Bertin C 31 Dame Anglais

The focus of this blog from the very beginning was on Bertin bicycles of what I consider the steel bike’s classic period from the 1950s to the early 1980s. Often that meant that racing and sport bikes were emphasized since these were often more valued and preserved compared to casual or utilitarian bicycles.

It was with interest that I received a request to confirm an identification of a 1970s period Bertin bicycle. This one had, tentatively, been identified by the new owner as a Bertin C 31. Manuel, in Germany, had acquired the bike to refurbish and possibly re-sell which is a not unfamiliar motivation for Bertin owners. What was unusual here was that the bike was not the more familiar diamond frame or mixte but a “dame anglais” with a “top” tube that paralleled the down tube. This type of frame is most typically seen on utilitarian bikes for town use but the C 31 was a sport bike which more typically would have had a mixte frame configuration.

Once I received photographs, I confirmed Manuel’s id of the bike, the first C 31 I have ever seen with that particular frame configuration.

Bike As Found

The bike is largely original in configuration and equipment. From the Weinmann brake levers one could argue that the bike had previously had dropped bars but the flat bars, at the very least, seem period correct. Cleaned, polished and reassembled the bike looks like this:

As Renovated

Manuel has done a nice job bringing the C 31 back from neglect as can be seen in the following detail photographs:

The only problem this bike has is that it is too small for Manuel and so he has decided to sell it. I do not typically link to sales site but given the unusual nature of this Bertin, I am linking to his add in case any of my readers would like to take the opportunity to make a bid. If any of you do take up the opportunity, good luck!

A London Bertin C 10: Update

Back in 2017, Stuart Windsor of London was kind enough to share a series of before and after photographs of his Bertin C 10 city bike. This was a follow on to a C 37 restoration he had done and I was glad to be able to share the photos as racing/sport Bertins tend to get a lot of the attention and effort in regards to preservation  or complete restoration. The bike, as finished at that time, looked like this:


The C 10 after refurbishment


However, time moves along, things change as items are replaced, wear out or are upgraded. Since the photo above, Stuart has been busy adapting the bike to its urban life. Practical additions like a kickstand, rack, saddle upgrade with tool kit and a cargo box make it more useful around the neighbourhood. He’s been kind enough to forward me some photos which I have added here below:





Just a comment about the “trunk” on the Bertin. I live in the middle of one of Canada’s best known wine producing areas and that “trunk”  is suspiciously like the size of our local two wine bottle format gift boxes. Perhaps it’s only for baguettes from the local bakery…



Bertin C ?? Demontable

Recently, I received a request from a reader in Europe who had just acquired an older, small wheeled Bertin bicycle. It was a small wheel bike that looked like a folder but wasn’t. Normally, Bertin, like many French manufacturers, built folding (pliant) bikes which hinged in the middle or lower end of the down tube to permit compact storage in campers, boats, lockers or automobiles. The bike Nikola shared with me was a model with a frame which disassembled at the down tube joint to permit storage.

The bike had a quick release arrangement for doing this and looked so familiar I did a search through the blog and found a post with a similar bike from almost 10 years ago. In that case the person inquiring was from Berlin not Croatia but Norbert was equally curious about what it was that he had. The full post is here.

That bike was much less original than the current example but is the only other I have seen and I have never seen them catalogued. The 1974 catalogue lists the C 53, the C 55 and the C 59. Only the C 59 is non-folding and it has a rigid central tube and can not be disassembled. Nikola was kind enough to provide detailed photos of his bike which had a very narrow escape. When it was rescued, the bike was in the hands of a scrap metal seller who sold it to Nikola for 20 Euros, its scrap metal value. Amazingly, the bike is little used, the seat was covered and appears original, there does not seem to be any excessive rust and even the tires are original to the bike. Check out the details in the photos below:





Judging from the World Championship seat tube bands and the other decals, I would estimate that the bike is from the mid-1970s. During that period, Bertin’s folding/demountable bikes were often identified by number based on the bike’s wheel size. So a Bertin C 53 would have 530 diameter wheels and a C 55 would have 550 size wheels in turn. There are exceptions like the C 59 with 550 wheels and the children’s folding C 9 with 400 series wheels. Nonetheless, completely arbitrarily, without any direct proof, I’m going to call this demountable Bertin a C 50 based on its 500 A wheel diameter. Perhaps someone in the next nine or ten years can write to me with a correction. In the mean time, I hope you enjoy looking over the details of Nikola’s Bertin C 50 Demontable.

A BIG Bertin, continued


Back on March 1st, I posted about a 70 cm tall Bertin C 34 bought at a yard sale in Arizona. Todd brought it home, cleaned, lubed tuned and adjusted it and added new tan bar tape and a matching saddle.  The original as found appearance is below:



Since Todd has completed his improvements to the bike it looks like this:



Now that the changes are complete, Todd left me the following opinion about the “new” bike:  “… I really love that bike. I have taken short little rides here and there … It’s super smooth and solid though.” Just what one would expect of a Bertin, I should think.

A BIG Bertin!

Bertin had a habit of filling market niches which other builders thought too inconsequential to address. One good example of this was the amateur/entry-level C 56 track bike which it offered with quality tubing and high quality equipment. They also offered the C 33 road bike with 650A wheels sized  proportionally to the frameset. Then, they added the C 32 with a 700C wheelset. Obviously, Andre Bertin didn’t flinch from providing properly sized and equipped bicycles to those at either end of the frame size Bell Curve. Far too frequently, if you were really short or really tall, you were really out of luck with finding an affordable production frameset or bike.

The typical production range for Bertin bikes was from 52 to 64 cm in frame size. However, they also offered the C 32 in 48 cm and the C 32 in 49 cm and they also offered a unique C 34.

A little background is in order. Todd, a reader on this blog, was on his way from his home in Nevada to Phoenix, Arizona and he stopped in Wickenburg, Arizona while on his way. He checked out a yard sale during his visit and $80 later, he was the surprised and proud owner of this:

Obviously, Todd is a tall guy, but I was amazed to see a standard production offering from Bertin in such a large size. The early 70s Bertin C 34 he took with him that day was remarkably “production” looking. The saddle had been changed as had the Shimano Crane GS rear derailleur to work on a larger rear freewheel but, in the main, it was as built.

It had the look and many of the features of a C 34 such as the Durifort fork decal and Mafac brake one would expect:

As well, the period correct Simplex Prestige front derailleur looked right at home as did the 700C wheels:

Classic Mafac half hooded brake levers? Check:

What is not seen, however, is the usual Vitus Durifort frame sticker on the seat tube. This is probably due to the fact tubing manufacturers did not draw tubing beyond the typical 64 cm frame size offered in production models. So Todd has a unique, production model derivative with a loooong, unidentified seat tube but a truly unique ride.