2.  Window Shopping at ALEX SINGER

A look in the window

Figure 7. A look in the front window.

Let's take a closer look at some of these bicycles, specifically, #2,  #3, and #5 from the left of the picture.  I did not photograph the others in detail (esp. the chrome bike) because reflections made the photos unintelligible. 

2.1  Ultegra Racing Bike (#2 from left)


The first bike is the Ultegra racing bike, second from the left, depicted in Figure 8.

Seat Lug Detail of Campy Centaur Racing Bike

Figure 8. Seat Lug Detail of Ultegra Racing Bike

This bike had a pretty cool seat lug, so i photographed the detail.  I was surprised by a cutout and a fastback connection in the same place.  This was the only bicycle in the shop that was not made from Reynolds 531 / 531c / 753 tubing.  I had not heard of the "Ares" frame material, so I took Figure 9.  Other than these details, the bicycle was not significantly different than the other bikes, covered later.  As it was a modern bike made of ShiamNO, I moved to look at the other bicycles.

Racing Bike Frame Materials

Figure 9.  Frame material on Ultegra Racing Bike


2.2  Black Beauty Randonneur (#3 from left)

One of my favorites was a bicycle I call "Black Beauty", outfitted with Sachs gears and (I think) Centaur Cranks.  This bike is depicted in Figure 10.

Black Beauty

Figure 10.  Black Beauty Closeup.

I took more pictures of this bicycle than any other.   It had great pinstriping all the way down the bicycle, like an early 1960's Schwinn Paramount, and an old-style "Alex Singer" logo, and the classic shellacked handlebars.

Black Beauty Alex Singer Stem

Figure 11. Black Beauty Alex Singer Stem.

The stem is a custom design produced at the Alex Singer shop.  Note the special headset spacer, made at the singer shop I believe, which includes a centerpull cable hanger.  Almost all of the bicycles, including this one, had Phillipe Professional Handlebars.  In france it used to be required by law that the owner of a bicycle be identified on the bike; Cheap bikes attached a plaque stamped by a locksmith, expensive ones engraved the stem or stem cap. The bikes on the floor of the Alex Singer shop are owned by Ernest Csuka, therefore, his name is etched into the top of the stem.  (Thanx to Jan Heine of Seattle for helping to clarify this fact.)  A representative picture of a Singer stem shown in Figure 12.

Black Beauty stem top

Figure 12.  Black Beauty stem top

The bicycle had the classic all-chrome head tube, including integrated lugs.  As discussed before on the classic rendezvous web site, these head tubes are built as a single unit, and then brazed into the down tube.  The pinstriping and outlining on this head tube was very nice.

Black Beauty head lug detail

Figure 13.  Black Beauty downtube lug detail

The cool thing about a randonneur bicycle is that there is generator wiring integrated throughout the bicycle for generators, etc.  This wiring, and the outlining of the fork crown, is depicted in figure 14.  It is quite difficult to notice, unless you are looking closely at the bicycle.

Black Beauty fork detail

Figure 14.  Black Beauty fork detail

The seat lug was particularly nice, and I enjoyed wrapover stays with outlining atop the seatstay caps.  This look is captured in Figure 15.

Black Beauty seat cluster outlining, left side

Figure 15.  Black Beauty Seat Cluster, left side

One of the trademarks of Alex Singer bicycles is the special hangers that they make for MAFAC centerpull brakes.  This hanger consists of a metal tube that extends down from the seat bolt area, ending in a cable stop.  This detail is captured (partially) in Figure 16. And don't forget to note the clean appearance of the seatpost binder bolt !!! It's so clean it's not there (Another Singer trademark : Internal expander seatposts!)

Black Beauty head lug detail

Figure 16.  Black Beauty Seat Cluster, MAFAC centerpull hanger

Probably the coolest part of this bicycle was the gold outlining of the bottom bracket area, which appears in Figure 17.

Black Beauty head lug detail

Figure 17.  Black Beauty bottom bracket area

The aluminum fenders of this road bicycle included very cool reinforcements at the juncture between the fenders and the bridges.  This is captured in figure 18.

Black Beauty head lug detail

Figure 18.  Black Beauty fender detail

I tried taking some of the bikes out to photograph, but the lighting was just not good in the shop for this purpose, and so I do not have a good photograph of this entire bicycle.  However, I believe that Dirk Feeken has purchased a similar bicycle, with chromed lugs (not a chromed head tube), and a description of his bicycle is contained here.


2.3  All Chrome With Red Details (#4 from left)

The chrome bike was a real eye-catcher, but the reflections off the bike were so high that I could not take many photos.  I believe this was a Sachs bike with TA Cyclotourist cranks.  All these bikes had Brooks saddles, and the saddle on the left, like many in the shop, had an unusual inscription in french that said, basically "Pre-Softened" but I could not grok the translation, even with my pocket french dictionary handy by my side.

Black Beauty head lug detail

Figure 19.  All Chrome for you!

2.4  The Blue Beast (#5 from left)

The Blue Beast

Figure 20.  The Blue Beast

The Blue Beast is a Centaur bicycle with details that are very similar to "Black Beauty".  Note the cool blue pinstriping that has been added to the fenders.  This bike had a normal 3TTT stem, unlike many of the others, and "Franco American" handlebars.  I have recently become enamored with collecting handlebars with interesting logos, and this one will be on my watch list from now onwards.

Chromed Lugs on Blue Beast

Figure 21.  Chromed lugs on the Blue Beast.

I am a big sucker for chromed lugs, and you will get your fill of this at the Alex Singer shop!  In fact, I think i saw only one or two bicycles that did not have chromed lugs in the entire shop.


2.5 Black Bagged bike (#6 from left)

The bike on the far right was fairly plain, with TA Cyclotourist cranks (still being made, in fact), TA professional pedals ($100+, wow!), Campy Hubs, and no chrome (*sniff*). It had a nice retro canvas handlebar bag. I photographed the Nitto handlebars (on a french ATAX stem) to validate them for the iBOB people. Thus, figure 22 establishes a divine blessing for the Nitto handlebar brand.

Nitto Bars on Bike #6

Figure 22.  Nitto bars on an Alex Singer bicycle!

To be be continued with ... Two more bikes and the 1950's Tandem!!!!

- Don Gillies
San Diego, CA


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