Company | Structure and sales lines
Happy and affordable holidays.
Helvetic Tours is Kuoni’s budget package holiday brand in Switzerland. Its range of affordable, yet classy and stylish beach holidays makes no concessions to comfort and quality. In 2011, Kuoni became the first Swiss tour operator to launch a virtual operator, X-Helvetictours, which offers dynamically packaged flights and hotels.
Current press releases
11 January 2024
Karl J. Pojer appointed new CEO of DER Touristik Hotel Division
10 January 2024
Expanded position in the market for land-based travel: DER Touristik acquires a majority stake in DR Hospitality
5 October 2023
Bringing food to Michelstadt
4 October 2023
REWE and Tafel food banks working together to help people in need
27 September 2023
DER Touristik Hotel Division’s latest investment: Aldiana Club Fuerteventura acquired
14 September 2023
Capital market début: The REWE Group successfully issues a sustainability-linked bond and makes sustainability a direct business factor
28 March 2023
REWE Group successfully navigates crisis year 2022 and stays on steady course
14 December 2022
First fully autonomous REWE Pick&Go store opens in Munich
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Herostrasse 12 8048 Zürich Switzerland
+41 58 702 71 71 travelshop @ helvetictours.ch www.helvetictours.ch
Certification Since 2019
Helvetic Tours is the low-cost package tour brand from DER Touristik Suisse. The wide range of beach holidays on short, medium and long-distance routes enables you to travel in style without sacrificing comfort. The hotels do not only convince with quality, but also with reasonable prices.
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Agence de voyage: achat billet avion, sejour vacance, location appartement
- Bahnhofstrasse 41, 2502 Biel/Bienne, Suisse
10h a 19h samedi 10h - 18h">lundi au vendredi 10h a 19h samedi 10h - 18h
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French Revolution, Helvetic Republic
The French Revolution and the subsequent Napoleonic wars changed the face of Europe. Napoleon's invasion of Switzerland was a turning point in the country's history.
France and the Swiss Confederation had had a close relationship since the 16th century. Throughout this time many of the Swiss cantons provided mercenaries to serve the French king. At the storming of the Tuileries in August 1792 many Swiss Guards died trying to prevent the angry crowd from entering the palace. The massacre provoked great dismay in Switzerland. In honour of the fallen Swiss Guards a memorial was erected in Lucerne ( Lion Monument ). It was not only Swiss troops who were active in France. Paris as a cultural centre had long attracted some Swiss, many of whom were influenced by revolutionary ideas . The most famous Swiss revolutionary in France was Jean-Paul Marat (1743-1793) of Neuchâtel, who had lived in Paris since 1777. He founded the revolutionary newspaper " L'Ami du peuple " (Friend of the People) and was a member of the Paris National Convention, which in 1793 decided to execute the king. Marat was murdered in July 1793. " People came and said a crowd had gathered in the square outside the Tuileries. (…) Then news came that the Swiss guard had opened fire on the mob and that the fight had started. (...). The women in the house were our messengers. They brought us the news.(…) One woman reported that the king's palace was on fire.(…) Then my wife came from the market and said people were dragging the mutilated bodies of the Swiss round the streets. Whenever someone passed with part of the body of a murdered Swiss guard, I heard people shouting: „Hoho, bravo, bravo!“." From a letter written by the Swiss Officer J.B. Good on 3 September 1792 and sent to his brothers and sisters.
The French occupation
The helvetic republic, related links.
- Travel information
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- DE EN FR IT
- Map Switzerland Bern Zurich Balearic Islands Palma de Mallorca Greece Heraklion Kos Rhodes Cyprus Larnaca Northern Europe Kittilä, Finland Africa Djerba, Tunisia Hurghada, Egypt
- Before your flight Seat reservation Travel Insurance Baggage information Special travel requests Check-in and online check-in Airport information Flight schedule changes Passengers and groups Animals During your flight Service on board After your flight Baggage damage and loss Hotel Car rental
- Web Check-In
Where would you like to fly, check in easily online, important information concerning your flight, seat reservation.
Would you like a view or additional legroom?
Reserve your very own preferred seat easily in advance. Online or through our Service Centre.
Reserve your very own preferred seat easily in advance. Online or through our Service Centre. Seat reservations can be made up to 24 hours prior to departure. Reservations will be charged from CHF 12 to CHF 30, depending on the seat row. This service is not available on certain flights.
