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« The Outspoken Cyclist: Podcast | Main | The simple physics of going straight or around corners »
Monday
Jul302018

Paris Sport Mystery

I never know on any given day what will show up in my email inbox, like this one from Gaelan Mundorff, who works for Eden Bicycles in Castro Valley, California. He said:

“I came across this bike today, it’s beautiful. Complete Campagnolo Record and apparently never ridden. It has no serial number stamped, I’d really love to know more about it. 

I have a friend here in town who repurposes bicycles for those in need and has a ton of old frames lying around and this was one in his rafters. He says a woman donated it to him after her husband passed away and that he had this frame custom made for him and never rode it.”

 

Three pictures were attached. The first I looked at was the one above showing the underside of the bottom bracket shell. No serial number, but those derailleur cable guides looked familiar, it could be my work.

Another thing that caught my eye was the “Hidden” vent holes in the Chainstay Bridge. There have to be vent holes anytime a tube is totally enclosed. I explained that in this article. The vent holes in this case were drilled though the left and right chainstays, before the bridge tube was brazed in place.

So the tube is vented through the inside of the chainstays, which are themselves open to the inside of the bottom bracket. This is something I often did, especially on custom frames. It was a good identification clue. I was thinking this was a Paris Sport frame. 

The absence of a serial number was another clue. I worked for Paris Sport from January 1979 to October 1980. None of the frames I built had serial numbers. Why, I am not sure, except to say that there is no point in stamping a serial number on anything unless someone is recording those numbers in a book or file somewhere. No one seemed interested in doing that. 

The next picture (Left.) confirmed it was a Paris Sport, it had the head tube logo with Ets. Fraysee. (The Fraysee Establishment, in French.)

Paris Sport was owned by Vic Fraysee and his son Mike. The last picture (Top of page.) was a mystery to me. It showed a ‘dave moulton’ decal on the down tube. I had never seen that on a Paris Sport.

On occasions, a customer would ask to have my name on the frame as the builder rather than Paris Sport. The Fraysee’s were always adamant and said no.  

I fully understood and respected this. Paris Sport was an established brand name, and I was employed to build those frames. Why would the owners of Paris Sport put the name of their employee on a frame rather than their own brand name?

Mike Fraysee had on occasions compromised and put my four “m,s” logo on the seat tube, (As this frame has.) but it always had the Paris Sport name on the down tube. And yet here was a Paris Sport frame with my name on it. Mike Fraysee painted the frames and often did so at night after I had left for the day, so I probably never saw this frame before it was shipped to the customer.

In this case the customer must have had stronger powers of persuasion than Mike Fraysee, or paid extra, or possibly refused to take delivery unless it was so labeled. Whatever the reason it is a mystery to me.  

Who does all that, and then never completes the build, or rides it?That’s an even bigger mystery.

 

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Reader Comments (6)

Very interesting! Would your downtube decals be laying around for someone to use on request?

July 31, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSteveP

Seeing a bike like that that has never been ridden really does raise questions.
I saw a 1980's Colnago frame new in the box the other day.
Peoples lives and plans change.
I am glad that someone recognized this one and saved it.
I wonder if the buyer knew the Fraysee's?

July 31, 2018 | Unregistered Commenteredstainless

I read this post right after a ride where my chain dropped and I've had a look at the small ring... eugh! (And I do wash the bike occasionally and wipe the chain often.) What a contrast with the shiny drivetrain in the picture! 'Never ridden' sounds about right... how do you feel about your bikes not being ridden, do you particularly care?

August 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

In response to the above questions:

SteveP,
Yes, my decals were kept in the shop along with all my tools, supplies, and othe equipment.

edstainless,
The Fraysee's probably knew the original customer, which would explain the special concession

David,
The many people that bought bikes on impulse, then never followed though and rode them, at least helped keep me in business in the past, and when they eventually show up again it gives someone else an opportunity to own a bike in near pristine condition.

Dave

August 2, 2018 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

ed,
Paris Sport put the same decals on a range of bikes, from non lightweight sports models to custom hand built, Some made in France. You can read about those here:
http://www.classicrendezvous.com/USA/Paris_Sport.htm

August 3, 2018 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

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