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Anyone ever run across a Roger Riviere?

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Anyone ever run across a Roger Riviere?

Old 10-21-09, 07:24 PM
  #1  
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Anyone ever run across a Roger Riviere?

This one came out of rereading Redneckwes' thread on the Raleigh Gran Sport - something I've always had in the back of my mind:

Back when I was wrenching for A.R. Adams during the Bike Boom, we carried a couple of extra bike lines besides the usual Schwinn/Raleigh/Columbia. This is because back then it was almost impossible to get enough bikes to keep the showroom stocked for a week at a time. Schwinn's were always pre-sold a week or two before that month's delivery arrived, Raleigh's were almost as bad. To keep the stocks full we carried Astra (aka Motobecane by another name, but with Huret Allvit) and something called a Roger Rivere.

Strictly bottom line French ten speed, in quality about a step and a half below a UO-8. The frame (21-1/2, 23-1/2, 25-1/2" sizes) was straight gauged lugged steel, available in either flat yellow or flat orange, with a paint job that had absolutely no gloss to it, and looked like rattle can that had been baked. Maybe black painted headtube lugs. Memory's a bit dim on that point. Foil stick-on decals, just the down tube and head tube.

Typical bottom line components. Simplex Prestige front, rear, and the cheap levers. "Racer" brakes (design but not construction copies of Mafac Racers). Generic steel cottered cranks, generic headset. Lyotard pedal copies. Ava stem, steel bars, steel seat post, the saddle was a rounded wedge shaped lump of hard nylon - I remember we had a nice side business in replacing the saddle with something more comfortable. Steel 27x1-1/4" Rigida rims, cheap hubs with wingnuts front and rear.

Anyone ever see one for sale? I ran across one about two years ago on eBay, but it was 21-1/2, battered, and didn't have the original fork. Would love to find a 23-1/2 frameset to build up someday. Yeah, it ain't worth much, but the memories of back then are.
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Old 10-21-09, 10:04 PM
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I test rode one before buying my Raleigh Super Course in 1970. My bike expert friends said it sucked because it didn't have quick-release hubs and "Alpine gearing." I just knew it was too small--must've been the 21.5. I distinctly remember M. Riviere's face on the headtube.
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Old 10-21-09, 10:58 PM
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I saw one of those a couple years ago. Looked pretty plain. There is a photo link of the headbadge on it attached to post #1 in this old thread.
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Old 10-22-09, 08:48 AM
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I ran over chimpmunk once does that count? *giggle*
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Old 10-22-09, 09:06 AM
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I'm about 98% certain there is a white Roger Riviere mixte frame and fork in the Pile of Bikes at the place where I rent storage. I've been tempted to pull it out several times but always end up going 'naaaaah, I've got better things to do'.
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Old 10-22-09, 03:30 PM
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Thanks for reminding me, there were white ones. I'd forgotten, as we didn't get them in at the shop too often. Pity it's a mixte - which we NEVER got in at the shop.
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Old 10-22-09, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
I ran over chimpmunk once does that count? *giggle*
Run over a chipmunk? Them's fightin' words 'round here.
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Old 10-22-09, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by BlankCrows View Post
I saw one of those a couple years ago. Looked pretty plain. There is a photo link of the headbadge on it attached to post #1 in this old thread.
Yep, that's it. Those bikes were plain. To the point that, if I could luck across a set of decals, I could just take any low end French frame, repaint it, and nobody would be the wiser.

Truly, the generic French 10-speed.
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Old 10-22-09, 09:05 PM
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I've never seen one, or heard of them before now, But I'll be looking for one from now on.
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Old 10-24-09, 08:08 AM
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You know what, your description made me think of the low end Gitanes. So I did a search - and low and behold - they ARE low end Gitanes.

So if you can live without the headbadge and the flat paint - pick up an old Gitane. I had one with the simplex compenents, steel everything etc. It was actually not that bad to ride - but it looked pretty chintzy.
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Old 10-24-09, 10:21 AM
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Hmmm, the CR site has a entry for this marque. I think this is where Mos6502 found it. Here is the link and down below the text from that page.

Classic Rendezvous commentary

Roger Riviere bicycles:

...were made by Gitane, Rogers last major sponsor during his cycling career. Roger Riviere had an unfortunate accident during the Giro where he rode off the roadway and down an embankment suffering severe injuries to his back causing paralysis. The Riviere line of bikes had bicycles extending from low end to some high end models which were showcased at the bike shows in the 70s. The high end models featured chrome lugs. Other bicycles were bike boom bicycles mostly with foil seat tube stickers and handmade in France stickers. Most of these bicycles featured chrome tipped forks and chrome fork crown. The 70s era bike boom Riviere’s used cottered Aduprat crank sets, simplex components, 27 inch wheel sets, and CLB brakes. The Roger Riviere bicycles disappeared around the late 70s.

