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Old 05-30-16, 12:11 PM   #1
echo victor 
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(Yet Another) Mystery - Please Help ID - many pics

Hi. A respectful and peaceful Memorial Day to you and yours.

Here's the story: I saw this single speed come up on the local CL, and only clicked on it because I was curious about the paint job. I was thinking, "Wow, that looks like someone actually painted their bike with argyle accents." Any so they did.



But as I looked at the photos, I got a bit (over-) excited: I could see Nervex lugs and forged dropouts... that might even be Campy. So I traded emails with the seller for a few days and eventually went to see it.

Test ride was okay, but it seemed in need of an overhaul. We negotiated, and I brought it home for a decent price. I've got to test ride it with a more suitable setup, and it'll need a repaint/restore if I keep it. But I'm curious what it is, and I know how most people here enjoy this kind of challenge...

Some specs...
Size: 58cm seat tube ct, 55.5 to 56cm top tube cc
Main tube diameters: 28.3mm seat & down, 26.3 top - I suspect that .3 is paint and that it's French.
Seatpost: 26.6mm
Rear spread: 126mm - I suspect originally 120.
Chain stay: about 42 to 45cm depending on where you position the wheel in the dropouts - about 1 cm shorter than on my Raleigh Gran Sport.
Fork: Lung, made in Taiwan. Currently has a .833 inch steerer. I strongly suspect neither is original. A French 22.0 stem can barely fit - tight enough I'd be nervous about getting it out, even well greased.
Seat stay caps: slightly concave
Nervex lugs & Campagnolo rear dropouts

Universal Super 68 calipers, Stronglight 93 crankset, and seatpost may or may not be original. Neither case would surprise me. I've sent the seller an email to find out about that (plus any other details that might help if he can share them, like whether the derailleur hanger was removed).

I'm guessing it's a pretty high end French frame, but beyond that, no idea. So I'd really love any guesses, feedback, ideas, etc. from the experts here.

Thanks!













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Old 05-30-16, 12:19 PM   #2
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And a few more pics in case they help anyone come up with ideas...






Oh yeah, Suntour pedals, so I'm guessing the cranks have been re-threaded.




Not much for serial number, there's a stamped S or 3 or something similarly rounded. And if you look close, there seem to be numbers etched in larger - I think I can make out 6__4_87.
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Old 05-30-16, 12:23 PM   #3
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Not a fan of single speed conversions but this one is pretty tasteful. I like the bike as found in the wild and might not mess with it too much.
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Old 05-30-16, 12:32 PM   #4
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If they took the DR hanger off, they did a great job. Any sign of a nub to hold a band on the down tube?

Might have to strip to get to the bottom of what was/ wasn't on the frame at birth.

Your French hunch could be right though.
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Old 05-30-16, 12:38 PM   #5
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those lugs are nearly always indicative of Motobecane, there may be some others who used them but I have yet to see many exceptions. My guess, since it has Campy DOs, some variety of Grand Record: any sign of headbadge holes that were filled in?
I own a '74 or '75 GR and these are wonderful riding bikes. Congrats on this score (if I guessed right!)

Correct that a 22mm FR stem will not go nicely into a .833" steerer so the stem you have now looks to be the correct size and you won't have many other choices if you keep that fork...except with a lot of sanding.

Oh and the Stronglight 93 cranks DID sell with either FR pedal threads OR 9/16" standard, so it's possible that they were not re-tapped, but no biggie as long as the job was done right.

Last edited by unworthy1; 05-30-16 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 05-30-16, 02:40 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Not a fan of single speed conversions but this one is pretty tasteful. I like the bike as found in the wild and might not mess with it too much.
That's an interesting thought. The paint's not real well done, so I hadn't really considered that. But in any case it'll be a while before i could get to a restore, so it'll remain mostly as is for the time being at least

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3speedslow View Post
If they took the DR hanger off, they did a great job. Any sign of a nub to hold a band on the down tube?
...
Yeah, that's why I can't be sure about the hanger. Maybe it was originally intended for a derailleur with a claw, like maybe an older Campy Gran Sport? No, I didn't find any indication of a nub for the band, but I've seen other frames from '60s and '70s that didn't have that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
those lugs are nearly always indicative of Motobecane, there may be some others who used them but I have yet to see many exceptions. My guess, since it has Campy DOs, some variety of Grand Record: any sign of headbadge holes that were filled in?
I own a '74 or '75 GR and these are wonderful riding bikes. Congrats on this score (if I guessed right!)

