With regards to American "constructeur" framebuilders; I can't think of any that qualify past a few builders who may have built racks or an occassional stem along with a touring bike. As Monkeylad mentioned, touring never really took hold here in the US for whatever reason. I suspect you will more likely see a bit of this type of framebuilding in recent times, or more accurately in the near future. Although I have been somewhat sidetracked lately; as soon as I can get back to the construction of my "AeroTour" concept bike, I will be all over that stuff. I plan on taking the concept of "constructor" one more step past our EURO counterparts. For example, I will be developing "modular" accessories that can be incorperated into each bike sort of like a Swiss Army Knife. Pick the tools and accessories that are useful for your needs or strike your fancy (like the folding cyclists cup, demountable telescope, or Baylis handmade utility knife) which will all have a place considering load and balance of the overall machine. The quick disconnect modular racks, bags, and lighting system will be part of a basic AeroTour; as will the fenders and custom stem.
At this point it is too early to speculate as to wheather I will make a demountable AeroTour; but rest assured that I will build a Herse style (no S&S stuff for me) demountable someday just to do it.
So you may not have seen an American constructeur bike yet, but by Velo Rendezvous 2003 you should be able to see one in the flesh. It will certainly be a one-of-a-kind with the internal sealed bearing headset and other experimental features it will have; but it may not be the only AeroTour to hit the road. Modern times will be reflected in some of the accessories like cell phone and GPS if required. Of course, a good old fashioned cronometer and compass (shock resistant mounted) and basic tools will not be overlooked. I can hardly wait to get this started but I still have several other things to do first.
La Mesa, CA
> I am looking for info about American "constructeurs." I have heard
> myths about Art Stump and others building copies or interpretations
> of French randonneur bikes. Many others have built French-inspired
> bikes (usually racing bikes with hammered fenders and French racing
> components). However, these aren't well-documented at all, and about
> to be lost in the mist of history.
> I'd like to have a story in Vintage Bicycle Quarterly on this topic
> some day. Therefore, any info is appreciated - especially about
> makers that could be considered "constructeurs" (rather than the
> "racing bike with hammered fenders" type). A few questions come to
> 1. Who were the builders? What (and who) was their inspiration?
> 2. What types of bikes did they build (racing, randonneur, full
> touring/camping)? Were they trying to emulate the esthetics of the
> French bikes? The function, too? Did the bikes work as integrated
> systems with racks, fenders, lights, etc.?
> 3. Do any of the bikes survive?
> Thank you very much for your help.
> Jan Heine, Seattle (where you can find Singer, Routens, Herse,
> Pitard, etc., but haven't seen an American constructeur bike yet)
> P.S.: The first issue Vintage Bicycle Quarterly
> (http://www.mindspring.com/~heine/bikesite/bikesite/index.html) of
> went out yesterday.