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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The New Rene Herse Crankset

Our friends at Compass Bicycles are proud to introduce a modern version of the classic René Herse cranks. The new cranks will be available this fall. A day hardly passes without a request for crankset that features a narrow tread, exceptional chairing versatility, light weight, easy removal and installation of chainrings, and outstanding asthetics. The original René Herse crank is a brilliant design that provides all of these.

Most modern-day riders have a few new requirements for their cranks. Triple front derailleurs have shaping, and therefore an increased distance between the outer ring and the crankarm is crucial for proper derailleur adjustment. Folks also do not want to fuss with specialty tools, so the use of a standard crankarm remover is desirable. Finally, a small bit of curve to the arm to provide a bit more heal clearance than pure “classic” designs is often beneficial. The new René Herse crank shown above has all of these new features.
More discussion of the new René Herse crank’s features can be found on the Compass Bicycle blog. (click here to read).

For a bit of fun history, here are some iterations of René Herse cranks starting from the very earliest.
The original René Crank was introduced during the late 1930’s and an early example is shown below. The exact dating of this crank is uncertain. This particular crank came from a bicycle obtained from the estate of Jean DeJeans, a famous randonneur with a proud history of riding PBP on Rene Herse bikes. He was also close friends with Daniel Rebour.

By the mid-1940’s, the René Herse crank evolved into the following shown below.

Note that the grooves are now present, and the shape is established. The ring to spider interface required quite a bit of hand finishing at this time. Later on, the fit and tolerances became more standardized. This is seen in the image below of a 1970’s era crank.

And finally, when was the René Herse crank shown below made? If you guessed the year as 2011 you are correct!