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  1. #1
    Senior Member tobydeemer's Avatar
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    New-to-me Gitane Tour de France- help pinpoint year?

    Hi all-

    I recently purchased this TdF from the original owner, who said he bought it new sometime around 65, 66... something like that. I was wondering what you guys think, if you have any input, resources, etc. I started taking parts off the frame in order to give it a good cleanup, rust proof the inside of the tubes, etc. (Which explains why it looks like a track bike with derailleurs...)

    The saddle is not original, but it's a similar style. It's made by Middlemore of England, if anyones knows of that company. (I'd never heard of them. Assumed a Brooks knockoff.)

    It has Simplex derailleurs, friction shifters, and dropouts; Campy hubs and QR levers; Mavic "Championnat Du Monde" sew-up rims; Reynolds 531 of course; a Huret derailleur cable stop on the seat tube; Pivo stem; Stronglight (I think Super 93 or 94?) crankset; and Mafac Competition brakes.

    In theory, I want to strip the frame, and possibly save the decals (right...) and repaint it the original color, re-apply the decals (original or repro's) and then clear coat it even though that's "not original". I need that extra durability as I want to ride the mess out of it when it's done.

    Please let me know what you think, and any input would be greatly appreciated.












    Last edited by tobydeemer; 10-03-07 at 05:18 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member tobydeemer's Avatar
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  3. #3
    . bbattle's Avatar
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    http://www.gitaneusa.com/models_1.asp

    http://www.gitaneusa.com/catalogues01.asp

    1970 TdF


    1976 TdF


    1978 TdF



    here's one on eBay right now
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Gitane-road-bike...:B:SRCH:US:101

    It appears you have an early 70's bike.
    Decals may be difficult. I'd take lots and lots of very good photos of all the decals then send them to someone who makes decals professionally.

  4. #4
    If I own it, I ride it CV-6's Avatar
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    Off hand I would say your seller's memory is faded. I don't think that is any older than 1970. I would venture to say the Campy hubs are Tipo and not original to the bike. Original in this case I believe would be Normandy Luxe Competition. Not a criticism, just observation. If you are not hung up on original, then I would ditch the current derailleurs and shift levers for later model Simplex...not made of Delrin. You will not regret it. As for removing the decals...I doubt you will have much success. But there is a project afoot with a reputable person to reproduce them. I have a Super Corsa I am needing decals for myself.

    EDIT: I see from the catalog page link that Campy hubs were an option for the 70 TdF.
    Last edited by CV-6; 10-03-07 at 09:03 PM.
    Lynn Travers

    Photos

    ISO: Lejeune Champion du Monde Ultra Leger Reynolds 753, 53-55cm

  5. #5
    Senior Member tobydeemer's Avatar
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    Thanks for the quick reply.

    That's what I was guessing for the year as well, but I wondered about the brakes. The 1970 catalogue shows the Racer Lux model, and mine has Competitions. Were those commonly used in place of one another?

    -toby

  6. #6
    Senior Member tobydeemer's Avatar
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    CV-6

    I'm beginning to agree that it's later 60s/ early 70s, but he did say that never replaced anything on it other than the seat and tires. He was pretty adamant about that fact. Maybe for a reason, who knows.

    -toby

  7. #7
    Chrome Freak Rabid Koala's Avatar
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    I'd say 70-73. Here is my 73:

    1971 Paramount P-13 Chrome
    1972 Paramount P-15 Chrome
    1973 Paramount P-15 Opaque Blue
    1973 Gitane Tour De France
    1974 Raleigh Professional
    1991 Waterford Paramount

  8. #8
    * vpiuva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tobydeemer View Post
    Thanks for the quick reply.

    That's what I was guessing for the year as well, but I wondered about the brakes. The 1970 catalogue shows the Racer Lux model, and mine has Competitions. Were those commonly used in place of one another?

