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  1. #1
    Senior Member bigwoo's Avatar
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    My greatest ride ever, may never know what it is though

    Photos attached...
    This was a conversation from a previous post that began when I was talking with Scooper, Silversmith, and Walter.... (about another great Schwinn)

    I have decided that whoever nails the bikes' identity will be recieving a free old bike... nothing too special but, my way of saying thanks!
    (I think that the winner should be chosen based on the general consensus of the group)

    I recently picked up the most breathtaking 1972 Gitane (or so I thought) I've ever seen from a priest at our local church, it is all original except for the seat (a newer Brooks) however, I have no idea what this bike is.....the man who willed it to the church passed away several years ago.

    I just took it for a first ride and am blown away! No matter how fast I went, it wanted to go faster....
    EDIT: I've now taken this bike for several rides way up to the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. God this bike is responsive!

    I could have sworn that the ugly rear cable stay/bracket was the telltale sign of a Gitane/TDF....

    The bike weighs rougly 23.3 lbs on 1 scale and 23.9 lbs on the other scale

    Campagnolo components are stamped "Patent 72"
    Campy N. Record derailleurs
    Campy headset
    Campy Superleggeri pedals
    Campy shift levers on the downtube at the "pentagon" braze-on
    Rear Hub- "Approved 2-72 Made in France"
    Front hub- "Approved 3-72 Made in France"
    (could these be Normandy ??)
    Weinmann 700C rims

    Bacoma lugs are stamped which would be consistent w/ Gitane but, may be consistent w/ other makers:
    "72" stamped on the riders' R side of the seatlug (stamped upside down- geometry) and
    "72" stamped on the riders' L side of the head tube (top lug-geometry),
    "61" also stamped on the riders' L side of the head tube (bottom lug-geometry)

    3 very strange stamps:
    Rear L dropout is stamped "40 C? 42" (strange serial# not consistent w/ Gitane)
    The inside of each rear dropout has a HUGE stamp that is "7K" (the 7 is placed above the K)
    These "7K" stamps are 3 times bigger than any of the other stamps and the font/text style is ornate. Appears much fancier than the other stamps....I checked other Gitanes from the era and couldn't find these "7K" stamps

    Beautiful Stronglight crankset
    3TTT RECORD mm. 105 stem
    Bars are stamped "England" on the INSIDE of the drops (where the end cap would pop in)
    I tore the original leather wrap off and re-taped the bars myself....in the hope of learning who made the bars... also added the Christophe clips to the pedals

    Mafac "Competition" brakes w/ the original rock scrapers attached to keep the tires clean
    Scrapers are stamped "MADE IN FRANCE"

    Top & Bottom head tube lugs are stamped "BCM" (which Walter taught me is Bacoma... thanks man)
    Rear dropouts are simplex but front dropouts are Huret

    Possibly the strangest fact of all..... the bike is all chrome and I believe Reynolds 531 Double Butted!
    (I absolutely, positively believe that this chrome job is 34 years old if it's a day)
    Another strange fact: the head tube clearly never had a head badge riveted into it... it must have had a decal or, nothing at all...??

    The priest believes that the nice old man purchased the bike brand new at a small "Cycles" shop in France and shipped it back w/ some furniture
    The only thing I feel confident about is that this bike was handmade no later than 1972 and everything about this bike screams French (Several strange quirks-to me anyways)

    My favorite component? The rock scrapers that keep the tires free of debris


    http://i93.photobucket.com/albums/l4...2/CIMG0169.jpg

    http://i93.photobucket.com/albums/l4...2/CIMG0170.jpg

    http://i93.photobucket.com/albums/l4...2/CIMG0172.jpg

    http://i93.photobucket.com/albums/l4...2/CIMG0173.jpg

    http://i93.photobucket.com/albums/l4...2/CIMG0175.jpg

    http://i93.photobucket.com/albums/l4...2/CIMG0177.jpg

    http://i93.photobucket.com/albums/l4...2/CIMG0178.jpg

    http://i93.photobucket.com/albums/l4...2/CIMG0179.jpg

    http://i93.photobucket.com/albums/l4...2/CIMG0180.jpg

    http://i93.photobucket.com/albums/l4...2/CIMG0181.jpg
    Last edited by bigwoo; 09-16-06 at 08:33 AM.

  2. #2
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    I believe the 72 in the lugs refers to the frame angles.
    Can you provide a bit more info about the "pentagon braze on".
    Do you mean the bosses are on a pentagon shaped base
    (as opposed to square)?
    Pics would really help
    marty
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  3. #3
    Stop reading my posts! unworthy1's Avatar
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    Yes, pics, please. I think based on your description that this is not a Gitane TdF, first off they were not fully chromed, and wouldn't have come with Campy gear. I believe that the pentagon shaped piece is a clamp-stop, no shifter-bosses on this era. If the rear dropout is a Simplex it must have been tapped to accept the Campy RD thread.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    The pentagon stop is typical Gitane. I don't see how it could be anything but a TdF if it is a Gitane. The model above it had Campy dropouts and the model below it was way below it. None of them had headbadges, to my knowlege. Maybe it's a model they didn't export. Maybe it's a one-off for a show or something.

