A Bertin C 10 in London

 

Stuart Windsor of London, England may be a familiar name to you if you have been reading this blog for a while. Stuart is a professional photographer in London and the accompanying photos demonstrate this fact quite nicely. In August of 2016, he had completed a period correct restoration of a Bertin C 37 road racing bike which was featured here in September of that year and shared with other Bertin enthusiasts. It was a sensitive and complete restoration as can be seen in the original feature photograph from that previous post.

Drive side profile showing off the Stronglight 105bis

 

In that same period, Stuart had acquired another Bertin in shabby, almost derelict condition. It was dirty, faded, rusty with a few non-period components and generally showing as somewhat sad and hopeless as seen in the photo below.

Bertin C 10bis as acquired

 

Having just completed a full on restoration of the C 37, Stuart decided that a refurbishment of the C 10 was the way to go with replacement taking place only for the most outrageously deficient things like the rotted tires and tubes. Lubrication, cleaning, adjustment and lots and lots of Autosol polish were required to get to this.

 

The C 10bis after refurbishment

 

Stuart was kind enough to provide the pictures of the before and after which are shown below and they give a small idea of what must have been the tremendous amount of work necessary to bring the C 10 back to a usable and attractive state.

 

 

So, a vast change from grime to shine, from wreck to rehabilitated. Stuart’s C 10bis may not have the slick, like new, high gloss look of that blue C 37 but the scrapes and worn paint showing through the wax and Autosol speak of the intrinsic quality put into the bike by Cycles Bertin. Thanks for sharing, Stuart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Bertin C 37 in London

The last posted article was one about an urban owned C 38 track bike in New York City in the US. This post will be about a C 37 road bike owned and restored by Stuart Windsor of London, England. Stuart is a professional photographer as you can see from his pictures below as well as from his work at the Stuart Windsor Photographer site here.

He had contacted me some time ago regarding sharing his completed restoration but the perfect opportunity to share it came with the more recent opportunity to post about the C 38. So here it is below, in a slightly less formal featured bike presentation, to contrast with the C 38 from last time around. Both are 1960s – early 1970s and make an interesting juxtaposition. (Click photo to enlarge.)

 

Drive side profile showing off the Stronglight 105bis

Drive side profile showing off the Stronglight 105bis crankset.

 

Alloy Simplex Prestige, 105bis and Marcel Berthet pedals - classic French componentry

Alloy Simplex Prestige, 105bis and Marcel Berthet pedals – classic French components.

 

Frame Details also showing Maillard Competition front hub and Simplex QR

Frame Details also showing Maillard Competition front hub and Simplex QR.

 

Frame details and rear Competition HF hub

Frame details and rear Competition HF hub.

 

Frame details with interesting pump peg.

Frame details with interesting pump peg.

 

Atax/Philippe bar and stem.

Atax/Philippe bar and stem.

 

Rear early model MAFAC Racer brake caliper.

Rear early model MAFAC Racer brake caliper.

 

MAFAC Course 121 levers with half-hoods.

MAFAC Course 121 levers with half-hoods.

The whole restoration effort has produced a visually stunning period effect and a sincere thank you to Stuart for sharing that result with us.

 

 

 

 

Mafac Brake Hood Restorations.

Mafac logoOn March 5th, 2015 I wrote a review of the full Mafac rubber lever hoods available from Jordi at Reciclone in Spain. At that time, Jordi did not make reproductions of the rubber-covered adjusters as he had no Shipping Boxadjuster in good enough condition to serve as a master from which to take a mold. Subsequently, after conversations with Jordi, I wrote, “Jordi is currently evaluating the practicality of making matching adjuster rubbers which would need to be added to the owners’ own adjuster body.”

To assist him, I mailed him a NOS rubber adjuster and a matching metal adjuster mechanism. After repeated attempts, he was finally able to come up with a satisfactory reproduction. He then emailed me and let me know that a complimentary set was on its way to me as a thank you for the use of  my original which he had mastered  for his mold. When the box arrived, it contained my original adjuster cover and mechanism plus a finished adjuster cover set and an example of the prototype moldings.

