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Thread: Gitane

  1. #1
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    Gitane

    I'm trying to find a vintage bike for a city commuter while I restore my Moto and build up my Bianchi frameset. I'm looking at several, including some Gitanes. I'm sort of familiar with Gitanes because my parents and sister all got Gitanes during the 70s bike boom. But I can't find any information about frames and models.

    The vintage Gitanes I've seen are Tour de Mondes. I'm asssuming this is a plain (heavy) steel frame. Is that right?

    What models of Gitane are the ones to look for? I'm not looking for a racing bike, just a good quality frame that I can use as a city bike.

  2. #2
    RidesOldTrek
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    Many of Gitane's of that vintage will have lost their paint by now. I bought a Gitane Interclub in 1972, and by 1975 had repainted it myself - stupid high school tricks (probably would have been better off leaving it though!). Back in those times, the Gran Sport was their basic consumer model, the Interclub was basically the same thing in more of a racing geometry and sew-up tires. The Tour de France was their slightly higher end model with Reynolds 531 tubing, Stronglight crank, etc. The Gran Sport had painted fork ends, my Interclub had chrome forks (halfway down, it was popular then), and the TDF had chrome rear stays and dropouts.

    These were all steel bikes, not necessarily all that heavy. The Gran Sport was advertised at the time as being 26 pounds, which is not bad in my (old) book. The TDF was probably a few pounds lighter.

    Read Sheldon Brown's articles on french bikes of that era. You will run into french threaded BB's and forks, which will be more difficult (i.e. expensive) to deal with these days. You may get the same bang for less buck with a Raleigh or Japanese bike of the same vintage.

    I still have my Interclub, in frame only. I plan on doing what you have in mind.

    Good luck!

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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    There's lots of information on this site:

    http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group...yguid=98820414

    Top of the line was the Super Corsa. The Tour de France was #2. I have one and love it.

  4. #4
    Uff Da!
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    Ditto on the TdF. I have two early seventies models which I love. They just have the sweetest feel to them. I'd love to find a Super Corsa of the same vintage, but they are apparently pretty hard to come by.

  5. #5
    RidesOldTrek
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    I'd forgotten about the Super Corsa. Thanks for the link. My Interclub was really nothing special, for the time. I'd like to try a TDF though. Some other really nice bikes of that era are the Raleigh Professional and International. I had several friends who had the Professional. Very pretty bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order
    Tour de Mondes.
    I knew I screwed that up! I meant Record du Monde. But I've seen TdFs mentioned before. Is there a model called Record du Monde, or is that really a Tour de Monde?

    Thanks for the infor so far, by the way.

  7. #7
    RidesOldTrek
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    I had a catalog of their US bikes when I bought the interclub, but only remember the TdF and Super Corsa as their upper end bikes. I messed up the low-end name, it was Grand Sport, and they had a Grand Sport De Luxe, not sure there really was a difference. There is a grand sport deluxe mixte on ebay right now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ridesoldtrek
    There is a grand sport deluxe mixte on ebay right now.
    The same color as my sister's Gitane; it was a 1970, maybe a 1971, if I remember correctly. Hers was eventually stolen off her back porch.

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    Do the vintage Gitanes have the model name on the bike itself, or are they like the Peugeots, where you have to do some detective work to figure out what model you're looking at?

    The two that I've seen advertised both say "Record du Monde", but that just means "World Record," so there must be some other way to tell what i'm looking at.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    The TdF and Super Corsa have the names on them. They also have a cute "custom made" decal.

    The prices I've seen on TdFs have been quite reasonable compared to Peugeot Px10s. I only paid $123 for my TdF on eBay last year. The only things seriously wrong with it was that the Stronglight 93 crank had been replaced with a T.A Cyclotoutiste and it had a cheap French wheelset. I saw a Super Corsa go for $300 not long ago. They're full Campy NR. I also have a PX10 and I prefer the way the Gitane rides. The headtube on the Gitane is less steep, so it's not so twitchy. The Gitane also has an undersize downtube that I think contributes to its comfortable ride. It doesn't sound like I'm describing a frame built for racing, but Gitane won the Tour de France ten times.

    I don't know anything about the models below the TdF. I don't think any of them had Reynolds 531 frames.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop
    They also have a cute "custom made" decal.
    Is that the "Hand Made" decal in the shape of a hand? My parents had that decal on their Gitanes...I think maybe I should get up in my mother's attic and take another look at those bikes.

  12. #12
    RidesOldTrek
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    That's the one. It was cute alright. I believe the names were on the frames, but now I don't remember if my Interclub had a name sticker or not.

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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    There are some shots of my Gitane here:

    http://community.webshots.com/photo/...15648998ZkhXGG

    I think you can see what I mean about the Peugeot and Gitane headtube angles in the last shot in the album.

    The model name is on the downtube and one side of the fork.

