Roger's Late 60's Bertin C37 Restomod

3 comments by Igor Shteynbuk

bertin c37 with velo orange components and accessories vo voices vintage bike restoration

Hello Fellow Veloists!

My entry is a late 60’s French Bertin C37.  The bike took me almost 2 years just to get the frame!

About four years ago, I was reading some Facebook posts in a vintage bike group and there was a frame being offered up for sale that had Reynolds 531 tubing and Nervex lugs.  Since I was a teenager, I had always wanted a bike built with Nervex lugs.  The ornate pattern just seemed to attract me like nothing else in bike world.  I was always trying to find a way to get either a Schwinn Paramount or a Mondia Special.  This frame being offered up fit all my requirements: it had Nervex lugs, was built with quality tubing, it was in my size and I could afford it!  I chatted with the seller but the problem seemed to be that shipping it from Oregon was as expensive as buying it and the seller was a having a hard time finding a box to ship it in.  So the idea of buying it sat on the back-burner for about a year or more. 

nervex lug closeup
Finally one day, I was in contact with the seller again and found out he had taken the frame to a relative’s house that was in driving range of where I lived!  Brilliant!  We made arrangements and to sweeten the deal, he decided to let me have the frame for no cost!  A free frame!  Wow !

So one day, I drove up to southern Oregon and picked up a straight, no dents frame in my size with Nervex lugs.

The big question that arose was, who made the frame and what model and year was it?  When I got the frame someone had powder-coated it in an ugly black that was so thick it took me a week of sanding and chemical stripping to get to the bare metal.  There were no serial numbers on the bottom bracket or the seat lug.  The only place I found any clue was on the rear non-drive drop out.  I started sleuthing a little more and found the frame tubing measured 28.0mm on the seat tube.  The steerer tube took a 22.0mm stem not a 22.2.  The bottom bracket was French threaded!  A Peugeot?  No.  Finally after asking around on the Classic Rendezvous group, one of the members identified my frame as a Bertin.  He gave me a link to his webpage and sure enough, everything about Bertin bikes fit the description of my project.  I had a late 60’s Bertin C37 frame.

velo orange bertin c37 restomod
So now I began the restoration or should I say, “resto-mod”.  I got a lot of my inspiration for building up this bike through perusing the bikes and parts on Velo-Orange and other Rendezvous bike websites. I had the frame powder-coated in a nice candy-apple red.  I built the bike up with Zeus center-pull brakes paired with Dia-Compe Gran-Compe levers from Velo-Orange mounted on Origin-8 “Tiki” bars.  I had the original Stronglight headset.  To keep some of the French heritage intact, I got a Stronglight Impact Crankset.  The wheels were built up with Zeus “Gigante” hubs and modern Alex rims.  The drive train is Microshift and works very well on the 15 speed gearing in friction mode.  The frame had eyelets for fenders and racks so I put on Velo-Orange hammered fenders and a Constructeur rear rack.   I got period decals from VeloCals before they went out of business.  All the cables and housing came from Velo-Orange.  I needed a water bottle since I live in place where the summers are really unpleasant but there were no braze-ons.  Velo-Orange had a really nice set of water bottle cage clamps to solve my problem.

velo orange bertin c37 moustache bar
The bicycle rides wonderfully smooth and it often gets many compliments whenever I park it in front of a store or walk it through the local Home Depot on a hardware run.  People comment how the fenders seem meant for the bike and that it really has that European city bike vibe going for it.  The rack paired with a pannier comes in very handy for everything from a bag of groceries to repair parts for my house plumbing or electrical.

velo orange 700c hammered fenders on a vintage bike bertin c37
Since this bike needed a lot of parts that would not be available in regular bike shops or online catalogs with their emphasis on the "going trend”, I am indebted to sites like Velo-Orange for catering to bikes that don’t fit the modern mold of cycling.

Roger Elliott

velo orange bottle cage clamp on for bikes without mounts


  • Igor

    Sorry, Roger! I’ve fixed it. Thanks again for your submission!

  • Scott Copeland

    Well done Roger. Your patience and skill show through with a stunning finished product.

  • Roger Elliott

    Igor, Thanks so much for allowing me to share my Bertin with you all. However, your title has Steven instead of Roger. oops!
    Cheers. Roger Elliott

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