Strix the harbinger
guards the exit gate, quizzing all
Who will pass this night?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Heron, Going Away Pictures


Heron Bicycles was started in 1997 as a joint venture between Waterford Precision Cycles, Rivendell Bicycle Works, and Rona Components. Waterford manufactured the frames in its Wisconsin factory while Rivendell sold them through its mail order operation. Eventually Ted Durant, owner of Rona Components, bought out the other joint venture partners and became sole owner. Waterford continued to manufacture the frames for Ted on a contract basis while Rivendell became an official Heron dealer along with several bike shops. In early 2001, Ted decided to halt production of the Heron frames to focus on other matters. Todd Kuzma, owner of Tullio’s Big Dog Cyclery – a Heron dealer, began discussions with Ted to purchase the company and resume production. Heron Bicycles was sold to Todd Kuzma in January 2002, and production at the Waterford plant began soon thereafter. Yeah, well that went down too. Now Greg Parker at Bicycle Classics, obviously a glutton for punishment, is preparing another run at it. More power to the man for living his dream.




This is the last Heron made THE FIRST TIME! A 531 Heron Road. It's a good bike. Somewhere along the line I had Chris Kvale respray it, so even with a few chips it's the best finished Heron in the world. It's been a languishing frame just hanging around the shop. I recently sold it to Tim Chesterman and had to put things back together with what I had laying around. I only had to buy a BB, stem and a chain. It's pretty much a Campagnolo bike, with Modolo brakes, Suntour shifters and a TA crankset. Top of the line stuff. IMHO. The tires aren't as big as they could be. They're 700-25s and it'll handle 700-30s, possibly 700-32s. (Write this down, Tim: 700-30.) At the price I sold it for I just couldn't put another $75 in tires for it. When he picks it up we'll adjust things, probably drop the bars a couple of inches, etc.



In an earlier iteration. The new bars are to the buyers spec. The seat, wheelset, stem and bars, and RD have been replaced. The wheels are now on my Colnago, the stem on my daughter's Goodrich, and the seat and rear dérailleur on my Mooney. Rule no.17: An unridden bike tends to give up it's parts.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey I did a cursory search for Heron info, and couldn't really find much about it. Do you have anything in particular to share about it? it would be cool if it's true.

mw

Gunnar Berg said...

True? That is a limiter. Originally it was Rivendell's answer to an American made everyman bike. Extremely nice riding bikes with the ugliest seat cluster ever conceived. In 2000 there weren't many new bicycles which could handle big tires or fenders. For a while I had 700-32s knobbies on it and rode it on off road trails ala Rev Dick. Without fenders it'll take 700-38s. I bought it from the late, great Sheldon Brown at Harris Cyclery. Neat guy. I never met him personally, but we exchanged regular emails for a long time. I bought it because Heron was going out of business. I really wanted the Touring model, but I took a Road which was the only one left.

Anonymous said...

oh hello Gunnar, I actually do know about them, I was trying to ask what if anything you knew about the brand being resurrected again, as you state in the blog post. Have you heard anything about it, will they look the same, etc. . .

best,

mw

Anonymous said...

oh hello Gunnar, I actually do know about them, I was trying to ask what if anything you knew about the brand being resurrected again, as you state in the blog post. Have you heard anything about it, will they look the same, etc. . .

best,

mw

ps I agree about the ugliness of the seat cluster. If the new guy has a chance, he should change to something normal

Gunnar Berg said...

Well, the cluster does gain width for tires.
Quotes from his website 6/8/2010:

"Production of the Heron line of framesets is scheduled to resume soon. They will be built with non-oversized NOS Reynolds butted 531 tubing. Geometries are changing, and the frames will be optimized to more traditional designs.

Optimized clearances, dropout eyelets, and lots of brazed-on fittings allow a relatively wide range of tires, and are fender-, rack-, and accesssory-friendly. We can't find any downsides, yet this is what makes a Heron great for brevets, commuting, road racing, club rides, touring, or just plain fun. It makes you wonder why more builders don't do this."

Anonymous said...

thanks. Honestly, I am sure I would've bought one before except for the wide cluster. I am not especially vain, but I have my limits, apparently.

mw

Gunnar Berg said...

The seat cluster isn't TOO bad on about a 54cm frame. As they get bigger or smaller there is an angle incongruity. When was the last time you used "incongruity" in a sentence, more or less correctly?

Anonymous said...

incongruity
you know I have a PhD in English Literature
but also the human brain organ shrinks with age, some quicker than others
so there's yer answer

Gunnar Berg said...

Now that is incongruous.

And as you may know, or certainly suspect, I tested out of English. I have not had an English class since 1963, and I pretty much ignored that one. And yet, in a rudimentary way, we can still communicate. ;-)

Anonymous said...

when you get the gray matter shrunk down to fight weight you can plane when you type

mw

Anonymous said...

I am pumped. That bike looks great!


TSC

p.s. and why do I have to be the new guy.

Gunnar Berg said...

mw,
Nicely done. I am amused.

TSC,
Beer and bikes on Saturday.

Anonymous said...

Gunner, In my house, Rule #17 is Rule #1!
Also, I have the bike with the absolutely UGLIEST seat cluster on earth: a 1985 Trek 660. It was designed by a plumber for sure, and someone at Trek must agree because it only lasted in production for one year! On the other hand, this bke rides great, and carried me to several state medals as my time-trial bike in the 1990's, so I'll keep it! -Tony

Gunnar Berg said...

Tony,
Re seat cluster. You obviously haven't seen a Heron up close.