Clement & Cie was one of France’s top manufacturers in the early years of cycling, and a leading contender in racing. Adolphe Clement recognized the importance of the automobile, so he merged his company with Humber and Gladiator in 1896, and the new concern started manufacturing cars. Clement also understood the importance of advertising, and many beautiful posters were created to advertise his bicycles and cars.
1899 Velo Dame ‘Clement’
Clement name engraved in the handlebars & chain
Meilleur Ladies saddle
This Clement bicycle, built at the end of the 1800s, is not just a means of transportation. It is a work of art, the simplicity of its style and intricate details a thing of beauty. Bicycles were expensive, and the ‘quality’ cycle manufacturers paid more attention in this era to the fine details of design than at any time since.
Clement chainwheels are unique – observe the pattern of its teeth – so they require unique chains too.
Clement also patented a unique chain adjuster in the rear stay.
The handlebars taper toward the ends (you can see close up pictures further down the page which show off this radical feature to better effect).
The company name is etched into the top of the handlebar.
CLEMENT LAPEL BADGE
The Clement does not have a head badge: at this time the company used a transfer (decal) which has worn off over the past 116 years. It has been fitted with a blank owner’s plaque, which is ready for a new owner to engrave their name and city. Owner’s plaques were introduced in France in 1899, and were used to tax bicycles.
I also have the Clement lapel badge seen below
The previous owner is a friend who lives in France and is a longtime vintage bicycle collector. He restored the Clement around ten years ago. Despite owning much older and more valuable machines, he declares that this ladies’ Clement was his favourite.