Roger Riviere was the first rider to break the 5 minute mark for the pursuit when he won the world championship in 1958. He wore a clear plastic shower cap over his hairnet helmet, and his shoes had no laces for aerodynamics.

The below info obtained from:
http://townsleyb.members.beeb.net/procycle/rivierer.htm
An excellent time trialist, to the same level as the great Jacques Anquetil, Riviere was ideally placed to win the 1960 Tour de France. Gastone Nencini was in the leader's yellow jersey but was weak against the clock. On 10th July Riviere crashed into a ravine, sustained major back injuries and never regained full use of his limbs. The extent of his potential can be gauged be the fact that that Riviere defeated two World Hour Record holders, Jacques Anquetil and Ercole Baldini, in the time trails of the 1959 Tour de France.
Major Placings and Awards Professional: Road 1957-60
• 1959: 1st Mont Faron, 1st GP Alger (+ Gerard Saint & Raphael Geminiani), 2nd Grand Prix des Nations, 3rd Criterium Dauphine, 4th Tour de France + 2 stages, 6th Vuelta a Espana + 3 stages
• 1960: 1st GP Alger (+ Rudi Altig), 3 stage wins Tour de France but on 14th stage, crashed descending from Col de Perjuret (Route D996 - Meyruels en Florac) Professional: Track
• 1957: 1st World Pursuit Championship, World Hour Record, World 10km Record, World 20km Record
• 1958: 1st World Pursuit Championship, World Hour Record, World 10km Record, World 20km Record
• 1959: 1st World Pursuit Championship, World Indoor Hour Record Award
• 1957: Trophy Edmond Gentil

Last edited by BlankCrows; 10-24-09 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 10-24-09, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Mos6502 View Post
You know what, your description made me think of the low end Gitanes. So I did a search - and low and behold - they ARE low end Gitanes.

So if you can live without the headbadge and the flat paint - pick up an old Gitane. I had one with the simplex compenents, steel everything etc. It was actually not that bad to ride - but it looked pretty chintzy.
That cracked me up: 35 years after selling them damned bikes, and I find something out that I never knew about them. Now, Gitane in Erie was handled by John Adams Cycles (nephew to my employer), and that shop never carried the cheap Gitanes with the painted fork. The chromed legs fork model was the lowest offered.

Now I know why.
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Old 10-24-09, 10:58 AM
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Although I remember the Gitane had real Mafac brakes, maybe since their name wasn't on the bike they felt they could skimp a little bit more on the Rogers... The worst part I remember was that the wheels were very flimsy and would never stay in true. They also had the dimpled braking surface which made a lot of noise, but didn't stop the bike any faster. Otherwise it was pretty decent bike. The Simplex derailleurs are actually pretty good, as long as you didn't abuse them. A lot less sloppy than the shimano Falcons and the cheapo hurets.
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Old 10-24-09, 12:33 PM
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I see them every so often in town, I'l repost if a see one.
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Old 10-26-09, 10:36 PM
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Here's one I converted a few years ago when you could still sell stuff like this on ebay for good money. But at least you can see the frame details, the stock parts were all typical low-end boom stuff. I think the crank (modified), pedals, saddle, post, and stem shown were all originally on the bike.



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Old 06-20-10, 06:37 AM
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Sykerocker, still looking for one of these? http://maine.craigslist.org/bik/1801245044.html
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Old 06-20-10, 08:12 AM
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Riviere or Paris Sport; Low end boomie bikes...

Your description of the Roger Riviere sounds exactly like a flat orange painted "Paris Sport" sitting in my shed. I hung onto it as an "extra" for when my relatives visit. Wingnutted and Simplex Prestige equipped; it shifts loudly and poorly. The dimpled Rigida rims are like cheese graters for the brake pads. The unmarked plastic wedge of a seat was immediately discarded for a Japanese "quilted" saddle that is much better on one's bottom. Mine came equipped with Mafac Racer centerpulls but with a non hooded; safety lever-already permanently installed, version of the levers. These safety levers actually seem to work better than the standard Weinmann/Dia Compe versions of the day! It weighs a ton, but it is a reminder of what forever altered the bicycling landscape in America.
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Old 06-22-10, 06:45 PM
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Upon further inspection, I realized that the French bike in my shed is actually a "Paris Sprint", not a Paris Sport! (probably doesn't make a difference to anyone else, though.....)
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Old 06-22-10, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by RavingManiac View Post
Sykerocker, still looking for one of these? http://maine.craigslist.org/bik/1801245044.html
Yes. I've already dropped the guy a note. I'm supposed to be in Orono, ME in two weeks to visit the mother-in-law, but the trips going to be postponed because the wife's currently in the hospital (stroke).

