Didn't look like M. Csuka.

I LOVE the skylit workshop! If I ever build a house, it's gonna have that!

I recall finding the US price for a rando to be north of $10,000. I think they do not sell frame/fork sets.
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Old 06-20-12, 06:31 PM
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I been in one cycling shop in paris and the suckers hated English speakers, Spanish speakers and bad french speakers. They really sucked. But since the guys too time to talk to you and stuff then worth going to that place next time I guess.
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Old 06-20-12, 08:56 PM
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Great post poprad! Thanks for sharing this.
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Old 06-21-12, 08:55 AM
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A visit to Alex Singer Cycles in Paris

It's too bad you had that experience, but everything is at a higher level at Alex Singer's.
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Old 06-21-12, 09:36 AM
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Thank you so much for the photos. Very interesting to see behind the scenes. Its quite similar to behind the scenes at my house, apart from there's more bikes parts and tools and everything is better.


Originally Posted by ultraman6970 View Post
I been in one cycling shop in paris and the suckers hated English speakers, Spanish speakers and bad french speakers. They really sucked......
ahh paris. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_syndrome
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Old 06-21-12, 09:57 AM
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Very cool. I'd love to be a fly on the wall in there for a day. Any idea how many people work on the frames, or what their annual output is?
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Old 06-21-12, 10:37 AM
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Thanks guys...I unfortunately lost the card the gentleman in the photo wrote his name down on. I have to go through my back issues of BQ and see if I can spot him in one of the Singer articles.

My French wasn't up to detailed questions, I could have been asking if he makes ham sandwiches for the pedals and has shellfish for his bar tape. 6 months of USG training only go so far, and I didn't get much bike-specific stuff during that classwork.

I'll definitely go back if I'm in Paris again soon, and living so close makes it a no brainer. Stuff like this makes my previous assignments worth it. I'm glad to share with you guys/gals on C&V, it's the least I can do. I gotta make it back to the Musee du Cycle and finish that thread off with a slew of detailed pics too. I can't participate in stuff like the box o' crap pass around and rides in CONUS, but I can do this.
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Old 06-21-12, 10:49 AM
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I love the stainless sign on the store front too. BTW, were all those bikes on the showroom floor for sale? Were they all Singers?
If I ever get to Paris again that's a must stop for me.
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Old 06-21-12, 11:02 AM
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On my to do list! Sweeeeet
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Old 06-21-12, 01:01 PM
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Rootboy; I think they were for sale. No prices listed, but it's not the kind of shop that puts price stickers on stuff. It's beneath them to make a purchase such as that determined by something as crude and loathsome as money.

That said, I could be wrong. They might just have been exemplars of their work, but if so there were an awful lot of them.
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Old 06-21-12, 01:27 PM
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This is brilliant. Thanks so much for sharing.
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Old 06-21-12, 01:32 PM
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Yes, thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures and story.

I will surely have a look at the place next time i'm in Paris
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Old 06-22-12, 10:00 AM
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Droolworthiness

Nice to see there's still a market that will bear 10k for an old-school handcrafted rando machine. When you discount for inflation, there's probably a lot of bikes built over time that cost that much, and many of them from this shop.

I don't want to discount the value of super-high-end high-tech carbon electronic this-and-that of today's elite racing bikes, but I think if I plunked down 10k for Singer, then looking back 30 years later, I'd still feel I got something for my money.
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Old 06-22-12, 10:42 AM
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I hope you don't mind if I post up a couple of the shots I took when I was there in April. As you said, the guys were great to talk to, even though my French is pretty bad. I met the son of Mr. Singer as well as his grand-son, both very nice guys and happy to take a few minutes to let me gush over the shop.

The black bike in the first three photos really appealed to me but each and every bike in the shop was simply stunning.















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