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Old 11-26-08, 01:57 PM   #1
Denny Crane
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What is this bike?

In 1978, I purchased a used 10-speed bike from my neighbor in Redondo Beach. He and his wife owned 7 bikes, including a tandem. The seller described it as "a pretty good bike, but this is my ride-it-to-the- beach bike, and to deter theft I removed all labels and painted it that ugly powder blue." It has Suntour VGT RD, Shimano FD, Mafac Racer center-pull brakes, Weinmann brake levers, a Sugino crank, Araya wheels, and Shimano QR hubs. The cassette is from Maeda Industries Japan, and labeled "Perfect" in italic script.

I have included pictures of the top of the fork, front derailleur, the center tube/top tube/seat stays frame joint, and a small cable guide for the RD.

Thanks for any help you can give.
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Last edited by Denny Crane; 11-28-08 at 04:21 PM. Reason: Adding a full bike photo
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Old 11-26-08, 03:39 PM   #2
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French, but could be Gitane, Mercier or whoknowswhat. It bears a strong resemblance to the other "Mystery French Bike", and not just the color, either.
I am French, but who made me?
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Old 11-26-08, 08:17 PM   #3
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Looks Similar!

Thanks for the response. Sure looks similar. I posted a reply to that thread, hoping for more info. I don't know a lot about bikes, but I would expect Huret, Simplex, Campy or maybe Benelux components on a French bike. Mine is Suntour RD and Shimano FD.
Thanks again.
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Old 11-27-08, 12:03 AM   #4
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yeah you would expect the components to be French, but...there were lots of FR bikes that came with JP components, and even more that got "upgraded" to cheap all-metal JP stuff when the Simplex delrin broke. This frame just looks so French, but check out the BB (35mm x 1) and headset threading and stem quill diameter (22.0mm) and the seatpost size (26.4 or 26.6)...that will tell us.
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Old 11-28-08, 12:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
yeah you would expect the components to be French, but...there were lots of FR bikes that came with JP components, and even more that got "upgraded" to cheap all-metal JP stuff when the Simplex delrin broke. This frame just looks so French, but check out the BB (35mm x 1) and headset threading and stem quill diameter (22.0mm) and the seatpost size (26.4 or 26.6)...that will tell us.
I may have to buy a calipers, but I'll check the size of the seatpost. The handlebars are KB from Japan, and the stem is marked "AVA." I actually don't know where to measure the bottom bearing, and I'm not sure what the stem quill is. I'll give it a shot, as I'm curious to identify this bike.

Last edited by Denny Crane; 11-28-08 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 11-28-08, 06:58 PM   #6
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"Many higher-quality French bicycles of the '70's came with AVA brand bars and stems. These have a reputation for failure, and should be replaced if the bike is to be ridden hard or fast." -- http://sheldonbrown.com/velos.html
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Old 11-28-08, 07:15 PM   #7
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definatly french and dare i say possibly a peugeot (but that would be the expected answer). the cable guides, frame lugs and other details look similar to the two 70's peugeots i owned. a better look at the chainrings would help. and once my simplex derailleurs crapped out i put on suntour or shimano. hope that helps.
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Old 11-28-08, 11:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
yeah you would expect the components to be French, but...there were lots of FR bikes that came with JP components, and even more that got "upgraded" to cheap all-metal JP stuff when the Simplex delrin broke.
Mafac Racer brakes being the only reliable component of French bikes, it's natural that everything else might be upgraded to SunTour or Sugino. Your best bet though, as unworthy1 says, is through the examining seat tube and bottom bracket cups. And a slightly undersized steerer on the fork that won't take a Japanese, British, or Italian quill stem.
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Old 11-29-08, 09:41 AM   #9
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Watch out for AVA stems!

Quote:
Originally Posted by duffer1960 View Post
"Many higher-quality French bicycles of the '70's came with AVA brand bars and stems. These have a reputation for failure, and should be replaced if the bike is to be ridden hard or fast." -- http://sheldonbrown.com/velos.html
Thanks for the warning. My plan is to put the bike on a Kurt Kinetic Road Trainer, and use it indoors. My neighborhood has steep hills, so perhaps this old bike will remain stationary.

Looks as though the hunt is narrowing. I've received one strong opinion that it is a Gitane Gran Sport from 1973-1976, a suggestion that it appears to be a Motobecane, and another that the chrome fork caps and configuration resemble a Mercier. And the suggestion that the owner swapped out some parts makes a lot of sense, the seller being an enthusiast with 7 bikes. Also, the paint may not be original. I seem to recall the seller telling me that he painted it that color to deter theft.

The hunt continues!
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