Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rene Herse


This baby was ordered in the mid 70s by Dr. Clifford Graves for his wife. It's dirty and greasy, not polished, has mismatched bags, mismatched hubs, a scuffed seat and it's missing the front fender. What a wreck. It was not actually built by Rene Herse, but by his daughter and son-in-law shortly after his death. These are all probably reasons why it sold for only $9,300. Repeat, $9,300.
Obviously there is more to this story. Graves was a somebody and a serious cyclotourist. He also wrote about it in My Life on Two Wheels. And it would be a really, really cool bike even without the provenance.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm just about in love with those forks and the seatstay caps...but I have to admit that I'd only spend someone else's $10K to get it....guess I need a sugar mamah. ;)
Allan Pollock

Anonymous said...

obviously a joke...all respect to my dear wife....[tail between legs]
Allan

Gunnar Berg said...

Allan,
I'm going wade into dangerous and potentially hostile waters here, and I am weighing my words carefully here. I think the seatstay caps, and French seatstay caps in general, are ugly and heavy-handed. I particular dislike the ones that wrap around the front of the post. I guess that is why we are not all trying to marry the same woman.

Anonymous said...

HAHAHA!!
Allan

reverend dick said...

I also dislike the wrap-around stays.

Anonymous said...

Several French builders had some great ideas early on, and built some light-ass bikes way back in the day, and they certainly worked out a usable set of specs for how to build a stable sportif bike...but that all being said;

So Overrated and fetishized. Bikes for, as Richard Sachs says...Reenactors.

And yeah, those Herse' seatstay caps are ugly. Look to the Brits and occasionally the Italians,(tuning fork seatstay caps...!) and of course many stateside builders for nice caps

Lyli Herse' intrigues me as a character. Too bad that a good bio that explores her personality and her seemingly *very* complicated relationship with her father has not been written.

Best,

Rick Moffat

Gunnar Berg said...

Yes.

Yep.

Agreed.

Really? Give us just a little bit more.

Gunnar Berg said...

Rick,
Have you dug out yet?

Anonymous said...

The digging continues and is now just another automatic, reflexive activity....like breathing. More on the way on Saturday, and then of course our now-usual weekly Wednesday storm. I have snow piled up past my ground floor windows, and an alarming amount of snow on the one side of my roof. I might as well move to upstae New York.

Best,

Rick Moffat

Silk Hope said...

It is well know that Gunnar is a Super Record/American frame"file". The Frenchies have a totally different esthetic. Consider that gang (Herse, Singer and others)got started in the art Nouveau era with all the Decoration and "goop" that goes with it, is a wonder that their are not more attachements and curly cues than are already on these frames.

As for my Singer I like the seat stay caps as well as all the other Lug design. These frames are beautiful and one must remember they are built for the hardiest of rides. Paris, Brest, Paris certainly comes to mind.

Regards and Bon Chance,

Silk

Gunnar Berg said...

Somehow I feel as if I should defend or argue, but alas I cannot. Everything you say is correct.