Clément 'grand-bi' 1878-1879

Clement started fabrication of bicycles in 1878 in Paris. They didn't make bicycles in large numbers, those first years, so this 1878-1879 model is absolutely rare. Especially with its original lining. It really is an impressive bike, I like the extensive use of brass, which was more common in the 'boneshaker' period. Even the pedals are made of brass! The bicycle has a lot of beautiful details, like the way the spring is enforced when it splits. This Clément is a work of art.

You can enjoy this bicycle in the Velorama museum, they show it with more than 20 other high wheels from all countries.

This bicycle features a few details I have seen on more early French bikes, like Meyer. The spring pointing forward, and the way the cranks are attached to the front hub.
This bike still has front bearings that resemble the old 1860's boneshaker/velocipede. Very old fashioned in years when Hillman, Herbert & Cooper already offered ball bearings...


There is a similar bicycle on the website of Robert Sterba. Click the picture below for a link. Concerning that bicycle: the strange way in which the spokes are attached to the hubs must be the result of some kind of 'restoration'. Soldering those round metal plates on hub and spokes gives the construction a bit more rigidity, but it does not seem to be original.