CNC Comptoirs National du Cycle

Comptoirs National du Cycle

Warehouse and workshop at No. 42 Boulevard de Bercy, Paris

Updated 10.25.2020

“…cycle empire being owned by the firm Ste Fletcher-Ducret, which also owned the brands Chalpait and Thomann… though these two were later used to market the firm’s ‘everyday bikes’… was one of the capital city’s cycling gems in the 1940s through to the 70s and, to a lesser extent into the 70s and 80s. The company is still registered, but no longer trades in bikes.”

“…the firm used to employ a team of around seven top frame-builders, amongst whom figured Rene Andre from time to time, and that the bikes were supplied to many eastern bloc teams – the Poles and the Russians etc…. (in) Peter Underwoods’ site … amongst the Readers Bikes section you will find photos of a superb 1947 Special CNC wearing its full Super Champion derailleur set up, including the that firm’s very quirky front mech.”

“All that is a long time ago, and over the intervening years CNC cut back on its in-house frame-building activity, but continued to supply frames bearing the brand but they were often bought in from builders such as Bernard Carre whose Montreuil workshop could be found just to the side of the boulevard peripherique…”

Norris Locksley on Classic Rendezvous Google group 6.2014

Andy Farrand's restored CNC bicycle.

“The company was run by the Fletcher family that had, as I remember it, some Scottish connection to it. The Fletchers, a grand motherly woman, and a younger man (her son?) were the ones with whom I dealt when I had the bicycles made for me in 1961. It was a small shop in Paris that had a small retail trade, but made most of its money making special frames for many of the French professionals that were re-badged after manufacturer with the make of the company that sponsored the riders’ teams.”

“….when I visited the shop for a “fitting” there was a large of procession of people, some famous and some not, who came in to have a frame made, check on the status of an order, and the like. As is the case with so many bike shops in Europe, the selection of goods (other than frames) was not as good as one finds here in the States, but adequate to the task at hand; they ordered whatever they needed, something that was caused no doubt by the French tax code rather than a disinclination to meet the needs of their customers.”

“It was a small shop and had the frame making part in the back where several artisans worked fitting, filing, welding, and then painting the frames they made. In my case, one of the men who had been making frames all his life came out from the back, asked some questions, took some measurements, and then just looked at me. Then he went back into the back and in about 3 weeks both the bikes that had been given to me by my Italian team were ready. 72.5 degrees for the seat and head tubes, but I forget the rest of the measurements. The seat tube is 52 cm. Campagnolo gears and axles, Mafac brakes, Regina cassette and chain, Fiamme rims, and Clement sew-up tires. The frame was made from Reynolds 531 double butted tubing and fully lugged, as you can see from the photos. It is still the sweetest frame I have ever ridden, far more comfortable than anything else I have ridden, even the most modern composites.”

“When I took the frames to CyclArt to have them repainted several years ago, the Cunninghams made some modifications to them; they routed the rear brake cable in the top tube, brazed on some parts so I could get away from the clamp-ons that so ruined the paint and rusted over time, and other things. The paint job was wonderful, as usual, and in color just as I received them in 1961.”

Andy Farrand