Please not that certain seats are kept free for passengers who need special assistance, as well as for operational or safety reasons. Only passengers aged 16 years and up, who are in good physical and mental condition and have a good knowledge of German or English may sit at the emergency exits. In case of an emergency, the cabin crew will ask passengers sitting at the emergency exit for their help. Should passengers not fulfil these requirements, the cabin crew and staff at the check-in counter have the right to re-seat passengers.Reservations that have already been made can no longer be changed free of charge. The seat reservation that has been paid for will not be refunded.
Seat prices can be found at:
- E190-E1 (112)
Please note: Helvetic Airways endeavours to keep to any seat reservations that are subject to charge. For operational or safety reasons, Helvetic Airways reserves the right to not guarantee the booked seats and to reassign seats. The remaining seats will be allocated at check-in. Passengers can make their preferences known at check-in. Getting to the check-in counter early allows for a selection based on “first come, first served”.
For more information, please read the provisions regarding seat reservations. Even if you make a seat reservation, we recommend that you still get to the check-in counter early.
Be it a city trip or a golf weekend: the main thing is that you have a good time without complaints when travelling. In cooperation with Europäische Reiseversicherungs AG, Helvetic Airways offers you complete insurance protection for your air travel. Cancellation costs and SOS protection This insurance provides you with the following services:
- Cancellation costs
- SOS-protection for travel-related incidents up to a maximum of CHF 250,000.-
- 24-hour helpline
- Cancelling service for mobile phones and credit cards
The cancellation cost insurance is only valid if it is taken out within 8 days following receipt of the final booking confirmation.
Travel luggage & supplementary hospital costs
This insurance provides you with the following services:
- Doctor and hospital costs worldwide up to a maximum of CHF 100,000.
- Baggage loss and damage during transport up to a maximum of CHF 1,000.-
You can find out more about the scope of services and the validity of the insurance cover you have chosen in the general conditions of insurance of Europäische Reiseversicherungs AG ( cancellation costs & SOS protection and baggage and hospital costs supplement ).
Europäische Reiseversicherungs AG Margarethenstrasse 38 PO Box CH-4003 Basel Customer services tel. +41 58 275 22 10 Claims services tel. +41 58 275 27 27 Email: [email protected] www.erv.ch
Baggage per passenger (Economy)
- Baggage allowance 23 kg 1 piece of hand luggage weighing 8 kg
- Hand luggage (dimensions 55x40x20 cm)
In addition to hand luggage (suitcase or rucksack), each passenger with a seat may also bring a laptop bag or a handbag on board.
One pushchair or child seat can be checked in free of charge as luggage.
What can be taken in luggage and what not? You will find extensive information about which items may be transported on the plane at www.bazl.admin.ch .
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones: The phone must be switched off completely on board and may not be charged. It may only be transported in hand luggage, not in hold luggage.
You will find a detailed overview of all forbidden items at: For your safety (Zurich Airport)
Personal Tracking Devices Activated personal tracking devices may only be carried in checked baggage if the battery power does not exceed 2.7 Wh and the lithium content does not exceed 0.3g. Tracking devices must be stowed in the baggage to protect them from damage.
Excess baggage: As a rule, CHF 15 will be charged per kg of excess baggage. You can find detailed information about this in the general conditions of carriage (GCC) .
Increase your baggage allowance and save up to 65%!
On payment of a flat fee, you can increase your free baggage allowance from the usual 23 kg to either 32 kg or 46 kg. The increase costs CHF 80 / CHF 150 respectively, per passenger and flight.
Not valid on flights from/to Pristina, Skopje and Ohrid!
Valid on all 3-digit Helvetic Airways flight numbers, but not for Olbia, Shannon, Pristina, Skopje and Ohrid!
You can register an increase in baggage allowance online or by telephone with our customer services up to 24 hours prior to departure at the latest. Payment is made by credit card.
Please note that costs cannot be refunded if the baggage checked in actually weighs less. If at the check-in counter the baggage weighs more than the baggage allowance obtained, the usual excess baggage charge of CHF 15 per kg must be paid at check-in. Helvetic Airways does not accept any items of baggage weighting more than 32kg.
