Unknown, help needed please.


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dnc1

I live for the CABE
Apr 1, 2016
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Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK
#1
I recently spent the day with my friend Jaume in his workshop in Mallorca.
While I was there a friend brought in this conundrum, I think it's 1920's to 1940's, French or Italian, other than that I'm at a loss for ideas.
Ostensibly it's a fairly conventional 'roadster' type bicycle with typical period details.....
WP_20180914_13_46_35_Pro.jpg


WP_20180914_13_45_01_Pro (2).jpg


WP_20180914_13_44_52_Pro (2).jpg


However, it has one very distinctive feature, it has a box section midway down the main frame, into which is inserted a vertically mounted leaf-spring, which serves as a sprung seat post.....
WP_20180914_13_45_15_Pro (8).jpg


WP_20180914_13_44_42_Pro (4).jpg


I didn't get a photo of the spring, it was made of four leaves, with a sprung saddle.

I'm familiar with the Vialle frère's 'Velastic' design and it's Italian 'Sintesi' variant from the 1920's, but this is different, with it's tubular, not monocoque frame.
There are holes for a head badge and a serial number on one of the rear dropouts.

Has anyone ever seen one of these before, or have any ideas?

Any help much appreciated, thanks, Darren.
 

juvela

Finally riding a big boys bike
Aug 2, 2014
334
411
Playa del Rey, United States
#2
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Hello Darren,

Thank you for sharing this find.

Agree it must hail from the interwar period.

There appear to be markings on the arm of the coaster brake. Have you been able to make them out?

The bicycle's crank arms look to have markings, if not writing at least symbols. Are you able to see them clearly?

The bottom bracket spindle is hollow on the end; is it hollow all the way through?

Bottom bracket lockring appears it may have markings on its outer face.

The feature cut of the head lugs resembles a pattern NERVEX offered at one time. It is similar to nr. 86 (not an exact match).

Are you able to read the markings on the hub wing nuts? Looks like it may be C S E.

Seat stay cap treatment suggests France. If headset & bottom bracket thread and tubing diameters metric that would eliminate Italy as an origin.

Welded stem/bar set may be Schierano. Domenico Schierano was an Italian professional racer active in the teens and twenties of the past century. Stem and bar sets resembling the one on the bicycle were produced with his name well into the 1960's. Do not know if he began the company which produced them or if he licensed his name.

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domenico_Schierano

If bicycle from France the stem/bar set may be Centrix. They were most active in this era and closed in 1962.

n5gfmh.jpg


If you could post the spacing of the headplate fasteners it might help a reader to make an identity suggestion...
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dnc1

I live for the CABE
Apr 1, 2016
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Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK
#3
Thanks @juvela.
I currently don't have any more photos; I'll ask Jaume to send me some more detail shots when he can.
Unfortunately, I'm back home in the U.K. now.
 

juvela

Finally riding a big boys bike
Aug 2, 2014
334
411
Playa del Rey, United States
#4
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...something to explore further upon your next Palma sojurn...

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juvela

Finally riding a big boys bike
Aug 2, 2014
334
411
Playa del Rey, United States
#6
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...well, one certainly would not wish to go in the off season, now would they? :wink:

in your daguerreotype request to Jaume you might ask for some drive sides including closeups of chainset and head.

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dnc1

I live for the CABE
Apr 1, 2016
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#7
First batch of photos in, more detail to follow......
IMG-20180926-WA0001.jpg


IMG-20180926-WA0003 (2).jpg


IMG-20180926-WA0002 (2).jpg


IMG-20180926-WA0001 (3).jpg


"Frame number" is 33, or is that a part number for the dropout part?
Frame looks well made, initially there was some discussion as to whether it might be a home-brewed 'special' but I think it looks too well made for that.
The shortest spring section is missing its forked end.
I wonder if Vialle or Sintesi ever built a tubular framed model or prototype later on?
I can't find any reference to this anywhere, these are two of their 1920's adverts......
vialle-sup-1.jpg


images.jpg


The positioning of the leaf-spring box is closest to the second example I think.
 
