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YABD - vintage Bernard Carré frame, etc
#1
Yet Another Bike Day (YABD)

Just collected this 1970s beauty. Frame is by Bernard Carré in Super Vitus 971 tubing.
  • Stronglight 49D crankset
  • Simplex Super LJ derailleurs and shifters
  • Mavic rims laced to Normandy hubs
  • Mafac Competition brakes
  • AVA stem and bars
  • San Marco Rolls saddle

One of the funny things with Carré frames is that they tend to eschew the jewel-like finishing applied to similarly high-quality frames by other, more well-known names. You could easily look at a Carré frame and think it must have been repainted, but no, most of them look like that. Apparently, he was well known for producing a frame in two days, so maybe he wasn't so worried about the aesthetics of the finish?

   
   
   
   
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#2
Wow! @enkei you got yourself a gem there, especially if it happens to be your perfect size. It looks like good quality work from what I can gather from the photos (little bit rough at the rear drop-out/stays conjunction, but who's looking at that; other than me!). Are those seat stays semi-wrap around? The seat cluster is not quite shown in your photo front and I could not discern on the full side view. I would be curious to know the chainstay length (center BB to center of d-o) since it seems that there is a lot of room between the tire and seat post considering the hub is about as far forward as is reasonable; and also being a "Competition" as oppposed to a touring bike I would expect shorter stays (it would still be great for touring, and already has fender/pannier mount eyelets a plus). What is the wheel size? Are front and rear fork ends Campagnolo d-o's? Good set of components. One of, if not my favorite "modern" saddles; been riding a "Rolls" for nearly 40 years, and I ride one on my daily bike; they hold up well, are comfortable, and look great. What is the post, and what diameter?
Funny how you mentioned lack of chrome and repaint. So many people think my little Colnago either is not one (it is), or that it has been repainted (it has not) due to the lack of chrome (none anywhere!). I know my frame could be ordered with or without chrome so it does not bother, but apparently it bothers the "Colnagistas" out there.

I am so happy to see a quality vintage bike get posted; there has been a bit of a dry spell and I do not really like ongoing ebike stuff (nothing against them or riders) with increasing proliferation, and yet no one knows (or tries) how to provide a proper other than the "love my ebike" blurb which does nothing to help others in their quest to find one. I think Burrobabe has done the best, but still lacking a bit in specifics which are not related to personal tastes/needs.

Now the big question; what was the price?
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#3
Thanks, Jesper. I knew you'd enjoy it! I paid less than £500, including the cost of train tickets to go and collect it (about 4 hours travel time in total).

I wasn't actually talking about chrome, more about the quality of paint finish and consistency of line thickness where the dark gold highlights have been applied around the lugs. However, having looked more closely, I've discovered that the paint on this contains an extremely fine metal flake. I might give the frame a light going over with some high-quality automotive paint polish to see if it brings it back to life a bit. But yes, definitely, people often mistakenly expect bling on a 'real' quality bike.

At the risk of teaching you to suck eggs, this is a clubman frame. The eyelets would have allowed someone to fit fenders for commuting during the week, then remove them for weekend competition.

Yes, the seat stays are semi-wrap. More photos below.

What did you mean by "little bit rough at the rear drop-out/stays conjunction"? You mean where the paint's been shed under the QR clamp (I agree, it's gone a bit rogue there), or how the seat/chainstays meet the dropout? The 'fish mouth' style is a Carré signature, as is the style of brake bridge.

TT=56cm
ST=57.5cm
CS=42mm

Wheels=700c
Dropouts=Campag
seatpost dia=26.4mm

I think I managed to answer all of your questions. Feel free to fire away with more.

   
   
   
   

Forgot to say, I'm still trying to figure out what seat post it is.

Also, the bike weighs 10.35kg. Considering how much the wheels, seat post, and stem must weight, that's amazing to me.
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#4
Super; answered above and beyond the call of duty! Thanks for the explanations. And yes, I will suck on an egg or two; because I've not eaten yet.

I did kind of gather that is multipurpose in design. Many of my Italian frames with fender mounting are similar but a little bit tighter in the rear geometry. I can certainly understand that adequate spacing for rear fender would require that longer c-stay. My c-stays on a similar frame are about .5-1 cm shorter; pure racers about 39.5 on the really short side (no aero seat tube or recessed wheel design) up to 41cm max for frames of that era or newer.