Sports equipment (less than 150cm in length) Your sports equipment (golf bag, diving equipment, skiing and snowboarding gear, surfing and kitesurfing equipment, mountain climbing, hiking and walking equipment, fishing equipment, SUP, etc.) is transported within the baggage allowance free of charge. If the baggage allowance is exceeded, a maximum of CHF 60 will be charged per item of sports baggage.
Large pieces of sports equipment: CHF 120 per item is charged per way for sports equipment exceeding a length of 150cm. Please note that this equipment must be registered.Transporting sports equipment longer than 280cm is only possible upon request.
Bikes: Bikes must be packaged securely prior to transport (handlebars turned inwards, pedals removed). Costs for this service amount to CHF 60 per item per way. The transport of bikes is limited per flight. Please enquire about this at our Service Centre in good time.
Special travel requests
- Passenger name
- Flight number / destination
- Dietary requirement as well as any additional allergies
For special greetings we also need:
- Credit card details
- Desired item and quantity
Check-in and online check-in
Due to the current safety regulations, Helvetic Airways recommends arriving at the check-in counter 2.5 hours prior to the specified departure time. The passenger must arrive at the check-in counter on time with a valid ID card/passport. You can also add your seat preferences here!
The check-in counter closes 30 to 60 minutes prior to departure, depending on the airport. You can find detailed information on our departure airports below under “Information about the airport”
Passengers who do not adhere to the deadline for checking in will lose their right to travel and can no longer be transported on the flight. Passengers will not be entitled to a refund of the flight price.
Helvetic Airways assumes no liability for losses or costs arising as a result of the passenger disregarding these regulations.
Fly Rail Baggage: Your baggage travels from any airport in the world via Zurich, Bern Belp or Sion airport directly to your local train station in Switzerland (Please note: no check-in available).
You can find detailed information about this service from SBB online at http://www.sbb.ch/bahnhof-services/dienstleistungen/reise-und-fluggepaeck.html
Do things faster with online check-in! Our Helvetic Airways online check-in allows you to:
- Check in easily online at home
- Select your preferred seat
- Print your boarding pass
Our online check-in is as easy as this:
Step 1: Enter your name and flight details Step 2: Confirm/select the flight to be checked in Step 3: Select your preferred seat Step 4: Print your boarding pass
When can I start to check in online? Online check-in is available from 23 hours up to 3 hours prior to departure, except for flights from Zurich up to 4 hours prior to departure. Please note that online check-in is not available for all our departure airports due to local stipulations!
Evening Check-in: Evening Check-in is not possible. Airport Information -->
Flight schedule changes.
Helvetic Airways always makes every effort to stick to the planned flight times. However, for operational reasons, changes in flight schedule may still occur, and it is a concern for us to inform our passengers as quickly as possible. You will receive any changes in flight schedule, flight delays or flight cancellations via email and, in cases of last-minute changes, also by telephone. So that you can profit from this service, we will need your email address as well as your current telephone number. You can enter these details in your my helvetic.com account under “My profile”.
Passengers and groups
- To avoid health risks, newborns can only be transported on the flight once they have reached 8 days old.
- Infants up to 2 years of age (age at the time of flight) must be registered for safety reasons. Infants travel on the lap of their parent/carer. They do not have the right to their own seat and baggage – unless you have your own, non-discounted booking.
- Please note that there are no cots on our flights (short-haul).
Children and young persons:
- As a rule, children under the ages of 5 years are only transported when accompanied by somebody aged 18 years and above.
- Tickets for children and young persons between the ages of 5 and 12 (exception Kosovo until 14 years), who are travelling without a companion, must be booked at least 48 hours prior to departure through the Service Centre (Processing fee of CHF 80.00 per route and per child).
- Young persons from 12 years of age (at the beginning of outbound flight) are considered adults. Helvetic Airways does not provide any carers or chaperones and does not accept any liability for insufficient supervision.
More information about this can be found at: Travelling with children (Zurich Airport).
- Pregnant women who are healthy are transported up until their 36th week of pregnancy.
- We recommend that expectant mothers carry a doctor’s note on them from their 28th week of pregnancy onwards, presenting the state of health and the expected delivery date.