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juvela

Finally riding a big boys bike
Aug 2, 2014
334
411
Playa del Rey, United States
#8
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Thank you for the new information and imagery.

There is a letter G on the outer face of the left dropout, possibly to indicate gauche which would be consistent with a french (or Walloon) origin.

Treatment of expander bolt seat for the head on the stem is consistent with the Centrix design.

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dnc1

I live for the CABE
Apr 1, 2016
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#9
More photos, rear hub.....
IMG-20180926-WA0013 (2).jpg


IMG-20180926-WA0002 (3).jpg


IMG-20180926-WA0002 (5).jpg


Chain set.....
IMG-20180926-WA0010 (2).jpg


IMG-20180926-WA0010 (4).jpg


Fork details.....
IMG-20180926-WA0009 (2).jpg


IMG-20180926-WA0006 (2).jpg


IMG-20180926-WA0005 (2).jpg


Leaf spring leaves.....
IMG-20180926-WA0009 (2).jpg


IMG-20180926-WA0008 (2).jpg


Handlebars, seat post end section and remains of saddle.....
IMG-20180926-WA0001 (2).jpg


IMG-20180926-WA0001 (5).jpg


IMG-20180926-WA0011 (3).jpg
 
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dnc1

I live for the CABE
Apr 1, 2016
1,589
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Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK
#10
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Thank you for the new information and imagery.

There is a letter G on the outer face of the left dropout, possibly to indicate gauche which would be consistent with a french (or belgian) origin.

Treatment of expander bolt seat for the head on the stem is consistent with the Centrix design.

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Thanks, hadn't noticed the 'G', I'll ask if there's a corresponding 'D' on the other dropout.
 

juvela

Finally riding a big boys bike
Aug 2, 2014
334
411
Playa del Rey, United States
#12
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Muchas Gracias por Jaume for all of these excellent detail images. ;)

regarding chainset -

the round chainwheel nuts must feature splines to keep them from turning when the square-headed bolts are tightened.

Etablissements A. Haubtmann ( SOLIDA brand chainsets) offered a chainwheel of this pattern for at least several decades.

In the advert below the chainwheel on the left is of a thread-on design which affixes to a threaded flange on the crank arm. A lockring similar to one found on a bottom bracket assembly secures the chainwheel to the arm.

2z74b50.jpg


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juvela

Finally riding a big boys bike
Aug 2, 2014
334
411
Playa del Rey, United States
#13
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Here is hoping that both Jaume y la bicycletta be on high ground...


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dnc1

I live for the CABE
Apr 1, 2016
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#14
Unfortunately Mallorca, and mainland Spain are frequently plagued by such events. I understand 9 people were killed in the floods this week at the eastern end of the island.
 

BradL

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Oct 17, 2018
10
23
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Cypress, TX
#15
This may or may not help, but this is a photo I found in a small book I have concerning the history of bicycles (La Bicicletta by Fermi Galbiati and Nino Ciravegna). It’s described as the Gran Turismo model by Officine Sintesi in 1924.
21F15BCD-B2DF-4B68-8347-CD0AF81D02F7.jpeg
 

dnc1

I live for the CABE
Apr 1, 2016
1,589
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Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK
#16
Many thanks @BradL.
I mentioned earlier in this thread that I was familiar with the "Sintesi" and "Vialle Freres" variants with the monocoque, pressed steel frames, but that photo is new to me.
I've only ever seen roadster style handlebars on these machines before, never a drop-barred example.
Thanks for the book information too but I'm unsure if that date is correct, will have to recheck original patent date. Interesting!
 

dnc1

I live for the CABE
Apr 1, 2016
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Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK
#17
Original patent dates to 1923/24 so the date quoted is probably correct.
I'm still thinking the mystery bicycle in question is a later example, or possibly a third licensee of the original patent.
 
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