René Herse

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René Louis Théodore Herse (1908–1976)[1] was a highly regarded French builder of ultra-high-end touring, randonneur and racing bicycles. His works are still sought after by collectors and riders.

Career[edit]

Herse was born in Caen. He started working on prototype aircraft at the aircraft maker Breguet. In 1938, he introduced very lightweight aluminum bicycle components: pedals, cranks, cantilever brakes and stems. In 1940, he began making complete bicycles. Herse was what is known as a "constructeur", meaning he built not just the frame, but the entire bike. [2]

His hand-built bicycles were described as "the pinnacle of French cycling" from the 1940s until his death.[3] Herse died in Paris.

Competition Successes[edit]

Herse bikes won a number of technical trials in war-time and post-war France.[4] His riders and especially his daughter Lily Herse (see below) were victorious numerous times in the Polymultipliée de Chanteloup hillclimb races.[5] Herse's riders won the "Challenge des Constructeurs" for the builder with the three best-placed riders in the Paris-Brest-Paris randonneur event every time from 1948 until 1971, and again in 1975. This success rate of 6 victories out of ten times the "challenge" was awarded never has been equalled.

His frames were ridden to victory by numerous racers, including Louison Bobet.[6] Geneviève Gambillon won the world championships (female) on René Herse in 1972 and 1974.[7]

Family[edit]

His daughter, Lyli Herse, won eight national female cycling championships in France.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Heine, Jan (2012). Rene Herse - The Bikes - The Builder - The Riders. Seattle: Bicycle Quarterly Press. p. 424. ISBN 976546023-6. 
  2. ^ Heine, Jan (2012). Rene Herse - The Bikes - The Builder - The Riders. Seattle: Bicycle Quarterly Press. p. 424. ISBN 976546023-6. 
  3. ^ Heine, Jan (2002). "Interview with Roger Baumann, Pilote de René Herse and Winner of PBP 1956". Vintage Bicycle Quarterly 1 (2). 
  4. ^ Heine, Jan (Autumn 2003). "History of the Technical Trials 1946-1949". Vintage Bicycle Quarterly 2 (1): 5. 
  5. ^ Heine, Jan (2012). Rene Herse - The Bikes - The Builder - The Riders. Seattle: Bicycle Quarterly Press. p. 424. ISBN 976546023-6. 
  6. ^ Heine, Jan (2012). Rene Herse - The Bikes - The Builder - The Riders. Seattle: Bicycle Quarterly Press. p. 424. ISBN 976546023-6. 
  7. ^ Heine, Jan (2012). The Competition Bicycle. Rizzoli. p. 176. ISBN 978-0-8478-3841-7. 


External links[edit]