Barralumin Laterale Randonneuse c.1948

I’ve just completed this spectacular Barralumin aluminium bicycle made by Nicola Barra.

When I bought it there were a just a few parts missing including the wheels, and it has taken some time to find exactly the right period parts. No ‘restoration’ as such was carried out, just very careful cleaning and light hand polishing only… which took about 50 hours! It was very important not to damage the full set of original transfers. Being a large 62cm frame (c to c) Barra presumably added the extra lateral tubes for additional rigidity. All main tubes are in Barra’s extraordinary tubing which transitions from vertical oval at the head, to round, to horizontal oval at the BB.  The quality of workmanship is amongst the best I have ever seen on any bicycle and is a testament to Barra’s great skills as an innovative aluminium welder and frame builder.

Interesting features include the rear derailleur spring being INSIDE the chainstay. The spring is anchored inside the BB and a cable attached to the other end exits just in front of the RD. The handlebar stem is made by Barra and even has hand made aluminium nuts and bolts. Front changer is a Le Chat with a beautiful Barra-made sliding changer and lever. His own cantilever brakes are fitted and these have adjustable toe-in!

Barra custom parts: Front and rear racks, handlebar stem and bolts, Cyclo gear hanger, cantilever brakes with adjustable toe-in, duralumin brake wire hangers with adjustable rods (made from bicycle spokes), steel front and rear brake cable hangers (rear incorporating seat pin clamp), front changer mechanism and rod, internal rear derailleur spring. Internal dynamo wiring.

Other parts: Stronglight chainset with Cyclo Rosa alloy rings, Stronglight alloy BB, Lyotard pedals with Lapize duralumin toe clips, Cyclo alloy 4 speed rear derailleur, Le Chat front derailleur, AVA handlebars, GB end plugs, Mafac Guidonnet levers, Mavic 650B rims, MaxiCAR hubs (blue seals), Trois Etoiles spokes, Bell wingnuts, Grand Bois tyres, Ideale 57 saddle, Soubitez dynamo and lamps.

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Barra c.1940-41

A very rare steel light touring bicycle by constructeur Nicola Barra. Original finish and transfers. Fillet brazed Vitus tubing. Barra front and rear racks and Barra handlebar stem. Duprat Professionels cranks and Stronglight alloy ring. Tank pedals. Cyclo aluminium 3 speed gear. Alloy 650B rims, Maxi hubs and Trois Étioles spokes. Grand Bois Hetre tyres. Durex mudguards. Mafac cantilever brakes (probably replacements) Ideale 63 Cyclo-Touriste saddle. Later Jos lighting. Almost finished with just a few details to sort out….. nice papillons need to be found, a couple of the cyclo cable tabs are broken and do I change the handlebars to drops?

Better known for his Aluminium bicycles (Barralumin), Barra also made porteurs – http://velo-porteur-ancien.over-blog.com/article-velo-porteur-barra–42730275.html – and steel bicycles such as this one. Steel machines of his are rarer than the aluminium ones. He is also credited with inventing the first modern cantilever brake around 1936. These brakes even had adjustable toe-in.

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