We have undertaken many renovations over the years utilising classic steel frames, getting them resprayed and building them up to produce a unique bike that’s both practical aesthetically appealing. If you would like your bike refurbished then please come and talk to us. If you want a good enamel finish then I would recommend Argos Racing Cycles of Bristol who produce an excellent finish however they usually have a long waiting list.
Le Jonet French Tandem
This is a 1950’s French Tandem that was in a poor state and had been stored for many year in a shed. It was actually a single speed with front and rear hub brakes, the rear being a back pedalling operated. The mudguards and frame looked great however the paintwork was pitted and when we went to Argos Racing Cycles in Bristol we were warned that it could be problem. However the owners were very keen and Argos did a grand job.
Next came the wheels which clearly needed replacing. After some thought Sturmey archer 5 speed coaster brake and from drum brake were selected and Argos adjusted both the rear and from dropouts to suit and added the necessary lugs for the cable routing and brake arm fitting. The rims were standard 26x1x¾ westwood and 2.3mm spokes were used to complete the job.
The other components were originally destined for the nickel plating specialists in Yate however the cost turned out to be prohibitive being north of £1000. So we sanded off the rust and then use a Nickel paint effect spray to achieve the final look. The pedals were beyond redemption and were ½ inch thread which made finding comparable replacements hard. Eventual we found adaptors that took ½ inch to 9/16s allowing MKS road pedals to be used.
The only issue with the build was the bottom brackets that were a BMX style with various lock rings which were difficult to adjust. The forces on a Tandem are considerable and there is always a danger that this style of bottom bracket will come loose over time. There was evidence of considerable force being used to ensure a tight fit.
This project was a good learning experience for us as the bike was mystery. There are not many ‘Le Jonets’ on the web, so we had little information regarding the weird the chain set/bottom bracket or the unorthodox front dropout spacing of 110mm. There was inevitably a process of rediscovery of previous engineering solutions to bike design that allowed the weird bottom bracket to be more appreciated. The suspicion is that such solutions were French in origin which was confirmed when a French Ladies bike sporting the same design entered the shop one day. The 110mm spacing was a favourite of Jack Taylor brothers who use to use the Maxi-Car hub, the extra width providing lateral strength.
We hope the refurbishment has given the bike another 50 years.