The category of “classic” when applied to Bertin bicycles seems to be getting broader. To some, including the author, “classic” refers to those road bikes produced up until the early 1980s. Why? Well, that was the time frame in which France produced the full range of items necessary to produce a bicycle from steel tubes to lugs to derailleurs to handlebar tape. Thereafter, SIS came in, Asian production ramped up and the whole game changed as many French firms and French manufacturers ceased to do business. This radically changed the commercial and sporting landscape in France and bicycles along with it.
However, the term “classic” is becoming more elastic as younger cyclists review their own experiences in the sport and conclude that there is enduring value to be found in the bicycles that they have used and experienced. Such is the case with Carl V. from France. He has been kind enough to share photos of his Bertin VTT with readers on this site.
Once Europeans got a look at what was going on in Marin County in California, they began to design and ride VTTs of their own adapted from the early mountain bikes developed in the American West. This lugged Bertin, with its Sturmey Archer drum brakes and Brooks B72 saddle, is a good example of the slightly divergent direction that Bertin took when interpreting the mountain bike.
brakes & shifters
Carl’s Bertin is a good example of the transition between the old, all French way of building and designing bicycles and the “mondiale” realities of contemporary design and manufacturing.