Passengers with restrictions : Do you need help because of a disability or is your mobility restricted? The free service from Careport is on hand to help our passengers. You will be accompanied from your arrival at the airport to the point when you enter the plane. We recommend that you arrive at check-in at least 2 hours prior to departure. You can register this assistance in advance at +41 44 270 85 00. What kind of assistance do you need?
- Helvetic Airways may only transport one visually impaired passenger and their guide dog in the cabin per flight.
- For safety and space reasons, entitlement to carriage only exists if the intended carriage of the guide dog was registered with confirmation of receipt when booking.
- Carriage of the guide dog is possible without a container and is free of charge.
Would you like to travel as a group? No problem: With Helvetic Airways, you can travel easily and comfortably in a group of ten persons and up to your European dream destination. Simply fill out the relevant groupcontact form – we would be happy to organise your individual group trip!
For safety and space reasons, entitlement to carriage for animals (dogs, cats, etc.) only exists if it was registered with confirmation of receipt when booking. The animal must be in a suitable and secure container provided by the passenger. The decision of whether and how the animal in question can be transported lies with Helvetic Airways.
Transporting animals in the cabin: For animals weighing up to 8kg (including transport container), an additional fee of CHF 80 per route will be charged, which must be paid at the time of registration. Only a limited number of animals can be transported in the cabin per flight. The transport container must not exceed 56x32x27 cm, must be watertight and remains closed and on the floor during the entire flight, and must be stored under the front seat during take off and landing.
Transporting animals in the air freight space: Transport of animals in the cargo hold: Animals (pets) weighing more than 8 kilos can be transported in your aircraft’s cargo hold in a suitable secure, watertight and IATA approved container. The fees for doing so vary according to the container’s size and wight. If you wish to transport your pet in this way, please contact out Service Center in good time ahead of your flight.
Helvetic Airways does not accept any liability for possible damages to the animal’s health from flight carriage. All health checks/certificates and conditions/papers for the animal’s entry into the destination country are the passenger’s responsibility. Due to quarantine regulations, the transport of animals is not permitted on certain routes.
Information brochure “Ich reise mit Hund oder Katze” (I’m travelling with a dog or a cat) from the Federal Veterinary Office: BVET_Brosch_Hund_Katz_d.pdf
Service on board
On board with Helvetic Airways... The Helvetic Airways crew is waiting for you with customary Swiss hospitality.
A high-quality snack or meal (depending on the time of day & flight) is offered to passengers on all routes.
Duty-free on-board sales: Swiss across the board – indulge in a unique duty-free experience.You can find the Fly&Buy duty-free catalogue on board in every seat pocket.
You can pre-order your duty-free favourites up to 72 hours prior to departure. Send us an email containing the details of the desired item to [email protected] .
This service is not available on certain flights.
Helvetic Airways souvenirs (Safetycards, pens, postcards, destination guides, etc.) cannot be sent.
Smoking: All Helvetic Airways flights are non-smoking flights.
Safety: Since 1 May 2014, mobile phones, tablets and e-readers can be used on-board with Helvetic Airways, even during take off and landing – but only in flight mode.
Baggage damage and loss
Helvetic Airways accepts liability for damages caused during a flight operated by Helvetic Airways and for which there is a valid contract of carriage.
General Conditions of Carriage: abb_en.pdf
Registering baggage damage or loss: Should one or several pieces of baggage be damaged on arrival or individual items or the entire content of your baggage be missing, please notify the Helvetic Airways handling agents of this immediately. You will then receive a damage log and will be informed about further actions.
Procedure in case of damaged baggage:
- Register damage with Lost&Found (damage report created) at the arrival airport within 7 days.
- Please keep all baggage tags, luggage and evidence until the end of the case, otherwise no liability can be accepted.
- If you only notice the damage after leaving the airport, a damage report must be created in retrospect within 7 days at the airport. Please note that no liability can be accepted once this deadline has expired.
- Is it possible to make a repair? If the answer is yes, have the repair carried out and send us the bill.
- If the answer is no, we require confirmation of the current value
- Otherwise, we require an original receipt in order to calculate the current value of the luggage. (Minus 10% for every year)
- Please send this information as well as your bank details to [email protected] in order to claim compensation Helvetic Airways AG Steinackerstrasse 56 CH-8302 Kloten
- Max. refund amount: SDR 1000,00 (special drawing rights)
Procedure when baggage is delayed:
- Register baggage loss at the arrival airport within 7 days (creation of a baggage loss report).
