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Details about  Rene HERSE Randonneuse, 1980, complete and original

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Rene HERSE Randonneuse, 1980, complete and original
Item Sold
Item condition:
--not specified

Ridden, but well-cared-for. Original paint has some minor scratches, but no rust. Chrome-plated

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May 03, 2013
Winning bid:
US $5,032.56
11 bids ]
$90.00 Economy Shipping | See details
Item location:
Seattle, Washington, United States


eBay item number:
Seller assumes all responsibility for this listing.
Last updated on  Apr 23, 2013 13:26:45 PDT  View all revisions

Item specifics

Seller Notes: Ridden, but well-cared-for. Original paint has some minor scratches, but no rust. Chrome-plated front rack has a few rust spots. Components are in excellent condition.
Complete Bike/Frame: Complete Bike Wheel Size: 700C

René Herse





Frame Material: Steel
Frame Size: 20.5 in
1980 René Herse Randonneuse

One of the last bikes made by the famous French constructeur, with a complete top-of-the-line spec, unlike so many from that era that used fewer proprietary parts.

This bike came to Seattle to be photographed for Bicycle Quarterly Press’ latest book René Herse: The Bikes • The Builder • The Riders. We photographed the bike, but in the end, it was not included in the book. Instead, we chose a fully chrome-plated camping bike, a Chanteloup tandem show bike and Lyli Herse’s personal racing bike as representatives of the 1980s, when Jean Desbois built the frames. It was a hard choice, as this is an absolutely lovely bike. Rather than returning the bike to its owner, he asked us to sell it for him. This is a rare opportunity to obtain such an iconic bike.

The Reynolds 531 frame displays the amazingly clean workmanship of Jean Desbois, with beautifully thinned lugs, crisp joints of the dropouts to the stays, and the long tangs Desbois added to the fork crown. The frame displays the balanced proportions that always were the hallmark of René Herse's frames. Seat tube measures 52 cm, top tube is 54 cm (all c-c). The stem is 120 mm long. The stem is the very rare late model, which showcases Desbois craftsmanship – it was filed by hand even though it does not look like it. "Four hours of filing went into each stem after the holes were drilled," he told me during the research for our book.

The bike is fully equipped with all the special Herse parts: Triple cranks, stem, front and rear racks, as well as all the special custom-made bolts. It is fully equipped for randonneuring, with specially reinforced flashlights on the front and rear. (Most randonneurs no longer used sidewall generators by 1980.)

Equipped with all the best parts of its era: Mafac 2000 brakes on brazed-on pivots complete with the super-rare wheel guides and Herse's custom-made straddle-cable hangers and modified Weinmann quick releases. Maxi-Car hubs. Simplex SLJ derailleurs with Retrofriction levers. Edco bottom bracket. Stronglight headset. Cinelli handlebars. Campagnolo Superlight pedals. Aluminum fenders with Herse’s lozenge-shaped reinforcement at the rear brake bridge.

The bike was ridden in a number of brevets, but it remains in excellent original condition. The parts have seen little wear. The paint has a few small nicks, but no rust. Only the front rack has a few tiny spots of rust, but nothing serious or structural. The gum hoods of the drilled Mafac brake levers are in excellent shape, and they complement the beautiful shellac on the handlebar tape.

One minor issue is that the front and rear wheels do not match. The front uses an older-style Maxi-Car hub, while the rear uses the last-generation Maxi-Car. The owner claims the bike was delivered that way. Both rims are Wolber Gentleman, which speaks against the rear wheel having been replaced. The tires are period Michelin Axial Selects, which are a little newer than the bike's vintage.

The bike was photographed with TA steel bottle cages, but these are not included in the sale. The pump is included with the bike.

The bike is complete and just requires a basic overhaul before it is ready to ride. The lighting can be removed with two bolts each to convert this bike into a Sportif for fast day rides. Since there is no lighting wiring, this bike is relatively easy to pack and ship. Among the late René Herses, this machine stands out for its complete equipment and superb condition.

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