Re: [CR] Alex Singer lady's bike on French Ebay

Example: Framebuilding:Tony Beek

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Date: Tue, 3 Feb 2009 12:54:21 -0800
To: Fred Rednor <>, <>
From: Jan Heine <>
Subject: Re: [CR] Alex Singer lady's bike on French Ebay

At 7:43 AM -0800 2/3/09, Fred Rednor wrote:
>When new, would the bike have cost more, due to having been sold by
>Alex Singer's shop? In fact, the question I have is this: why
>would one go to Alex Singer for a factory build frame? Is it that,
>within a certain stratum of society, one would only go to a "high
>class" shop such as Singer's?
> Cheers,
> Fred Rednor - Arlington, Virginia (USA)

Unlike most American builders, the Singer shop was and is a neighborhood bike store, in addition to making some of the most amazing bikes. So it isn't really just a "high-class" shop. And not everybody in the neighborhood wants to spend 1/4 of their annual salary on a new bike. So Singer sometimes offered bought-in bikes under their name. I doubt they cost significantly more than similar bikes at other shops.

In other cases, bikes were repainted and renovated, and sometimes emerged with Alex Singer decals. I even have seen a Rene Herse that had a frame clearly not made by Herse, but Herse cranks and stem, and the Herse logo on down and head tubes. I believe Herse stopped doing that early on, realizing that it did not help his brand image, or whatever you call it.

Collectors who only go by name only have themselves to blame. Anybody with a little interest in classic bikes should see that these machines aren't "true" Alex Singers built in the shop behind the store. The features on a true Singer or Herse are distinctive enough that there is little mistaking one for the other, which eliminates the risk of fraud. When I saw an "Alex Singer" single-speed for sale at a swap meet a few years ago, it took about 2 minutes to figure out that it really was an Herse, repainted by Singer - see

(In the car world, fraudulent sellers have been known to rebody Ferrari 250 GTE as Ferrari 250 GTO. That one letter increases the worth of the car ten-fold. Of course, the difference is more than a single letter in the name, and again, a knowledgeable buyer should be able to spot the difference.)

In France, it was common for most stores to sell bikes with their brand name. They were made in the big factories, and often delivered with paint and lining, but no maker's decal. Often, somebody finds one of these bikes, and then asks whether xyz is a well-known brand. The answer usually is "No" - it's just a small bike shop who stuck their name on a factory-made bike. And in this case, the name is well-known (Alex Singer), but as Norris pointed out, the bike is no different.
>Do any of you recall the "Alex Singer" child's bicycle that was sold
>on eBay a couple of years ago? Perhaps one of you saved the
>photos. That was the little bike with 12 inch wheels and white
>tires; and its construction style was reminiscent of this lady's
>bicycle. Was that child's bicycle actually built at Singer's shop,
>or was it actually built elsewhere and merely painted by at Singer's?
> Not built at the Singer shop. They didn't mold the plastic wheels, either. I believe they still have those bikes in stock.

A few years back, somebody saw a $ 1000 Taiwan-made city bike labeled Singer, and was inquiring into bringing it into the U.S.! I remember telling them that they should get an identical bike straight from Taiwan instead.

This is not limited to Singer et al. If you want Cinelli bicycles, there are some stores in Chile that sell some interesting mountain bikes for $ 100 labeled Cinelli...

Jan Heine Editor Bicycle Quarterly 140 Lakeside Ave #C Seattle WA 98122