- Please keep all baggage tags and evidence until the end of the case, otherwise no liability can be accepted.
- Purchase of the most necessary items; maximum of EUR 100.00 per piece of luggage.
- Please keep receipts of purchases and send them to [email protected] or Helvetic Airways AG Steinackerstrasse 56 CH-8302 Kloten
Procedure in case of lost baggage:
- Register loss with Lost&Found (creation of loss report) at the arrival airport within 7 days.
- Tracing process of suitcase lasts 30 days
- Suitcase considered total loss after 30 days
- Send receipts and value of lost goods to [email protected] or Helvetic Airways AG Steinackerstrasse 56 CH-8302 Kloten
Do you still need somewhere to stay? Book a hotel with our partner HRS.
Go to the hotel offers
Do you want to get there faster and independently? Book a rental car with our partner Sunnycars.
Go to the car rental offers
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Jessica Biel Can't 'Get Anything Done' Without Listening to Justin Timberlake's New Song 'Selfish': 'On Repeat'
Timberlake released the single — his first in six years — on Friday
Jessica Biel /Tktok
Jessica Biel is a big fan of husband Justin Timberlake 's hot new single "Selfish."
On Saturday, Biel, 41, posted a TikTok of herself listening to the song nonstop as she went about her day.
“POV: Trying to get anything done the past 24 hours,” she wrote over the video, which featured clips of her brushing her teeth, doing some casual yoga in the bathroom and lip-syncing to the camera as her husband’s track played.
“ON 👏🏻 REPEAT 👏🏻@Justin Timberlake,” Biel captioned the video , which has so far been viewed more than 2 million times.
Timberlake, 42, dropped “Selfish” on Friday, and the single marked his first release in six years, following up 2018’s Man of the Woods . The track is the first off his forthcoming album, Everything I Thought It Was , which is scheduled to drop March 15.
On Saturday, he performed the song on Saturday Night Live , where he was the night’s musical guest, alongside host Dakota Johnson , making his return to the famed late-night sketch comedy show after more than a decade.
He also performed a new song, “ Sanctified ,” featuring rapper Tobe Nwigwe, which also will be included on the forthcoming album.
Will Heath/NBC via Getty
The SNL performances came days after he told Apple Music 1’s Zane Lowe that he “ended up with 100 songs” for the album, so “narrowing them down to 18 was a thing.”
He also shared how “excited” he is about the record, which he “worked for a long time on.”
"I think every artist probably says this, but it is my best work," Timberlake said, adding that it has "moments that are incredibly honest, but also, there's a lot of f---ing fun on this album."
"I was able, on some of the songs, to look back at the past and have a real, not a refracted perspective of what it was because they always say ... you always hear that thing about, well, there's never any truth, there's just everybody's perspective of what happened," he continued. "But to really look at it and be able to metabolize and verbalize my perspective on it, I don't think I've ever really done that before."
As for the title, the “Mirrors” singer said it was inspired by how "some of the songs are more introspective and some of them are more what I think people know me for."
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
The Grammy-winning singer and Biel, who have been married since 2012, are very private about their relationship — and their kids.
The couple shares sons Silas, 8 ½ , and Phineas, 3 ½ , and Timberlake recently told Jimmy Fallon of his children, " They're both so cute ."
"You lucked out," Fallon agreed. "Yeah, you got a good kid."
"They run our house, it's crazy," Timberlake admitted. "It's crazy."
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Jessica Biel Shares Super Candid Moments of Her and Justin Timberlake on His 43rd Birthday
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Jessica Biel had a sweet birthday message for her love, Justin Timberlake !
On Wednesday, the GRAMMY-winning singer marked his 43rd birthday, and his wife took the opportunity to share some of their best candid moments.
"I ALWAYS got you. Happy birthday, babe," Biel wrote.
The post begins with a video of Timberlake driving while Biel sings and films him from the passenger's seat. The clip, set to "I Got You Babe," by Boom Forest, continues with videos of Mr. and Mrs. Timberlake sharing kisses, taking selfies on the golf course, backstage at shows and throwbacks that include the moment they announced Biel's pregnancy with their first son.
The video ends with a picture of Timberlake and Biel kissing in the middle of a party.
