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This lovely bicycle is a 58cm Routens “cyclosportif” with a Simplex Super LJ group set.  It’s one of the finest machines I’ve had the privilege of restoring, although it needed very little actual work to restore.  A “cyclosportif” is sort of like the French equivalent to “sport touring” where a bike may have fenders and a handlebar bag, but is not meant to carry panniers.   Read on for more info on this classic steed and its famous namesake.

routens_02Jean-Paul Routens is the son of the famous constructeur Jo Routens, who took over the family business in the early 1970’s.  In the pantheon of French bespoke bicycle builders, the Routens name carries similar weight as the great Rene Herse, Alex Singer, and Camille Daudon.   Not content with just continuing his father’s legacy of making beautiful bikes, Jean-Paul also introduced several very clever designs for seat posts, pedals, and touring-related accessories.   His JPR logo is synonymous with top quality touring and randonneuring bicycles and components, and he continues the tradition to this day with his Grenoble, France-based store.

This particular Routens bicycle includes several JPR components: the stem, leather toe straps, and water bottle.  It was probably built in the mid-to-late 1970’s, based on the components, tubing decal, and logo treatment.   It is made of lightweight double-butted Durifort tubing by Ateliers de Rive, a classic tube set introduced in the 1930’s and produced until the late 70’s.

routens_22  The lugs appear to be Oscar Egg, although the bottom bracket is clearly stamped “RGF” (Raccord Gargette Freres), a producer of bottom bracket shells used on many 1970’s era French bikes.  Both the front and rear drop-outs are Simplex.  The seat tube is 58cm center-to-top and the top tube is 56cm center-to-center.

It comes equipped with a top-of-the-line Simplex “Super LJ” group: an SLJ-5000 rear derailleur,  SLJ-A500 front derailleur, and Simplex retrofriction shifters.  The Sugino Super Maxy crank set (a copy of the TA Specialities) is proof of the inroads the Japanese were making at the time, whose components would by the early 1980’s be stock on many French bikes.   The MAFAC “Competition” brakes and matching levers deliver precision stopping power.

The 700c wheel set is a pair of Grimeca hubs laced to Vuelta Classic rims with Michelin Select skinwall tires.  It has modern Brooks leather handlebar tape, and originally had a modern Brooks saddle on it when I got it.  I swapped the saddle for an Ideale TB 92, which matched the handlebar tape better and you’know, the whole French thing.

routens_04Check out the image to the left, which shows where the chain stay and seat stay meet the rear drop-out.  The crescent cut-away at the ends of the tubes are always a sign of a top-notch hand built frame.  You can also clearly see the Simplex logo engraved on drop-out.

Overall this bike arrived in very good condition so I was able to restore it in two days.  I stripped it down to the frame and fork, and then ultrasonically cleaned all of the components.  I reassembled everything with fresh grease and lube, and installed new cables and housing.  I think the white, brown, and blue work very well together on this bike, giving it a handsome yet understated look.

It’s too big for me, so I won’t be holding on to it, although when I did test ride it, the ride was wonderful – I went a few extra laps around the neighborhood to keep enjoying it.  It’s a keeper!  Check out the details in the gallery below:

3 Responses to “J.P. Routens Cyclosportif Bicycle”

  1. Augustin says:

    Hi! I read your post and i find it very interesting. Since you seem to know so much about this brand, i would like to ask for your help. Last year a bought this bike http://www.flickr.com/photos/27219292@N03/?deleted=6442840277, and i woul very much appreciate if you’d give me more information about my bike. Hoping i didn’t bother, i wish you the best.


  2. […] New grail bike acquired – a 1960′s Jo Routens randonneuse bicycle.  Jo Routens was the father of Jean-Paul Routens, who built a 1970′s “cyclosportif” bicycle I featured recently. […]

  3. […] shell from the 1970s.  I learned all about these French bottom bracket shells when I restored a Routens cyclosportif bike a few years […]

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