80th Anniversary Rene Herse UpdateJan Heine
It’s been a while since we announced the 80th Anniversary Rene Herse bikes and frames and started taking orders. From the beginning, we had decided to offer just eight bikes and eight frames – this isn’t a money-making project, but a celebration of our heritage and a way to share the bikes we enjoy so much. We were quickly overwhelmed by pre-orders. Within just a few days, there were more than twice as many customers who wanted a bike or frame.
Choosing those who will get a bike and frame provided one of the hardest tasks we’ve done all year. All customers ideas and plans for their new bikes were wonderful. All seemed to understand what a Rene Herse is, and they were excited about the of prospect of riding one. Some wanted to take theirs on leisurely rides into the hills. Others planned to do Paris-Brest-Paris. And yet others were looking forward to touring all over the world.
We looked into increasing the number of bikes and frames, so we could satisfy more customers. Unfortunately, between the workload of the craftspeople who make the frames, as well as paint and letter them, and the current supply situation, this was not possible. Some members of the Rene Herse team gave up their bikes to make room for our customers, but that only helped a little bit. (They’ll get bikes at a later stage…)
In the end, we couldn’t decide who to choose, because all customers really deserved to get a bike or frame. Faced with this dilemma, we simply threw the names in a hat and drew those that will get a bike or frame. Writing to those who weren’t lucky almost broke our hearts. (We’d make awful college admissions officers!)
The sixteen bikes and frames will go to customers all over the world: The new bikes will live in Canada, England, Germany, Switzerland, Thailand, and the USA. We asked all customers who wanted to order a bike or frame what their favorite current ride was. The answers were split between those who have a steel bike and want to build on that experience and optimize it, and those who own modern carbon gravel bikes and are curious about riding a fully integrated randonneur bike. Interestingly, most customers with carbon bikes chose the Nivex rear and lever-operated front derailleurs, while the steel bike riders were split between the Nivex and electronic shifting. It’s great to see that our customers have open minds!
There is more to this project than creating a few wonderful bikes: It is also an opportunity to finalize all the parts that are necessary to make bikes like these, so that other builders can offer the same functionality. Our Rene Herse stems will be available very shortly, and many other parts will follow. There’s a lot that goes into making one of these bikes…
Most of all, we’re looking forward to seeing the sixteen new Rene Herse bikes being ridden all over the world. When they’ll pop up on our social media feed, when we receive photos in the mail, or when we meet them and their riders on the road, it’ll put a big smile on our faces.
And if you’re curious how the 650B Paris-Brest-Paris Rene Herse (left) compares to the 26″ Oregon Outback bike (right), check out the Autumn Bicycle Quarterly. It just came off the press this week – either subscribe or simply add a copy to your order from Rene Herse Cycles. (There will be a prompt when you check out.)