Paris Galibier

An icon improved

1947—a futuristic icon is born from a small workshop in Stoke Newington, East London

 

2007—the Galibier is still built by hand and remains as eye catching as it did seventy years ago

Paris Cycles was started in the early 1940s by Harry Rensch, a close friend and neighbour of Monty Young, Condor's founder. The lightweight thoroughbred frames soon became sought after pieces, famous for their continental flair.

In 1947, after returning from working at shipyards during the war, Harry launched the Galibier.

In the post-war era the only tubing to work with was Reynolds 531. Each frame builder created their own lugs to differentiate and establish their reputation and name.

Harry went one further: he pioneered a fanciful frame construction using bronze welding, allowing him to create lugless frames, and at the head tube he wrapped a gothic styled bi-lamination.

Its twin top tube and offset seat tube (designed to eliminate frame whip) was an instant favourite amongst riders.

Monty and Harry remained close, and out of war-torn London they were some of the first to build lightweight racing cycles at the forefront of British cycle sport.

At Condor, it has been a decade long mission of Monty's son, Grant Young, to continue to make the Galibier model by hand. 

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Paris Galibier bicycle images by Matt Wikstrom. Read the feature on owner Paul Braybrook's Paris Galibier by Condor on Cycling Tips.

Bert Downs Galibier 1951

"Sourcing the correct material was really hard. The down tube is custom drawn for us by Columbus because of its super wide diameter, which no one makes."

 

Grant Young, Managing Director

A DECADE OF WORK

"I have always loved the shape and the look of the Galibier", explains Grant.

"When my father worked to re-introduce the frame in the 1980s, I saw the effort he put in, but at the time, perhaps cyclists weren't ready for these bikes. Many brands have since turned to mass production in the far east, and a hand crafted steel frame has become rare and our Galibier represents true craftsmanship."

Over the past decade, Grant Young has made it his mission to make the Galibier available. "It has to be made by hand, affordable, and it needed to have the frame features exactly like the original, but also ride as well as modern steel."

Condor faced many challenges. Sourcing the correct material was a long process. The top tube features a pair of really small diameter tubes with a cable running in between them.

The down tube is custom drawn for us by Columbus because of its super wide diameter.
When building frames, the builder makes a diamond frame jig, then the builder tacks the frame together before welding. "It would be impossible to have a jig for the Galibier, so the frame has to be tacked by eye without the aid of the jig, which is where craftsmen come into their own."

Before the gothic style bi-lams are fitted, the joints are fillet brazed, which makes for a stronger frame than the 1940s version.
As well as the frame riding better than ever before, the small details are not forgotten, including the scalloped fork crown and shot in top eyes. Available in blue and white, custom colour is also available for an additional £150.

Bi-lams not lugs

In the early years of cycling, using lugs was the easiest way to make a frame. A lug is a socket that forms the junction between two or more frame tubes. The Paris frames were innovative; the head tube design was created using a bi-lamination rather than a hand cut lug.

 

Why use bi-lams?

Bi-lamination on frames is rare because of the man hours that goes into producing the frame. There is less room for error and error is costly to the frame builder. A flat sheet of metal is cut, which we now do by laser to be supremely precise. The metal is then formed to sit exactly onto the tube and is fillet brazed into place.
A bi-lam is stronger than a lug as well as lighter.