Biel, 41, and Timberlake confirmed their romance in 2007 . The pair tied the knot in 2012, and share sons Silas, 8, and Phineas, 2.
Ahead of JT's birthday, Biel celebrated her man's latest single "Selfish," with a hilarious TikTok video. In the clip, the Candy actress tries -- and fails -- to complete small tasks while the song plays.
"POV trying to get anything done in the past 24 hours," she captioned the video.
In 2022, Biel opened up about their long-standing romance, and how her husband keeps the romance alive .
"Well, I'll have to give Justin the credit in this moment, for this one thing that he always says to me: 'We might be married, but we have to keep dating,' and it's so true," Biel shared. "You just have to keep making time for each other and you have to keep making each other a priority. And do the things that you love together."
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Cycling Past & Present and Other Stuff
- Epic! The Helvetic Phoebus Mutaped
It’s weird how things happen in a sequence and seemingly unconnected, until one thing joins them all up. In this case, the ‘one thing’ is a catalogue from a Swiss company long since gone. My friend Stefan, who you made have read about before (see links at bottom of page), told me he had an old catalogue from 1948 that he thought I would be interested to see. He was correct!
I love learning about the history, adventures and technology associated with cycling, so I was excited to see the catalogue. The company that produced the catalogue was based in a pretty, Swiss city that straddles the French and Swiss-German speaking regions, and unusually, has two names; a French one, Biel, and a Swiss-German one, Bienne. All of the road signs and trains and anything associated with the place usually display both names together, which means that it looks a bit confusing when you see Biel/Bienne on a sign and you are not local to the area. The city has grown through its reputation for fine engineering as well as it’s close association with the Swiss watch making industry.
The company went under the overall brand name of ‘Sport’ and was essentially a designer and manufacturer of every bicycle component and tool. Within this Sport brand, there were a number of other brands, which were associated with specific components like ‘Sporlux’ brakes and ‘Phoebus’ lights and dynamos. The company was a big employer in the area and it supplied the many bicycle makers in the country as well as the shops. This catalogue also included well known brands like Sturmey Archer, who also licensed their famous hub gears to be manufactured in Switzerland. The Sport company was also played the role of a distributor channel to all trade customers, and as you’ll see from the picture above, this catalogue is the 23rd edition. Stefan’s knowledge of the Swiss cycle industry is impressive and when he showed me the catalogue, I got a full tour through the pages of Swiss cycling history from him.
He showed me the page with the special 3 speed Phoebus Mutaped gearbox and explained how to change gears across the range. A gear change basically needs two backward rotations of the pedals and then a return to forward pedalling, and the rider gets the next gear. Simple! I had also never seen or heard of this type of gearbox, so I was keen to learn. More on this gearbox later.
Whilst going through the pages, which by the way, smell fabulously of old paper and print and is one of my favourite aromas, I notice two things that I’ve actually bought from Stefan’s garage over the years. One is the display rack holding a full set of bottom bracket axles, and the second is the big cast iron workshop stand that I knew was Swiss, but not much else about it. I am fizzing inside with the excitement of the connection made by this catalogue. What I didn’t know was that there was more to come.
Being a serial Projecteer, I had another small list of stuff to get from Stefan’s for my latest Swiss, S’Bike MTB project. Long-story-short, I got my parts, had a few chats with Stefan and before I left, I thought I would go and have an explore in part of the garage that I haven’t seen recently. Stefan gets new stuff all the time, but equally importantly, he’ll move a load of stuff to get access to a special car gearbox or engine and this opens up access to previously unseen stuff. Very exciting!
With head torch on, I weave my way through the hundreds of bicycles and specifically checking out the bottom bracket area of them just in case I’m lucky enough to find one with a Phoebus Mutaped gearbox. About 10 minutes in, I found one, and then another one further down the long row of bikes. More fizzing-inside-excitement as I look to see how old they are. The first one I found was a really old bike with rod brakes and the first version of the gearbox, which was made in 1937. The other one was also a 1937 gearbox, but had the later 1947 chainring fitted, and attached to a Swiss Helvetic frame. I decided to pull out the later bike, which took 10 minutes and then tested the gearbox to see that all was in order, which it appeared to be.
