A Neat Bike

When I was working with Peter Weigle on an article on fender mounting for the Winter 2010 issue of Bicycle Quarterly (now at the printer), Peter sent me a photo of his latest bike (above). His bikes always have been special, but on this one, I noticed a lot of features that went beyond what you commonly see even on custom bicycles.

The rack clearly shows the influence of Jo Routens, the legendary constructeur from Grenoble. The entire bike is an alluring mixture of old and new. The frame is made from a vintage tubeset, including my favorite Reynolds 531 “Super Resilient” fork blades that make my Alex Singer so comfortable. Here they are combined with the new Grand Bois fork crown to provide room for 42 mm-wide Grand Bois “Hetre” 650B tires. The tires themselves have been “shaved,” removing the tread to make them even more supple and even faster.

The hubs are Campagnolo Tipo hubs. Inspired by Campagnolo’s first high-flange hubs, Peter drilled extra holes into the flanges. Instead of quick releases, Peter’s special wing nuts hold the wheels in the dropouts. The Stronglight cranks have been reshaped and profiled to remove excess material.

The shellacked handlebar tape covers what look like 1950s Philippe “Professionel” handlebars, but in fact are the Grand Bois “Maes Parallel” model. The Shimano aero brake levers are not to my taste, but they offer undeniable advantages on the road. Functionally, they harmonize well with the old Mafac cantilever brakes.

At the back of the seat tube is Peter’s custom-made taillight. (The front light is hidden by the tires in the photo above.) The rear reflector is a vintage item from Peter’s collection, as are the reliable Simplex seatpost and the superlight Huret Jubilee derailleurs.

While I admired all this, I did not even notice the fender attachments until Peter pointed them out to me. The fender stays are flush against the fender, and the drawbolts do not appear to have cups. This is not just elegant, but also provides optimum support for the fender.

I had seen this arrangement on a few special French bikes, but never really had figured out how it worked. So I asked Peter about it. From that came the a Builders Speak article for the Winter issue, in which he shares some of the secrets of his fender installation. On Peter’s bikes, the details tend to be subtle, but they all combine to create a bike that is very elegant. And judging from the Weigles I have ridden, it probably rides as well as it looks. Click here for more photos on Peter’s bike.

About Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

I love cycling and bicycles, especially those that take us off the beaten path. I edit Bicycle Quarterly magazine, and occasionally write for other publications. One of our companies, Bicycle Quarterly Press publishes cycling books, while Compass Bicycles Ltd. makes and distributes high-quality bicycle components for real-world riders.
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3 Responses to A Neat Bike

  1. Aaron C says:

    >The Shimano aero brake levers are not to my taste, but they offer undeniable advantages on the road

    Just curious, what is it that you don’t like about the aero levers? Is it strictly a matter of aesthetics? Or do you just prefer the feel of braking from the traditional “non aero” levers?

  2. The aesthetics of the Shimano levers with their plastic inserts don’t really match the other, more classic components. Furthermore, the gentle loops of traditional cables won’t put torque on the steering that can lead to shimmy, but that is more of a problem with Ergo/STI shifter cables that have a much stiffer cable housing. Braking depends on mechanical advantage rather than cable routing. In fact, if you brake from the hoods, aero levers offer “undeniable advantages” because they offer more leverage from that position.

  3. Bruce Hodson says:

    So, I once owned a Weigle. It was one of his “Specials” built for crit racing. As it was not built for me it never really fit quite correctly. Despite this, and the aftermarket Tange fork it’s ride quality was magnificent. She also climbs like a goat.

    I hope the guy in Florida that bought it is enjoying it right now.

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