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Old 01-03-12, 10:29 AM   #1
marsupilami
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My Thévenon "rainbow" bike

Just got a new bike that I will be using for commuting. Apparently it was made in a French bike shop called Thévenon Cycles, located in Saint Just Sur Loire according to the decals (it's next to Saint Etienne, which was known as the French capital of bicycles). I found an address and phone number on google but unfortunately the shop is now closed. Besides the decals it doesn't have any other identifying feature or serial number.

According to the previous owner it was originally equipped with a full Shimano 105 group (he replaced quite a few pieces before selling it to me, probably to fit them to his other bikes). The remaining 105 components date it at mid-late 1980 which I think is consistent with the style of the bike (paint job, decals etc.) The main 3 tubes as well as the fork are made of Reynolds 531, that and the 105 group lead me to think it was a mid/high-end bike when it was originally released.

Among the components that have been replaced are the rear derailleur (Huret Challenger II), shifters, brake levers, front hub (Shimano Exage) and rear hub (Joytech). I don't mind all the part swapping except maybe for the rear derailleur. I might swap it back with a Shimano derailleur in order to have indexed shifting (or maybe I'll just get used to friction lol).
Freewheel is a Maillard Course 6-speed, rims are Mavic MA3, stem is an Atax, bars are Guidon Philippe and saddle is a San Marco Rolls Due. I added a set of MKS GR-9 pedals with steel toe clips and, since I'll use it as a commuter, a set of Crud Roadracer fenders.

I'd say the craftsmanship is decent if maybe a bit sloppy in places. I like the cable routing through the top tube (very clean IMO), the cutouts in the lugs, the fastback seat stays and of course the paint job!

After cleaning and tuning everything I took it on a test ride, it fits nicely and rides beautifully (can't say the same about myself though, I'm totally out of shape!). It sure helps that the roads are so much nicer here in France (I was previously living in NYC).

Finally, here are a few pics:








Cheers!
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Old 01-03-12, 09:30 PM   #2
brianinc-ville
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Spiffy!
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Old 01-03-12, 09:51 PM   #3
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Fades FTW!
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Old 01-03-12, 11:00 PM   #4
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Cool paint. That fork is pretty crazy looking, the frame looks like it was built for racing.

Friction shifting is really easy, you should try it for yourself.
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Old 01-03-12, 11:09 PM   #5
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Very nice looking bike. Can't say I've seen anything like it. What do you think of those Crud fenders?
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Old 01-03-12, 11:42 PM   #6
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Absolutely beautiful. I wish I could do this to my bike, but it still has all the original paint and decals intact.
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Old 01-04-12, 12:15 AM   #7
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Looks like it could use a couple more links of chain.
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Old 01-04-12, 12:40 AM   #8
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pretty frame for sure

whats the deal with the black coloring inside those lugs? looks like someone just straight up took a sharpie and colored it in
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Old 01-04-12, 07:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
mkeller234
Cool paint. That fork is pretty crazy looking, the frame looks like it was built for racing.

Friction shifting is really easy, you should try it for yourself.
I don't know enough about bikes but I think so too, especially when I see the tire clearance (I was barely able to fit the roadracers with 23c tires).
I'll give friction shifting a fair try before making up my mind, right now I'm fumbling a bit but maybe with some practice it'll go smoother.

Quote:
apsheehan
What do you think of those Crud fenders?
They were easy enough to set up and after some tweaking I managed to have the rear one not rub against the tire despite the small clearance (between 4 and 5 mm, manufacturer says you need at least 4). Haven't ridden in the rain yet so I can't comment on how they perform. Pretty happy with the look, very unobtrusive IMO.
I'll post my impressions after the first ride in the rain, which should be fairly soon lol.

Quote:
MetinUz
Looks like it could use a couple more links of chain.
Well I used the Sheldon method (one full link of overlap with largest ring/cog combination without derailleur) and according to the Park Tool website it looks as it should when it's at the same setting with derailleur (i.e. the chain clearly bends at both pulleys).
I'm still learning and was under the impression that a smaller chain / more tension on the chain is better, am I wrong?

