Who was Bernard Dangre?
I must admit, I always thought Bernard Dangre was a professional rider. I imagined he was another of those French cyclists, tough and gnarly, who turned to making bikes after a career on the road. Well, that was wrong! Dangre was not a professional, I’m not sure he was even a competitive cyclist, but he named his bicycle company after himself and based it in Valenciennes, a town I’ve visited a few times, not far south of Lille in north east France. Dangre actually had a pretty cool set up; not owning a warehouse, each bike was made to order, with 20 different varieties of paint to choose from, and models ranging from basic UO-8 types to higher end builds. They would be mostly built with French parts, and were under the umbrella company of Starnord.
I like Dangre bikes, they would have been a worthy competitor to the big names of the French bike industry of the era. I don’t think they were exported in droves like other brands, you don’t see many in the US nor in the UK, yet they are still common in France. And why not? From the rock candy swirl design on the top tubes of later frames, to the the simple, understated models of some of the earlier models, each Dangre would have been made to the customer’s order. Often built using Vitus tubing, the Dangre must have been a solid competitor to the Bertin bikes made in the same region. Don’t expect fancy lugging or chromed stays and folks, Dangre kept away from fanciness and the ornate; these are more utilitarian bicycles, made for the people. But watch out for missing decals; Dangres are prone to losing their identity as their frames are often bare of stickers.
Good Value For Money
You can often find Bernard Dangre bikes, especially with missing decals (!), for a low price in Europe. The bike below was built by the firm in around 1980, and even though it had kept a lot of its glossy finish on its paint, once again the decals were missing. I bought it for less than a large Domino’s pizza, not that I’ve bought one recently. The first picture in this blog is also exactly how it was when I bought it, in a condition which you wouldn’t describe as bad or junked. It needed a good clean, but frankly, I’ve seen a lost worse. The tubular tyres came to life when I filled them ( hallelujah! ), and nothing was broken or cracked. It was a light bike, perhaps less than 22lbs, and I’m convinced it had Vitus tubing. This is how its transmission looked:
I couldn’t identify this grey bike’s model name or number, I’m not even sure it ever had one, but it looked good when it was cleaned. The paint had a fair amount of scratches in parts, it was as if someone had used an abrasive pad or had used a scrub. Nevertheless, it kept a lot of its nice finish, it shifted well even with its old chain, and the brakes just needed some precise centring. Funny thing about the brakes, they were the centrepull kind and were called “Racer”, but they were not Mafac. They looked like some cheaper copy of them, I’d never seen them before. Chunky and long each, they actually worked pretty well. All the components worked well in motion, from the Solida crankset to the Maillard pedals, and I undersold it to a local guy who was buying it for his son.
The Mafac Style Brakes
..and another example below of a later Dangre, with swirly top tube and guess what? Part missing decals…Sold for £77 in 2016.
Got a Bernard Dangre bout 15 yrs ago…..has plaque on tube..custom made for buyer..has Stronglight cranks…high end derailleurs..bellari bars…swapped out the tubulars for clinchers….light and fast….have ton of fun rolling thru country
Hi John, sounds like a great bike, send me a picture of it if you like and I can post it on the Dangre page. Cheers!
I search for a Bernard Dangre Bike for a long time, but could not find one. Can you give me a tip?
PS. Sorry for my bad englisch.
It depends where you live, there aren’t many Dangre bikes floating around the UK, and I’ve never encountered one in the USA. They were never exported like the other big French brands. The best place to pick one up is in France itself, or on the French Ebay site.
I have Dangre Vitus mountain bike. Purchased in France in around 93/94. It’s an amazingly comfortable bike on long rides, probably down to the fillet brazed frame.
I just found a Dangre at a flea market in mint condition. 10 speed with fenders and front and back racks that protect the lights and a speedometer. Under 3000km. Bo rust and in mint condition with all original, albeit the tires need to be changed.
Am I right in thinking you are in the US? I imagine there aren’t many over there, as they didn’t export them like their Peugeot and Motobecane rivals.
I picked up this Bernard Dangre locally.
I fell in love with the patina and thought I at least want to see this roll again.
Got her home and realised she’s going to need a lot of TLC!
What have I done!
I love that mixte frame, I’m told not often available in the larger sizes, for me 56-60cms, did you find it in France, I’m often on LBC.
Have a 56cm Bernard Dangre frame in SWFL. Going to be building it up with old 600!
hi, i have a bernard dangre bike! any idea what size bottom bracket it takes? and is it english threaded?
I stumbled across you site and thought I would share this picture of a mint Bernard Dangre I picked up in France and now takes me to the grocer in Canada.