Calla 650B low trail 650B French Constructeur Touring Bike 1951
This beautiful 1951 French Constructeur bike was a barn find in Alsace. Apart from the tyres and the handlebar covering, I am pretty sure it was totally original. Although the paintwork looks OK in the photos, it wasn't. There was very little paint on there and what was left was lifting off. There was no rust though.
Lots of constructeur type details such as the custom made front and rear racks, double headlights and a huge bottle dynamo.
I decided to restore it as usable touring bike keeping as many original features as possible. The frame was professionally resprayed by Sven Cycles, who also applied and lacquered the decals painstakingly reproduced by Andrew MacDonald of Seven Design.
I have kept the original randonneur handlebars and stem along with the Guidonnet brake levers which I have recabled as "cross tops" as I couldn't get on without "normal" brake levers. The gaps in the plastic handlebar covering the bike came with, indicate that it would have had standard brake levers anyway. I discarded the horrible plastic handlebar covering and replaced it with Velo Orange leather tape.The magnificent original french bell has of course been retained
I kept the custom made racks of course and the magnificent twin headlamps. I upgraded the headlamps and the rear lamp to LEDs and substituted the "guaranteed for 2 years" bottle dynamo with an SP hub dynamo.
The original cantilever brakes were ineffective, so I upgraded them to tandem cantilevers of the same design and along with the new brake shoes and alloy rims by Grand Bois. The brakes are now excellent. The original transmission was Simplex 4 speed with a double chainset, which worked fine, but I need a much better gear range than that when touring. I have fitted a 10 speed plus double chainset by SunXCD to give terrific range of gearing. I have kept the original wheels, front and rear mechs, chainset and pedals, so you can revert to original spec. in an hour or so if you wish.
I would have loved to keep the original "suicide" front changer, but i couldn't make it work with the new transmission. However I have kept the original CB chain guard. I have the original leather saddle, but it is extremely heavy so I substituted a Velo Orange leather saddle. I have fitted new Velo Orange Snakeskin alloy mudguards but have the originals.
Although I love this bike it was a little too large for me to ride comfortable, so apart from a 2 mile test ride it has never been ridden. Hence it is for sale to make space for new projects.
I HAVE ALL THE ORIGINAL PARTS WHICH WILL COME WITH THE BIKE SO IT WILL BE EASY TO RESTORE IT BACK TO ORIGINAL FOR V-CC CLUB RIDES ETC. IF YOU WISH. THEY ARE ALL IN EXCELLENT CONDITION.