The components puzzle me, but the frame sure looks like a rebadged mid-70s Gitane...the geometry, the fork, the lugs, and the spiderweb dropouts are a direct hit (maybe even the color).
Scott Minneman San Francisco, CA, USA
-----Original Message----- From: Norris Lockley [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 7:46 AM To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: [CR]Helyett Randonneur on French Ebay - Item 320263783867
First of all, my apologies for outing this bike to the Lisst, after the a uction has finished, and the bike is now destined to go to Japan.
However I only noticed it shortly before the auction was due to close and, with the seller living quite near to where I have my house in France, I dec ided to have a bid or two. Again it was not straightforward..and it took se veral minutes before I decided to risk my money.
The principal reason for my uncertainty about the bike is that it looks as though it has existed in a time warp. The Helyett company, based at Sull y-sur-Loire, not far from Orleans where the seller lives, closed down in 19 62. However this Helyett frame has the skeletal rear drop-outs found on fra mes from the mid-70s, and Prugnat long-point windowed lugs that I don't rec all seeing on the wholesalers' lists in the early 60s. Same goes for the fo rk crown.
It's an odd-looking bike...the frame looks more like a racing frame that a randonneur..just look at that fork rake (for a 60s bike?). Some details of the frame's build quality can obtained by enlarging the photos..and it appe ars to be quite a decently constructed frame. So why would any serious comp any put steel 650 rims on such a bike and a TA chainset with rings for road racing..although the cranks are 165mm for touring.
After playing at Sherlock Holmes for ten minutes or so, I thought that I ha d the answer..so I slammed a couple of bids until it became evident that th e Japanese opposition was keener on the bike than my meer curiosity could m anage.
If anyone out there would like to interpret the origin of this frame..and w hy it is like it is...I would be pleased to hear from them..so that I can c heck my theory out.
Norris Lockley, Settle