    -toby
    "Racer Lux" was a bad French to English translation. There are no "Racer Lux" brakes. They really meant "Competition" and so you have the more desirable brakeset than the plain "Racers"

  9. #9
    * vpiuva's Avatar
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    Someone posted a mid-60's Gitane on here a few months ago and the foil ST decal was squared off top and bottom, not diamond shaped as they were around 1970. You'll also notice from the catalogues that the TdF started as a 3 tubes 531 bike, went to all 531 around 1970, then reverted back to 3 tubes later in the 70's. And I doubt that seatpost is original. Pull it and look at the date on the bottom back of the post.

  10. #10
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    I'll go with the 70-73 vintage, too. '73 was the last year for the foil decals, and I have vague memories of that yellow from that vintage (although that was a very unpopular color). The Tipo hubs may be original, as I seem to remember they were an option over the stock Normandies.

    Backup on the guess is my 71 - rather original except for the wheels (it came without and I've never gotten around to building the replacements). You're going to love the bike, it's a wonderful rider. (To the sharp eyed, yes the front dérailleur is/was wrong - it's been replaced with a proper Simplex since the pic was taken):
    Syke

    "No wonder we keep testing positive in their bicycle races. Everyone looks like they're full of testosterone when they're surrounded by Frenchmen." ---Argus Hamilton

  11. #11
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    While we're on the subject, has anyone else ever seen an early 70's TdF in a color that can best be called blackberry? It was a black, with a definite undercurrent of red in the color. I have very strong memories of one of the guys in the Presque Isle Bicycle Club having one back in the day, and it's the only time I'd ever seen the bike in that color.
    Syke

    "No wonder we keep testing positive in their bicycle races. Everyone looks like they're full of testosterone when they're surrounded by Frenchmen." ---Argus Hamilton

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sykerocker View Post
    While we're on the subject, has anyone else ever seen an early 70's TdF in a color that can best be called blackberry? It was a black, with a definite undercurrent of red in the color. I have very strong memories of one of the guys in the Presque Isle Bicycle Club having one back in the day, and it's the only time I'd ever seen the bike in that color.
    I do recall Gitanes coming in an eggplant color. I dont know if it was offered on the TDF model.

    Actually wasnt Lucien Van Impe's bike eggplant with a white saddle.

    Nope - blue

    Last edited by big chainring; 10-03-07 at 09:36 PM.

  13. #13
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    [QUOTE=bbattle;5385584]http://www.gitaneusa.com/models_1.asp

    http://www.gitaneusa.com/catalogues01.asp

    What is that web site? Is Gitane USA affiliated with the "real" CycleEurope Gitane (like Bianchi USA) or some private entity like Retro Raleigh or that Peugeot website with the UO-8's? That has a great deal of really cool information.
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  14. #14
    * vpiuva's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Kommisar89;5387783]
    Quote Originally Posted by bbattle View Post
    http://www.gitaneusa.com/models_1.asp

    http://www.gitaneusa.com/catalogues01.asp

    What is that web site? Is Gitane USA affiliated with the "real" CycleEurope Gitane (like Bianchi USA) or some private entity like Retro Raleigh or that Peugeot website with the UO-8's? That has a great deal of really cool information.
    Private web site by the sandman - check out the pics of his workshop/shrine on the Gitane forum

  15. #15
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
    I do recall Gitanes coming in an eggplant color. I dont know if it was offered on the TDF model.
    I remember that most of the eggplant bikes were Interclubs. Never saw a Gran Sport Deluxe in it (they always seemed to be blue or green), nor a Super Corsa (white and blue), one or two TdF's (which seemed to run the whole gamut of color - green, blue, eggplant and blackberry), and have vague memories of the mixte model painted that way (mostly blue and green).

