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  1. #1
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    Restoration philosophy

    I'm planning on making some upgrades to my 1977 Motobecane Grand Touring-- things like going to a triple chainring, making improvements to it that are still in keeping with the spirit of the bike.

    BUT... one of the things I'm thinking about is changing to 700c wheels. I know that 27 inch was the wheel size the French used for export bikes, but 700 was the size they used for the domestic market, so I don't feel that this is necessarily an upgrade that is inauthentic.

    I'm wondering if anybody else has thought about this-- what is your philosophy on altering a bike from its original specs?

    Does changing from 27 inch to 700c wheels somehow seem "wrong" to you for a vintage bike?

  2. #2
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Not at all - unless you're throwing obviously modern-style wheels on the bike. Just need to make sure the brakes still work after you make the change.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  3. #3
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    The bike seems to me to "want" to be a randonneur bike, so that's the direction I want to take it in, and I'm actually thinking about changing the brakes to cantilevers-- for light touring capability, so that's why I need to sort out wheel size.

    The thing is, the 70s bikes had high flange hubs, and newer wheels have low flange hubs. Is this what you mean by "obviously modern"? Would changing to a freehub make it obviously modern?

  4. #4
    Senior Member nick burns's Avatar
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    I have a late 70's GT also, and the first thing I did was swap out the wheels to 700c. I felt no remorse at all. It gives me the option of running cross tires for occasional off roading and studded tires for winter, plus the selection of 700c tires is much better.

    I also swapped the crankset because the originals were 170's and I prefer 172.5, & I ditched the stock sidepulls for Mafac centerpulls.


    One thing to consider is if you swap out the bottom bracket your options are fairly short and will be kind of pricey. I haven't changed mine, but if I'm not mistaken, the Moto's of that vintage sported Swiss threaded bottom brackets. You could get a T.A. for about $100.00 US or a Phil Wood for about $150.00 US.

    Just keep all the original parts if in the future you decide to return to all original specs.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by nick burns
    I have a late 70's GT also, and the first thing I did was swap out the wheels to 700c. I felt no remorse at all. It gives me the option of running cross tires for occasional off roading and studded tires for winter, plus the selection of 700c tires is much better.
    Another reason I'm considering the switch.

    I also swapped the crankset because the originals were 170's and I prefer 172.5, & I ditched the stock sidepulls for Mafac centerpulls.


    One thing to consider is if you swap out the bottom bracket your options are fairly short and will be kind of pricey. I haven't changed mine, but if I'm not mistaken, the Moto's of that vintage sported Swiss threaded bottom brackets. You could get a T.A. for about $100.00 US or a Phil Wood for about $150.00 US.

    Just keep all the original parts if in the future you decide to return to all original specs.
    From everything I've read, they would be Swiss thread, and I'm kind of sold on the Phil Woods.

    I never throw anything away, because I always regret it afterwards. So yes, I would be keeping all the original components.

  6. #6
    Jr. High School Student shiftinjon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order
    I'm wondering if anybody else has thought about this-- what is your philosophy on altering a bike from its original specs?
    Well, if you're the type of person who must call people idiotic or mean if they make an objective observation(and they will make comments) about how you could make your bike more original to spec, then you should definitely make it true to spec so as to avoid outbursts of rage; rage is bad for one's health and reputation since it makes one look like a dweeb.

    However, if you are a confident, self assured person who understands that every comment isn't a reflection on your personal character, then alter it any way you want to make it better suit your needs.

  7. #7
    Glutton for Punishment
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    Quote Originally Posted by nick burns
    I have a late 70's GT also, and the first thing I did was swap out the wheels to 700c. I felt no remorse at all. It gives me the option of running cross tires for occasional off roading
    You ride a Grand Touring off road -- with that steep fork angle!? Cripes, my '76 GT is skittish on dry pavement.

  8. #8
    Senior Member nick burns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mswantak
    You ride a Grand Touring off road -- with that steep fork angle!? Cripes, my '76 GT is skittish on dry pavement.
    Mostly just fire roads & light single track. It's not too bad with fat 37mm cross tires. A bit hair raising sometimes, but it also helps sharpen the handling skills!

    Here's a pic pre crank swap:


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