In retrospect, since writing Cycle EXIF, I haven’t looked at any aluminum frames with great fondness, barring the odd Klein, hand made Yeti or ‘Dale MTB. But when I was browsing through the extensive and impressive collection of Tim Dawson’s Vintage Bicycles, I was struck dumb by this Garin.
Garin Cycles was a French marque that existed around the 40s and 50s, and information is scant. Tim conjectures that the name is a reference to Maurice Garin, winner of the first Tour de France in 1903. The aluminum frames were welded together by a Nicola Barra, who also created the steel stem.
Nicola Barra was not just a frame builder, he was a constructeur, in the same league as René Herse and Alex Singer. Barra fabricated not only the combined seat post clamp and rear brake cable guide, but also the brake calipers. This example is kitted out with top-shelf parts that include an AM saddle.
A Simplex Champion du Monde 3 speed derailleur mechanism and Stronglight cranks provide the drive, and it’s rolling on Super Champion Picardie rims on aluminium Pelissier Plume hubs. The cockpit consists of Jeay brake levers and Philippe Professionel bars.
For a 70 year old bike, it looks surprisingly modern, a testament to Barra’s skill and Tim Dawson’s restorative abilities. His collection is stupendous, ranging from velocipedes to a modern Mercian.
Tim is also an extremely skilled leather worker, with the ability to recreate the most elaborate leather saddles, mudguards and bags. Take some time off to have a look at Vintage Bicycle. You’ll need it.