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Old 10-31-07, 06:44 AM   #1
thebeatcatcher
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? about old French frame

I found this on craigslist.

I have a few nOOb questions:

1. Are French BB's just as easily serviceable/replaceable as the common ones I am used to (i.e. the non-sealed Shimano one on my old schwinn)?

2. Will I be able to use 27" wheels and an old 6spd group?

3. Will the head tube accept a standard (easily found) fork?

4. Will the seat tube accept a standard (easily found) seat post?

Thanks!
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Old 10-31-07, 06:48 AM   #2
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1. Sure they are, but finding new cups is a b****.

2, 3, 4. I don't know, you'll have to try it.
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Old 10-31-07, 06:59 AM   #3
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Sweet deal !

Prepare to do some searching for parts to finish the build as old French bikes aren't standardized (like old Raleighs) and require French parts.

If you are really screwed, I might be able to help you out as I have a good stock of old French parts at our shop.
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Old 10-31-07, 07:02 AM   #4
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1. Sure they are, but finding new cups is a b****.

2, 3, 4. I don't know, you'll have to try it.

Would I be able to find a newer (inexpensive, like $20-30) sealed BB to replace it?
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Old 10-31-07, 07:05 AM   #5
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You can always find French BB cups on eBay, but be prepared to pay a premium price. There's a cartridge bearing Stronglight on there now. Velo Orange sells Edco French BB's.

If you swtch to a non-French fork, you won't have to use a French headset.
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Old 10-31-07, 07:11 AM   #6
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Sweet deal !

Prepare to do some searching for parts to finish the build as old French bikes aren't standardized (like old Raleighs) and require French parts.

If you are really screwed, I might be able to help you out as I have a good stock of old French parts at our shop.
I have an old freebie Motobecane women's bike that has a bent seat tube so it won't adjust to fit my wife. She has a bike already, so I was thinking of building a commuter/grocery bike using its wheels/fork/group/brakes/etc, and I ride a 57-58cm so this craigslist frame looked perfect.


The Motobecane should be an adequate parts source, yes?

Last edited by thebeatcatcher; 10-31-07 at 08:05 AM.
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Old 10-31-07, 06:56 PM   #7
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You will also need a special sized crank puller for the Stronglight crank. Do not use a standard crank puller you can buy at your LBS.
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Old 10-31-07, 07:32 PM   #8
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The seller is right, the Stonglight 93 crank is worth more than the asking price. That is, unless he has tried to pull it with the wrong size puller and destroyed the threads.

Have you thought about how much it will cost you to build a bike from that frame? You can spend a lot of money, even if you use used parts. I've done it a few times. It's fun, but not cheap.
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Old 10-31-07, 07:45 PM   #9
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As always, anyone reworking a French bike should read Sheldon's dissertation on these machines:

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/velos.html
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Old 10-31-07, 08:51 PM   #10
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As always, anyone reworking a French bike should read Sheldon's dissertation on these machines:

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/velos.html
I did read that, kind of scary.

I'm going to go look at the frame and if one of the two sizes of crank pullers I have don't fit, I probably won't go for it. Am I placing too much importance on BB maintenance?

I'm also bringing the fork from the parts bike to see if it will work.
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Old 10-31-07, 08:56 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Dirtdrop View Post

Have you thought about how much it will cost you to build a bike from that frame? You can spend a lot of money, even if you use used parts. I've done it a few times. It's fun, but not cheap.
The thing is that I have all the used parts from a complete, old, french bike, so I'm hoping I won't need many other parts. I was just concerned about BB maintenance. Maybe overly concerned if this is going to be a $20 bike. The front fork I have is probably too short as well.

I'll have a much clearer picture when I take a look at the frame this weekend.

You all have been very helpful so far, thanks.
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Old 10-31-07, 10:12 PM   #12
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Any fork, wheels, brakes, stem, bars, etc should be fine on this bike. As always, the seat post needs to match the frame but that is a common problem on any old bike; I doubt it's worse on this one than another. As others have stated, the biggest issue is trying to get the crank off. Some Stronglights take a 23mm extractor while others use a rare 23.35mm. If you're in Indianapolis I'm sure you could find an LBS that has the correct tool, if needed. It's also quite possible that the BB is just fine and you are good to go.

If you can find a shop to remove the crank, just swap all the parts from your donor to this frame, sell the Stronglight on eb*y and you'll have a new bike with cash in the bank to spare!

There are options to use a sealed BB, eg a UN72 with Phil cups, but for a bike like this, I'd just use the old BB. The only difference between an old French BB and a BSC BB is the threads; they are identical in every other way. French BB's command top dollar and a sealed one even more so, think $100 not $20-$30.

The rear spacing is most likely fine for a 6 speed system but if it's not it's easy to bend the rear stays in or out to make it so.

Last edited by Iowegian; 10-31-07 at 10:23 PM.
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Old 10-31-07, 10:14 PM   #13
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I'd be keeping the Stronglight crank... if not I can send you my mailing address...
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Old 11-01-07, 07:08 AM   #14
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I think Iowegian is confusing Stronglight with T.A. Early Stronglight cranks all use a 23.35mm extractor. It's T.A. that takes a 23mm.

Velo Orange has both, as do I.
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