Intro to Decals & Transfers

There have been many inquiries regarding the topic of decals. Specifically, Bertin owners of older, classic bikes want to know where and how to get period-correct decals to restore their framesets. In most cases, the bicycles they own are anywhere from 15 to 50 years old and usually in poor cosmetic condition. Paint is chipped, decals are missing, tubing decals are rubbed partially away but the bikes themselves remain as viable and desireable as when they were made. The need to mechanically and cosmetically renew the bike becomes obvious but it is the “how” of restoration which is the problem.

Sources for Painting

The owners who will have already made the decision to begin that restoration (see this Richard Sachs source on restoration) often have located persons or companies able to do the sandblasting, repairs and repainting. For example, Argos and Bob Jackson in the U.K., Velocolour in Canada, Joe Bell and Cyclart in the U.S., all do superb restoration work as do many local or regional framebuilders.

Sources for Decals

The difficulty arises in trying to find frame art for less well known companies such as Bertin. Cyclomondo and H. Lloyd are two valuable sources for transfers but even they do not have a universal availability of decals or what they stock may not be period correct. As well as these two, there are others suggested in the Restoration section to the right of the main posts on this page. Some restoration shops will custom make decals from originals on your frameset. That was not the process that was done for the restoration of my personal Bertin – the decals had been stripped away in a previous refinishing. Replacing/locating decals is time consuming and can be expensive. The art work for my frameset took six months for the graphics to be finished. That was after I had located and downloaded the images to be used as the basis of reproduction by the graphic artist involved. Due to the wide range of Bertin graphics and decals, and the widening range of reader interest in other than just the 1960s and 1970s Bertins, I have decided to expand and revise this section. The availability of these on line categories may allow decals to be more readily and speedily produced. The new format will follow that of the Road Bike Galleries. Each decade will have a discrete section and the graphics will be illustrated with the best examples available to me. There will be one or more bicycle photos showing a profile shot of the representative graphics. A head tube badge/decal/graphic will be included as will details such as seat stay caps, if available. Road and track bikes did not differ significantly during the years Cycles Bertin was in production so, where applicable, they will be used interchangably for illustrations.

2 comments on “Intro to Decals & Transfers

  1. Jason-

    Thanks for the kind comment.

    The early Bertin head tube badges appear to have been made from pressed aluminium and then painted. Brass was another favoured material but was not in use here. The frameset decals were probably water slide although alcohol based decals might have been used. These are very fussy to apply and in a mass production situation, water slide decals seem more likely.

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