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Old 12-10-07, 04:51 AM   #1
utilitydan
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libertas made in belgium

I just picked up what they claim to be a 1970 libertas road bike. They also claim to have a full 531 reynolds frame. There are very small remnants of a decal. I under the quality of the decals back then were'nt very good. serial # on bb is 42262, then there is a 72 stamped underneath that. there is also a 61 stamped on the head tube on the bottom towards the rear bottom. (The head tube is the tube you slide the forks in right?) Seller also claims the model is a "grand champion", but I see no evidence of that. It has decals that appear to be all original that says the bike is made in belgium. It used to have some campy derailleurs, but he said they were junk back then, so they put on some suntour V-GTluxe derailleurs. Has rigida rims made in france, and ofmega quick release hubs made in italy. The bike weighs just under 25 lbs. I would just like to authenticate and find out which kind of 531 frame it is.
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Old 12-10-07, 05:36 AM   #2
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I'm moving this from Regional forums to Classic and Vintage. Pedal on.

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Old 12-10-07, 06:16 AM   #3
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cool, I am new at this, just signed up. Thanks
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Old 12-10-07, 08:04 AM   #4
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I have a Libertas frame, full Reynolds 531. Currently built up for my daughter. At 50cm, this is one of the lightest frames I have at just over 3lbs with fork. One thing you can look for is on the fork steerer tube most Reynolds 531 forks will have the name embossed into the metal. I have also seen real clunker POS Libertas's that I just threw out after stripping the parts, so it can go either way!
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Old 12-10-07, 10:24 AM   #5
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cool, I am new at this, just signed up. Thanks

Welcome utilitydan,
I've enjoyed studying Libertas' bikes for years but there isn't a lot of info on them. Like Sheldon Brown says, many of them came with Reynolds tubing, which is a good thing. I find them to be sweet handling bikes and you can still get them for a good price because lots of people are not familiar with them (But I like Belgian bikes )
I know that the Libertas "Competition" models are at the lower end and they generally have the fully chromed front fork and are often all blue or tan in color- Just one solid color usually means a lower-end Libertas.
The Grand Champion and Professional Grand Champion are higher on the list and are often orange/white or black/white.
I've come across 4 different models from them (Competition being the lowest, they often have a BIG ugly foil decal on the downtube) and from what I've been able to figure out, the Libertas' that came with half chromed front fork and chromed rear ,adjuster screws on the rear dropouts, (Suntour dropouts in back ?), nice parts selections like Ofmegahubs, Stronglight cranks,and 3ttt make GREAT sport touring bikes and are also very nice for fixed gear conversion.....

I'm guessing that the junk Campy you are speaking about are/was a Gran Tourismo.... Yep, they sort of sucked big time and the V GT Luxe is definitely a great derailleur selection....One of the best touring derailleurs ever!

Last edited by bigwoo; 12-10-07 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 12-11-07, 01:33 AM   #6
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yes, orange and white. half crome forks and rear. Whats it worth? Any clue at all> Also, there are multiple versions of 531 frames. Do you know which 1 this is?
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Old 12-11-07, 01:49 AM   #7
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do you have any pictures you could post?
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Old 12-11-07, 08:39 AM   #8
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Whats it worth?
I've seen mint condition one's w/ a Reynolds main frame go for $140 on fleabay. I've also seen completely non-original, low-end ones that were converted to fixed gear fetch $400 easily, go figure

They are not terribly valuable and most people don't know the name, but like I said, they make great touring bikes or commuters..Ride it and enjoy!
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Old 01-06-14, 01:22 AM   #9
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Welcome utilitydan,
I've enjoyed studying Libertas' bikes for years but there isn't a lot of info on them. Like Sheldon Brown says, many of them came with Reynolds tubing, which is a good thing. I find them to be sweet handling bikes and you can still get them for a good price because lots of people are not familiar with them (But I like Belgian bikes )
I know that the Libertas "Competition" models are at the lower end and they generally have the fully chromed front fork and are often all blue or tan in color- Just one solid color usually means a lower-end Libertas.
The Grand Champion and Professional Grand Champion are higher on the list and are often orange/white or black/white.
I've come across 4 different models from them (Competition being the lowest, they often have a BIG ugly foil decal on the downtube) and from what I've been able to figure out, the Libertas' that came with half chromed front fork and chromed rear ,adjuster screws on the rear dropouts, (Suntour dropouts in back ?), nice parts selections like Ofmegahubs, Stronglight cranks,and 3ttt make GREAT sport touring bikes and are also very nice for fixed gear conversion.....

