Gilles Berthoud 650B Randonneuse c.1990
A very nicely hand-built 650B touring bicycle from the well respected French constructeur and maker of beautiful bicycle luggage, based at Pont-de-Vaux near Macon. Of fillet brazed construction the workmanship is very fine and the bicycle well finished. The machine is equipped with very strong and beautifully hand-built fillet brazed tubular racks, front and rear, tailored to the bike and stamped individually with the frame number. There is also the Berthoud decaleur for the front bag. I don’t know what the tubing is but the machine is not particularly light, being prepared for long distance rugged touring. Everything works well…. strong braking, precise gears, top class wheels. I also like the understated look of the bike and the tasteful transfers.
Equipment includes Stronglight triple chainset, Sachs Quarz indexed click-shift gearing, Maxicar hubs laced to Mavic Module 3 rims. Shimano cantilever brakes and levers, Belleri bars and Ideale saddle. Berthoud stainless mudguards.
The bags on the bike are both Berthoud items based on the original ‘Sologne’ range which Berthoud bought out some years ago, and continues to make to a high standard.
The sticker on the back mudguard is of the ‘Confrérie des 650B’, or the colleagues of the 650B. This French organization is dedicated to the continuation of this wheel/tyre size which is renowned for its comfort whilst touring. On their website you will find details of 650B tyres which are available, including one from Hutchinson which they have worked with the manufacturer to produce, as well as a touring bicycle which they have devised.
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