Updated: June 2/2020

1960 Helyett Speciale

Arguably one of the most important French bicycle manufacturers - along with Alcyon, Automoto, Gitane, Mercier, and Peugeot - was Helyett. The company was founded in 1919 by the Picard brothers and were adorned with head badges of Miss Helyett Smithson, the heroine of a 19th century opérette. The company sponsored a professional cyclinn team from 1932 (Helyett-Hutchinson) until 1961 (Helyett-Fynsec-Hutchnson). At some point in their careers, legends like Rene Vietto and Jacques Anquetil rode for Helyett. The bicycle shown here was obtained from Marty Walsh (see correspondence below) and was Helyett's top of the line model the Helyett Speciale Type Professionnel. With the exception of the chain, the bicycle is original. The rod actuated front derailleur was used by Anquetil into the late 50s. E-mail from Marty Walsh From: mowalsh@verizon.net Date: Jul 7, 2016 5:38 PM Subject: Re: Re[2]: Helyett To: john.katsaras@hotmail.com Cc: Hi John, If you have a "form letter you can send me" that would be helpful for what facts, details etc. you'd like to see in the bill of sale from Mel Pinto, to the original owner of the Helyett Speciale, bicycle. Mel now thinks he sold the bicycle in circa 1960. Of course the letter is 56 years after the fact but it would be great thing to have for the Helyett. I did not get an original bill of sale from the widow with the Helyett Speciale when I bought the bicycle. Original paint and a signed letter from the original dealer…….It's amazing that Mel very clearly remembered that bicycle after having sold literally tens of thousands of bicycles in his lifetime. Mel Pinto Imports was the Mid Atlantic Gitane Importer during the bicycle boom era and possible the whole East Coast. He was also the U.S.A Campagnolo Importer for a few years! He still has a large warehouse that he owned back in the bicycle boom when I first met him in person in 1973 / 1974. I got my first 10 speed bicycle from his business in 1971. Mel was NOT usually in the retail stores that he owned. Instead he was at the warehouse / business office / location that he still owns and rents out the lower half of the building. So it would help me out if you come up with what you'd like the letter to say. I'll locate the man's name whom Mel Pinto sold the bicycle to back in 1960. I purchased the bicycle from his widow many years ago. Larry Black had a chance to buy it at one of his two shop locations but ……. Well I got lucky and found the bicycle. This will take a bit of time. Mel is hard to contact and a bit difficult to deal with I / we have to be patient. Thanks! Marty E-Mail from Mark Bulgier to the CR list regarding Helyett lugs on May 14, 2020 A thing I find noteworthy about the Helyett Speciale lug is how close the lug is cut to the miter of the tube, at that point I have circled in red. Most lugs "hide" more of the tube, to allow for less-than-perfect miters, but this one cuts it pretty close. The end of the DT miter is probably about at the forwardmost part of the red circle, or about 2 or 3 mm from the forwardmost point in the lug window. That's not unprecedented, but it is unusual. A bit of a show-off move for a frame that was made in a factory. (Maybe Anquetil's weren't, but their factory-made frames had this lug too.) I want to stress that I'm not saying this is a weak point -- the frame will never ever break there. It's the best place to scoop the lug shoreline close to the miter, and I think it's cool they did. It's a fairly attractive lug shape, though maybe I'd have done it a bit different (not that anyone's asking for my 2 cents!) But love it or hate it, it gets uniqueness points for sure, and it's got historical importance "for days". Making this near the pinnacle of the most desirable, collectable bikes of the period, IMO. Mark Bulgier Seattle WA USA THE BIKE Frame: 1960 (#60637) Helyett Speciale Type Professionnel in original paint. Reynolds 3 main tubes. The Type Professionnel was below the top model "Type Record de l'Heure" (in recognition of Anquetil's hour record) and after Anquetil's 1957 Tour de France victory, the Type Professionnel became second to the "Type Tour de France". Top tube 57 cm c-to-c; Seat tube: 55 cm c-to-c Brakeset: MAFAC Dural Forge Handlebars: Steel Stem: Pivo alloy Headset: Stronglight Competition Shifters: Simplex single lever Front Derailleur: Simplex Competition (rod actuated) Rear Derailleur: Simplex Juy Export 61 Crankset: Stronglight 57 Competition, cottered steel Bottom Bracket: Stronglight V4 Competition Pedals: Lyotard 460 with Christophe Special cages Wheelset: High-flange Normandy hubs laced to Pivo rims using Robergel spokes Chain : Brampton, France Freewheel: 5 speed J. Moyne Seatpost: Steel (27.1 mm) with Ideale clamp Saddle: Ideale 52 Water Bottle Cage/Bottle: Coloral plastic bottle with Coloral steel cage