    I'm sitting here staring at my Gitane TdF, trying to figure out What the "ugly rear stay cable/bracket is that you referred to. Do you mean the derailer cable stop that's clamped to the chainstay?

    It's very strange that they would build it with Simplex rear dropouts and a Campy derailer, since the dropout would have to be tapped and reshaped to give it a stop for the Campy derailer. Why not just use Campy dropouts like the Super Corsa? It's not strange that they mixed brands of dropouts. My TdF has Simplex in the rear and Campy in the front.
    Last edited by Grand Bois; 09-12-06 at 10:24 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member bigwoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop

    I'm sitting here staring at my Gitane TdF, trying to figure out What the "ugly rear stay cable/bracket is that you referred to. Do you mean the derailer cable stop that's clamped to the chainstay?
    I'm talking about this:

    I'm hurrying as quickly as I can w/ the photos... having zoom problems
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
    Senior Member fender1's Avatar
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    Brake bridge looks like a Mercier to me. Good luck

  7. #7
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Now I remember, I've seen that picture before. They don't all have those. Mine doesn't.
    Maybe mine is a later model. It has the later MAFAC Competitions istead of the Racers.

  8. #8
    Senior Member bigwoo's Avatar
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    Here are pics

    http://i93.photobucket.com/albums/l4...2/CIMG0169.jpg


    "Brake bridge looks like a Mercier to me".

    Mercier..??
    ok folks... the free old bike contest has officially begun... Go!!
    Last edited by bigwoo; 09-14-06 at 04:11 PM.

  9. #9
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    That is one gorgeous bike.
    something about those tire savers is tickling my memory,
    like they were custom made?
    I wonder if this is from a constructeur? ala Rene Herse
    or Alex Singer?
    whatever you paid for it I'd say it was worth it.

    marty
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  10. #10
    Senior Member bigwoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lotek
    That is one gorgeous bike.
    something about those tire savers is tickling my memory,
    like they were custom made?
    I wonder if this is from a constructeur? ala Rene Herse
    or Alex Singer?
    whatever you paid for it I'd say it was worth it.

    marty
    Thank you so much Your kind words fill my heart w/ joy as much as riding this bike does however, my gut feeling tells me that this bike almost has to be somehow related to Gitane....
    Rene' or Alex S. (those 2 brothers whos names I cannot remember) would not have jumbled this many foreign parts together... umm... would a lesser known constructeur have though...??

  11. #11
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    possibly. Remember that Herse and Singer (Csuka?) were not the
    only constructeurs, there was Delcroix, Routens etc.
    Maybe the bike was bought as a frame only and then the components
    chosen by the original owner, why not? it might explain the
    jumbled components. The mixed dropouts are curious, more something
    I would expect a constructeur to build than a production shop
    such as Gitane.
    My particular area of interest isn't french bikes so who knows.

    marty
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  12. #12
    vjp
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    I vote for a "Constructeur" also. I recently purchased "The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles" by Jan Heine and your bike has a lot of features of a Singer, although I don't think it is. You should send an email to Mr. Heine at Vintage Bicycle Press www.vintagebicyclepress.com as he is incredibly interestested in constructeur bikes.

    I have a pair of Reynolds "Hiduminium" handlebars that are stamped "Made in England" also.

    Amazing bike! I cringe a little bit that you tore off the original leather handlebar wrap, even if it was rattty. If the bike was a "Herse" or even rarer builder you greatly devalued the bike by changing anything at all.

    Good luck,

    vjp

  13. #13
    Stop reading my posts! unworthy1's Avatar
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    How about a detail shot of the seat stay caps? That might help. The fork crown looks "Gitane", from that distance, but I haven't seen enough Merciers to know how they look. I know they had models that pretty closely corresponded to Gitanes offerings, and maybe better finished from what I've heard. The all-chrome thing is what throws me off the Gitane trail.

  14. #14
    Stop reading my posts! unworthy1's Avatar
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    my apologies, I didn't realize there is a whole album of shots, not just that one....I will go study them now...

  15. #15
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    What a gorgeous find, bigwoo! At 23 - 24 pounds, and as big as it is, it almost has to be 531 or similar high end DB tubeset.

    I second vjp's suggestion to send Jan Heine some detailed photos and see if he has any ideas. His e-mail address is heine94@earthlink.net.
    Last edited by Scooper; 09-13-06 at 10:12 AM.
    - Stan

  16. #16
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    After studying the photos, I say it's a Gitane TdF. All of the frame details match. It even has the same tire savers as mine, but those aren't factory. From your description, I'd say it rides like a Gitane TdF, too.

