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Old 05-03-12, 02:15 PM   #1
Chicago Al 
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Show your Motobecane Grand Record

There have been a lot of Motobecanes showing up here lately, and for some reason fate (and CL) have brought three of them into our family fleet of bikes. The one I'm most excited about is, naturally, the one that's for me, a mid 70s Grand Record. And as it seems to be a particularly well liked model and there are only sporadic mentions of it in the archives, I thought I'd put up a thread that could be a general resource for folks who might look for information in the future. The immediate conversations we have in these threads are actually only the smaller part of their lives, people will be finding them for years to come. (So hello, future thread-finders!)

I picked up this GR last weekend. It is filthy and has some scratches and a bit of spot rust, but I think it'll clean up well. The seatpost and stem came loose easily. The stem and bars were changed out by some previous owner, presumably the one who fitted the Suntour barcons. Other than that the bike appears to be stock. It seems close to the 1974 AND 1975 catalog specs, so could be either. It has a pat 74 Campy RD, so is definitely no earlier, and the seatpost's Reynolds decal is the French version of '3 main tubes,' while the 1976 catalog specifies that the GR is 531 'throughout' (like the Le Champion and Team Champion), so this is probably not that late.

Wheelset is the correct Normandy Luxe Competition hubs but with Weinmann 700c rims, dimpled alloy (I guess at this point they still felt the dimples helped braking). These seem so close to the catalog spec that I wonder if they were a factory option. Brakes are Weinmann 999. In 1974 the catalog says they could be that, or Universals. Actually the 1974 catalog states that the lugs could be either Nervex or Prugnat! These are the classic ornate Nervex. Crankset is 3-arm TA, another detail that changed frequently; hopefully the chainrings are still usable. Pedals are the original Atom 700.


I expect to put Campy shifters on, and will probably find appropriate bars and stem, though those seem to have changed every year for this model, including Nittos in 1974, so I'm not going to be compulsive about it. Actually I'm going to ride it with the 'dirtdrop' style that are on it now, just to see how it feels.

The seatpost is unmarked as far as I can see, and is likely the original, which is just named as 'alloy.' (Probably SR.) I have an older Brooks Pro or Ideale 90 that would be a good fit for the bike.

The only real change from original I expect to make is a pair of fat-handed Tektro aero brake levers, a major requirement for comfort. These ones have 'gum' hoods so hopefully won't look too out of place.

This is a bike that I've admired the looks of, and I know many here love them, so I am hoping it'll be a long term keeper.

Now...how about yours! (ps I have no idea why the pics resize themselves this way.)



















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Old 05-03-12, 02:31 PM   #2
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Sweet bike there Al.
I'm a pretty big Moto fan myself, and hopefully some day a GR will fill that empty stall in my stable.
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Old 05-03-12, 02:33 PM   #3
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you sure that's a "3-main-tube" Reynolds 531 decal?
cause my GR looks just like yours (OK, pics with follow eventually) and my decal is "All 531"...
EDIT: just looked closely and sure enough yours has that number 3, guess that clinches it.
I've assumed mine is '75...has Nitto Pearl stem and came with a straight alloy post and a "modified" Brooks Pro saddle (which I think was the one change made by the PO), same hubs but smooth-side tubular rims (no brand).
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Old 05-04-12, 06:57 AM   #4
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^ The catalog specs aren't necessarily accurate for many lines of bikes, esp European ones, maybe especially French. Motobecane wasn't even sure what lugs they were using on the GR in 1974. But...the difference between '3 main tubes' and 'all' 531 is significant, so it would seem your GR is later than mine. Maybe yours is 75-76, mine 74-75. We can also compare SNs...not that that is necessarily more systematic!
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Old 05-04-12, 07:09 AM   #5
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Hey Al! Nice bike. I hope to see it in person.

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Old 05-04-12, 07:43 AM   #6
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Sweet ride Al - well played!

FYI - I have extras of those pedals you could have for a song if you need them.
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Old 05-04-12, 09:36 AM   #7
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Nice Grand Record!
Here is mine I'm building up. Humble stages right now.


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Old 05-04-12, 12:51 PM   #8
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Here is mine - after a few changes to stock to make it more rideable for me.


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Old 05-04-12, 04:57 PM   #9
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^Looks pretty sharp as is! What are the bars and stem you're pulling off? And it sounds/looks like someone updated the drivetrain and brakes already?
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Old 05-04-12, 05:22 PM   #10
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I sold this and only had it briefly, but it was a looker:

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Old 05-05-12, 10:53 AM   #11
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Here is mine, still with the original pivo bars and stem. I think even the pads are original. I believe it is around 54cm frame, One campy cable guide, all nuvo record derails and levers. Right now it is sitting on normandy hubs and rigidalu rims.

In wonderful shape, its place in my stable is questionable seeing as how I have other projects that I need time and funds for. Beautiful bike though.Glad to see a thread showing them off.
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Old 05-05-12, 11:11 AM   #12
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We can also compare SNs...not that that is necessarily more systematic!
that's going to be difficult: I just took off the rear wheel to (try to) read the SN on the DO and the wear is so bad I can only make out:
2XXX595
actually I'm not even sure if it's 3 digits between the 2 and 5, the wear is that bad...not the best place to stamp a SN, it would seem.
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Old 05-05-12, 01:32 PM   #13
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I took a quick look for the sn of mine this am, expecting it to be on the BB. But there's only a single digit or letter, a 6 or 8, under the crud. Nice find though on such a well-used bike: the paint appears to be extra thick.
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Old 05-05-12, 08:45 PM   #14
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after some special lighting and massaging, I think my SN is:
2642595
and it's on the LH dropout, under the slot
There seems to be something stamped on the BB shell, but it's very small and if it's real it's only 4 or 5 digits...the paint is so thick I'm not even sure there's anything there.
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Old 05-06-12, 08:40 AM   #15
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I'll have to check the SN on mine when we get home this afternoon, but with the huge difference between those two numbers on bikes only a year or two part, I'm not optimistic we'll find any system to it.

