When former cycling star Oscar Egg looked for ways to make use of his expertise after the first world war, he took the road of improving the product which he had used so many times successfully: the bicycle.
Specifically he was inspired by the Vittoria Margherita derailleur, an Italian invention of the 1920s. In the early 1930s he started to market his own version of this derailleur which basically copied the mechanisms of the Vittoria Margherita.
But he soon began improving the design and some years later ended up with a derailleur that kept the iconic chain tension arm but moved the derailling arms underneath the chainstays. This was a major improvement, because now it was finally possible to shift while pedalling forward, whereas the old style shifting had to to be operated while pedalling backwards. The Osgear Super Champion derailleur was born.
During the 1930s some amateur cycling races and a growing number of professional races allowed the use of derailleur shifting. And after refusing the introduction of this 'unmanly' technical aid, the year 1937 saw the first allowance of dearailleur gears at the Tour de France. Remarkably, only one model was eligible to the ruleset and it was nothing less, than the Osgear Super Champion.
It is precisely this era of the late 1930s from which our bicycle here stems. It is a formidable bike which is built and equipped to a professional level.
The frameset is made from lightweight tubing which has been joined in lugless fashion via brazed fillets. The rear dropouts are an Oscar-Egg invention too, which was celebrated by cyclists for allowing the smoothest and fastest wheel change possible. The fork is a nickel plated example which is interesting in the way that it obviously makes use of an ornate crimping to stabilise the thin metal tubing.
We do not know who exactly built this frameset, it seems to have been a small artisan shop from the greater Lyon area. Some details like the chainstay tops or the joints are quite typical for the French hotbed of bicycle production, situated between St. Etienne and Lyon. And the execution is as good as it gets.
The equipment is great, from the wheelset to the saddle with aluminium rails, the brakes or the octogonal chainset. There is no cheap shortcut to be found.
And the shifting is the professional Osgear Super Champion solution with an extra cable on the shifter to easily take care of the chain tension.
This is a bike that would have been good enough to win the Tour de France in its time and it remains a fine piece of cycling history to this day.
ConditionUsed. The bike is in good working condition. The frame has no cracks, no dents and is not bent. Paintwork seems to be original. All parts have been checked and are working.
|Osgear Super Champion
|André Duprat, 170mm, 46t
|Leather Aluminium Rails
|Hutchinson Extra Route Renforcé 700c tubular
|Steel Nickel-Plated; 70mm
|Steel Nickel-Plated, 37cm
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