Dave Moulton

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Bootleg Recherché

One of the production frames I built from 1985 and on was the Recherché; it was a private label frame built for Kent and Kyle Radford, who owned a bike store in Rancho Bernardo, in San Diego County.

I never officially stopped making the Recherché; the orders just gradually dried up and stopped as the demand for road bikes dwindled in the late 1980s due to the popularity of Mountain Bikes.

I built a little over 200 Recherché frames so when Wayne from San Diego emailed me last July to say he had frame number 814 I was doubtful it was one I built. Some of the other details Wayne gave did not ring true; I asked for pictures to confirm.

The pictures confirmed it was not built by me. It is a nice hand crafted frame, obviously built by someone who knows how to build frames, but why it has the Recherché name on it is a mystery. Earlier this year I saw another on eBay with similar decals to this, but also not built by me.

I contacted Kent Radford and he didn’t know of any Recherché frames other than those I built. He did speculate that an ex-employee of his may have bootlegged a few. The question that begs asking is why? If you are going to bootleg a frame, why a Recherché?  

It is not like someone had a bunch of left over decals and decided to slap them on a frame. These decals had to be made special; the original were Black, Red and Gold on a White panel, these were single color Yellow. The bike I saw on eBay had single color Black decals.

If you are going to the trouble of making decals why not come up with your own brand name, or even the name of the person who built it.

The owner of this bike says the guy he bought it from took it as payment for some landscape work and had no history of it. The current owner would like to know who built it, and so would I. I am just curious, I am not about to get angry or sue anyone.

The frame does not say it was built by me. I have not been harmed by this; but it matters to an owner like Wayne who thought he had something built by me, then found out it wasn’t.

The rear drop outs (Above.) have been nicely filed, but the Recherche (Below left.) had this distinctive treatment to the front and rear drop outs.

The tube ends were scalloped with a round file and the brass allowed to sink inside as the brazing cooled.

I was imitating a style that is common to many French frame builders.

The genuine Recherche logo is black, red, and gold (Left.) the bootleg version is a single line copy. (Right.)






The frames I built had my name on the left chainstay, and had a tubular chainstay bridge, (Below.) the other has a cast bridge. (Below left.)


The bootleg frame is built in Columbus SLX a tubing that wasn’t available at the time I built the Recherche.

You can read more on the Recherche here.






Reader Comments (10)

That Fauxcherche looks a lot like a Paramount, with Henry James conjunctions. Wish I could see the seat stay conjunction better. It is odd.

November 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTonyD

They look like Henry James lugs and fork crown to me. The owner sent more photos but I didn't have room to post them all. The seat stay caps are standard concave, and the rear brake bridge is a solid machined flat; the only two items that are correct for a Recherche.

November 2, 2011 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

I wonder how many people that have a MOULTON think that YOU built it? or vice versa.

November 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGRUMPY Crump

I assume you mean Alex Moulton's small wheel bike. Yes, we've been getting each other's mail for years.

November 3, 2011 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

Recherché frame number 814? 814? How curious. You could almost imagine that it was a coincidence, and some other frame builder just liked the meaning of that word, except for the fairly precise match on the style of the logo. The colors are obviously wrong, and the size seems too large (although that could be an artifact of camera angle and distance), but the art work itself is too similar to be accidental. And, what's with that number? Is there a bootleg Recherché 813 or 815? Were over 800 bootleg Recherché bikes made? Or did the individual who appropriated Recherché just pull that number out of a hat?

November 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbystander

Bummer for Wayne from San Diego. No doubt he bought it with the notion he was receiving, and honoring, Dave's work. That is commendable, to be sure. Too bad the seller of the frame was not.

November 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChucker

I have often wondered how many frames have been duplicated with stove pipe tubing and fake transfers. Not hard to do these days. Better check out the Hetchins etc you have. By the way can 531 OR Columbus tubing be ID with any marks in side the tubing etc, I know as a Porsche owner the ID#s are hidden inside someplace. This can help with theft etc.

November 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGRUMPY Crump

Dave. Looking at the photos of the phony frame, someone has taken a iot of time and $$$ to get this done. I know from refinishing a 1958 Holland that the transfers alone are very expensive to do. Why did he(SHE) do this to a frame that is NOT so well known? Could this be a grudge of some kind and how many more are there like this around?. What other frames has he done this to different makes. This is FRAUD out and out. Need to find where the owner got this from.

November 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGRUMPY Crump

I don't understand the logic involved behind this "deception" . Being a low volume bike, the perpetuator should have known, in this Internet age, how easy it would be to trace the provenance of such a vintage frame, with a little due diligence. I'm lucky enough to have recently acquired one. And it has been a pleasure to ride, Dave.

November 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStelvio

Don't I wish I ever did anything that someone thought worthy of going to all that trouble to copy! You are no doubt flattered, as imitation is the most sincere form of that emotion.

November 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTimJ

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