Wednesday, February 27, 2013

BIKE RESTORATIONS: Making a René Herse bell

Here's a quick update on my René Herse project, bicycle friends. If you missed it, here's the first story about this holy grail of vintage bike collectibles, how I got it and how I plan to get it road-worthy again. A fun detour is this great gallery of René Herses.

One of the first things I wanted to replace was the missing bell on my Herse. These French randonneuring bicycles were street-legal so they had to have full equipment like lights and bells. Like a lot of others I've seen, my Herse had a bell mounted to the stem, but it had gone missing by the time I received the bike.

The handmade Herse stem, machined from a block of aluminum, has a threaded hole in the left side to receive the bell. You can see an example in the photo below. It's nice how the bell floats next to the stem like it was meant to be there, and with no ugly clamps or bolts and nuts. It's also easy to hit the striker with your thumb from a couple of  hand positions.
Most René Herse bicycles include a built-in stem bell. The handlebar bag shown is by Guu Watanabe Bags
The bell is conspicuously absent on my stem but the threaded hole is there

An aluminum Crane bell from Japan resembles the original

Simply unscrew the bell and it comes apart

My Herse stem has a 6mm hole so the bell's 5mm threaded post has to go

Ready to drill and thread the bell's aluminum post

Slow and easy; it's soft aluminum

The 6mm threaded post to receive the bell with a drop of thread adhesive

The finished bell!

Rider's view (the striker can be placed wherever you want it)
There you have it, a pretty easy method of making a reasonable replacement bell for a René Herse. And, if I ever find a correct, original bell for the bike (please let me know if you have one), I will be able to simply remove this new one and install it.

In the meantime, this nice little Crane bell will do. And don't worry, the modern handlebar tape will be replaced with cloth, and I have nice new-old-stock brake hoods ready to slip on, courtesy of Cycles de ORO.

Good luck with your bicycle projects,

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Karl Edwards' Beautiful New Albion Head Badge

My friend, cyclist and artist, Karl Edwards just completed a head badge for New Albion Cycles - and being a longtime lover and collector of bicycle badges (also called nameplates), I just had to share it with you. Here's a photo. Be sure to read Karl's fascinating backstory on how he designed it on his blog.

The scene depicts Sir Francis Drake in his ship The Golden Hind sailing in San Francisco Bay in 1579. I had no idea.

Someone pointed out that there aren't any holes in the badge yet. I haven't asked Karl to find out the reason, however it could be that the badge is designed for attachment with an adhesive, like double-sided tape rather than the traditional rivets or tiny screws (that way it could go on carbon frames even). In any case, I can't wait to get one to add to my collection because it's a beaut.

If you search this blog for "head badges" you'll find more vintage bicycle badges, including this sweet selection from Schwinn.

Happy collecting!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

BIKE MOVIE: Dirt Jumping - Aptos, California

Here's one of the best little documentaries I've seen about the Post Office dirt jumps across town from me in Aptos, California and what an amazing influence on riding and riders it's been.