Compass becomes Rene Herse Cycles

Starting in early 2019, Rene Herse Cycles will be the sole brand for all tires and components made now by Compass Cycles. This streamlines our two brands and clarifies the philosophy that guides us.

Since Lyli Herse asked us to become custodians of the Rene Herse name more than a decade ago – above I’m riding with Lyli to celebrate her 85th birthday – we’ve introduced a number of products under the Rene Herse name, including low-Q factor cranks and superlight brakes. Our other components continued to be offered under the Compass brand.

Now we’ve decided to bring our entire program into Rene Herse Cycles to reflect our commitment to René Herse’s values: excellence in design and unwavering pursuit of quality. These values provide the inspiration as Rene Herse Cycles is reborn in the Cascade Mountains.

We discovered Herse’s genius as we developed our own bikes for a new style of riding long distances across varied terrain. The rough surfaces, harsh mountain environments and long distances placed new demands that then-current bikes could not meet. Racing bikes were unsuited for the rough surfaces, but mountain bikes were not ideal for our spirited rides, either. The all-road machines from René Herse provided the inspiration for the bikes we needed. Herse never followed the current trends, but created unique and extremely advanced designs that offer timeless performance.
This philosophy has guided us as we’ve developed a range of tires and components specifically for gravel riders, randonneurs and cyclotourists. Our components will continue to evolve as technology and riding styles change over time. To reflect this commitment to tradition and innovation, we are introducing a new set of logos that combine classic cues with a modern aesthetic.

The move to the Rene Herse Cycles will occur as a rolling change. Some products, like our cranks, are already manufactured under the Rene Herse name. Others will follow, until the entire product line is part of Rene Herse Cycles. The last decade has been an exciting journey, and we’re looking forward to where it will lead us in the future.
Further reading:

 Rene Herse® is a registered trademark.

31 Responses to Compass becomes Rene Herse Cycles

  1. Allen Potter December 10, 2018 at 5:10 am #

    Will Boulder Bicycle still make RH framesets, or are you taking that part of the business over?

    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly December 10, 2018 at 6:27 am #

      Boulder’s license for making Herse bikes expired a while ago. We are thinking about a good way to make Rene Herse bicycles available again in the future. However, our first priority is supplying builders with the parts needed to make the bikes we love, from Kaisei tubesets to cranks with customized gearing.
      If we offer complete bikes at some point, we won’t compete with other builders, but supplement their efforts — just like all our Compass/Rene Herse products were created to fill un-met needs, rather than compete with existing products. Our goal is to make it easier for cyclists to obtain great-riding bikes, whether they are made from steel, aluminum, titanium or carbon fiber.

      • Allen Potter December 10, 2018 at 7:41 am #

        Making RH stems would be an amazing way to continue the magic…

      • Adam December 10, 2018 at 10:10 am #

        Completes are great, but I would love to see a “gateway” frameset offering. Something like Black Mountain Cycles (simply-finished, lightweight tubing, low-cost) but designed based on your philosophy (low trail, big clearances, centerpull braze-ons!, etc.). The current closest examples of this all compromise in design choices (namely too-stiff tubing and specifying disc brakes).

      • Tony Hunt December 10, 2018 at 2:06 pm #

        Forget the stem, think bigger please. Groupos and complete bikes!

  2. Cargofiets December 10, 2018 at 5:17 am #

    Congratulations, Jan, and greetings from central Germany. If you need any local help with your new endeavor (France is but bike ride away), please send me an email.

  3. PK December 10, 2018 at 6:42 am #

    I think you are beyond wise to stay out of frames. This area of the industry is completely saturated from hand-built custom down to mass carbon. Leave those headaches for others. Smart.

  4. GUASCH GERARD December 10, 2018 at 6:44 am #

    One word : logic.

  5. Owen December 10, 2018 at 9:51 am #

    Great logo and very timeless!

  6. Stuart Fogg December 10, 2018 at 10:52 am #

    How do you pronounce Herse?

    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly December 10, 2018 at 1:17 pm #

      The French don’t pronounce the initial ‘H’ and the final ‘E,’ so it’s ‘ER-SS.’

      • Andrew Squirrel December 10, 2018 at 2:56 pm #

        Are you at all worried about changing over names and having the issue of shop owners and customers unfamiliar with the pronunciation thereby creating confusion in the marketplace (especially since Compass was finally becoming established)?

        • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly December 11, 2018 at 7:39 am #

          We really love the shops that partner with us. They do a great job explaining our products to their customers. We’ll make sure they are up to date.
          Regarding the name, Rene Herse isn’t that hard to pronounce, and we aren’t worried about slight mispronunciations. Just consider the car brand Porsche – or listen to a French person pronounced “Special-ee-zed”! It hasn’t hurt those companies, and it won’t hurt Rene Herse Cycles.