Very nice seat cluster treatment.

My comment about about the rear fork conjunctions relates to
the brazing work consistency. It may be excess paint, hard to tell without seeing it bare.

I am surprised a little by the post diameter (I was thinking more like 26.8mm), but I have no Vitus 971 steel frames to compare it with. Make sure the clamp binder slot is not closed up. I find it very common on older bikes that a smaller post gets installed for whatever reason and the seat lug is just tightened up until the post won't slip. Usually it is just .2mm for the next smaller size, but still not uncommon for 2 sizes smaller. I have bought a frame and a separate post based on a seller's description only to find that the size is wrong and I get stuck with a smaller post I cannot use, all the while having the correct size once I reformed the seat lug to its orignal size. I did want to know what the post make was; just curious. I may have a nice one I could donate gratis since an odd size for compared to the frames I deal in (26.8mm to 27.2mm).
Thanks for the extra effort; and patience dealing with my queries.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#5
I did some research on the Vitus 971 seat tube specs. For the unbutted section at the seat lug it would be 28mm OD with .6mm wall thickness with 1.0mm wall thickness at the butt for a metric tube; ref. Vitus tubing chart. That gives us 28mm - (.6mm +.6mm) = 26.8mm ID for the seat tube at the lug barring any reaming of the tube. Allowing for .1mm each "side" of the seat post (.1mm +.1mm) provides for a 26.6mm seat post OD 26.8mm - .2mm = 26.6mm. which is more along the lines of what I thought a metric tubing lightweight bike would have for. Standard Vitus 28.6mm OD tubing has the same wall thickness so 28.6mm - 1.2mm = 27.4mm ID; 27.4mm - 2mm = 27.2mm OD seat post which would be very common.
Now the curveball; per a very experienced bike builder in the 70s, he states that most French bikes made with that 971 tubing (e.g. Gitane) came with 26.4mm OD posts, but they should have been 26.6mm given the tubing used: "A properly rounded and reamed SV 971 metric diameter seat tube should take a 26.6mm seatpost, 28mm OD - 2x .6mm = 26.8mm with .1mm clearance room per side. Most SV 971 bikes you see will have a 26.4mm seatpost."
He states the same thing I do; but of course he was observing these bikes at the time they were being made and so I certainly believe that he saw these 971 a frames being provided with the incorrect posts direct from the manufacturer. I did see where he stated why this was being done due to the lugs being so out of round that the manufacturers used improper posts instead of rounding out the seat lug. He states having an early 70s Vitus framed (not 971) bike coming with a 25.8mm post that should have been 26.4mm for it's tubing type. Also, his shop at times used a special mandrel to reform the top of the seat tube and lug.
I have had to do similar work using old posts where I tapered the ends and slowly inserted them by ever increasing diameters in order to reform the lugs and tubing. I would suggest that you try something similar since your frame requires a larger post than what is installed. This will prevent having to tighten the binder more than it should be and avoid any additional stress. One benefit if your frame is it having semi-wrap stay caps which in this particular instance are less likely to have a weakened joint than a stay cap side brazed only. Apparently in your case the post may be the original one installed, or it may be a replacement matching the original's size even though the original post was too small was too small to begin with. It still may be that a smaller post was used as a replacement due to difficulty caused by using the correct size. I would make things right; but your bike, your call.
Your bike weight sounds correct given butted tubing and being metric tubing (smaller diameter) than standard tubing. It certainly could be lightened up a bit; but I would try to keep it OE except the post. Even if the post is OE it might be a generic one. I would think it came with a Simplex Super LJ given the other Simplex components, but I think those posts only came as steel items.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#6
Excellent points, as usual. Thanks!

What dia is the odd seat post you're offering?

(06-08-2024, 04:51 PM)Jesper Wrote:  Super; answered above and beyond the call of duty! Thanks for the explanations. And yes, I will suck on an egg or two; because I've not eaten yet.

