Classic & Vintage - Jeunet fixer upper
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12-07-04, 06:24 AM
Dear bike pilots:
I used to have an old vintage Motobecane bike that regretfully got stolen some 8 years ago. Now, I found an ad for a Jeunet, costing about USD55.00 (EUR45.00). After seeing some vintage bikes, I was really thrilled to get it back in shape, but is it worth it? Ie, can I expect it to be an everyday runner (keeping the 10 gears). Never heard of Jeunet before. If restored, can this bike become a "gem" that I can sell to a bikelover at a later stage? Or is it a bad start to begin with? (Someone mentioned in one of the forums they picked up them cheap at USD8.00 at JC Penneys?)
Any special things I should look for when checking the bike out?
Any answer or feedback would be appreciated!
12-07-04, 06:57 AM
I'm no expert on the Jeunet models, although they did make some nice bikes. I believe yours may be a lower end model. Check the cranks; if they are cottered, this is a give away. The higher end Jeunets I've seen had half-chromed rear stays in addition. Here's some images from an old catalog, which may not be your model:
The key with vintage bikes is to enjoy them; with a very few exceptions, they're not worth a ton of $$$$. If yours has cottered cranks, I'd endevour to replace them. A competent shop can help, but since many shops are incompetent on the old French stuff, I'd check on Sheldon Browns site here:
I'd also replace the old rims, if they're steel, with alloy rims. Better braking. Old 27" alloy rims can be found at local thrifts, often cheap. Then I'd enjoy the ride. The question of "worth it" is best answered by the enjoyment you get out of the project and the ride.
12-07-04, 07:31 AM
Some Jeunets were very nice and used, I believe, Reynolds 531 tubing. However, they did produce low end bikes too, and often under the same name as the higher end bikes. Is there a frame sticker anywhere?
It looks like it's clean and well taken care of, so I'm sure you'll get plenty enjoyment out of riding it. As far as getting money for it later on, I would think only if the frame is not made of gaspipe.
Going by the components, that a Jeunet Classique. Based on the decals, it's mid-late 1970s. It's equivalent to the Peugeot UO8 or a Gitane Gran Sport with the QR option. Basically, it's one step up from entry level for the era.
Jeunet was typical of French bicycles of the era. The emphasis was on a nice, resilient ride quality and realitively light weight. As a trade-off, the bicyles lacked some of the some of the durability and clean finishing of the non-French competition. This is not to say that the bicycles were not well made. It's just that the French believed that light weight was more important than a frame coming out outscathed from a collison with a dump truck and that money was better spent elsewhere than wasting time on a very nice paint job and lug finishing.
The 'big four' of French manufacturing during the era were Motobecane, Peugeot, Girtane and Mercier. Jeunet fell in to second tier, below this group. As Nick says, there were some very nice Jeunets. I had 1974 Jeunet Professionel with Reynolds 531 DB, Huret Jubilee derailleurs, TA Pro cranks, MAFAC 2000 brakes and MAVIC gold (260g) tubular rims. It was extremely light for it's day, even lighter than a Peugeot PX10LE. Unfortunartely, it did not survive a crash and I trashed the frame (big mistake) but still have the components.
Your Jeunet does not have much value, but it's appears to be in nice condition and should be a nice ride. As for changing out components, that is fine, provided you decide to keep it. However, it will decrease the value should you decide to sell it and you come across someone who used to own one 30 years ago and just has to have it. The other concern is that most French bicycles of this era used French standard threads (headsets, bottom brackets, pedals, freewhweels) and smaller diameter handlebars and stems. Replacements for these parts will be more difficult to come by. Sheldon's site has a good explantion on the idiosyncrasies of French bicycles. Good luck!
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