      • John French December 11, 2018 at 1:32 pm #

        How is the ‘er’ pronounced? Does it rhyme with “terse”, or more like “scarce”?

        • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly December 12, 2018 at 4:49 am #

          The French pronunciation is half-way in between, but really, use any pronunciation you like. Just like Alex Singer can be pronounced the English/German way and the French way.

  7. Monty December 10, 2018 at 1:18 pm #

    HI Jan, wonderful approach. Best of luck going forward

  8. ViveLemond December 10, 2018 at 3:57 pm #

    Fantastic, and bold move. Vive la France!
    Interesting story, I married a French gal from the South of France. Her grandfather ran a shop for everything “cycles” – about the time we were getting married in the mid 90’s, a whole barn of bikes, parts, etc. was simply thrown out. At the time, I was into Italian racing frames and not much else, but I sensed there were likely treasures there, but I never got to look into it. In retrospect, I would have probably seen a great cyclotouring bike and dismissed it as a “town” or “touring” bike, but I can’t help but dream of what could have been. Thank you for changing my cycling life for the better in so many ways, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all you’ve done for us.

  9. Scott A December 10, 2018 at 5:18 pm #

    A bold but sensible move. The new logo design is great!

  10. Dave December 10, 2018 at 6:49 pm #

    Compass tube sets, do you have frame builder that you would recommend

  11. nellegreen December 10, 2018 at 8:13 pm #

    Bonne chance mon ami. Tom

  12. Andy December 10, 2018 at 9:45 pm #

    Wait so you’re saying gravel riding wasnt discovered 4 years ago??? 🙂
    This is great news, beautiful components. Keep the flame alive!

  13. Adam in Indiana December 10, 2018 at 9:53 pm #

    I love the look of the new logo, well done!

  14. Ana Candela December 10, 2018 at 11:23 pm #

    Congratulations on this new phase of your company!
    I would also like to compliment the new logo. It has a vintage look but new at the same time. It embodies perfectly what you’re trying to convey: tradition and innovation. Kudos!

  15. Udo Rudolph December 11, 2018 at 7:35 am #

    Wonderful news! Wish you success with this great endeavor. Plus, I hope so much you will eventually offer (rather sooner than later) complete and thus truly integrated bikes — this would be very much in the spirit of René Herse.

  16. Sukho in PDX December 11, 2018 at 9:44 am #

    Congrats Jan and Co. I for one love the name change. From a fairly ubiquitous one you see on all sorts of different companies, to a very specific name – full of history and inspiration. Lyli would be proud. And really, whatever the name, as long you keep influencing the industry in the ways that you have been, we’re all better for it.

  17. R A December 11, 2018 at 1:16 pm #

    Renny Hearse? Grand Boys? Come-pass? I can’t keep track anymore! Americans will butcher the new name, but I’ll still enjoy your tires.

  18. Martin December 11, 2018 at 2:58 pm #

    A logical move even though I have to confess I liked the Compass logo a lot. All the best!

  19. Lawrence Vargas December 12, 2018 at 12:53 pm #

    I can’t wait to see the new logo on your existing products, especially on the centerpull brakes and tires!

  20. Philip Williamson December 12, 2018 at 1:23 pm #

    I wish you all the best going forward with the new overall branding. Rene Herse definitely makes sense for everything made out of metal, but I think you’re losing something by changing the tire name.
    This is an armchair marketing suggestion, but you might consider keeping “Compass” as the model name (rather than brand) of your Rene Herse tires. The suggestion is to scrap the slightly confusing ‘pass’ names for your tires, and call them all “Compass,” differentiated by width and casing, similar to how “Gravel King” and “G-One Speed” tires appear in the marketplace.
    I ride and enjoy the Compass 559×55 ELs and 700×44 tires, and will replace or supplement them with Rene Herse versions when the time comes, so my actions don’t hinge on my suggestion.

    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly December 14, 2018 at 3:24 am #

      Thank you for the suggestions. Regarding the tire names, I think Compass (and soon Rene Herse) is unique in making true high-performance tires in really wide versions. However, that means that the tires feel and ride quite differently, even though they are constructed similarly. I think it would be confusing if a 700C x 26 mm Cayuse Pass was named the same as a 26″ x 2.3″ Rat Trap Pass. The tires (and the bikes they go on) feel very different on the road. And as riders, that is what we focus on…
      As with the pronunciation of the name, we don’t worry if you don’t remember all the names. In each user group, they make sense. Tell a 650B rider that you like your Babyshoe Pass tires, and they’ll know what you mean. The same applies to a guy with a classic mtb and Rat Traps, or a triathlete who rolls on Cayuse Pass.