Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

This Bike Is an Archeological Site

Earlier this week, I had a customer bring me this PanWorld bike to be converted to a fixed gear. I had never heard of PanWorld, and I can't find much about them on the interweb. Basically, all I have found is an inquiry on a bike forum asking if anyone has any info on the brand.

Made in Germany, with early-1970s French components, it appears to be just another "bike-boom" ten-speed.


The customer wants the frame powder-coated white. I would have left the gold and silver foil wraparound decals on, and retained the blue paint, if it was mine. But, the customer is the boss, so I started peeling the decals in preparation to taking the frame down to Prestige (Lee always appreciates it if he doesn't have to deal with decals).

As I peeled the big, gold, decal from the seat tube, I realized that it was bringing some other decals with it. I could see that there were white-outlined black die-cut letters on the tube under the large decal. It was hard to make out what they said, though. I thought I could make it out, but I figured I'd check under the downtube decal and see if I could get a better idea.


Sure enough, there it was: VAINQUEUR. So, now I have a mystery bike.
It has obviously been rebranded...but why? Did PanWorld buy surplus Vainqueurs and rebadge them, or did a second-party supplier sell them to PanWorld without PanWorld's knowledge that they were old-stock?
The French name on the bike and the plastic Simplex derailleurs suggest that the bike was built in France, rather than Germany. However, the frame has an English-thread bottom bracket shell which suggests it was built in neither of those countries but, rather, possibly Japan.
Maybe the Japanese frame factory had these built and decalled, when an order for PanWorlds came in, with cash attached. The big foil decals sure look early-70s Japanese, being very similar to the American Flyer and Takara decals of the same period.
This is one of the things I love about dealing with old bikes! You never know when something like this will come along.
x

13 Comments:

At 6:40 AM , Anonymous red light green light said...

Wow,
This is pretty cool stuff! I was not aware that Vainqueur ever toyed around with producing whole bikes. I have some of their fine LR brakes on 2 high end Raleigh's and they are pretty nice quality, to me anyways.
The bike biz must have been so interesting in the boom era....

 
At 7:15 AM , Blogger Apertome said...

Fascinating. Good sleuthing, I hope you're able to learn more about this weird bike.

 
At 9:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a 1971 or 72 Panworld Grand Sport 10 speed. It is in excellent condition because it was kept in my house every where I lived.
It is a purple color and was made in Belgium.
Any questions about it, you can email me at mart1058@hotmail.com
Might just be the only one left in this kind of condition. I bought it new in 1972 for I believe 275.00.
There is some foreign writing on the label below the seat where it says where it was made. I don't know all the terms for the parts, but the mounts for the brakes are shimano. The gear changer on the back wheel is a Simplex.

 
At 11:28 PM , Blogger Bicycle Repair Man said...

I just picked up a "garage queen" Heidemann Vainqueur 10-speed. Looks to be complete and original - Huret derailleurs and shifters, Weinmann brakes, Rigida steel rims.

It's certainly a low-end bike boom monster, but I will be posting updates as it is first restored, then perhaps converted to single-speed.

 
At 12:20 PM , Blogger Lars Rider said...

I bought a "Made in Belgium" Panworld road bike fixie conversion. It has yellow paint, lugs outlined in blue, with metallic blue (with silver trim) foil decal on seat tube and plain Panworld in blue on the downtube. There was a foil decal removed above the Panworld on the downtube. It probably was in blue. I got a blue annodized Pake crankset installed to replace the old cotter pin crankset. Shimano 105 BB, lucky it had English Threads. It rides about like a Peugeot UO8. Smooth ride but acceleration is slow. Excellent around town bike. Gets a lot of comments.

 
At 12:21 PM , Blogger Lars Rider said...

I bought a "Made in Belgium" Panworld road bike fixie conversion. It has yellow paint, lugs outlined in blue, with metallic blue (with silver trim) foil decal on seat tube and plain Panworld in blue on the downtube. There was a foil decal removed above the Panworld on the downtube. It probably was in blue. I got a blue annodized Pake crankset installed to replace the old cotter pin crankset. Shimano 105 BB, lucky it had English Threads. It rides about like a Peugeot UO8. Smooth ride but acceleration is slow. Excellent around town bike. Gets a lot of comments.

 
At 12:54 PM , Blogger Lars Rider said...