I did kind of gather that is multipurpose in design. Many of my Italian frames with fender mounting are similar but a little bit tighter in the rear geometry. I can certainly understand that adequate spacing for rear fender would require that longer c-stay. My c-stays on a similar frame are about .5-1 cm shorter; pure racers about 39.5 on the really short side (no aero seat tube or recessed wheel design) up to 41cm max for frames of that era or newer.

Very nice seat cluster treatment.

My comment about about the rear fork conjunctions relates to
the brazing work consistency. It may be excess paint, hard to tell without seeing it bare.

I am surprised a little by the post diameter (I was thinking more like 26.8mm), but I have no Vitus 971 steel frames to compare it with. Make sure the clamp binder slot is not closed up. I find it very common on older bikes that a smaller post gets installed for whatever reason and the seat lug is just tightened up until the oost won't slip. Usually it is just .2mm for the next smaller size, but still not uncommon for 2 sizes smaller. I have bought a frame and a separate post based on a seller's description only to find that the size is wrong and I get stuck with a smaller post I cannot use, all the while having the correct size once I reformed the seat lug to its orignal size. I did want to know what the post make was; just curious. I may have a nice one I could donate gratis since an odd size for compared to the frames I deal in (26.8mm to 27.2mm).
Thanks for the extra effort; and patience dealing with my queries.

Jesper, I cannot thank you enough. This isn't just invaluable, it's super interesting.

My hunt for a suitable 26.6 has begun!

(06-09-2024, 02:49 AM)Jesper Wrote:  I did some research on the Vitus 971 seat tube specs. For the unbutted section at the seat lug it would be 28mm OD with .6mm wall thickness with 1.0mm wall thickness at the butt for a metric tube; ref. Vitus tubing chart. That gives us 28mm - (.6mm +.6mm) = 26.8mm ID for the seat tube at the lug barring any reaming of the tube. Allowing for .1mm each "side" of the seat post (.1mm +.1mm) provides for a 26.6mm seat post OD 26.8mm - .2mm = 26.6mm. which is more along the lines of what I thought a metric tubing lightweight bike would have for. Standard Vitus 28.6mm OD tubing has the same wall thickness so 28.6mm - 1.2mm = 27.4mm ID; 27.4mm - 2mm = 27.2mm OD seat post which would be very common.
Now the curveball; per a very experienced bike builder in the 70s, he states that most French bikes made with that 971 tubing (e.g. Gitane) came with 26.4mm OD posts, but they should have been 26.6mm given the tubing used: "A properly rounded and reamed SV 971 metric diameter seat tube should take a 26.6mm seatpost, 28mm OD - 2x .6mm = 26.8mm with .1mm clearance room per side. Most SV 971 bikes you see will have a 26.4mm seatpost."
He states the same thing I do; but of course he was observing these bikes at the time they were being made and so I certainly believe that he saw these 971 a frames being provided with the incorrect posts direct from the manufacturer. I did see where he stated why this was being done due to the lugs being so out of round that the manufacturers used improper posts instead of rounding out the seat lug. He states having an early 70s Vitus framed (not 971) bike coming with a 25.8mm post that should have been 26.4mm for it's tubing type. Also, his shop at times used a special mandrel to reform the top of the seat tube and lug.
I have had to do similar work using old posts where I tapered the ends and slowly inserted them by ever increasing diameters in order to reform the lugs and tubing. I would suggest that you try something similar since your frame requires a larger post than what is installed. This will prevent having to tighten the binder more than it should be and avoid any additional stress. One benefit if your frame is it having semi-wrap stay caps which in this particular instance are less likely to have a weakened joint than a stay cap side brazed only. Apparently in your case the post may be the original one installed, or it may be a replacement matching the original's size even though the original post was too small was too small to begin with. It still may be that a smaller post was used as a replacement due to difficulty caused by using the correct size. I would make things right; but your bike, your call.
Your bike weight sounds correct given butted tubing and being metric tubing (smaller diameter) than standard tubing. It certainly could be lightened up a bit; but I would try to keep it OE except the post. Even if the post is OE it might be a generic one. I would think it came with a Simplex Super LJ given the other Simplex components, but I think those posts only came as steel items.
  Reply
#7
I should have a 26.6mm post. Most likely Italian. I am not at home right now. I can check in a couple days and see what I have. I usually have posts from 25mm, 25.4, and something between 26 to 27.4 mm. I will look about. I only have decent posts for the most part except a few well worn Campagnolos that probably are not that size (26.6) anyways.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#8
@enkei I have a friend on another forum site (theCABE) who wants me to post your photos on it. If you give me permission I will do so. There may be more information from that forum site since it deals more explicitly with bikes 50 years and older with many members who grew up working in the industry and thus have more intimate knowledge pertaining to bikes, components, frames, lugs, etc. similar to yours. I would expect more complete information than I myself can provide. Not to mention the fact they like to see early well preserved bikes just as much as I do.
I do have another question(s). Are there any markings on the frame that might give a hint as to its year (other than the decals), is there drain hole(s) in the BB shell? Not dealing with Simplex part often, I cannot remember which components had date markings on them; some certainly did, but not all of them. When you start to refurbish it you may find some (I think your rear derailleur should have one.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#9
Thanks, Jesper.