Correct that a 22mm FR stem will not go nicely into a .833" steerer so the stem you have now looks to be the correct size and you won't have many other choices if you keep that fork...except with a lot of sanding.

Oh and the Stronglight 93 cranks DID sell with either FR pedal threads OR 9/16" standard, so it's possible that they were not re-tapped, but no biggie as long as the job was done right.
Thanks for the congrats!

No sign of headbadge holes - given the expected age, I suspect those were filled in. I think finding a replacement fork might be tough (or just expensive), so for now this one will probably stay. At least the stem is a pretty cool one.

Thanks for the info on the Stronglight 93! I didn't realize that, but it's cool to know. If these were originally threaded 9/16 (and if they're original), that may support a Motobecane ID, since I know they got into specifying Japanese parts over time.
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Old 05-30-16, 04:18 PM   #7
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Is that a hint of blue paint on the BB shell?
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Old 05-30-16, 05:19 PM   #8
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The lugs say "Motobecane", but the seat stays say "Gitane"...

SP
OC, OR
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Old 05-30-16, 06:39 PM   #9
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Hello E.V.,

Thanks for sharing this fun puzzle.

Frame's Nervex lugset is Series Legere Nr. 45/159.

While the cycle's chainset is a Stronglight model 93 its bottom bracket fittings represent a bit of a miscegenation. Note the three or four exposed threads showing on the adjustable cup. It is anyone's guess what spindle is there housed. The cups appear tp be Bardon black oxide finish. From this maker the FR thread fixed cup has one pair of flats. The fixed cup on the bicycle has four pair of flats. This is their code for a CH thread. A CH threaded shell may support unworthy1's suggestion of a MB identity.

When you had the headset apart to take the photo of the steerer would have been a golden opportunity to examine the interior of the head tube for evidence of headplate fastener holes being filled in.

wrt pedal thread - the back side of the crank arms on these is usually marked with the pedal thread. 14 X 1.25 for metric or 9/16 X 20F for BSC/ISO. of course the cranks could be marked metric and have been tapped out to BSC..

"Is that a hint of blue paint on the BB shell?"

grey primer.

"The lugs say "Motobecane", but the seat stays say "Gitane"..."

Yes indeed! Unfortunately for our purposes that seat stay treatment was also employed by HUNDREDS of other French manufacturers as well. This is because it is cheap/fast/easy.
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Old 05-30-16, 08:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rando_couche View Post
The lugs say "Motobecane", but the seat stays say "Gitane"...

SP
OC, OR
I saw that and also was cooled a bit off of the "Motobecane" ID as a slam-dunk...but I'm still leaning toward that, there's nothing else that says "Gitane" on this frame either and with Campy DOs it would have to be a Super Corsa if a Gitane, which this definitely isn't.
Maybe more clues will crop up as you strip the paint...

BTW EARLIER Moto GR's used either a foil decal or a plastic stick-on badge instead of the 2-hole metal badge with rivets used starting in '74 (at least for the USA models).
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Old 05-31-16, 01:09 AM   #11
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Alright, at the moment it seems like we're leaning toward a Motobecane, but it could be something else French.

I'll definitely check the inside of the head tube for traces of fastener holes. And I'll check the cranks for marks on the original threading.

I'm happy to hear all perspectives on it, so speak up if you've got any ideas. I'll update as I learn any more.

Thanks!
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Old 05-31-16, 01:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
those lugs are nearly always indicative of Motobecane, there may be some others who used them but I have yet to see many exceptions. My guess, since it has Campy DOs, some variety of Grand Record: any sign of headbadge holes that were filled in?
Close... It looks like a pre-1974 Grand Record. They had swagged seat stay tops similar to those on Gitanes but they are somewhat concave whereas Gitanes were flat. (My yellow and black 1970 Moto Grand Record that I'm working on. Orange bike is a 1971 Gitane TdF seat stay top)




Gitane dropped Nervex lugs about 1976-77 when they switched to Prugnat S4 "long point Italian style" lugs on their top models.


