A very rare example of a Nicola Barra bicycle built for Garin cycles during the Second World War. From the frame number it can be dated to c.1941/2. It is built from plain aluminium tubing, beautifully gas welded. The fillet brazed steel stem is a Barra speciality, as is the combined seat post clamp and brake cable guide. The brakes are the rarely seen early cantilevers, marked ‘Savoie’, made by Barra. Other parts include some rare items….. Simplex Champion du Monde 3 speed gear, Super Champion Picardie sprint rims on aluminium Pelissier Plume hubs, Jeay brake levers and Philippe Professionel bars. Chainset is the early pattern Stronglight, Lyotard quill pedals and Duralinox alloy toeclips, and an AM aluminium saddle. Dynamo wiring is internally routed.
I can find little information on Garin cycles, and I thought at first that the ‘Garin’ was perhaps Maurice Garin, the first winner of the Tour de France in 1903. Maurice Garin ran a team in the Tour de France just after the War and his home was in Lens, to the North West of Paris. However, the Garin here is Charles, probably unrelated, who had a bicycle company in the Pantin district of Paris. Barra apparently worked there for a while as works manager (see Bicycle Quarterly Summer issue 2008 – Thanks Tom!) Another example of a Barra Garin frame is here.
The bicycle is in excellent condition with no damage to the frame, and the original transfers and head badge are in a remarkable state of preservation. It is incredibly light… I would guess at about 21lbs, fully equipped.
click on pictures for large scale detailed images