Mariposa is Back!

Modern Mariposa logo  I had a lovely surprise when I opened my email in the first week of February. It was a notice that Mariposa Bicycles had reopened as a viable builder and that the core team of Mike Barry and Tom Hinton had been augmented with Michael Barry, Mike’s son and by daughter-in-law Dede Barry. Since this site is named Bertin Classic Cycles, it is reasonable for you to wonder just what the Mariposa announcement has to do with Bertins. In my experience, a very great deal.

When Mike Barry and business partner Mike Brown opened Bicyclesport at 175 King St. E. in Toronto in 1971,  they were attempting to recreate the classic British bike shop with the retail out front and a bespoke frameshop in back. It was about this time that my brother and I discovered the shop. It was fully worth the 160 km trip to get there. This was the magic kingdom! Parts and framesets, whole bikes like those of Jo Routens only ever seen in Cycling or other exotic publications! When the shop moved to larger premises at 179 King we followed along and here the frameshop was relocated and Mariposas really began to be popularized. They were raced with the Queen City Bicycle Club (QCBC) and toured with the Toronto Randonneurs, went through Paris-Brest-Paris and the Raid Pyreneen ably ridden and promoted by Mikes Barry and Brown. It was there that I purchased a Ron Kitching frameset from Mike. It was actually a Durifort built Bertin, relabeled as a RonKit, and I loved it. Mike told me it was too small and after riding it for a year, I finally had to agree and resold the bike.

Shortly afterward, in 1988, Mike decided to close Bicyclesport for a variety of reasons and I thought that I had missed for good any chance at a Mariposa. I went to the closing sale and stocked up on all the exotic French parts I needed. Enthusiasts throughout southern Ontario mourned the loss. But Mariposa wasn’t entirely gone. Mike quietly, almost covertly, reopened in a back alley off Front Street in a new store called Bicycle Specialties. It was small-scale, enthusiast oriented and, once again, Mariposas started to be built downstairs but painted off site.

About 1995, the store move to Millwood Road to a larger premises and it was there I purchased a used Mariposa from Mike.

Mariposa - Grey

I loved it but, again, Mike warned me that it was too small. I proceeded, nonetheless, and rode the bike until after Mike had, once again, relocated the business to an industrial condo on Canfield Drive. Finally, I gave up and asked Mike to resell the bike. At 58 cm, it was just too small. While at the store, I saw a bike in a 60 cm frame size and decided to get it as replacement for the silver Mariposa since I couldn’t afford the wait time or cost of a new one and  so, I purchased my first known Bertin.

Old Bertin Photo

 

For the restoration, Mike built the light bracket and the fender stays out of tubular cro-mo steel, the bag support having been made by him for the bike’s previous owner.

 

A custom demountable handlebar bag holder to attach to the stem. Note the small locking lever.

A custom demountable handlebar bag holder to attach to the stem. Note the small locking lever.

 

A socketed bracket to permit mounting to the Mafac pivot bolt.

A socketed bracket to permit mounting to the Mafac pivot bolt.

 

Socketed stay ends for fender attachment.

Socketed stay ends for fender attachment.

 

Tom Hinton did the all the custom braze-ons and paint. Mike arranged for custom decals to be made and when it all came together it looked like this:

 

Bertin - Jim # 2

I have enjoyed the bike tremendously but still, in the back of my mind, I had always thought there would come a time when I would take another shot at a Mariposa. However, in 2007 just like with Bicyclesport in 1988, Bicycle Specialties closed and Mariposa production ceased.

Now, for me and many other cyclists, there is real reason to celebrate as Mariposa and Bicycle Specialties come back on stream. Once again their racing, touring and city bikes will be available as will their meticulous restorations of classic bikes all accompanied by the considerable experience and knowledge of the team which will build or renovate them. Don’t underestimate the importance of experience; if I had listened to Mike, I would have had a properly sized bike the first time but then, I would have missed out on two cool Bertins!

Belgian Bertin

overview

Sometimes you set out with an idea for a post, such as I did in my New Year’s greeting but at other times the idea or opportunity comes to you. This was the case earlier this week. I was browsing EBay UK for a non-Bertin item and ran into an advertisement for a Bertin for sale. It was a nearly original, almost pristine Bertin built by Cycles Bertin Belgium as you will see in the following bike feature. In the description of the bike’s features, equipment and condition was the following invitation, “If Mr. Bertin blog owner wants to link this or use photos (or needs more) no problem… .” Well, he did and he does and I am convinced you will be convinced as well that seeing this Bertin is worth the effort of sharing. (Click on images once to enlarge and again to maximize enlargement.)

 

details

BB 1

frame

 

BB 6 front

Frame Details and Distinctive Belgian Fork Crown Decoration

 

BB 9 sticker

Oddity: Reynolds Butted “A” Tubing Sticker on a Vitus Durifort Frame.

Brakes

 

BB 3 lever

Shimano Dura-Ace 1st Generation Lever and Hood

 

BB 7 Front caliper

Rare Shimano Dura-Ace 1st Generation Centerpull Caliper

 

wheels

 

BB Wheel

HF, QR Hubs with Modern Tires

 

drivetrain

 

BB Drivetrain

SR Apex 3 Crankset (TA Professional copy) with Shimano Tourney Derailleurs

 

handlebar/stem

 

BB 2 bars

3ttt Record Strada Stem With Grand Prix Handlebar

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2015

 

Just a post to wish the readers from all 109 countries who have viewed this blog a happy and prosperous new year.  I will also share some New Year’s resolutions as I will be posting, in this coming year, a comparison of the 1960’s and 1970’s Bertin C 37s, an explanation of the Bertin serial number systems ( yes, systems), some reader reminiscences and a discussion of Bertin distributorship in the U.S.A. in the 1970s and possibly some reader feature bikes. Happy New Year!

