People new to cycling as well as old hands are frequently shocked by the sticker prices of contemporary, new bicycles. A glance at the market shows bikes from literally $1,000 to $10,000 dollars and more for road and off-road bicycles. The relentless application of technology and the skill of marketing firms give purchasers the option to select from steel, aluminum, titanium and carbon fiber with a myriad of groups like SRAM Red, Campagnolo Record or Shimano’s electronic Dura Ace to go with the frameset. Truthfully, the situation was similar back in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Previous manufacturers were driven by the same imperative to provide customers with quality, value and a distinctive image as their successors experience today. Cycles Bertin was among them.
The 1972 catalogue photo below in this article is an example of mid-level light touring/sport/randonneuse bicycle offered by Cycles Bertin. It cost 1,170 Francs at that time. This would translate as 690 Euros in 2012. (Follow the link here to the relevant currency value conversion website.) That is about $900 in US and Canadian dollars for a very fully equipped bicycle.
As is currently the case, the high end bikes made with “unobtanium” were also offered at prices that were quite steep indeed. Exotica like the C 75T built of titanium and the C 80 made of welded aluminium were among those high priced offerings. The C 75T sold for 7,096 Francs back in 1972 which translates as 4,186 Euros today when equiped with Campagnolo Super Record gruppo. That’s about $5,600 dollars for those of us who live in North America.
The photos above came from the same 1972 catalogue as the price list that follows and, in combination with the currency value converter linked to above and the Models link on the bar above, should give you a considerable amount of amusement figuring out just what your Bertin was worth back then. My C 37, for example, was about $1,450. Interesting, though, the high end of the scale tops out around $5,000, far below today’s maximums even allowing for the differences in currency over time. Maybe they were the good old days!