For a few years, Gladiator was one of the leading cycle manufacturers of France. By now, the firm is almost forgotten. Only their magnificent advertising and posters remain popular. The firm was based in Le PrÃ© Saint Germain, a suburb of Paris. Production started in 1891 and continued after the takeover of Gladiator by ClÃ©ment in 1896. In later years they built motor cycles and cars.
The bicycle you see in the pictures has been built around 1894-1895. It has very characteristic details, like the way the cranks are fixed and the tubular front fork crown â€“ which reminds me of Raleigh. This bike is (according to the 1895 catalogue) a Gladiator ModÃ¨le de Luxe, Gladiator Extra, or Gladiator Extra de Course. There also were cheaper Gladiator models without the tubular fork crown.
Max, who owns the bike and took the pictures, told me the hubs are certainly original. They are in the same style so I can agree with him. The rims are 28 inch Westwood and seem to be too modern for this bike. I guess they've been changed, since 30 inch pneumatic tires are really obsolete. The 1895 catalogue mentions a 30 inch front wheel. Chain tensioners are also too modern.