This whole project arose out of the difficulty involved in getting Mafac branded hood covers for restorations and, to a lesser extend, for everyday use. This was a particular problem for Jordi as Reciclone does bike restorations as well as sales of period spares and accessories for vintage bikes. Typically, the gum rubber hoods and adjusters dry in the sunlight, harden and begin to Adjuster # 4 modifiedcrack and then crumble. (See the red circled area in photo.) The left hand adjuster in the photo is Jordi’s reproduction. One solution is to simply delete the adjuster. Another is to switch to the period correct alternative of the knurled metal adjusters or the metal adjusters with rubber O rings (which also perish). However, if the bike had gum rubber adjusters on its Mafacs and a restoration is to be absolutely correct, then that is what must be replaced.

Should you find yourself in that position and go to the Reciclone page for hoods, you will not see an adjuster listed as an available product. The reason behind that is the difficulty involved in making the adjuster covers. The covers I received were cleanly molded in gum coloured  rubber. They were a perfect, tight fit on the metal adjusters and accepted the chrome steel ferrules to support the brake cable end with no problem.  Below is a large image to allow you to view the reproduction adjuster clearly.

 

Adjuster # 5 cropped

 

One of the problems with reproduction hoods and adjusters is matching the colours of the gum moldings. In the accompanying photo below, the hood on the left is a Reciclone reproduction and the hood on the right, with an adjuster, is a NOS Mafac part that was received exactly as shown when new. Typically, Mafac adjusters and hoods did not match due to batch variations in a large-scale production environment.

 

Comparison NOS and Repro

 

In a practical sense, this means that Jordi could not guarantee that your hoods and his adjusters would match harmoniously due to the colour variability of the batches of rubber for the moldings. As well, being small parts, the adjusters are very picky to make. So, as nice as they are, the adjusters will be special order items only, not regularly offered merchandise. You will need to contact Jordi (reciclone1@gmail.com) directly at Reciclone to discuss an order and I would recommend having the hoods molded at the same time to optimize your colour match. Regardless of which route you choose, good luck with your restoration.

 

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 8

The frame work on the Bertin was done by Jody Lee of Jester Bicycles based here in the Niagara Region of Ontario, Canada. (Contact information is available in the special box in the right sidebar of the site.) In Part 5, you saw the raw metal work prior to final finishing and priming as shown in the previous link. Once the paint was stripped and final finishing and priming took place, Jody painted the frame and fork in his spray booth. The paint was a two stage, base coat / clear coat and the two photos below reveal the frame and fork freshly painted, decaled  and hanging up curing.

Frame After

Frame after Decals and Before Final Polish

 

Front View - Head Badge

Front View – Head Badge

 

The decal work on the frameset was from Velocals. The period French Reynolds 531 seat tube decal as well as the specific Bertin  decals were all perfectly rendered as was the clear chainstay protector. The total cost for the decals was $63.85 USD. Previously, Jody had colour coated the frame, clear coated it, applied decals and then catalyzed clear coated followed by fine compound. I waxed the frame after it had cured with standard, Simoniz automotive paste wax. The cost of the frame and fork single colour paint job was $250 CDN which compares very favourably to the $625 CDN for a single colour frame and fork paint job at a Toronto firm.

Below are some roughly comparable before and after photographs of the frameset. To see detail, click on the photo to enlarge it and click on the enlargement to enlarge again and maximize details.

 

Bertin R Profile 1

Before – Drive Side Profile

 

After - Drive Side Profile

After – Drive Side Profile

 

Before - Lower Fork Legs

Before – Lower Fork Legs

 

After - Ends of Fork Legs

After – Ends of Fork Legs

 

Before - Seat Lug and Stay Cap

Before – Seat Lug and Stay Cap

 

After - Seat Lug and Stay Cap

After – Seat Lug and Stay Cap

 

Before - Rear Stays and Dropouts

Before – Rear Stays and Dropouts

 

After - Rear Stays and Dropouts

After – Rear Stays and Dropouts

 

In Part 7, I had advised restorers to check the fit and functionality of all parts as soon as they are obtained to avoid slow downs later.  Although Jody had checked alignment, facing, chased threads and handed the frameset back with the headset installed, I had not properly checked seat post fit. A Simplex post I thought had been machined to the correct diameter did not fit and the seat tube was slightly undersize as well. I ended up ordering a NOS (new old stock) Simplex seat post from Bicycle Classics and having Jody Lee ream the seat tube out and hone it to 26.6 mm from the stock 26.4 mm of the French dimensioned Reynolds 531.

As it is now, the last of the cutting oil from the reaming has pooled in the bottom bracket shell and been removed so it is possible to install the cups and axle of the Stronglight 93 bottom bracket. The next phase of the project is final assembly and then a project evaluation. Part 9 will be the installment on assembly and shake down and that is next.