@juvela wrote: "Frame's Nervex lugset is Series Legere Nr. 45/159." Nope....

This was kicked around last year but its was pretty much determined that Nervex made special proprietary lugs for Motobecane. The "feature cuts" on the sides of the lugs in the head tube area were similar to Nervex Professional Model 49 lugs but the feature cuts on the "nozzles" for the top and down tubes were different. The first picture is a page from a Nervex lug catalog showing some of the variations available. The next 2 pictures show Nervex Professional Series 45/162 lugs. The last picture show a Series 45/159 lug - the sides are different.



Motobecane lugs look very close... the little details are different.



BTW, there were a slew of similar looking lugs going back to the 1940s or even earlier from makers like Oscar Egg. Emile Bozzi and others.


Quote:
Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
Correct that a 22mm FR stem will not go nicely into a .833" steerer so the stem you have now looks to be the correct size and you won't have many other choices if you keep that fork...except with a lot of sanding.
There were some Schwinn badged bikes made in Asia (Japan and Taiwan) that used those .833 diameter stems (21.16mm). The forged aluminum Dia-Compe Gran Compe stems were very well made. They appeared in the early 70s and a few high end Japanese bikes like Nishiki Pro came with them. Too bad they were a bastard size.




Quote:
Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
Oh and the Stronglight 93 cranks DID sell with either FR pedal threads OR 9/16" standard, so it's possible that they were not re-tapped, but no biggie as long as the job was done right.
The early Grand Records came with Stronglight 49D cranks not 93s. I don't see anything on this bike that's original. It may have been an old GR frame sans fork that someone assembled with a mishmash of components to build a fixie-fad hipster ride.

Don't get me started on drewing... (castrating the rear dropout). May the drewers one day find themselves with a rear flat out in the wind and rain and when they pull the rear wheel out the claw hanger rear derailleur comes out too and the wet greasy chain spins and wraps around the freewheel and....


verktyg

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Attached Images
File Type: jpg Gitane1962ChampionDuMonde3.jpg (88.5 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg Peugeot1967PX10Headbadge2.jpg (76.0 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg MotobecaneGrandJubile1974FrameHeadLugs.jpg (9.6 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg Motobecane1974GrandJubileeRedBlackHeadTube..jpg (94.7 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg MotobecaneGrandRecord1972-10.jpg (85.5 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg GranCompeStem833 008.jpg (97.1 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg Motobecane1970GrandRecord 002.jpg (103.3 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg MotobecaneGrandRecord1972-7.jpg (95.6 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg GitaneSeatPostBoltsResized.jpg (64.9 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg NervexLugs.jpg (100.8 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg Nervex45-159Lugs.jpg (6.5 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg NervexRef49-162ProfessionalLugs.jpg (5.4 KB, 113 views)
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Last edited by verktyg; 05-31-16 at 01:43 AM.
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Old 05-31-16, 09:44 PM   #13
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oh, don't hold back, Chas! Tell us what you really think of "Drew"...
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Old 06-06-16, 07:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
Close... It looks like a pre-1974 Grand Record.

...{snip**...

Motobecane lugs look very close... the little details are different.

...{snip**...

There were some Schwinn badged bikes made in Asia (Japan and Taiwan) that used those .833 diameter stems (21.16mm). The forged aluminum Dia-Compe Gran Compe stems were very well made. They appeared in the early 70s and a few high end Japanese bikes like Nishiki Pro came with them. Too bad they were a bastard size.

...{snip**...

The early Grand Records came with Stronglight 49D cranks not 93s. I don't see anything on this bike that's original. It may have been an old GR frame sans fork that someone assembled with a mishmash of components to build a fixie-fad hipster ride.