    At least up in our area, the predominant Gitane color was green - and not many other manufacturers were using it, to the point that I was assuming dark metallic green meant Gitane like celeste meant Bianchi.
    Syke

    "No wonder we keep testing positive in their bicycle races. Everyone looks like they're full of testosterone when they're surrounded by Frenchmen." ---Argus Hamilton

  16. #16
    Uff Da!
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    FWIW - I bought my circa 1971 TdF from the original owner who said it was original as he bought it from the East coast importer. It has(had) Simplex Criterium derailleurs, Campy Nouvo Tipo hubs, Mafac Competition brake calipers, and a Middlemore leather saddle. That saddle is the most comfortable one that I have, which include Brooks Professional, B17(standard & narrow), B15, Flyer, Ideale 90, and Cinelli Unicanitor.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sykerocker View Post
    While we're on the subject, has anyone else ever seen an early 70's TdF in a color that can best be called blackberry? It was a black, with a definite undercurrent of red in the color. I have very strong memories of one of the guys in the Presque Isle Bicycle Club having one back in the day, and it's the only time I'd ever seen the bike in that color.
    Could it be criterium violet?

    http://www.gitaneusa.com/images/catalog/1970_pg11.jpg

  18. #18
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop View Post
    No, this bike was a definite black - but in bright sunlight you'd catch a touch of red, and Mike (the owner - damn, I still remember his name!) would make touchup paint by blending Testor's black and red in a 3:1 ratio. Looking at that chart, I realize I've never seen criterium violet on a Gitane. Or champion blue or record red, for that matter.

    I've also never seen a Gitane Hosteller in the steel - just catalog pictures.

    Gives you an idea of what sold in northwestern PA during the bike boom.
    Syke

    "No wonder we keep testing positive in their bicycle races. Everyone looks like they're full of testosterone when they're surrounded by Frenchmen." ---Argus Hamilton

  19. #19
    Chrome Freak Rabid Koala's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sykerocker View Post
    While we're on the subject, has anyone else ever seen an early 70's TdF in a color that can best be called blackberry? It was a black, with a definite undercurrent of red in the color. I have very strong memories of one of the guys in the Presque Isle Bicycle Club having one back in the day, and it's the only time I'd ever seen the bike in that color.

    Yes! When I worked at the LBS back in 1974, the owner's personal bike, a Super Corsa, was a really dark maroon color that appeared black unless it was out in the sun or in fairly bright light.
    1971 Paramount P-13 Chrome
    1972 Paramount P-15 Chrome
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    1973 Gitane Tour De France
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  20. #20
    Uff Da!
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    Quote Originally Posted by sykerocker View Post
    Looking at that chart, I realize I've never seen criterium violet on a Gitane. Or champion blue or record red, for that matter.
    An early seventies violet Super Corsa sold on ebay a few months ago for about $500. The buyer stripped the components and then resold the frameset. Some would probably think it too flamboyant, but I liked the looks of it. Unfortunately, it was several inches too big for me.

  21. #21
    Senior Member tobydeemer's Avatar
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    I guess mine's the "Sport Orange"...

    Thanks to all for the feedback. I look forward to getting it ride-ready.

    I'll post more pics as I make progress.

  22. #22
    Senior Member tobydeemer's Avatar
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    Hello again. Got some work-in-progress pics. Alot of the chrome and AL came out awesome when I was done:










    ------------------------------
    I'm probably slower than you.

  23. #23
    Senior Member tobydeemer's Avatar
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    That last one above is the "bike shrine" in my living room. Not that this bike will be a hanger, it's just a non-eye sore place to keep it when I'm not on it. That, and it looks cool under the poster.

    ------------------------------
    I'm probably slower than you.

  24. #24
    Vintage Punk, w/ Damage Eyeseeu's Avatar
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    A little more back-up on the age; the Simplex DR is a 1971 or 72 Criterium-

    http://members.jcom.home.ne.jp/r.amaki/prestige.htm
    How much ya want for that Classic Huffy?!
    I heard Paris Hiltons parents have downgraded her to a Motel 6...

  25. #25
    vjp
    vjp is offline
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    I have had quite a few bikes re-finished over the years and personally I would never re-finish a bike in that condition. If I find a bike that is devoid of most of it's parts and has been painted over, then no problem but yours is beautiful. I love patina, I love ratty, I don't like rust, dents or horrible gouges. Check out the well loved, much ridden bikes of L' Eroica, they scream history and adventure. Overly restored bikes are for OFG that obsess on minutiae and arguing build details on the internet. Wax it, ride it, love it!

    I LOVE orange bikes, I am going to repaint all my bikes orange.....

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