Classic & Vintage - Mystery Frame! Help!
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11-11-07, 11:07 PM
I just picked up a road bike from a police auction, and I can't figure out what the hell it is. It had the usual police auction seven layers of paint, and a mix of parts from all over (nervar cranks, but modolo calipers, superbe fd, 105 rd, etc). I've stripped off some of the paint in the hope that I would reach the original paint, but instead I went right through it. I've exhausted all the research methods I know of on the internet. Here's what I do know:
-The head tube and seat tube lugs have cutouts in them, and the cable is routed internally along the top tube.
-There was a plastic cable guide on the bottom bracket that says "Modele VITUS Depose". This makes me think that it may be Vitus tubing, but the mix of parts on the bike does not make this as reliable as I would like.
-There are three sets of numbers on the bottom bracket. First: "F012565". Underneath that it says "U95974", then "14F".
-The bottom bracket is also English (or standard, or whatever it's called now) threaded.
-It also came with a chrome fork with a semi-sloping fork crown. The dropouts have a peculiar angled look to them.
The frame does have shifter braze-ons. The dropouts say nothing on them whatsoever, but they are forged, and not stamped steel, and with the same angled outside edges. I'm not looking to do any sort of classic restoration, but I am curious as to what the heck this bike is. I've included several pictures with this post. Any information would be great to have!
Here's what I turned up:
VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS: Reynolds 453 Gitane posted by: Bill on 5/25/2003 at 2:20:26 AM
I just purchased from my local salvation army a very very light bike. I don't know a thing about these bikes, but I feel this might have been a good buy at 20 bucks. The label says Gitane and a sticker reads reynolds 453. There is also another sticker that reads DEFI. The pedals have straps on them. This bike is in very good condition, except for the tire rubber. Does anyone have any information on this bike for me?
RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS: Reynolds 453 Gitane posted by David on 5/25/2003 at 5:55:23 PM
Are you sure the sticker says "453?" Is there a model name on the bike? What brand name is on the cranks, brakes, and derailers (gear changers)?
RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS: Reynolds 453 Gitane posted by JONathan on 5/26/2003 at 7:09:30 AM
453? There is Reynolds 853 and Reynolds 653, but 453 is a mystery. There is an AL stainless steel with 453 that is not Reynolds, as far as I know. The 853 is from the mid-nineties. It "air-hardens" and it actually gets stronger after it's brazed into the lugs, but temp is very tricky. It's a fantastic steel. I'd look at the decal again and verify. It is an exotic steel if the number is indicative of the alloy ratios. What components are there? Gitane can be very high quality. I wish I had one. They are non-existent from my experience, although a friend had one that I rode. A quick bike! About like my Roold. Any more like that one?...JONathan
RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS: Reynolds 453 Gitane posted by Tom on 5/26/2003 at 12:00:49 PM
Reynolds 453 was a manganese-titanium alloy intended for sports and general purpose bicyles. Reynolds produced only the 3 main tubes in this alloy and they were single butted. Bottom of the line Reynolds, along with 501.
RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS: Reynolds 453 Gitane posted by Bill on 5/26/2003 at 3:00:40 PM
The sticker on this bike does say Garanti Construit Avec Reynolds 453. It is an Gitane bike. On the bottom of bike I did find what may be a model name (modele Vitus Depose u9594). This is engraved into the piece of metal that keeps the shifter cable in place.
Rim guts front--Mailard
Rim guts rear--Helico matic mailard
Shifter Equip.--Sachs Huret Rival
Large gear with with pedal holders--Nervar
Levers to hold and release wheels--Spidal
This may be more information than anyone needs. Is this bike a rare or good find? Bottom line is it worth selling or keeping?
RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS: Reynolds 453 Gitane posted by JONathan on 5/27/2003 at 7:12:52 AM
Keep, keep, keep. I'd keep the frame since that Reynolds 453 is a bit unusual. "Low end" is a relative term and it is not the single determinant for collectibility. I see that a lot of collectibles can be low end, of course a lot are not low end. To me, any bike that's got a name and that is over 25 years BP, is collectible. Do you really dig the bike? If so, I'd keep it. In my case, I figure there must be a reason (inexplicable) that I stumble onto bikes. Philosophy aside, it is uncanny sometimes. Good luck, whatever you decide...JONathan
BTW, I'd like to stumble on a Gitane.
This was posted in "Catch of the Day":
Head lug work looks similar!
Picked up this Cilo Swiss yesterday. It's kind of interesting, with a mix of features.
The frame (decals are kind of buggered) says:
"Tubi Speciali in Aelle"
Another on the main tube says, "Cilo Swiss Handmade". It appears to be of lugged construction, with some detailing on the lugs.
The cable guide under the BB is stamped, "Modele Vitus Depose"
It has Shimano 600 components for the headset, DRs, and brake levers, but the brakes are Weinmann dual-pivot with no QR.
No QR on the wheels either. These are Maillard hubs laced to Weinmann rims, the older, wider 700c. Though they are stamped "20mm", the actual width is about 25mm. Someone has put too-small Hutchinson tires on them, which actually sit inside the rims! Hope I can find proper tires...
Axles are undersized compared to modern hollow axles, and the hubs need rebuilding. Ditto for the old-style BB.
It's a ten-speed, downtube friction shifters, (Shimano 600) and the frame appears to be about 23 1/2 inches.
Paint and decals are, unfortunately, not in very good shape. Looks like the pedals have been replaced with cheap plastic rattraps. Probably had old-style steel toe-clips at one time. Saddle is a well-weathered "Serfas", probably a replacement as well.
Looks ultimately rebuildable...I've been unable to find much info on these bikes on the web.
Check out the headset detail:
11-12-07, 01:46 AM
How do you find this information so fast!?
Well, I'm pretty sure it's a Gitane, because there's no Swiss threading on the bottom bracket. Also, the original brakes (I think) were Modolo Corsa. The levers were definitely Corsa. I like the look of it enough to repaint it and make it into a beater/touring bike. Even though there are no fender bosses of any kind... The only question now is...what color?
Thanks for the help! It is much appreciated!
How do you find this information so fast!?
Too much caffeine.
Personally, I think it's a sweet looking frame regardless of pedigree. The angular dropouts, nice head tube lugs and seat lug. Nice road race frame.
I'm partial to a nice deep gloss blue. Given the French origins, some white and red accents to match their flag would set it off.
11-12-07, 10:10 AM
I am also a big fan of the dropouts. I've never seen anything like them before. There not wild and crazy, but just a small difference that seems a lot bigger to me.
The blue is an interesting idea. I was originally going to go for a cream color with red accents in the lug cutouts and dropouts, but you have given me food for thought...:beer: Cheers!
11-12-07, 11:07 AM
Mid 80s Gitane. Defi or Performance; mid-range road bike. Probably not great candidate to convert to a tourer (no eyelets for rack/fenders), but it is a nice frame with some potential.
11-12-07, 02:53 PM
Thanks for the model name!
Probably not great candidate to convert to a tourer (no eyelets for rack/fenders), but it is a nice frame with some potential.
I think I used the wrong word here. I didn't mean touring bike so much as just one that I can ride over rougher roads and trails, and that I can mount fenders to. For the days that it rains or I feel like going on a slower, more relaxed ride. I wasn't planning on a rack at all, maybe just a saddlebag and/or handlebar bag.
Actually, the lack of fender eyelets is not a problem. I can just clamp it on with P-clips or something like that.
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