    I just thought of something. I'm at work, but as I recall, the TdF has an unsually skinny downtube. The ends of the clamp on my shifters almost touch. Do you have a way to measure it?

  17. #17
    Senior Member Sporkinum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigwoo
    My favorite component? The rock scrapers that keep the tires free of debris
    Those were for keeping glass off of tubular tires(sew ups). You also would occasionally have your gloved hand touch the tire while you were riding to do the same thing.

  18. #18
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    Here's a thought and a question,
    Given the similarities to the Gitane TdF were the TdF frames
    fully chromed and then painted ? If so this would be a possiblity,
    and is it possible the fork is not original to the bike (Huret dropouts)?
    I know I said constructeur but this has got me thinking.

    Francophiles what say ye?

    marty
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  19. #19
    Senior Member bigwoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooper
    What a gorgeous find, bigwoo! At 23 - 24 pounds, and as big as it is, it almost has to be 531 or similar high end DB tubeset.

    I second vjp's suggestion to send Jan Heine some detailed photos and see if he has any ideas. His e-mail address is heine94@earthlink.net.
    Will do... I'm putting together an email now however, I'm confident that we have enough good eggs on this forum to nail the identity

  20. #20
    Senior Member bigwoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lotek
    Here's a thought and a question,
    Given the similarities to the Gitane TdF were the TdF frames
    fully chromed and then painted ? If so this would be a possiblity,
    and is it possible the fork is not original to the bike (Huret dropouts)?
    I know I said constructeur but this has got me thinking.

    Francophiles what say ye?

    marty

    I'm thinking the front fork is definately original...
    "Huret" is stamped on both sides and that's not something they've done for many moons (at least not to my knowledge). Also, the chromes' patina(tint) exactly matches the patina everywhere else.... (but, I'm no expert on this type of analysis)

    More importantly, here's a fun fact that a few of the great old timers from our local Velo club have taught me...
    "Son, when the french shops had a busy day they would sometimes cut a few corners, especially at Gitane.... if they were backed up and didn't have time to heat-treat the frame AND paint it, they may simply have chromed it to get back on schedule, this process was looked down upon at that time but we are all very thankful for it now....Also, they grabbed whatever parts were on the shop floor that day...."


    Let me ask you this, I'm thinking more and more that a small independent bike shop may have built this frame up from scratch....can we definately rule out a Super Corsa built for a shop customer from scratch and narrow the results to a TdF ???

    Why would a small shop be stamping the frame though??

    The main thing holding us up here: several guys from the Velo club say there is no way on earth that the serial # on the L rear dropout came from Gitane...???
    Last edited by bigwoo; 09-14-06 at 04:15 PM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lotek
    Here's a thought and a question,
    Given the similarities to the Gitane TdF were the TdF frames
    fully chromed and then painted ? If so this would be a possiblity,
    and is it possible the fork is not original to the bike (Huret dropouts)?
    I know I said constructeur but this has got me thinking.

    Francophiles what say ye?

    marty
    TdF frames were definitely not fully chromed and then painted.

    As I said before, my TdF came from the factory with mixed dropouts.

  22. #22
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop
    As I said before, my TdF came from the factory with mixed dropouts.
    didn't see that in the above, I think I was too fixed on the Simplex/Huret and missed
    the simplex/campy in your post.

    mea culpa mea culpa mea maxima culpa

    marty
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  23. #23
    Senior Member bigwoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop
    I just thought of something. I'm at work, but as I recall, the TdF has an unsually skinny downtube. The ends of the clamp on my shifters almost touch. Do you have a way to measure it?
    I'm trying to find a caliper/micrometer Dd..........I dont own one but, I'll find one

  24. #24
    Senior Member spunkyruss's Avatar
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    If you can accurately measure the circumference of the tube then you can calculate the diameter -just divide the circumference by pi.

  25. #25
    Stop reading my posts! unworthy1's Avatar
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    I have a few random thots: the pentagon shaped stop was intended for a clamp with a flat bottom edge (like Simplex) and the Campy is a later addition made by the owner. Therefore (a leap in reasoning) ALL the Campy gear is add-on upgrade and the Simplex DO was tapped, after manufacture. Is the Italian stem a FR diameter, or sanded to fit? My TdF had unique "leaf" plate caps on the seatstays, but most TdF's I've seen don't. Is this seatstay end treatment shown EXACTLY like your Tdf, Dirtdrop? (the scalloped ends of the stays on the DO do look very like my Gitane, however) I just saw pix of another French bike (a ROYAL, neverheardofit) that has the same "ugly" rear brake cable stop arch, so this piece is NOT a Gitane-only feature, tho that's where I saw it first and most. Lastly, if this guy was of a mind to buy a bunch of Campy parts to adorn it, maybe he splurged on a chrome plating job, aftermarket, too. Wouldn't be the first time that was done.

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