...
Wow, Chas, that's a lot of great info - thanks! And sorry for just getting back to this thread - I only got around to taking another look inside the headtube this weekend. And ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
...
BTW EARLIER Moto GR's used either a foil decal or a plastic stick-on badge instead of the 2-hole metal badge with rivets used starting in '74 (at least for the USA models).
... you might both be right - I don't see any indication of rivets on the inside of the tube:


So maybe that confirms it's a pre-1974 Grand Record frame built up as a fixie mishmash. Yeah, not sure about whether it was drewed, but either way I'll need to run it with a claw hanger if I decide to do anything else with it.

Interesting additional point - I weighed it as it's built up, and I was surprised that it weighs almost 24 lbs. I haven't taken it apart to weigh things individually and figure out whether it's just a heavy wheelset or what, but that surprised me. Do you know whether the pre-1974 Grand Records were built with something other than Reynolds 531, which might account for that?

Thanks, all!
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Old 06-06-16, 08:08 PM   #15
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It's the wheels... I have a Team Miyata frame built up as a fixed gear with VERY similar wheels, and it weighs 24 pounds. Heavy, thick, cookie cutter fixie aero wheels. Get some wheels built with normal rims, and it will be much lighter.,,,,BD

Last edited by Bikedued; 06-06-16 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 06-07-16, 05:45 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by echo victor View Post
Wow, Chas, that's a lot of great info - thanks! And sorry for just getting back to this thread - I only got around to taking another look inside the headtube this weekend. And ...

... you might both be right - I don't see any indication of rivets on the inside of the tube:


So maybe that confirms it's a pre-1974 Grand Record frame built up as a fixie mishmash.
I have copies of 1970 through 1985 Motobecane catalogs. The 1970-1973 bike boom catalogs were pretty much the same. There are no closeups to pick out little details, just a few differences in the spec sheets.


Motobecane used a wide variety of head badges these were some of the more common ones:

My early 1970's Grand Record has a riveted on head badge.



They also came with foil decals during those years too. Your frame probably had a foil decal.




Historical perspective:

Most post 1973 Motobecanes had riveted on round metal head badges which they used on some models up into the 80's.



In 1977 they started using glued on plastic head badges.




Quote:
Originally Posted by echo victor View Post
....not sure about whether it was drewed, but either way I'll need to run it with a claw hanger if I decide to do anything else with it.
No way... it was castrated, castrato'd, choate'd, oxed, steered, gelded, all = fixing something that was never broken except in the mind of a short sighted hipster (many of whom will throw their fixies into the nearest dumpster when the fad finally fades away)!

For @unworthy1 "oh, don't hold back, Chas! Tell us what you really think of "Drew"..."


If you are going to repaint the bike, a frame builder can attach a derailleur hanger. Campy made a braze-on hanger 80-1.



or... a hanger can be cut off of an old dropout.




Quote:
Originally Posted by echo victor View Post
Interesting additional point - I weighed it as it's built up, and I was surprised that it weighs almost 24 lbs. I haven't taken it apart to weigh things individually and figure out whether it's just a heavy wheelset or what, but that surprised me. Do you know whether the pre-1974 Grand Records were built with something other than Reynolds 531, which might account for that?
Only the 3 main tubes on pre-1974 Grand Records were Reynolds 531 tubing. As I pointed out above, the forks and stays were carbon steel Motobecane tubing.

The Taiwan made Tange fork might be heavier than the original Motobecane fork.

24 Lbs. isn't that heavy for a better quality derailleur bike from that era with clinchers. Sewups would take 2-3 Lbs. off of the bike.

The missing derailleurs might add ~2 Lbs. to overall weight.

So as @Bikedued suggested, those hipster wheels might add a pound to two.

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Attached Images
File Type: jpg MotobecaneGrandRecord1972-10.jpg (85.5 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg Motobecane1970sGrandRecordHeadTube.jpg (83.5 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg MotobecaneGrandJubile1980Headset.jpg (33.7 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg MotobecaneLate70sTeamChampion9.jpg (61.2 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg Campy80-1Braze-onDropout.jpg (49.2 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg CampyDropoutRepair1.jpg (77.6 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg CampyDropoutRepair2.jpg (96.1 KB, 6 views)
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Last edited by verktyg; 06-07-16 at 05:52 AM.
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