I'm guessing that the junk Campy you are speaking about are/was a Gran Tourismo.... Yep, they sort of sucked big time and the V GT Luxe is definitely a great derailleur selection....One of the best touring derailleurs ever!
http://worcester.craigslist.org/bik/4226185634.html

since you know a bit about them, can you tell me anything about this bike?
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Old 01-06-14, 01:56 AM   #10
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As for the bike on Worcester Craigslist, the half-step gearing suggests it might be from the 1960's, but since it is a price-point model I'd say just as likely from 1970 or so.

It even has the same sort of flat-plate "Made in West Germany"(?) rear brake bridge that my very-early-'70's Steyr Clubman model has.

Essentially this bike seems much like a Peugeot UO8, but with a few Reynolds main tubes and chrome on the rear stays.
It's a nicer-looking bike though.
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Old 01-06-14, 10:27 AM   #11
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libertas made in belgium

Ah Libertas. Nice bike. I'd buy that at $200.
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Old 01-06-14, 01:33 PM   #12
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As for the bike on Worcester Craigslist, the half-step gearing suggests it might be from the 1960's, but since it is a price-point model I'd say just as likely from 1970 or so.

It even has the same sort of flat-plate "Made in West Germany"(?) rear brake bridge that my very-early-'70's Steyr Clubman model has.

Essentially this bike seems much like a Peugeot UO8, but with a few Reynolds main tubes and chrome on the rear stays.
It's a nicer-looking bike though.
I'm a newbie currently looking for my first road bike and came across the libertas. Seller said he would drop to $150. Problem is from what I have been told, this is a very rare bike with plastic derailers and a cottered crank with hard to find/expensive french replacement parts, makes this not a very practical first bike. I was offered some other options from a forum member in my area...the frontrunner being an mint newly rebuilt 84 fuji sagres for the same price. Another CL seller has a Raleigh SGP that needs tubes brakes and possibly a tune, priced around $100-$125. Some people love Belgian bikes and swear by them where others say they would never go near them. Just trying to find something I can learn/beat on that won't put me in an expensive predicament in the case of breakage. Opinions please.
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Old 01-06-14, 01:46 PM   #13
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Ah Libertas. Nice bike. I'd buy that at $200.
He said he would drop to $150, just worried about the headache of hunting down expensive hard to install french parts to fit this 72 when I could grab a mint 84 fuji which has parts that can be replaced with off the shelf parts from the local LBS.
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Old 01-06-14, 01:51 PM   #14
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That Libertas is a great deal at $150 if what you want is an early 70's Libertas. Judging by the photos, nothing on it will need to be replaced for at least ten or twenty years. I respectfully disagree with dddd, I think this one is a good bit better than a UO8, and certainly much more interesting. Then again, if you'd rather have a Fuji, then the Fuji is a better deal.
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Old 01-06-14, 01:53 PM   #15
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I'm not completely sure that has Reynolds 531 tubing. Something about the decals doesn't look right (and he's elected to not take close-up photos of them...).
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Old 01-06-14, 02:19 PM   #16
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That Libertas is a great deal at $150 if what you want is an early 70's Libertas. Judging by the photos, nothing on it will need to be replaced for at least ten or twenty years. I respectfully disagree with dddd, I think this one is a good bit better than a UO8, and certainly much more interesting. Then again, if you'd rather have a Fuji, then the Fuji is a better deal.
It's not that I want one more then the other...I want the one that is the best fit for a beginner/single father with a private school tuition to pay for, that doesn't have a ton of extra money to sink into a new hobby.
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Old 01-06-14, 02:25 PM   #17
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I'm not completely sure that has Reynolds 531 tubing. Something about the decals doesn't look right (and he's elected to not take close-up photos of them...).
First...i love your avatar DiegoFrogs. I was just teaching my son the fine art or fighting King Hippo, Piston Honda, and Bald Bull the other day on the NES I snagged at a swap meet a little while back.
Second...the tough part about vintage Libertas is there is literally NO INFO on them anywhere online. I've looked high and low and have not been able to find a darn thing where Fuji has a plethora of info all over. This Libertas just kind of scares me a bit due to that reason. I have no clue on a model, exact date, exact components, or as you pointed out what the frame is exactly even made of.
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Old 01-06-14, 02:41 PM   #18
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Here's a nice bit on Libertas: the founder's grandson being interviewed on Libertas history. You'll need to brush up on your Flemish, though.


