Review: Peugeot Classic Bicycles 1945 to 1985

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In Peugeot – Classic Bikes, authors Brian Long and Philippe Claverol give one of the oldest brands of bicycles some welcome English coverage, with machines used by both Peugeot racing teams and available to the public included. It will be a useful reference book for some, and a coffee table book for others – but it won’t excel at either.

What does the name Peugeot mean to you? If you are on this website you are probably familiar with it as a brand name on a range of bicycles; Older readers will also remember when Peugeot bikes were used by some of the best racing cyclists, under various team names – and with one of the most sought after jersey designs.

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The general public may be most familiar with the Peugeot name from its automotive use, so it is perhaps fitting that this book comes from a publisher best known for “sharing our passion for all things automotive for 30 years”, Veloce Publishing. Given this motorized bias, who is going to do the bike side justice?

The first is Brian Long. It’s safe to say he loves writing about cars, but he also loves “the golden years of [cycle] races’. It’s also safe to say he’s thorough with his facts and figures: his “definitive history” of the Porsche 911 is already six volumes long, and it’s only 2012. That’s the kind of detail you want in a reference book. , but that does not make it easier to read.

Co-author Phllippe Claverol is a Citröen executive who has “strong ties to the PSA factory” (Peugeot supplied the “P” to the PSA car group, now part of Stellantis) – and is therefore well placed to access the archive. We’re told he also has a “love of old-school cycling and bikes in general.”

Between them, they sound like a pretty good team for the job.

Despite the full title of Peugeot – Classic Bikes 1945 to 1986 suggesting otherwise, the book covers all the years of the brand so far.


Originally, “Peugeot Frères” “produced a wide range of products, from hand tools to saw blades”. These were joined by the Grand-Bi ‘Penny Farthing’ in 1892, followed by cars, then motorcycles.

Most of the book is devoted to a description of the different lines of bikes produced over the years, with information such as pricing, marketing and specifications. The history of the racing team is intertwined with this, and it is the two together that have contributed to the success of the brand.


Peugeot Classic 2022 bicycles 1945 to 1985 - 3.jpg

The business side receives the least attention, covering things like the relationship with the automotive side, licensing deals, and building factories. Given that the book focuses more on the bikes than the business, that’s to be expected – although I would have gladly had more.

Along the way, Long and Claverol examine “other manufacturers and technological advancements to add perspective.” This includes a reduced history of the Tour de France, which was obviously important to the race team, but I felt most of this was already covered elsewhere and was unnecessary. Only certain aspects directly concerned Peugeot bikes and justified the cover – such as the banning of derailleur gears in the Tour for several years, even after they had already been used in the Giro d’Italia.

Likewise, I wondered about the need for a brief introduction to competing brands, such as Colnago or Raleigh, when I could see the interest in manufacturers who supplied components to Peugeot, such as Mafac and Simplex.

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The roster of riders on racing teams over the years is extraordinary and has repeatedly included Eddy Merckx, Tom Simpson and Robert Millar (as it was). Under different circumstances, he could even have included Greg LeMond on the Z team, but “a special contract was drawn up allowing him to use his own LeMond TVT bikes.”

The decline of the brand, both in the sports and commercial scene, seems inevitable in hindsight: choosing to partner with the Festina team during the “peak years of EPO” was not the best idea, and irregular licensing agreements did not help continuity. supply – especially when accompanied by changes in ownership.

The book ends with “a lighter review of what Peugeot has marketed in recent years”. It will take a lot of bold decisions for the brand to return to its previous highs, so we probably have to accept that its peak is over.

With 285 images, the book lives up to the claim of being “profusely illustrated”, as required by any publication looking for coffee table references. Some of the images are regular racing shots, but most are pages reproduced from catalogs; unfortunately, the size of the resulting text is often small and barely readable, which at least makes the fact that most of it is in French largely irrelevant (for those who don’t speak French well).

There aren’t many books on bike brands available; some are extremely limited in scope, and others are of interest beyond the machines in question. Peugeot sits in between – it covers more bikes than the narrowly focused Lotus book, but isn’t as business-oriented as Cervélo’s. It’s likely to be essential reading for those interested in the brand (and its associated racing teams), but any wider appeal is likely to be limited.

Verdict

A late history of the bike brand and its successful racing teams, if its appeal is limited

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Brand and model : Classic Peugeot Bikes 1945 to 1985 By Brian Long & Philippe Claverol

Tell us what the product is for and who it is for. What are the builders saying? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

From the publisher:

This profusely illustrated book takes a nostalgic look at Peugeot’s road and racing bikes in the golden age between the 60s and 80s, with before and after coverage to complete the story – something that is long overdue. for a long time in English.

This book, written with the full collaboration of the factory, revives the golden age of Peugeot bicycles. After a brief look at the company’s pre-war days, the lavishly illustrated pages focus on a period when the Peugeot name was synonymous with the Tour de France and racing, and bring history up to date with coverage of the later machines. Both road and racing bikes are examined in detail, with the book written in a way that makes it equally suitable both as a reference and as a coffee table tome for enthusiasts.

* The complete history of Peugeot bicycles in the classic era.

* Heavily illustrated with photographs and contemporary artwork.

* Focuses on the “golden age” of cycling.

* Introduction to the beginnings of Peugeot.

* Lightweight cover from the 1990s to the present.

*Road and racing bikes are covered, with emphasis on the latter.

* Records all major post-war race entries for the factory team.

* Look at other manufacturers and leaps in technology to add perspective.

* Written with the full cooperation of the factory.

* Serves as the company’s rare English recording.

Tell us a bit more about the technical aspects of the product?

Title: Peugeot – Classic bikes

Author: Brain Long & Philippe Claverol

Publisher: Veloce Publishing Ltd.

Date: 7/28/22

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 176

ISBN: 9781787112155

Price: £35

Tell us how the product performed overall when used as intended

The aim is to provide lots of information about Peugeot bikes, which it does.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Brings back memories of a better era for the brand, both in competition and in mass distribution.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The small size of the images makes it difficult (if not impossible) to read the pages of catalogs that have been reproduced.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider purchasing the product? I like the idea, but I don’t know if I’m really a fan.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Selectively, to those who are interested in the brand.

Use this box to explain your overall score

It’s a decent reference book and niche coffee table book, albeit with a few flaws and distractions.

Age: 60 Height: Lester:

I usually ride: My best bike is:

I have been riding since: Over 20 years I ride: most days I would classify myself as: Expert

I regularly practice the following types of riding: Touring, club rides, sportsmen, general fitness riding,

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