Who knows what'll happen, but thanks for thinking of me. That's the first complete one I've seen in decades.
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Old 06-22-10, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by elcraft View Post
Your description of the Roger Riviere sounds exactly like a flat orange painted "Paris Sport" sitting in my shed. I hung onto it as an "extra" for when my relatives visit. Wingnutted and Simplex Prestige equipped; it shifts loudly and poorly. The dimpled Rigida rims are like cheese graters for the brake pads. The unmarked plastic wedge of a seat was immediately discarded for a Japanese "quilted" saddle that is much better on one's bottom. Mine came equipped with Mafac Racer centerpulls but with a non hooded; safety lever-already permanently installed, version of the levers. These safety levers actually seem to work better than the standard Weinmann/Dia Compe versions of the day! It weighs a ton, but it is a reminder of what forever altered the bicycling landscape in America.
Let me finish: Rattle can quality paint job that never saw rubbing compound? The Riviere's we sold didn't have the safety levers (and yes, the Mafac versions were about the only ones that actually were 'safety' levers). Oh yes, the wedge seat - we had a booming business in replacement seats, usually by the second weekend of ownership.

I have a feeling they were built in the same factory, and at the end of the production line there were two (or more) buckets of decals . . . . . . . . . .
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Old 06-22-10, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by elcraft View Post
Upon further inspection, I realized that the French bike in my shed is actually a "Paris Sprint", not a Paris Sport! (probably doesn't make a difference to anyone else, though.....)
Name probably depended on which wholesaler had the order in for that week. I believe that the classic Riviere bikes were long out of production when the base models hit the market.
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Old 06-24-10, 07:51 AM
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Update on that lead: I talked to the seller (Steve) this morning on the way to work. He's a vintage bike enthusiast, obviously a lot younger than I am (he's never seen wing nuts on a hub before), and had no idea what the bike he had was other than it's - old, French, and not a well known make. He wasn't really motivated in selling it, but was interested in seeing if there was any interest in someone picking it up to restore (aka, fixie enthusiasts need not apply).

Bottom line: He's GIVING me the bike. And, as he's got to be in Washington, DC in a couple of weeks, he's even transporting it to within 100 miles of me. Just picked up the second in a short list (the Fuji Finest was first) of bikes from my college days that I really wanted to own.

It's going to be an enjoyable winter.
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Old 06-24-10, 09:44 PM
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Awesome!
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Old 06-26-10, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by sykerocker View Post
Update on that lead: I talked to the seller (Steve) this morning on the way to work. He's a vintage bike enthusiast, obviously a lot younger than I am (he's never seen wing nuts on a hub before), and had no idea what the bike he had was other than it's - old, French, and not a well known make. He wasn't really motivated in selling it, but was interested in seeing if there was any interest in someone picking it up to restore (aka, fixie enthusiasts need not apply).

Bottom line: He's GIVING me the bike. And, as he's got to be in Washington, DC in a couple of weeks, he's even transporting it to within 100 miles of me. Just picked up the second in a short list (the Fuji Finest was first) of bikes from my college days that I really wanted to own.

It's going to be an enjoyable winter.
It's a beautiful thing when both parties to a transaction get what they want.
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Old 09-11-10, 03:50 PM
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I got it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As it was my last day with the rental car, I drove out to western Maine this morning, met the guy and his wife, and picked up the bike. It's original, it's complete (down to the original strange sidewalled tyres) . . . . . . . . . and baby is this going to be a winter project.

We're talking the kind of teardown most of you would do for a '70's Colnago, not a $100.00 French equivalent of whatever the model was called under the UO-8 (painted forks). I've got my winter project at hand. We start with de-spoking the wheels to try and clean up the rims (I'm surprised they're not 27x1-1/4 Rigidas, which was what all the bikes we were getting at the shop came equipped with).

Oh yeah, Steve's son works at a bike co-op in Toronto. Steve says he may have access to a Favorit frameset for me.

Pictures to follow once I get home next weekend. Otherwise, having a wonderful time riding the area on the Trek 460 (Orono is home to UMaine, so you can guess the bicycle culture).

Now that the fun part is done, tomorrow I start going through the late father-in-law's shop and figuring out what I a. Want to take home, b. Have room for in the shop. Definitely claiming the drill press, two grinders, table saw and bandsaw (the wife's already been warned they're going into the gardening shed, er, temporarily), and and all Dremel gear, taps, dies, and two worktables. That should give me the heavy stuff I need for future projects.
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