Protagonists of progress may beg to differ, but it’s always encouraging to see ‘heritage’ brands reinvigorated for a modern market (except, perhaps, in the case of MG). Latest case in point: the Cyfac workshop has just relaunched the revered brand of Meral.
Not only do both the marque of Meral and their modern investors, Cyfac, call France their home, but they are even locals of a beautiful province called Touraine — the capital of which, Tours, is most appropriately named for the types of bikes produced by Meral.
Established in 1974, Meral was at it’s strongest during the 80s and 90s, producing thousands of steel tourers, randonneurs, and racers at a high standard of finish. However, it was purchased in 1985 by Cycles LeJeune and followed their demise.
The modern brand of Cyfac is closely tied to the Meral story: Cyfac’s founder, Francis Quillon, was a former racer on the Meral pro team, and subsequently joined the firm as production manager at the age of 24.
Francis’ own influence were the works of names like Singer and Berthoud, and he exerted that style upon his own role, with the unexpected response that one of his models turned out to be extremely popular: Le Super Randonneur.
Francis founded Cyfac after Meral’s sale, but was still based in La Fuye, Tours. After years of producing custom frames for top racers, Cyfac was itself sold and nearly went the way of Meral before being reborn by Aymeric Le Brun and, of course, Francis Quillon.
The new Meral brand now consists of two Columbus-tubed frames, Francis and Francette, named after Francis Quillon and Francette Babault — an original employee of Meral who now guides the paint and finishes of the new bikes.
A younger, burlier CX frame will also soon be released.
The official launch of Meral is forecast to take place in Paris this month, so you can expect to see more of this revered bastion of French cycling presently. We here at The Spoken can only say, “Nous saluons le retour“.
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