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Philbythesea

Member since Aug 2010 • Last active Oct 2021

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    I only discovered this quite recently too, working on drawings for the renovation of a Prouvé facade in Paris. One went at Christie's for 72,000€ in 2009, and another for 50,000€ in 2020.

  • in General
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    Some background on the Prouvé bike mentioned above...

    From Wikipedia:
    Jean Prouvé (8 April 1901 – 23 March 1984) was a French metal worker, self-taught architect and designer. Le Corbusier designated Prouvé a constructeur, blending architecture and engineering. Prouvé's main achievement was transferring manufacturing technology from industry to architecture, without losing aesthetic qualities. His design skills were not limited to one discipline. During his career Jean Prouvé was involved in architectural design, industrial design, structural design and furniture design.

    And translated from this article at velo-design.com:

    "Designed in 1941 from sheet steel, this frame was intended for employees of Jean Prouvé workshops, to help them travel between home and work (as during the World War II cars were reserved for police and doctors only). "

    I think only about 10 were actually built finally, so original models are pretty rare.

    Complete bike photo is of the one sold at Christie's last year.

    Some pics from an expo in Canada a few years ago, with photos of his original design drawings:
    https://veloretrocourse.proboards.com/th­read/1043/le-lo-de-jean-prouv

  • in General
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    (Continued...)

    The Savarino family own a bicycle store, La Bicyclette, located at 5 Rue Crozatier, in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, and run by Stefano and his older brother Enzo. As well as repairs and maintenance, they offered fixed gear models, such as the Cinelli Mash, when fixed gear was popular in Paris. And you won’t find electric bikes in this shop. They are also one of the few bike shops able to repair steel frames, which are sent to Seine-et-Marne to Stefano's workshop. “I welded a lot of derailleur hangers, to help out certain customers during the lockdown,” says Stefano, who does not hide his enthusiasm for this material. “I really enjoy riding steel frame bikes. For me it’s the perfect material to make a frame that’s comfortable, reactive, and durable.” The shop was affected too by the ‘gilets jaunes’ movement, but business has returned over the last year, aided by the creation of the “Coup de pouce vélo” project (govt. subsidised bicycle repairs, cycling lessons and parking facilities). “Sometimes we had more than a hundred people waiting outside the shop,” explains Lorenzo. That may sound like rather a lot, but maybe it's that too that we like, that certain Italian ‘excess’. Before that, Stefano had built his partner's bike. She needed a light and stylish city bike, and he needed to understand a slightly different geometry, for a step-through frame. The currency of exchange? A website where Stefano showcases his creations and explains his work, made by Marine, who acts as webmaster when she is not riding her magnificent red bike. Made entirely from Columbus Zona to ensure lightness and comfort, this single speed bike is equipped with beautiful accessories; Paul machined cranks, White Industries headset, Gilles Berthoud mudguards and Compass tyres, as well as a dynamo hub and Tektro brakes with Dia-Compe levers. Painting is the only outsourced part of the process, entrusted locally to Bobigny Epoxy.

    As the conversation went on, it soon became clear that Lorenzo, Stefano and Enzo's father, was a vintage bike enthusiast, with an exhaustive knowledge of the many frame builders he’d met in his life, whether French or Italian. On the first floor of his old ‘barn’, now converted into a workshop, Lorenzo showed me an impressive collection of vintage bikes, some even dating from the 19th century, as well as vintage wheels, groupsets, components and cycling jerseys. Most of them were found at flea markets and bicycle exchanges, or at auctions for the rarer models.
    Notably, he owns a royal blue Jacques Anquetil bike used by the champion himself, and with markings recalling his five Tour de France victories. He also owns a 1969 Eddy Merckx bicycle, which was also raced. Despite his efforts, however, Lorenzo has never found the actual race in which the Belgian champion rode this bike. Lorenzo now devotes a good part of his time to renovating old bicycles and to expanding his collection of exotic and rare bicycles and parts. His greatest pride was to show us on his Instagram account the complete renovation of a bike made by the famous designer Jean Prouvé. “My sons brought this bike to the workshop, and I couldn't believe my eyes. There are only a few models in the world. In restoring it, I had the impression of giving new life to a Rolls-Royce”, enthuses Lorenzo, who explains that an identical model was recently sold at auction for 55,000€…
    Today Lorenzo has more than 400 bicycles and bicycle parts (derailleurs, brakes, wheels ...) stored, or rather piled up, in a farmhouse. He wants to eventually find a larger space to be able to exhibit these magnificent objects and to perhaps open a museum. Stefano also wants to offer stainless steel frames in the medium term. "I have lots of projects to develop my work: I want to train in TIG welding and offer stainless steel frames". As you can see, between the new creations and the old vintage, the Savarino's passion for cycling - father and son – is here to stay... Forza!

