Identifiable branding is a vital component of business marketing. Over the years, some cycle manufacturers created frame styles that were immediately recognisable as their product. Others used new innovative components to distinguish their bicycles from the crowd. But the most satisfying form of product recognition was – and still is – undoubtedly a unique logo.
The devil was employed as bolt-on mascot for cars, motorcycles and bicycles by accessory companies in England and America, described variously as a ‘speed demon’ or ‘cock-a-snook.’ It signified a driver or rider who did not obey the law.
But the French went further, and used devilish figures to advertise their products. Perhaps French riders were keener to stick two fingers up at authority, because two French cycle companies actually had the devil in their head badges …Lucifer and Arliguie. The latter went further and fitted the most stylish chainguard ever made by a French company to its adult bicycles.
1950s Velo Arliguie Enfant
Michelin ‘Diablo’ Tyres
Martele Hammered Aluminium Mudguards
This Arliguie with the devil headbadge is a rare survivor of the marque. Adult models also had a chainguard with the devil motif. This example has superb original paintwork and transfers (decals). It’s a charming postwar French child’s bicycle, with a rear carrier. The hammered aluminium mudguards and pin striping suggest that this was an expensive model: it’s an often overlooked fact that though children’s bicycles had to be sold at lower prices than adult models, often the build cost was the same.
Born on 22nd January, 1911, in Paris, Rene Arliguie participated competitively in various sports, including athletics, boxing and swimming before cycle racing. He signed his first runner exclusive contract with Cycles Helyette in 1935.
The team photo below is from 1938. Rene is in the centre.
For some great photos and more details about Rene Arliguie, please click here