The bike had years of dust on it, no saddle, no air in the perished tyres and some other small stuff missing, but largely, it was intact and original, right down to the Phoebus dynamo, lights and Sporlux brakes. I carried the bike around to see Stefan and to get a price. He said to me ‘where did you find that?’. I explained and a told him about the second one as well. He was surprised because he had been cleared out of all bikes with this gearbox sometime ago by a collector. He gave me a price, which I accepted and then as I was there, decided to hunt for the parts that were missing or needed replacing. I found NOS tyres, tubes with the right valves, rear light, pump, tool bag and tools, rack, grips and a NOS Brooks saddle with big chrome springs. Perfect! I laid all of the parts out and Stefan gave me a price.
I took everything home and showed it to my wife who said it looked amazing even in its current state. I was so keen to strip it down and start the renovation work, I didn’t even take a ‘before’ photo. The following week saw mainly rain and crap weather, so perfect for post-work renovation in my room. In all, I had it done during the week, used a full tube of Autosol aluminium and chrome cleaner and finished off my trusty UK-sourced polish. I polished the frame about 7 times, not because I’m a bit weird like that, but because every time I did, it brought off a layer of cigarette tar. It’s previous owners must have been big smokers.
I get the bike completed at about 10pm one evening and can’t decide if I should go and test it straight away or wait until daylight. My wife says that if I need a reason to test it, she’d like a chocolate bar from the Selector machine up by the station, so I engage the dynamo and point it uphil at the chocolate machine. The ride is only about 500 metres, but uphill, so after making sure all the gears and brakes worked, I selected the lowest gear and set off. Firstly, riding a renovated bike for the first time in the dark is quite good because all of your senses focus on the feel and the sound of the bike. The saddle wasn’t adjusted correctly, but halfway up the hill I wasn’t sitting on it anyway. I get to the chocolate machine, get the specific product that my wife wanted and set off down the steep hill, going through second gear and into third gear smoothly. Fortunately, my set-up of the brakes was good or it would have ended up a bit messy. So, it all works, is shiny and the dynamo and lights work. I’m very pleased!
I always learn something at Stefan’s place and there were three things that were new to me about this bike and Swiss cycling. Firstly, there was a hole in the mudguard, which is for a cast alloy flag crest. The Sport company sold these to screw into the front mudguard and whilst they all had a Swiss flag on one side, the other flag had one of the Canton (County) flags. I asked Stefan if he had one and he said that they were now very rare. He then looked up at the ceiling to where there were lots of mudguards hanging high upon a rail, and pointed to one of them. It had a crest on it?! The Canton flag was of Solothurn. We got the mudguard down, which wasn’t very good condition and I noticed the nut holding the crest on was well rusted to the mudguard. I bought it, and took back to carefully hacksaw the nut off without damaging the thread. I eventually got it off without any disaster, so now I have the crest.
Secondly, Stefan had previously explained about the little tax plaques that were put on Swiss bicycles until it was stopped in about 2010. I asked him if he had a 1948 plaque. He didn’t, but he did have an NOS 1949 one and with its original paper document. Every bike in Switzerland had to be licensed and taxed, so there was the plaque for the bike and the document for the owners records. Every year the colour changed, and just like the car vignettes that have to be bought today to travel on a Swiss highway.
Thirdly, Stefan pulled out of a box, a number of alloy plaques that were put on the bikes during the 1940s for insurance is case of theft or accident. I chose a nice condition one that had been issued originally for a Zürich insurance company, and which clamps between the rear seat stays. My bike now has a full period mudguard crest out of my catalogue, as well as the Swiss tax and insurance plaques of the 1940s. This lot is the final icing on the cake.
The bike is finished and as we’d been invited for lunch at Stefan’s, I put the bike in the van and we head off to show it to him. When he sees it, he is amazed at how it looks and happy to see it completed and running. Stefan points out that if I need any replacement parts and phone the telephone ordering number in the catalogue using the old Swiss 5 digit phone number, I may not get a quick, or any answer. We both think the bike is of epic design and it looks really cool too, so it seemed a great idea to have a photo together with it, even if we are both squinting into the bright sun?.
