If you’ve been thinking of moving on the Bugatti Type 57 in the garage because you need more space, here’s an ideal replacement: Mitch Pryor, of MAP Bicycles, has just listed one of his gorgeous 650B porteurs for sale. This is one of his more elaborate builds, manifesting the essence of the French constructeur period, yet no detail is dispensable or overlooked.
On the MAP Bicycles blog there’s a quaint illustrated advertisement for French porteurs that presents the inspiration for this build. One prominent detail stands out: those sweeping original fenders which add a great panache compared to contemporary guards. Mitch maintained the theme to great effect, by specifying French components where possible, including a TA Specialites Pro 5 crankset.
While the Discville looks period correct from a distance, it has the modern convenience of Avid BB7 disc brakes, hauled up by a pair of NOS CLB calipers. During their heyday of the 40s and 50, the standard of CLB components were considered second only to Mafac, due to the quality of their alloy and their design. The chain guard is of equal vintage to the levers, although the make is unknown.
The 8-speed transmission is actuated by a Shimano 105 rear mech and down tube shifter mounted on the top tube. Grand Bois rims and Hetre tires are used, the rear rolling on an XTR hub, the front on a Supernova Infinity S dynohub. As per the original illustration, the E3 Pro headlight is mounted on the custom MAP rack and, if you look closely, you can spot the rear light set on the fender.
Not to do things by halves, Mitch fabricated a matching stem, affixed the Phillipe porteur handlebars and a brass Universal bell. And, as anyone who has tried hunting vintage Ideale saddles will attest, they are a timid prey and their scarcity proves how coveted they are. For the connoisseur, it’s a pleasure to see one attached to this fine frame.
Examining this machine will contextualize those vintage French cycling posters that depict a goddess being conveyed through the night sky, borne upon a divine bicyclette. As mentioned, this glorious machine is for sale and, for its caliber, the price is incredibly reasonable. If Bugatti and Ralph Lauren ever wanted to collaborate on a bicycle project, the Discville would be their muse.
Head to the MAP Bicycle blog for the price, complete spec sheet and more photos.