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zazenzach

whats the deal with the black coloring inside those lugs? looks like someone just straight up took a sharpie and colored it in
I agree, it's both an odd choice of color and done in a rather sloppy way. Wonder if it's original or if it was done afterwards...
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Old 01-04-12, 08:00 AM   #10
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greast looking bike! but something about screams "I need a Suntour group" to me. perhaps it reminds me of Grewalls bike or something.

OH I agree defenitely play with and get comfortable with the friction shifting. I think every new cyclist should have to ride DT friction shifting for a year.

I agree on the chain, while you should never 'crosschain' you should atleast be able to shift into those gears.
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Old 01-04-12, 08:56 AM   #11
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Alright I added a link, doesn't look saggy at the small/small combination so I guess all's good.
Thanks for the tip!
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Old 01-04-12, 10:53 AM   #12
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So I went on an other ride today, a bit longer, slowly getting back in shape. I really like the GR-9 platform pedals, very comfy with sneakers and very easy to get in/out of too.
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Old 01-04-12, 08:52 PM   #13
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About friction shifters, mine are on the handlebar stem rather than the downtube but I don't remember them being a problem to learn at all. Before I got this bike I'd only had single speeds as a kid and indexed shifters as a teenager, but I've been riding this one for the past 11 years and after doing some research on its system I've decided I don't want to replace it. Sheldon Brown does recommend doing so, however, and has reassured me that it is indeed possible if you want to in the future.
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Old 01-04-12, 08:58 PM   #14
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I really like the color scheme, the bike looks great!
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Old 01-04-12, 09:23 PM   #15
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My daughter just walked over and peeked at my computer. She says, "Ohhhh, daddy!!! Maybe you can borrow that bike!" She's 3 and LOVES rainbows.

Cool bike. I bet not many of those made it across to the U.S. I've never seen one. Is the top of the seat stay starting to separate at the seat tube? Perhaps just a sliver of a rust line? Also, IMHO, the chain stay ends a bit too abruptly at the rear dropout.

I dig the Rolls Due saddle, too. I'm curious if you (or others) have ridden a regular Rolls and, if so, how they compare.
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Old 01-05-12, 12:04 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaucho777 View Post
My daughter just walked over and peeked at my computer. She says, "Ohhhh, daddy!!! Maybe you can borrow that bike!" She's 3 and LOVES rainbows.

Cool bike. I bet not many of those made it across to the U.S. I've never seen one. Is the top of the seat stay starting to separate at the seat tube? Perhaps just a sliver of a rust line? Also, IMHO, the chain stay ends a bit too abruptly at the rear dropout.

I dig the Rolls Due saddle, too. I'm curious if you (or others) have ridden a regular Rolls and, if so, how they compare.
Lol that's funny! Yeah the paint has already brought in a bunch of comments, people are not indifferent to it hat's for sure!

Regarding the saddle to be honest it came with the bike when I bought it but I have to say I'm very happy with it, no sore/numbness to report even after a couple months without riding. I'd be curious to compare it with the regular Rolls too though.

I noticed that too where the seat stay meets the seat tube. There is a small crack in the paint but I don't see it as too much of a concern, I'm lightweight and won't be riding the bike too hard. I'll keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't get worse though.
As I said in my initial post the craftsmanship is a bit sloppy in some areas, I noticed it when I bought the bike but I like it and didn't pay too much for it so I can live with it as long as it doesn't start falling apart lol.

On another note, I got the chance to test the roadracers today with a 9-mile ride in the rain and I'm happy to report that they performed beautifully. Didn't get any spray on myself, not even on the shoes, and the main triangle was clean after the ride. Chain and front derailleur barely caught any dirt at all either. There was some dirt on the stays but I doubt that's avoidable. I have no problem recommending them to anyone who can't fit regular fenders!
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