The vast majority of Singer bikes, as I understand it, from certainly the 60's up to perhaps 1990 or so, were built by Roland. The sense I get is that a Roland built frame is closest to the "true" Singer if there is such a thing. Early bikes actually built by Singer may be special, but most of the great Singer bikes any of us have seen were mostly Roland bikes. The current frames, as I understand, are quite nice - and a full Singer bikes is really a bargain when one considers that a Rivendell or other premium frame-only is about 2K.
Mike Kone in Boulder CO
At 09:04 PM 5/25/02 -0400, Douglas R. Brooks wrote:
>A fine BOBpal of mine, David DeSmet from France recently sent
>me a whole slew of magazine materials, all in French,
>nearly all about randonneuring bikes, classics, and neat
>roughstuff. There is one long piece on Singer and
>another on 650B bikes and in a sidebar
>a fairly interesting interview with Ernest Csuka about randonneuring
>and equipment. If I have a chance this coming week I'll translate
>the interview and, if folks are interested, maybe we could put it up
>on a website or post it to the List (if Dale thinks that's okay).
>Just to clear up a bit of history, the shop went to Ernest and his
>brother Roland Csuka, both Singer's nephews. Roland was a welder
>for Citroen and built the frames at night. Ernest built the
>carriers and the "finishing", meaning he put the bikes together.
>When Roland died the frames were "farmed out" and have been ever
>since. While some think that the original Singers are the only real
>deal and still others swear by the Roland-built frames, both of
>my bikes are post-Roland and they are as nice, riding and finish,
>as any I have owned. Csuka-built Singers are _great_ bicycles.
>In terms of building a randonneur/cyclo-camper in the French-style
>I think you have to look to Mariposa or the great Japanese builders
>for a fair comparison. Truly, the Singers are special and more so
>if this is your cup of tea.
>There are some swell pictures in these magazine clippings
>of other 650Bs, including a nice piece about the Confrere,
>and a nice piece too about
>Paul Dolemes, the proprietor of Rando-Cycles in Paris. Paul is
>half-American and speaks fluent English and builds great randonneuring
>and rough stuff bikes. Though clear on the other side of Paris this
>shop is a must see and Paul happily welcomes pilgrims.
>Anyway, deep thanks to David DeSmet. I'll pull more out about Singer
>in the coming week including a translation of this interview.
>I'm perfectly capable of reading French, it's
>speaking that poses me real challenges! M. Csuka and I traded notes
>when I couldn't understand him!!