17 October, 2007

French Bells and French Tandems


I bought the little AFA bell in the photo on E-bay. I like it because it can be used on older bikes that don't have room for a VO spacer mounted bell. We're having a similar mount made and will soon offer a Japanese brass bell with this type of mount. This is such a great design; why did it ever go out of production?

Cycles et tandems FOLLIS is one of Frances oldest and most respected bike builders. From Classic Rendezvous:

Established in 1903, this bicycle building business was known for it's artisan approach, gaining a particular reputation for its tandems. In the 1970s, a strong USA importing and promotional effort was entered into, with such noteables as Wayne & Dale Stetina campaigning the bicycles on the USA race scene. The USA success ended in the late 1970s, but they remain in business at the above address.
What does this have to do with VO? We just bought two new-old-stock high end Follis tandems from 1984. These have been hanging in a warehouse for 23 years! They were built for the famous Mel Pinto Shops in Washington DC and are decaled with MP logos. One is a Grey 56cm/50cn and the other is a blue 61cm/57.

Enlarge the photo of the spec sheet for details and check out the components. These are very nice bikes built with top of the line parts including TA Tandem cranks. They may not be Singer or Herse bikes, but the quality is close. The list price for this model was $2900 in 1984. This is not the more common mid-range MP tandem.

They'll be here in two weeks and I don't know what the price will be, but we'll take offers if anyone is interested ;<)

12 comments:

Ernesto Garcia said...

Hiya Chris,

Beautiful and brilliant! Follis are nice tandems, and this is very tempting. Unfortunately, my stoker is a 48-50!

pax,
garu

Anonymous said...

The bell mount will make a lot of older bike owners happy.

Anonymous said...

I have one of those AFA bells. The only thing I don't like about it is that it rings when I hit bumps in the road. On my other bike, I made my own with one of your Japanese bells and an up-turned MAFAC cable hanger like the ones you used to sell. Works like a charm!

James said...

The combination of brake cable stop, bell mount and decalleur could leave a heatset looking a bit cluttered.
How about a combo bell mount and cable hanger? The bell end of such a contraption would give you an extra something to hold onto when tightening the locknut.

Anonymous said...

Unfotunately Classic Rendezvous is no longer correct. Follis of Lyon closed and sold it's tooling earlier this year....

Anonymous said...

I have a follis single from a police auction. It must have been made for the US market since it's got 27" Mavic rims. It's brown with red foil stickers; not bad for a "boom bike" if a little heavy. The workmanship is nice compared to the px-10 and Bertin

Anonymous said...

Follis bikes were great! these tandems have alot of top shelf parts from the day. I had heard rumours that the best Follis bikes were subcontracted out to cottage industry builders (much in the same way that Lejeune did)to companies like CNC....

Supreme Commander said...

Ever consider modifying a Nitto stem for a bell by tapping a hole in the side? I notice that a lot of the classic French bikes had bells mounted this way. It would certainly be more elegant than a spacer mount or a clamp.

C said...

I like James' idea. Plus I think having the bell on the decaleur would move it a little closer to the bars and this make it a little easier to use.

Not sure incorporating the brake cable hanger is a good idea - could make the brakes spongy. On cross bikes I've noticed that switching to a stouter cable hanger (like the Interloc model) can help improve brake performance.

Anonymous said...

Dimension (QBP) makes a bell like that, only not as nice and only for 1-1/8 headsets:

http://aebike.com/page.cfm?PageID=30&action=details&sku=BE1036

Anonymous said...

Let me try that link to the Dimension bell again:

http://tinyurl.com/385olk

Anonymous said...

Chris- what are those m-shaped bars on the Moto? Are they a stocked item at VO? thanks!