Many wonderful bikes have been made in France in past decades. Not just the great machines from small constructeurs like René Herse and Alex Singer (above), but also more common bikes like the Peugeot PX-10, the nicer Gitanes and many others. High-end French bikes often used relatively lightweight tubing and a geometry with relatively low trail, which made them perform and handle very well.
The only “problem” with many French bikes is that they use metric threads and dimensions. Even though the world has adopted the metric system (with the exception of one rather large country), the bike industry has standardized on British units for most components.
This means that finding parts for French bikes can be difficult. For stems, the difference is small (22.2 vs. 22.0 mm). You can lightly sand a modern stem, and it will fit into the steerer tube. Seatposts and derailleurs don’t wear out quickly, and used parts can do the job. That leaves bottom brackets as a major problem. The days when Campagnolo, Shimano, Edco and many other companies made high-quality French-threaded bottom brackets are long gone.
To alleviate this situation, we now offer SKF bottom brackets with French threading. There is a small upcharge, because they are made in very small production runs. Like all SKF bottom brackets, the French versions carry a 10-year warranty that includes the bearings. All square-taper spindle lengths are in stock now in British, Italian and French threading. Click here for more information.