I bought a very old, British Phillips cycle lubricating oil can from Stefan as well, and putting it next to its 2021 Swiss Motorex chain oil container equivalent, it made me think that nothing much has really radically changed in the cycling technology world, but then I questioned my own thinking on the subject. Whilst the two oil cans do the same job, have the bikes really changed that much? I decided to put the newly finished Helvetic bike next to my new Super Tourer Diamant ebike to see where the big changes have taken place. Let’s start with the Mutaped Phoebus gearbox versus the derailleur. I know that the derailleur is proven over time and shifts smoothly and is cheap to make, but why hasn’t anyone really made the paradigm shift (?) and got something that reduces friction and is enclosed like a car or motorcycle gearbox for bicycles, that is relatively inexpensive to manufacture. Regardless of the answer, we are still using the trusty derailleur.
Whilst brakes, frame material, tyres etc have all been developed and improved for fashion, performance and production, I think the ebike is probably the biggest shift since my 1948 Helvetic was made. When people know I have an ebike, they tend to say that I’m getting too soft, I now need motor assistance to make it easy for me etc etc. I have to resist slapping these people because if they did come with me for an ebike ride, they would see what a workout it is. Whilst I don’t ride an ebike for more than 50% of my total riding, I got this latest one to do some longer touring and to make it a bit different. A recent ‘quick 45km hilly ride’ in the Swiss Pre-Alps with 59% unassisted pedalling realised the following four benefits:
- The additional weight makes the bike super stable on Alpine descents and the great 4 pot brakes allow really great stopping power.
- The acceleration from stationary and only using the ‘Eco’ or ‘Tour’ settings of the motor get me quickly up to 25kmh and then I can turn it off to pedal normally, so I don’t use valuable energy just getting up to speed. This bike is easy to pedal unassisted as well.
- Climbing those real tough killer climbs.
- Charging into a headwind, which is always a slog.
Anyway, whilst the Helvetic won’t be carrying me up Alpine climbs, I do have some rides in mind for it, and one will be from our place to Stefan’s garage, which is two hours (rolling hills) pedalling away. As time flies by and constant small changes are made to bikes every year, it is easy to disregard the evolution of them, even more so the culture that surrounds the bicycle and the people that used them. I’ve learnt a lot about cycling history just being lucky enough to get an old catalogue, have Stefan and his place nearby and to find a really interesting bike that I had never heard of. It is really hard to find out anything detailed about the Phoebus Mutaped gearbox and this journey has been beautifully guided by an old catalogue. This wasn’t the only bicycle gearbox that came out of Switzerland either, and I’m interested to know more. It is worth watching out for one of these Swiss gearbox bikes, because they are rare apparently and were made to the same standard as the premium Swiss watches that were made not far away from Biel/Bienne in the Jura mountains.
Here is the introduction to Stefan’s amazing garage https://diaryofacyclingnobody.com/the-ultimate-aladdins-cave-of-bike-shops-is-in-switzerland/
Here is a post about a ride over to Stefan’s on a special bike https://diaryofacyclingnobody.com/a-soulful-bicycle-which-carries-the-name-of-a-true-cycling-raconteur/
All photos by the Author and his wife?
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6 thoughts on “epic the helvetic phoebus mutaped”.
Dear sir. You have a beautiful bicycle! It’s cleaned and polished excellently. I have thoughts about the year 1948 the bicycle is from. First of all, i’m not a historian. Everything I know about bicycles i got from other collectors or from photos like your photo in your 1948 catalog. I guess your bicycle is from around 1940. Why? Model 47 has 4 holes in the housing for the screws. Yours only 2. I thought on the case of model 41 it‘s written “Model 1941”. Neither yours. So I guess your mutaped is the one from the first series. From 1937 to probably 1941. I also don’t like the grips of the handlebar that much. They are too new. I apologize for my complaint. Thank you for enjoying Swiss bicycles and their history!
Hi! Many thanks for the comment and information. It’s really interesting to know more about these Mutaped gearboxes and that mine is the earlier version. I know that the handlebar grips are not period for the bike and I do have a pair to put on that are correct, but these black rubber ones are really comfortable and I will ride the bike so comfort won over originality ?. If you have any other information about the history or on servicing these gearboxes, I would love to see if you could share it. Thanks again! Guy
Love it and very shiny x What was the chocolate bar ?
It’s called a Knopper
The bearing cover (not drive side), is from a 1937 model. But the chainring spider is from a 1941 model. I am sending you an exploded view of the 1937 model.
Many thanks! I really appreciate the information you have sent me.
Comments are closed.
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