I recently bought a Panworld fixie conversion. It was pretty rough, but the frame, paint and wheels were decent (Vuelta Pista XRP). I had a new BB installed with Pake Blue Anodized crankset and yellow Origin 8 track pedals. Bike rides like my old UO8 from 1973, smooth, but not so hot acceleration.

 
At 1:37 AM , Blogger nephi said...

interesting. i came across your post as i googled for info on my own recent panworld discovery. my bike also has a gold foil decal, english threaded bottom bracket, at had simplex components. perhaps mine is the same, but i think the foil decal is too cool looking to check. thanks for the info!

 
At 7:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a Vainqueur 10 speed that is almost 40 years old. I bought it when I was 16 and just rode it yesterday. It's the lightest weight bike I've ever seen and is always trustworthy. A little rusty and old-looking now, but it will always be my trusty green bike!

 
At 1:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have had a Vainqueur hanging in the rafters of my garage for about 30 years now. I am 57 and my dad bought this for me used sometime between when I was 16 and 18. I’ll take a shot and say that I was riding this bike by 1972 the latest. This bike replaced my Raleigh Record when it was stolen from my garage. I rode this bike for many years and remember it being quite light and quick in comparison to my friend’s Varsity Schwinn.

My bike is white and the lettering of the decals is generally made up of black letters surrounded by a gold edge.

The top tube decal has the words "Type Normandie". The head badge emblem on the head tube wording is "Olympic Deluxe". The decals on either side of the front fork tubes say "Normandie” with “Francais” immediately below it. There are two decals on the down tube – the first says just “Vainqueur” and the second says Derailleurs - Huret”. On the seat tube there is a large crest with the following words in it: “Heidemann-Works / Hanover / Made in Germany”. There is also a round decal (red center with gold exterior ring) at the top pf the seat tube that states: “This Bicycle of High Quality conforms to the Newest International Safety Standards”.

It has a Huret front derailleur and a Huret Svetto rear derailleur. The downtube clamp mounted friction shifters are Huret. The rear wheel chain-guard is Huret. I broke the load side cottered crank years ago and replaced it with a non-brand one so I don't know what might have been on it and I do not see any markings on the cassette itself but I assume the whole drive gruppo must have been Huret.

The brakes are "Weinmann Vainqueur 800" center-pull, and the brake levers are marked Weinmann.

The rims are chromed, steel. The front wheel is marked 27 inches and the rim is marked ARAYA 27X1 ¼ V/O HP. I have a feeling that this might have been a replacement that I put on the bike in my younger days as the rear rim is thicker. There are no markings on either of the hubs. As I remember the axels were nutted and I changed them to wing nuts.

It has an alloy stem – I distinctly remember replacing the handlebars so I don’t know what bars would have originally been on it. The seat is vinyl with the word “Courier” on it. I believe that I also put this seat on it at some point in time. I also believe I changed the seat post which is chromed, steel.

The steel lugged frame measures about 23 inches from the bottom of the BB to the top of the seat post tube.

I found the following in the Internet: The Vainquer bicycles were made in Luxemburg and imported by S/M Multicorp Inc. of Albuquerque, New Mexico. They had a relatively limited distribution and therefore are rare, though not valuable.

Mr Blimp

 
At 8:36 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just bought an old vainqueur bike in mint condition!! Anyone got more info about that company? It's made in Germany the bike is a kind of kaki with a leather saddle and brass rivets so I guess that bike was produced in the late 60' or begining 70'. Thanks.

 
At 4:50 PM , Blogger Paul Hyland said...

just got a ludo catt 4 speed with a svetto derailleur made in Belgium . i cant find any info on it any one seen one of these ?

 
At 10:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found a white, Pan World, Olympian, in a metal dumpster and the frame says, made in East Germany. I've owned it for years. It has a Bike Warehouse sticker on it. With a cottered crank and all steel parts, except the Japanese stem and brakes, this bike was definitely a low end, or, entry level actual 10 speed bicycle. Most people wouldn't give a bike like this a secould glance but it has served me well for commutes and tours, both. I'm certain that the frame is made from low tec' metal but it doesn't flex in the least unlike my expensive Miyata touring bike. I'm slowly adding cooler, more expensive components to it and enjoying the ride more and more. The light alloy wheels, of course, made the biggest difference. I find, and have found, you don't need expensive machinery to really enjoy riding, even though I have plenty of hi-tec bikes, although older, these less expensive frames can be very well made and are quite servicable.

 

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