Aluminium Bicycles have been constructed with questionable success since the late 19th century.
The major issue was, that Aluminium while being very workable was also incredibly soft. It was not until a German engineer from Düren came up with an aluminium alloy that included Copper, Manganese, Magnesium and sometimes Silicon, that characteristics were achieved which opened the door to new fields of metal construction. The new wonder material named Duralmin had to be used in thicker gauges than steel but effectively made for stronger structures at a lower overall weight. Duralmin became a favourite in all kinds of high-end industries, from aeroplane building to ships and of course; cycling.
In the forties, some small French firms "constructeurs" started to specialise in custom-built lightweight bicycles, they were built to such a standard that they would only manufacture a few dozen machines a year. This was the heyday of French styling when bicycles were treated with the same respect as works of art. This movement was know as the ‘School of St Etienne’ and it was demanding highend lightweight bicycles so it comes as no shock that materials such as duralmin became particularly popular. With its culture of pushing extremely expensive top-tier items, it was only a question of time until an Aluminium bicycle would manifest here.
Somewhat fittingly this very rare bicycle that we are offering here was manufactured by Gnome et Rhône, a French aeronautical company. A company that no doubt had worked with Duralumin in the industry and was ready to transfer some of its knowledge into the exciting expanding cycling market.
Our Gnome Rhone Duralumin Touriste Luxe has been crafted from an Duraliumn frameset that was not soldered or welded but rather the tubes were simply fitted into the lugs via a pressing and glueing method. As a result, a very light frameset was produced could be achieved.
This fundamental era of cycling created a catalyst for developments in engineering, cyclist were demanding more from there bicycles and starting to ride longer distances, in any weather, and a need arose for machines to suit. Our Gnome Rhone Duralumin Touriste Luxe has been equipped with an early adaptation of the derailleur, a 3-speed Le Simplex Grand Prix.
The bicycle has also been equipped with an arrange of interesting parts, like the center pull Foils Bebloux brakes and a unique bell solution that runs from the wheel. A true collection piece!
ConditionUsed. The bicycle is in good working condition and is structurally sound it has been checked in our workshop in Berlin.
|Size (Center-Top)||57 cm|
|Top Tube||56 cm|
|Head Tube||15 cm|
|Rear Derailleur||Le Simplex Gran Pix|
|Brake Levers||Gnome Rhône|
|Crankset||Classic French Crankset 175mm|
|Seat||Ideale 80 Type Record|
|Tires||Classic French Nylon 26X1 1/2|
|Stem||Gnome Rhône 50mm|
|Stembar||Classic Handlebar 380mm|
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