Meanwhile here is something I spotted on eBay. This is for a 21"/54cm GR at auction in Indiana, ending today, Sunday 5.6. It looks to be early 70s, and is incomplete (no derailleurs), and with faded paint. But look at those lugs! I am tempted by this one, maybe to build up for my son. What character.

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Old 05-06-12, 10:06 AM   #16
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Speaking of Grand Records, there's a small one, slightly incomplete cheap so far on ebay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-1974...#ht_500wt_1297

[QUOTE=Chicago Al;14186885]
Meanwhile here is something I spotted on eBay. This is for a 21"/54cm GR at auction in Indiana, ending today, Sunday 5.6. It looks to be early 70s, [QUOTE]

That's the one. I've been told the shield plastic badge is '72-'73.

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Old 05-06-12, 10:06 AM   #17
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yes that's got the earlier shield-shaped headbadge, probably pre'73. Never seen that paint scheme, I'd be tempted if I had any use for one that size.
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Old 05-06-12, 10:11 AM   #18
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My turn. Bought this one for $100 from a bad CL ad pic. I was praying it wasn't a Jubilee or something low end, as they all shared the same paint it seems, from the GR on down. Universal brakes from the stash(had single pivot 105's?) Campy deraileurs, shifters, and top tube clamps. Pivo stem and CTA Phillipe bars, aftermarket fork from the 80's. I have since added low flange Campy/Mavic grey ano tubular rims, with Servizio Corsa tires. Kind of a Frankenstein I guess, but I have no doubt the Nervar Star crank is factory. I was told by the Yellow Jersey guys they could have come with TA's or Nervar. I LOVE the ride, and the look of these bikes.,,,,BD

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Old 05-06-12, 01:37 PM   #19
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True, there's no photo of the GR logo, and the stem shifters are not right for it. But the close up of the rear shows dropout adjusters which I don't think a lower model would have. Also wouldn't that TA have been a higher end crankset in the early 70s ?
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Old 05-06-12, 01:52 PM   #20
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I was praying it wasn't a Jubilee or something low end
I wouldn't be surprized if the Grand Jubilee and the Grand Record were the same frames...
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Old 05-06-12, 07:08 PM   #21
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Some good looking bikes here...hopefully this thread will end up being somewhat comprehensive of the model.

The SN on the rear DO of mine is: 2993974, stamped very clearly. So, it's at least in the same universe as Unworthy's. Eschlwc's # off the BB shell is something completely different...maybe you'll have a number that makes more sense on the dropout?

Compared to Unworthy's though...his should have a higher number than mine if mine is an earlier bike by a year or so, instead it's the reverse. So, assuming there is a system to the numbers (!), maybe it's not strictly sequential, or there is something else going on. I am struck that mine ends in '974' and it appears likely to be a bike from that year. But Unworthy's ends in '595' and the bike is certainly not from that year! Any chance it ends in '75', Unworthy? If so we would be getting somewhere. Not that it matters to anyone but a few scattered nerds...or just one. One lonely bike nerd.

I didn't bid on that GR on eBay. Too many projects underway. However I did really like the way the paint looked in the photos, and I think I'd even use the term 'patina' for it. My own GR is going to get a full teardown, cleanup, polish, etc, but I hope it will still look its age. A bit of crackling to surface of the paint would be okay with me!

Also, took a closer look at the rear rack: it's a Jim Blackburn, neatly affixed with P-clamps. From that and the Suntour barcons and water bottle holder, I am forming an idea that the original owner of the bike, presumably the one who did these changes, knew what he was about and made the bike into what he needed for serious use.

^btw: a C&V friend here who has a GR says he traded his Grand Jubilee for it, as he could not get comfortable with the Jubilee's extra-long top tube. The bikes were the same height though of course if they weren't the same year specs might have changed, but he thinks there's a distinct difference between the models.
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Old 05-06-12, 10:21 PM   #22
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I believe I meant Mirage, oops. But later 70's GJ's weren't quite as fancy as GR's, like they were in the mid 70's. Material went down or maybe a sidestep to Vitus 172. I also have a 78ish Grand Touring, and it is still a fine bike, but a little heavier than my GR.
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Old 05-08-12, 04:45 AM   #23
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Lovely bikes
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Old 05-10-12, 01:53 PM   #24
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I don't see BF member Stronglight's GR on this thread. http://www.flickr.com/photos/strongl...7605076156132/

Hopefully he won't mind my posting the link; they are publicly accessible photos after all, and the bike is a beauty.
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Old 05-10-12, 06:13 PM   #25
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I don't see BF member Stronglight's GR on this thread. http://www.flickr.com/photos/strongl...7605076156132/

Hopefully he won't mind my posting the link; they are publicly accessible photos after all, and the bike is a beauty.
Pic assist.

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