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The Rene Herse Story
The Rene Herse Story
New Rene Herse Frame
September 2015 Handmade Chromed Lugs with Joe Bell Paint
Compass Bicycles has acquired all rights to the Rene Herse brand, and Compass Bicycles is the manufacturer of all Rene Herse products such as cranks and other products that bear the Rene Herse name, with the exception of bicycles and frames. The production of Rene Herse bicycles and frames by Boulder Bicycle remains unchanged. Boulder Bicycle licenses the Rene Herse name from Compass Bicycles for use on bicycles and frames produced by Boulder Bicycle.
In the late 1930’s, René Herse left the aircraft industry and began producing cutting-edge components for the most demanding French cyclists. Bicycle production soon followed as his company’s fame spread following numerous successes in the technical trials. Herse designs became known worldwide and his innovations were copied throughout the cycling industry. Herse bikes have defined the paradigm of “ultimate touring/brevet bike” since those early days. Even today, numerous makers stake their livelihoods on making “copies” of René Herse bicycles.
The success of Herse bicycles was not limited to touring or brevets; countless races and world championships have been won on René Herse bicycles.
In 1976 René Herse passed away and his daughter Lyli (many-time French National road and track champion) and son-in-law Jean Desbois (who had been Herse’s star builder in the 1940’s) took over the company. While the occasional Herse part was still produced, the company ceased regular production in the 1980’s.
In 2007, Michael Kone in Boulder Colorado wished start production of ultimate handcrafted bicycles with an emphasis on Brevet style (bicycles with fenders, lighting, and front racks) machines. But there was a problem; from both a performance perspective, Herse designs remain unsurpassed. To build the finest bicycles one would need to essentially build a new René Herse. Fortunately, Lyli Herse wanted to see the designs and name of her family live on, and she sold rights and remaining equipment and materials to René Herse Bicycles Inc. of Boulder Colorado. Lyli and her husband remain available as “consultants” to the company, and receive a photograph of each new René Herse Bicycle built.
To make the dream a reality, a builder of the highest caliber was needed to construct new René Herse Bicycles. Not just any builder can make these machines as René Herse Bicycle construction requires complex machining capabilities. Mike was fortunate to be able to partner with one of the few framebuilders who is also an accomplished machinist, Mark Nobilette in nearby Longmont Colorado.
So now the tradition of René Herse performance and craftsmanship can continue. For those who crave both the performance and the elegance of René Herse Bicycles, the dream to obtain one in your size made to your measurements can be fulfilled.