"Certainly one of the distinctively different bicycle designs,
the Paris had a great following of enthusiasts convinced of the
"Paris Cycles started in
in about 1936/7 by Harry Rensch. They did not make the Galibier design until
after WW2 in quantity though there are rumours a prototype was made during
the war years. In all a total of nearly 9000 frames were built both under
the Paris and Rensch names. "
" .......not all models built by
Paris were of the Galibier style (it was
treated with great suspicion by most) The "Tour de France" and the lower
priced "Professional" were their mainstays the former having elaborate
³bilaminated² lugs which were not truly lugs as the frames were welded but
were very ornate. These, combined with a paint finish, unique in those days,
where one colour was "faded" through several others to become something
different (for example bright red faded through silver to blue or yellow),
was what made them popular, as did their association with the League. The
British League of Racing Cyclists brought "continental massed start racing"
to the public roads. Paris sponsored a successful racing team in the late
1940¹s and a win in the six day Brighton to Glasgow race brought a high
demand for their frames."
"Harry Rensch started building under his own name, it appears both brazed and
welded frames, in 1935. With the outbreak of W.W.II formal production ceased
but some frames were built under the "Paris" name which was adopted when the
firm set up again about 1946, and lasted until the mid 1950s. It used low
temperature sif-bronze welding which Rensch claimed to have introduced to
the cycle trade. The name Rensch appeared only on the top model."
"The name was revived for a short while in 1982
with replica Galibier and Tour de France models being built, for an
entrepreneur, by Tom Board, a former employee of Rensch. The venture was not
a commercial success.
Disclaimer: The statement made in the previous entry that Bill Hurlow
started his building career with Paris is now known to have been incorrect."
Neville Ireland, 3.6.2001
Press release February
1982, Cycling Magazine
by The Paris Lightweight Cycle
"The Paris Galibier is back. The unorthodox frame
design as introduced by Harry Rensch of Stoke Newington, London in 1946, but
the business folded in 1952. Now Paris enthusiast Mr. Michael Kemp. A
Century club member has brought the rights to the Paris Lightweight Company.
With Harry Rensch's former apprentice Tom Board, now a frame builder for
Condor Cycles who will be the main UK agents, they will produce the range of
the Paris frames."
"The Galibier is an exciting cantilever design. It uses
larger dimension tubes, with twin top tubes to provide greater strength. The
overall advantage is a shorter wheel-base, 37" is possible, giving a stiffer
ride. Harry Rensch pioneered bronze welding and lug lamination, and the
Galibier model is a bilaminated lugless frame that "exhibits" excellent
without the "whip" associated with current oval tubes. The only improvements
to the original design suggested by the new company, is the use of
Campagnolo ends and a micro-fusion fork crown."
"Frame builder Tom Board has also made one other
important change. "The only thing different from the original (main frame)
is the use of a steel called T45 (this has a breaking strain of 45 tons).
This is used for the drop tube (vertical tube housing the bottom bracket).
"This improves the design and is considerably stronger than 531, but twice
"The Paris Galibier is a beautiful frame"
Said Michael Kemp, "It is great to ride, very comfortable. I am delighted to
have been able to buy the rights to the company because I'm sure there is a
lot of interest in this design..... In addition to the Galibier, we
full range of Paris frames, i.e., the Tour de France in lugged or welded.
The TDF is more conventional frame with an inch and eighth top tube. (Usual
size is an inch). This frame is also bilaminated. The Professional and Dame
will also be manufactured."
"The directors are Mr. Michael P. Kemp, Tom
Board, M. Young (Monty Young of Condor Cycles), S. Mobley and D. Katesmark."
(Issued with the press release and
catalogue were many photo copies of old articles about
Paris/Rensch from the British Cycling journals of the 1940's/50's.
Interestingly in the Cycling of March 26th. it states that the Galibier had
been in limited use since 1938/39 for both touring and racing purposes.)