Bertin C 37 Restoration Part 10 – The Final Reckoning

 

Well, the project will be complete with this final assessment. The original, 1970s, black C 37 has gone from this –

 

Tims Bertin C 37 blk

to this-

Drive Side Profile

to this –

 

After - Drive Side Profile

and, finally, to this-

 

Drive Side Profile

 

It has been a long process, longer than originally considered, and more expensive due to changes and glitches that were unforeseeable at the start. Remember, this bike was intended to be a rider and not a wall hanger so it did not receive NOS everything in a bid to make it perfect. Instead, used and donated parts were scavenged and used where appropriate. A few observations for those following a similar path:

– have a clear idea of what you want to have when you are finished (wall art? daily rider? show bike? historic conservation?);

– estimate your time line and then double it;

– do your financial estimations and add a 25% cushion for dealing with the unexpected ;

– line up the suppliers that you intend to use (some framebuilders/painters have very long waiting lists);

– do a trial assembly of the major components to assess brake reach, seat post fit, hub spacing and bottom bracket and headset threading;

– be sure you have any specialized service tools like the dedicated crank extractor for early Stronglights or Helicomatic freewheel wrenches;

– start with the best condition and equipped example of your favoured bike that you can find to minimize project length, complexity and cost;

– use various sized zip closed plastic bags to contain all the parts of each component or sub-assembly, label a post-it and place within each bag;

then stand back and admire the result!

Below you will find an itemized list of the costs for parts and labour during the project. They are given in U.S.$ as many of the parts came from American sources and Euro and Pound Sterling purchases have been converted to match. As well, items which were in my personal stock of cast offs and unused are priced as if they had been purchased on EBay to give a person starting from scratch a more complete and truthful appraisal of the project’s costs. The total was surprising as my pre-restoration estimate had been about $1,200.

 

Bertin C 37 Restoration Costs

(all costs include applicable shipping and taxes)

Items

Cost   (in U.S. $)

Stronglight headset – used * 40
Helico/Module E 2 wheels – used * 100
frameset – used 185
Simplex seatpost – new 78
Velo Orange cables – new 22
bolts – new 2
Tressostar bar tape – new 18
tubes – new 16
Mafac lever hoods – NOS 75
Stronglight bottom bracket (French) – used 25
Helico Freewheel – used 50
Stronglight crank remover – new 50
Velocals decals – new 64
Spidel cups – NOS (English Threaded) 25
Spidel drilled brake levers – used 68
California Springs water bottle – new 4
Silca frame fit chrome pump – NOS 30
Brooks Professional saddle – used * 90
Velox rubber bar plugs – NOS 20
Seat post frame fixing bolt (cro-mo) – NOS 6
Spidel LS 2 brake calipers – used 20
TA steel bottle cage – used * 40
Michelin 700C x 23 tires – NOS * 120
Stronglight 93 crankset – used 90
Park grease – new 15
hub bearings (5/32” for helico hub) – new 12
frame services, paint and decaling 400

Total:

 $1,787

 * These items were previously owned or gifted to the restorer. Costs are for equivalent items if actually purchased from EBay.

Bertin C 37 Restoration Part 9

Any restoration, even a comparatively simple one like this, takes way more time and money than originally anticipated. If you look at the date of the previous post for Part 8, that quickly becomes obvious. When you undertake the effort, be aware that your time and financial costs will rise beyond your initial worst case estimates. Even when you are retired, life intrudes and disrupts and delays your progress.

However, that said, the work is now complete. The C 37 is fully assembled, test ridden and presented below for your review. As shown, with no special attempt at lightness, the bike weighs in at 9.8 kg (21.6 lb) for its 60 cm C-to-T frame size. (Click on images to enlarge for details)

 

Drive Side Profile

Drive Side Profile

 

Stronglight 93   52/40 T

Simplex SLJ A 522, Stronglight 93, 52/40 T, Marcel Berthet Pedals, Lapize Straps with Steel Christophe Clips

 

Simplex LJ 5500T Derailleur

Simplex SLJ 5500T Derailleur

 

Maillard Front Hub

Maillard Front Hub

 

Rear Helicomatic Hub and Freewheel

Rebuilt Rear Helicomatic Hub and Freewheel

 

Atax Stem With Philippe Franco-Italia Bars

Stronglight Steel V4 Headset, Atax 10 cm Stem With Philippe Franco-Italia Bars and Velox Plugs

 

Polished Spidel Levers NOS Mafac Hoods

Polished Spidel Levers with NOS Mafac Hoods

 

Front Mafac/Spidel LS 2 Sidepull Brake Caliper

Simplex Retrofriction Levers, Front Mafac/Spidel LS 2 Sidepull Brake Caliper, Steel TA Bottle Cage

 

Rear Mafac/Spidel LS 2 Brake Caliper

Rear Mafac/Spidel LS 2 Brake Caliper. Mavic Module E2 Rims with Michelin Synergic 700 x 23 Tires

 

1970s Brooks Professional Saddle and Silca Pump

1970s Brooks Professional Saddle and Silca Pump

 

Brooks Pro on Fluted Alloy Simplex post

Brooks Pro on Fluted Alloy Simplex SX 1500 seatpost

 

The next installment will review costs for the project and assess the errors and processes which led to the finished project as seen above.