Gift of the Motobecane Road Bike
Last week we said goodbye to a co-worker who was taking a new job in a different part of the country. He was attemping to lighten his load, and I inherited an item mounted up high in his dusty garage.
Correct me if I am wrong, but it looks to be a Motobecane Grand Touring Mixte, circa early-mid 1970's?
I spent a night freeing up frozen and misadjusted components, trueing up the wheels (a broken spoke in the rear had it wobbling badly), oiling, etc. The tires still hold air, but are severely cracked / dry rotted. It must have been in a good wreck at some point, as the front wheel bears Schwinn markings, and the drop handlebars are bent inward on the RHS. Not sure about the saddle (made in Italy). Suntour gears, Weinmann brakes. It is missing a few minor things like crank caps and the guard off the chainring
I rode it a little bit (slow, as I am anticipating a tire blowout...), and it handles pretty nicely. It will need a lot of chrome polish and some paint, but might make a worthwhile restoration project. Any thoughts? How about a source for inexpensive gum wall tires (27x1.25) and red brake/shift cables? Thanks!
I'd say you're probably spot on in identification- 74- 76 Grand Touring. You don't show the drive side but it should be sporting a Nervar alloy crankset, Suntour V-GT( or later,Vx-GT) rear derailleur, Suntour front derailleur (Spirt or Seven, iirc).Pivo stem in 74.
Originally Posted by Fibber
Thanks for the reply. Don't worry - I tooks lots of pics! I just didn't want to waste the bandwidth if nobody cared enough to respond. I can post them if questions come up.
You nailed a few items, some I am not yet sure of. I did some more careful looking tonight and came up with a mixed bag, particularly on the wheel/hub issues. Here is the total parts summary:
Cranks say Motobecane on the front, SR and 170 on the back (as in SunRace, 170mm ???)
Chain ring & pedals are Sakae, large ring is 52 teeth, but missing the screw-on guard
Front derailleur is Suntour Spirt, rear derailleur is Suntour V-GT Luxe
Bottom bracket is Sakae SR-SC
Brakes are Weinman Vainqueur 610 center pull, with Dai-Compe levers
Handlebars are branded with the big 'M' where not covered with bar tape. I cannot see any marking on the stem, but there is not much visible without removal of the Suntour 'power shifters'.
Seat is a leather covered Selle San Marco (Italy), and looks to be branded '88
Front Wheel: Hub says "30 Schwinn Approved 81" and "Made in France", and has a Schwinn Approved quick release skewer.
Rim is steel, and says "Ukairim 27x1 1/4 w/o" and "Make in Japan"
Rear Wheel: Hub says "50 Schwinn Approved 81" and "Made in France"
But here the rim is aluminum, and marked "UKAI 27x1 1/4 w/o LA", and "Made in Japan".
The broken spoke is on the cluster side, so requires major disassembly to thread in a replacement.
Given all this, is it worth putting the effort in, or is the presence of Schwinn parts a killer? What makes of components should have been included? Restore and ride it, or part it out on e-bay???
I'm thinking later '70's. Post 1977, but not before 1980. The more modern "Motobecane" graphic on the downtube and the "Motobecane" branded crank are clues to me. Earlier models had "nervar" branded cranks and a more "traditional" motobecane graphic.
Restore and ride. The components might get you a bit of cash on ebay but they are common. This bike was a pretty affordable good quality bike from the 70's but by no means a rarity. I love Motobecanes because they just look great even after all these years. They really held back on the frame graphics and paint colors back then... contrary to others! Even today, Moto's look totally classic!
Install some aluminum fenders, upright handlebars, and Brooks saddle... done.
Last edited by dbarnblatt@usa.; 11-12-07 at 08:30 PM.
I'd lean toward the later '70s too - the paint/decals are of a similar style to those on my 1978 Motobecane Grand Jubile. And the "SR" on the back of your crank arm(s) is as in Sakae Ringyo, not Sunrace. Just thinking about Sunrace parts makes me shudder.
Sakae Ringyo - sounds better than Sunrace.... bad guess on my part!
I enjoyed Cinco's bike page, in particular the Grand Jubile restoration project. So, where does one find red cables? Or should I just go low cost basic black given all the other compromises on the bike.....
I have to admit that I was happy to get rid of my old 10 speed back in the '90's and buy a Trek Navigator 200 as my back no longer tolerated drop bars. Doing what dbarnblatt did looks tempting with the conventional handlebars and levers, yet something about changing a 'classic' is holding me back. But then maybe I'll get over it if I happen to find an inexpensive parts source!
Also, about those Schwinn hubs. Would they have been mounted to those Japanese wheels, or did someone lace up a mix & match. Were Schwinn hubs made in France a common item in that time period?
Schwinn had tons of components made overseas back then and they usually had "Schwinn Approved" stamped or engraved into them. A lot of French parts suppliers made parts for Schwinn... including Normandy. So the hubs on your bike might actually be the "right" ones, just the originals would not have the "Schwinn Approved" stamped into them. So your hubs and rims are not original, but it doesn't matter. If you want you can find a set of Normandy hubs and maybe Weinmann 27" rims.
Originally Posted by Fibber
This particular Motobecane is not really the type of classic that calls for a period correct restore. If you had a Grand Record, Le Champion, or Champion Team then you would be looking into finding the correct type of parts and go for a good period restoration.
Motobecane made so many variations of bikes and to find a mixte with upright bars in their catalogue was also common (in France). So feel free to modify and keep the parts vintage. Here is a great source for tons of parts, both vintage and new you can work with... yes, they do have red brake cables!
Also remember bike owners then and now customize. So it was not unusual to find a vintage bike with different part on it since it was new... due to bike shops upgrading and installing parts and accesories at the time of the sale.
Thanks for the advice on refurbish vs. restoration. My wife and I did an 1880's house, so I need to keep this all in perspective. The Velo site gave me a lot of inspiration.
I don't mind staying with the period correct Schwinn hubs, but will eventually 'unify' the rims. Even dirty, there is a distinct patina difference between the chrome steel and the aluminum rim. While I like the look of steel, my understanding is that aluminum stops better, especially when wet. It is a dilemma - looks vs. safety. And while I could live with black cables, the red ones look so nice!
Did you get your aluminum fluted fenders from Velo? They do transform the look of the bike. Man, my wife is going to hate me.
I have developed a passion to ride more, and just ordered a Dahon folder for use between building at work. It should be on my porch when I get home tonight!!! Driving is wasteful, walking is too slow. Biking - now there is a solution!
Yes I installed a set of Honjo aluminum fenders from Velo-Orange... but they now has a set that is only $35 or so. Vs. the $80 Honjo's. Also keep an eye out for other 27" bikes in craigs list. Everyday some pop up for less than $80 and they would usually have a perfect set of aluminum wheels. Better than buying a set new (costly) or rebulding your set (costly also!).
Originally Posted by Fibber
Last edited by dbarnblatt@usa.; 11-13-07 at 11:50 AM.