A brief history by Alvin Smith
Paris Cycles was set up in 1943 or thereabouts by Harry Rensch. Harry Rensch was already widely known in the cycling world as “Spanner” Rensch. Rensch had been well respected in the cycle business before the Second World War as the originator of Rensch bicycles. These were thoroughbred lightweights famous for their continental finishes, Massed Start frame design and novel construction – using lugless concepts made possible by a technique that the Rensch literature referred to as “bronze welding” but which is now better known as Sif-bronze brazing – a more controlled technique giving a stronger frame than normal brass brazing using lugs.
The pre-war bicycles were all true lightweights and most frames had Osgear rear ends needed for the gears used in Massed Start road racing During WW2 Rensch was an oxy-acetylene welder in London’s shipyards. During this time he managed to continue bicycle trading but at some point decided to change the name of the firm to PARIS Cycles, probably in or shortly after 1942. It is thought that the change was to avoid the association of his own name with German interests, and of course there was at that time a violently anti-German feeling as a result of the London Blitz, particularly in the dockland areas. The new PARIS firm was set up in Rensch’s old home, 133 Stoke Newington Church Street in N16. The first publicity material came out in 1946 using this address.
Bicycle sold as is, not rebuilt.
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