An interesting comment by Bertin enthusiast Carl Valero arrived in my inbox this morning. He informed me that Cycles Bertin has been revived. The sale of the original company in 1993 was followed by a period of management by a large firm which may not have been fully engaged with the company’s heritage. A move to Auch was followed shortly after by the closure of the management company and the end of Cycles Bertin as a commercial firm. However, Michael Bertin has been instrumental in managing a resurrection of the company in 2017.
Where the old company was a wholesale, design and manufacturing concern based in St. Laurent de Blagny in the Pas de Calais area (La Grande Marque de Nordiste!) the new Cycles Bertin is located in Quimper, in the Finistere Department in Brittany. Quimper is the location of the design and specification of the new range of Bertin bicycles which appear to be then built elsewhere. The steel framesets are constructed in France but I do not know the manufacturing attribution of the alloy framed utility bikes or the carbon fiber framesets and bicycles.
The old look of Bertin’s sales format was best seen in the 2000 catalogue of the Bertin range in its final year before the old company was closed. The scan below shows the cover of that end of the line catalogue.
The new Cycles Bertin format is as up to date and 21st Century as you would expect of a company muscling its way back into a crowded market place.
Bertin’s current approach is based on a strong reliance on an on-line sales format with an integrated shopping cart and shipping program combined with a range of 31 shops scattered around France. Sales are currently focused on France, Corsica and the EU. This sales effort is supported by a racing team and other cycle sport activity as well as ongoing research and development for niches like a cyclo-cross frameset. Facebook is also in the mix helping spread the news of the revival.
Just so you can get an idea of the presentation of the new products, take a look at a Bertin C 16 with a Columbus Zona steel frame to get a hint of the new Cycles Bertin offerings. There is lots of the epected carbon fiber but I rather favour the steel and older style graphics of this one. Perhaps, in time, sales will not be restricted to just Europe but opened up to other enthusiasts. There are many of us around the world who still remember and respect the work of Andre Bertin and his original team who first created a World renowned cycling heritage.
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 few months ago, I began an intermittent series on period Bertin advertisements as found in the cycling press and elsewhere. I started with a colourful, larger format bike shop poster but far more common for Bertin were page size and partial page ads done in black and white.
Recently, Frederic M. contacted me with a contribution from an edition of Le Cycle magazine published in 1971, to share with other readers. Frederic has a Flickr account on which he shares these kinds of period advertisements and photos including many done by Daniel Rebour. It is from that account that the following Milremo/Bertin ads were taken. Many thanks to Frederic for sharing and be sure to look at his Flickr materials here.
About a month and a half ago, I wrote a post on two Bertins that were found in Northern France by Kevin R. an expatriate Briton. He was kind enough to share the details and photos of the bikes which I subsequently posted. Well, he has been scrounging the boot sales, bike jumbles and on line sales sites and has found another lovely Bertin in wonderful condition. Study the photo below, there is something unusual about this 49 cm bike.
It is a mid to late 70s Bertin sport bike that has a full Vitus Durifort frameset, Maillard HF, QR hubs, TA Pro Vis 5 crankset, Shimano derailleurs, Weinmann sidepull brakes and tubular tires. When you look closely at this well proportioned, well equipped bicycle you simply do not notice that this is a very small bicycle. It is actually a Bertin C 33 intended for juvenile riders (or possibly small statured women) and looks normal because it wears 650 series tubular rims and sewup tires.
Just another example of the extra thought in the design, specification and manufacture that Andre Bertin and his team put into even the smallest market segment that they worked in.
Cycles Bertin was always a smaller manufacturer located in the Nord Pas de Calais department. They maintained local and regional amateur and semi-professional teams to support and promote their brand. Like most bicycle manuacturers, they had their colour catalogues, posters plus black and white ads taken out in the cycling press to try and reach potential buyers.
In the next little while, I will be, intermittently, posting examples of these materials to give readers a flavour of the the kind of promotional activities and style used by Bertin.
The first example is a poster shared with me by a reader. It is a striking example done in a bold colour style and seems to be from the earlier 1980s. I hope you enjoy it.