  14. #14
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    Regarding "Record du Monde"; I see this on many Peugeots, but don't recall seeing it on Gitanes. Many of the early seventies Gitanes say "Service Course" on the top tube. The early seventies models with the foil decals(stickers really) have the model name on a little foil sticker just behind the shifters on the down tube. Can't speak for the later models as I'm not familiar with them.

    I concur with Dirtdrop as I also have an early seventies PX-10. If you put the two bikes side by side you can see that the PX-10 has slightly steeper angles. I also prefer the feel of my TdF to my PX-10. Come to think of it, I like it better than my '71 Paramount P15 even though the Paramount cost me 3 times as much as the TdF.

  15. #15
    EATAPEACH
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    I rode a blue Gitane "Gran Sprint" that was really nice; this was around '79. It was fairly light (not Reynolds 531 or 501) for a generically tubed frame. As I recall the components were Shimano Sprint (Gran Sprint,duh). and a mix of French stuff. Overall it was a solid ride.

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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    There are two Gitane TdFs on eBay right now. I'd bid on the gold one if it was't so tiny.
    item numbers 7191137726 and 7191137702.

  17. #17
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    You can see those model name decals I was speaking of in the pics of the white bike. The gold one is identical(except for color and frame size) to my two TdF's. These are really sweet riding bikes for anyone who fits these small frame sizes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoCalAl
    I rode a blue Gitane "Gran Sprint" that was really nice; this was around '79. It was fairly light (not Reynolds 531 or 501) for a generically tubed frame. As I recall the components were Shimano Sprint (Gran Sprint,duh). and a mix of French stuff. Overall it was a solid ride.
    I just saw a blue Sprint or Gran Sprint frameset (couldn't tell because of the decal condition-- it could have been "Gran Sprint," but all that I could see on the decal was "Sprint") today at a used cycle shop. I didn't get too excited because it wasn't Reynolds 531, but your post has got me thinking about it again. I'd like a bike that I can ride around as a commuter in the city, especially while I build up my other bikes, but still be a nice ride for when my other bikes are completed. A solid, nice-riding city bike. Plus it's nice to occasionally have a bike for use that's less attractive to thieves. I'm still tempted to find a 531 Gitane, but I wonder...

    How did you Gran Sprint compare to higher end bikes you've ridden?

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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    The white TdF has some quirks. There is an adapter claw for the rear derailer. What's up with that? Also, it doesn't have the standard Stronglight 93 crank. I don't know what it is, but it kind of resembles a T.A. Cyclotouriste double I have.

    All of the cable guides on those bikes are clamp-ons. If the white one has no derailer hanger under that claw, it would be the perfect frame to convert to a single speed or fixed gear.

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    It seems like the two Gitanes to have would be the TDF or the Super Corsa. What is the difference between the two? Is there a difference between the frames, or is the difference solely in the components?

  21. #21
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    Circa 1970, both. The Td'F had Simplex dropouts and mostly French components. Stronglight 93 crank, Simplex Criterium derailleurs, Mafac Competition brakes, not sure what the wheel sets were. The Super Corsa had Campagnolo dropouts and mostly if not all, Campagnolo Nouvo Record components. Can't speak for other vintages of the bikes.

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    Thanks Sierra!

    What was the frame geometry on these bikes? Were they both race geometry, both sport touring geometry, or one of each?

  23. #23
    Uff Da!
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    I'll be interested to see what the more experienced velomasters have to say, but my impression is that the geometry of even the race bikes of 30 years ago is considered to be more sport touring than the bikes now. Head and seat tube angles of 72 to 73 degrees used to be considered steep, but nowdays I think the racing bikes are steeper. I will wait to hear from those who know more though. I don't remember seeing any specs on the early seventies Gitanes, but as Dirtdrop pointed out earlier in this thread, at least some of the Peugeot PX10's had steeper angles than the Td'F. I've never seen a Super Corsa in real life, so can't speak for them.

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    Senior Member broomhandle's Avatar
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    i have a interclub and even though its the bottom of there line, its a sweet bike, i belive its a 74, too bad its to small for me.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    I know that the TdF has a 72 degee head tube because it's stamped on the lug. It looks like the seat tube is laid back another degree. It's way more relaxed than a modern race bike. It's also way more comfortable.

    I think that the Super Corsa and the TdF had the same frame except for the dropouts. The TdF had Simplex and the Super corsa had Campy. My TdF has Simplex in the rear and Campy in the front and it is the original fork. I guess they ran short of Simplex fronts that day.

    Campy NR hubs were standard on the Super Corsa and optional on the TdF.

    I read that the Super Corsas were built with more care since they were the flagship model. My TdF has file marks that you can see under the paint, but I think they add to the French charm. I have a mental picture of Gitanes being assembled by chain smoking mimes.

    The TdF is my all time favorite ride. You'd have to ride one to understand why.

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