There is more to be found on Belgian forums, like wielerarchieven.be and Forum Velo Retro Course.
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Old 01-06-14, 02:44 PM   #19
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The good thing about older bikes is that even the money pits aren't that deep. Modern French threaded stuff (headsets and bottom brackets) can be bought from folks like Velo Orange and other places and all the other stuff mostly clamps on, so can be replaced with old Japanese or modern stuff. I'm not exactly sure what I'd do, since I like Japanese stuff, too.

After having not played the game in close to 20 years, I downloaded it to my Wii (the updated version that replaced Tyson after his fall from family-friendly grace). It's not quite the same without the poor ergonomics of the original controllers!
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Old 01-06-14, 03:52 PM   #20
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I don't see anything on the Worcester Craigslist bike looking like a Reynolds decal, and btw the "chromed" forks and stays are just silver paint, as is almost always the case on even the nicer Belgian steeds like my Campag-NR and full-531 "The Dura"-branded bike shown here:

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Old 01-06-14, 04:03 PM   #21
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I was in the bike business for over 20 years from the mid 70's through the mid 90's. I sold many French bikes in the 70's, but in the 80's the Japanese manufacturers became the dominant bike suppliers to the American market. There is a good reason why . . . imo, they made far better entry level bikes than the European manufacturers. The components (Suntour was Fuji's choice in the 80's) worked better than the entry level Euro stuff. The frames were better made. The paint was better. The rims, while sometimes heavy, were straighter and easier to maintain. All-in-all, I think for an entry level purchase, for a new rider, the Japanese built Fuji Sagres would be an excellent choice and probably more enjoyable to ride.

If the Libertas has steel, cottered cranks and plastic derailleurs (probably Simplex), I'd recommend the Fuji
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Old 01-06-14, 04:26 PM   #22
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I would have to agree with Thunderworks. I don't know anything about Libertas bikes, but if you are worried about sourcing and paying for replacement parts the Fuji might be the way to go. My father-in-law has an 80's Sagres that I ride when visiting and while the frame is a little stiffer than I like, overall it's a decent bike. It's not particularly light either but does have aluminum rims, aluminum cotterless cranks and what I consider to be modern standard parts that can be easily sourced and that I have the tools for. If I could have only one bike and had limited funds I'd probably be looking for a mid '80's Japanese bike. They seem to be a good value these days.
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Old 01-06-14, 04:28 PM   #23
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Well, with all due respect to Fuji, I don't think the Emperor of Herentals ever rode one.

Tour de France, 1963, Rik van Looy won four stages and ended tenth overall on a Libertas:

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Old 01-06-14, 04:49 PM   #24
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I would buy the Libertas for $150. It looks like it's near new. A cool old gaspipe with simplex. I don't think it is reynolds by the pics, but if the main three are it would be a great deal. Lugs are lined and nifty!
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Old 01-06-14, 09:37 PM   #25
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Get what you will enjoy and RIDE! I've enjoyed my Libertas, but as others say - there is NO info on them!!
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ots-of-Photos_
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