Please feel free to share the pix on that forum. I've registered and am awaiting approval. If you post the photos, I can comment on the thread.

The other thing I think I need to do is source a replacement for the AVA stem. I happen to like my teeth.

I've yet to find any useful markings on the bike, but I've not pored over ever inch of it yet. I don't think the bike came with the derailleur. I think the old chap I got the bike from built up the bike himself, but I can ask him.

Cheers!

(06-09-2024, 11:22 AM)Jesper Wrote:  @enkei I have a friend on another forum site (theCABE) who wants me to post your photos on it. If you give me permission I will do so. There may be more information from that forum site since it deals more explicitly with bikes 50 years and older with many members who grew up working in the industry and thus have more intimate knowledge pertaining to bikes, components, frames, lugs, etc. similar to yours. I would expect more complete information than I myself can provide. Not to mention the fact they like to see early well preserved bikes just as much as I do.
I do have another question(s). Are there any markings on the frame that might give a humint as to its year (other than the decals), is there drain hole(s) in the BB shell? Not dealing with Simplex part often, I cannot remember which components had date markings on them; some certainly did, but not all of them. When you start to refurbish it you may find some (I think your rear derailleur should have one.
  Reply
#10
Got some info from the seller:

"I built the bike myself and chose the components.
I bought the frame from a guy in France and it was sold as a late 70's frame. The Carré "experts in the UK think more likely early 80's.
The Simplex SLJ I chose span that period. I always referred to it as a late 70's as that's what the French guy said. But it may be wrong.|
  Reply
#11
(06-09-2024, 03:55 PM)enkei Wrote:  Got some info from the seller:

"I built the bike myself and chose the components.
I bought the frame from a guy in France and it was sold as a late 70's frame. The Carré "experts in the UK think more likely early 80's.
The Simplex SLJ I chose span that period. I always referred to it as a late 70's as that's what the French guy said. But it may be wrong.|

That statement pretty much makes sense due to the frame configuration having cables running on top of the BB shell and bidon mounting. I would easily consider to be late 70s to early 80s. The head badge design might be an indicator if there were different configurations (change from plate to decal; design change, etc.).
I will wait on posting it on The CABE if you are joining there. You will find much more stuff that I have posted on that site regarding older bikes; and I am much more the student there then being the teacher on "bikeride".
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#12
(06-09-2024, 02:49 AM)Jesper Wrote:  I did some research on the Vitus 971 seat tube specs. For the unbutted section at the seat lug it would be 28mm OD with .6mm wall thickness with 1.0mm wall thickness at the butt for a metric tube; ref. Vitus tubing chart. That gives us 28mm - (.6mm +.6mm) = 26.8mm ID for the seat tube at the lug barring any reaming of the tube. Allowing for .1mm each "side" of the seat post (.1mm +.1mm) provides for a 26.6mm seat post OD 26.8mm - .2mm = 26.6mm. which is more along the lines of what I thought a metric tubing lightweight bike would have for. Standard Vitus 28.6mm OD tubing has the same wall thickness so 28.6mm - 1.2mm = 27.4mm ID; 27.4mm - 2mm = 27.2mm OD seat post which would be very common.