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    Translation:

    The father is a collector and repairs vintage bicycles. His two sons, Enzo and Stefano, run La Bicyclette, a bike shop in the 12th arrondissement of Paris. Stefano has recently embarked on a career as a frame builder, which he carries out in his workshop in Seine-et-Marne.

    Stefano Savarino is not yet in the prime of his career, but he has already been immersed in the world of bicycles and cycling for many years. At 27 years old this young frame-builder has made less than ten frames. But from an early age Stefano has grown up in the world of two-wheels, with a father who is a collector of vintage bikes.

    At 9 years old he was already starting to repair all kinds of bicycles. At 14 he completed almost all the Paris-Roubaix with his friends, on a fixed gear, in appalling weather conditions. His studies will push him towards a BEP in vehicle body repair (“carrossier-formeur”?); training in which he continues to work with metal and learn different welding techniques. In 2012 he passed his professional qualification certificate (CQP) and started working in the family shop, La Bicyclette, newly opened in Paris, with his brother Enzo. Soon after he learned that Andreas Behrens of LaFraise Cycles was offering frame building lessons. He immediately headed off to Roubaix and became one of the first ‘padawans’ to build his own bicycle. His ‘Number 01’, a purple gravel bike, hangs on the wall of his workshop. “Andreas taught me a lot. Even if I had already learned a lot on the job, it gave me a solid foundation from which I continue to progress” says Stefano, showing us the notebook from his period there as an apprentice. His thirst for learning also led him to Cyfac, to further improve his welding skills.

    Stefano doesn’t advertise himself yet as a frame builder - he’s making bikes for friends while he continues to hone his skills. He’s currently working on two bikes. The first frame has already been built, but recently returned to the workshop for a conversion to a double chainring, and the installation of a rear derailleur hanger, as well as the re-positioning of the brake studs. The second frame is still in the works, literally, as the Columbus Life tubes are still waiting their turn in a corner of the studio. His friend wants a versatile bike for the city, but one that’s also suitable for touring. The choice of Italian tubes will be completed by a Campagnolo Centaur groupset with compact transmission (50/34 and 11-32). The bike will be mounted with a Veloci carbon fork, allowing the integration of discs, cables for dynamo, and inserts for bottle cages or racks. Stefano has given himself four months to deliver the bike, at a price of around € 1,500 for the frame and fork. A reasonable time and price considering the current shortage of components and the increase in prices on raw materials. For now Stefano gets his supplies from commercial fork suppliers, such as the Enve fork mounted on a Chris King headset on his fixed gear bike. He also wants to offer forks made by himself in the future, but for this he still needs to improve his welding skills, to offer a high quality finish. He also plans to make his own stems, although he admits that the process is long, and more expensive than a production model.

    Beneath the calm appearance Stefano is a perfectionist, as can be seen when you watch him polishing a weld, or when he shows us the bike that he built for the ‘Concours des Machines’ in 2019. The ‘rookie’ proposed a metallic blue randonneur, made from Columbus Zona tubes, and equipped with 650b wheels and mudguards from the 1950s, in line with the "Paris-Brest-Paris" theme of that year’s competition. With its seat stays connecting to the top tube, it’s full carbon Enve components (fork, stem, seat post), and its Fizik Aliante saddle, it combined vintage and modern. At 10.8kg, handlebar bar bag included, this PBP bike made quite an impression. More importantly though, its rider completed the full 1200km of the famous Parisian Audax without any bike-related aches and pains, and in less than 80 hours. Stefano is now starting to get a few email inquiries from potential clients, particularly for gravel bikes. He has recently started promoting his work, mainly on Instagram, but also in their Paris shop, where the bike he built for his friend is still on display. His daily ride is a fixed gear frame that he built himself. “It’s a bike I built for myself in a day; drawing the geometry and cutting and welding the tubes” he explained. In its striking green livery, the frame is equipped with carbon wheels and a Kering Kashimax saddle. It’s not built for comfort but allows Stefano to ride the 45km between the Paris shop and his workshop in Seine et Marne, in an hour and a quarter.

  • in General
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    I was just discussing French bike shops with @veLLo recently, and then this appeared in the latest (French) edition of Cyclist magazine.

    I hope the original copyright owners don't mind me translating the article into English.
    Cyclist - No.32 - Sept/Oct 2021
    Texte: MATTHIEU AMIELH
    Photographies: JAMES STARTT

  • in Bikes & Bits
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    That Gazelle all works so nicely together.

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