MANUFACTURE D’ARMES et CYCLES de Saint-Etienne

1933 Retro-Directe MIMO 2-Vitesses

1933 Manufrance Retro-Directe ‘MIMO’

Model 151BR BALLON


‘Mimo’ Retro Directe bicycles were a separate Manufrance Hirondelle range, featuring balloon tyres (650 x 50B). In 1932, Schwinn revolutionized the American bicycle industry with the introduction of 26″ wheel-size balloon tyre bicycles, to replace the previous 28″ wheel-size bicycles that had not been updated since the 1800s. I think Manufrance aimed to capitalize on Schwinn’s publicity.

The normal Hirondelle had balloon tyres as an option. As you can see in the catalogue picture below, the main difference on the Mimo is the chainwheel.

This Retro-Directe has been restored. It’s in good mechanical condition, has been repainted, and is fitted with new period-style balloon tyres. It’s ready to ride.

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RETRO-DIRECT GEARING …and PEDALLING BACKWARDS!

The Retro-Direct was developed by French inventor Paul de Martin de Viviés (1833–1911).An early two-chain version was patented in 1869 by Barberon and Meunier, and the single-chain version (seen here) was patented in 1903 by Manufrance.

In the single-chain system, the chain runs from the top of a chainring attached to the cranks to the top of a sprocket attached to the rear wheel hub with a freewheel, as with most bicycle chain drives. The chain then, however, wraps around the rear sprocket to an idler sprocket between the rear wheel and the cranks, then runs back to a second sprocket attached to the rear wheel with a second freewheel, and finally returns to the bottom of the chain ring. Only one freewheel is engaged at a time, while the other spins backward freely. Since the chain wraps around the second sprocket in the opposite direction to the first sprocket, the cyclist needs only to pedal backwards to engage it.

Usually the second sprocket is larger, which provides the cyclist a lower gear for climbing steep inclines simply by pedaling backwards. While most historical examples of retro-direct bicycles used the reverse gear for climbing, several modern retro-direct riders prefer climbing while pedaling forward and engaging the higher, cruising gear while pedaling backwards.

Manufrance sold the Retro-Direct through their annual catalogues. The Retro-Direct was current from 1903 until 1939.

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VIDEO of RETRO-DIRECT

BARRY PEDALS BACKWARDS ON A RETRO-DIRECT

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6279cSnJHdg

retrodirect1

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HIS & HERS

Ride a pair of rare Retro-Direct Bicycles!

1933 GENT’S RETRO-DIRECT ‘MIMO’ & 1935 LADIES’ RETRO-DIRECT MODEL 220

TO SEE THE

1935 Manufrance Hirondelle Retro-Directe Ladies Model 220

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MANUFRANCE ‘MIMO’

The normal Hirondelle Retro-Directe (above) has a different chainwheel to the Mimo, below.

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TO RETURN TO

www.BuyVintage.co.uk

Page 375

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