Colour Me Smitten

My mixte frame has finally returned from Providence, so to speak, and we went to Royal H. Cycles last night to look at it. Now that I've seen it in person, I almost wish I didn't post those pictures earlier: it looks much better than the images. Not that the pictures aren't beautiful - it's just that the bicycle, including the colour, is even nicer in person, and for some reason it is very difficult to photograph.

This image is not representative either, but in person the frame colour is a mesmerising blend of gray, green and slate blue. It is more green than blue, and it is more gray than either. Not a flat boring gray, but a "stormy seas" sort of gray, with infinite depth of colour to it.

Looking at this snapshot of the beach in South Boston, I realise that the frame colour and the lug outlining are similar to the colours of the sea and sand in New England - which is probably what attracted me to the early René Herse aesthetic to begin with.

I will stop now before I begin composing sonnets for this frame, but as you can see, this is true love! And the bonus? The Co-Habitant, who would previously mutter that he does not need a custom frame, took one look at the finished mixte and said that he might like a matching men's touring bike. There is hope that our "his and hers" velo universe will be restored!


  1. Did they explain why they chose a vertical dropout rather than an angled or horizontal one? It makes using an internal hub at some future time more difficult, though it simplifies changing the rear wheel with a derailleur setup.

    Overall, it's hard to believe it looks even better than its wonderful photos. They are glorious!

  2. How nice! I am also a fan of the color-- I have a Hermes 3000 typewriter that's very similar (google it! they're lovely!). Exciting!

  3. Fantastic. It does look like a singular frame in these new pics.
    Now, as for the headtube lettering -can we get a shot of that in strong light? I'd love to see the design "in the round", so to speak.

    Any more thoughts on what else will go into the build-up?

    And did you really expect to bring forth a jewel like that and *not* get the Co-habitant all glowy-eyed at the possibilities?

    I foresee two nicely cleaned-up Motobecane touring bikes for sale later this summer.

    Congratulations again.

    Corey K

  4. Hi Velouria, it's a really gorgeous colour. I'm guessing even those photos don't do it justice compared to the frame in real life. That's one of my favourite types of green. It's a green you see in the Australian bush as well as the New England coast... there are Eucalyptus leaves that colour which shimmer in our summer sun.

    The gold lettering looks great on it; I'm with Corey, would love to see the painted headtube.

    I don't wonder the Co-Habitant started making mutterings about a custom frame of his own. After all, you'll have two new touring bikes, the Mixte and the Rivendell. So tempting, especially seeing the finished frame.

    Happy birthday for whenever it is or was, too!

  5. Steve - I will definitely be using a derailleur on this bike and at no point will switch to an IGH, so this seemed like a better way to go. There is also a brazeon for the front derailleur that accommodates a double chainring (all intentional on my part).

    margonaute - Yes, that's the colour! Hmm maybe I need a matching typewriter?

    Corey - I have tried with minimal success to photograph the head tube logo. It looks great in person, but gets washed out in pictures. When I get the bike built up, I will photograph it in natural daylight.

    The build will include 8x2 gearing, Paul centerpull brakes, bar-end shifters, 700C wheels with a Schmidt dynamo hub, amberwall tires, some sort of Honjo fenders, and elkhide grips. I am not sure abut the handlebars yet. Either Porteurs, Albatross, or upside down Albatross. Any suggestions?..

    I am 90% sure that I will sell Marianne in the Spring or Summer, though the Co-Habitant doesn't want me to.

  6. Bryan really created a work of industrial art here. The frame and fork are breathtaking if one cares about beautiful machines even a little bit.

    I am usually understandably skeptical when I see the "pictures don't do it justice" disclaimers, especially if the pictures are themselves nice, but this mixte takes the cake. I am so glad it ended up with a liquid coat instead of a thicker powder that would obscure the elegant details. So many little detail points where the paint hugs the metal's edge or a gold outline perfectly following a beveled structure. Circle A did a tremendous job painting the frame.

    In the past, I was thinking about--maybe--one day owning a custom frame and almost decided to "begin to want one" after seeing some Peter Mooney bikes, but never could justify the cost in light of my other expenses. But Royal H succeeded in clouding my judgement and I am now imagining a racing green road bike with matching detail work...

  7. Carinthia - Eucalyptus leaves, yes! From childhood I associate them with Koala bears, so it makes me want to give this bike some sort of Koala accessory now.

    MDI - That's great, but that racing green colour on the Jag is too dark, it won't show off the lugwork at all. I suggest this Aston Martin version.

  8. I've seen little fluffy koala toys with spring clips inside them that allow them to grip onto whatever you want them to. My boy cat has destroyed two such toys so far ;-). Perfect for gripping onto bicycle bits as they have padded vinyl paws and don't scratch (the toys, that is... not the cats!).

  9. Emma J said: This post just makes me smile! What fun you two have ahead!

  10. wow, now i really have to see this frame, STAT! on second thought, do i *really* need more persuasion to havee a custom frame built for myself? i fear seeing this one in real life may have the same effect on me that it had on MDI...

    albatross bars are nitto's modern interpretation of the porteur bars, but i think the original porteur bars are more graceful looking. i will be putting the VO porteur bars on my upcoming porteur build.

  11. somervillain - Yes you better be careful : )

    The Albatros bars are Nitto's version of North Roads.

  12. Porteur bars on the custom mixte? Oh, that's neato.

  13. The more I see the frame, the more I love it. Yes, the color scheme is great: the "seafoam" paint conveys the serene energy of the littoral scene in the photo.

    I can't wait to see how you build it.

  14. I think the porteur bars would be nice on that bike. Plus, you might like them for longer rides if you don't want drop bars. I've ridden porteur bars on a city/commuter bike and liked the way they allowed a position that was more upright than the drop bars but not quite as upright as cruiser bars. I'm going to use those bars (from Velo Orange) on the next frame I'm going to have built for me.

  15. MDI, porteur bars are the only way i've ever envisioned this mixte. i can't see it with anything else. oh, and with TA specialites cranks ;-).

    justine, i'm getting the VO porteur bars for my porteur build this spring. the only thing i don't like about them is that the VO emblem is etched into the bars on either side of the stem clamp. i'd prefer bars without any insignia.

  16. Yes, and I noticed the VO insignia is not done in a particularly elegant way. If it was at least a nice coat of arms or something pictorial instead of block type.

  17. Same with the VO logo on the Milan bars, which I have on my Motobecane mixte. Incidentally, has anybody tried the VO Porteur bars, and if so, is there any flex to them? There is a bit of flex to the Milan bars and after a while this began to bother me.

    I like the TA Specialites cranks as an alternative to Sugino.

  18. The water picture really gives a feel for the true color of the frame. Gorgeous!


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