The plot thickens. I just measured ST OD at 28.6mm, which concurs with this info:
   
I'm confused by your calculations, which could very well be my brain not working. If the wall thickness at the butt is 1mm, why are you using .6mm for the calculation?
  Reply
#13
@Jesper I forgot to say that the ST binder slot isn't closed up. It's noticeably narrowed but still far from closed.

Tried to PM you but it says you've reached your message limit.
  Reply
#14
(06-10-2024, 08:00 AM)enkei Wrote:  @Jesper I forgot to say that the ST binder slot isn't closed up. It's noticeably narrowed but still far from closed.

Tried to PM you but it says you've reached your message limit.

Shows how much I clean my message boxes! I will take care of that

I am surprised that it is not a metric frame given the era it was made in. The seat post would be 27.2mm for their regular tubing; but if the reinforced tube with .9mm wall thickness it would still be a 26.6mm post 28.6-(.9x2)-(.1x2)= 26.6mm.
That is that same chart I went by when I first commented. I guess the Carré experts would be more familiar with the frame's constructed. If indeed it has the heavier gauge tubing it would seem to fall into a touring bike designed to handle a heavier load. When I first saw it that is what popped into my head seeing that stay length and tire clearance, except for having a badge "TYPE COMPETITION" on it (possibly the wrong badge?). I would also expect the weight to be higher, but many builders mixed tube sets. Given that it is a fairly large frame (57.5mm: c-c or c-t?) it is not surprising for heavier gauge tubing to be used with the assumption that there would be a heavier rider. If you could, please measure the down and top tubes OD just to confirm no metric tubes were used in the main triangle.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#15
These are the measurements I'm getting.

TT OD = 26.4mm
DT OD = 28.3mm
  Reply
#16
Wow; very odd. Metric top and down tubes (unknown if thick or thin wall) with thick wall standard seat tube. I may have a similar frame myself (not Vitus tubing though); I think is was a Spanish origin frame. That would require a mixed size seat lug and BB shell for the frame. Now I know there will be some good commentary from the CABERS.
It may been by design, by what was available, and/or due to frame size; who knows.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#17
(06-10-2024, 11:47 AM)enkei Wrote:  These are the measurements I'm getting.

TT OD = 26.4mm
DT OD = 28.3mm

I am in a private messaging debate with a fellow CABER regarding if your bike is a metric or mixed frame. An easy way to determine the actual seat tube diameter is to take a known 28mm clamp on derailleur an see if it properly reaches around tube (it will not if 28.6mm tube). A standard 28.6mm clamp-on unit might not be able to be tightened up enough depending on paint thickness.
I cannot refute the top or down tubes being metric at those ODs. The seat tube could very well be paint and/or expansion of the tube when being heated during manufacture and thus still be a 28mm tube. I was surprised to see it that wide of an OD which made me jump to a conclusion, but more experienced minds are thinking it is still all metric which would make the most sense.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#18
Is this an excuse for me to buy a 28mm clamp-on front derailleur? ;-)

I have no clamp-ons....
  Reply
#19
(23 hours ago)enkei Wrote:  Is this an excuse for me to buy a 28mm clamp-on front derailleur? ;-)

I have no clamp-ons....

Thankfully, I have about 30 of them so you're all set!

When you service the front mech check to see if it has any markings on the clamp band or elsewhere. Often there there a diameter size given on them. Not sure if Simplex did that. Now, I will do a quick check to see if I even have any Simplex stuff from the '70s since my bikes using their equipment are 1930s to '50s frames. I do know that I have a couple of the push rod style front mechs I stripped of some bike boom Peugeots, but I doubt they are marked for clamp size.
If you refer to Velobase sometimes contributors like myself will note any and all markings on the components listed, other entries often don't show even a photo (a tech. issue with that site) or any details.

Did you measure tube ODs near centers or ends? Your best bet is near center areas to avoid possible tubing that was deformed by heating; and paint is usually more evenly applied near center areas. .3 to .4 mm thickness would not be uncommon before clearcoating was used for a frame finish. So the outlier is the .6 mm of paint on the seat tube if indeed that is why you have that measurement. Also, with round tubes always measure on two different axes to ensure you get a consistent reading.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply


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