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Old 01-18-13, 06:40 PM   #1
ftwelder
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So, I got this Motobecane and can't find it in the catalogs.

I have been in the mode lately where I grab any good frame in my size. It seems like the most logical way to spend my C&V energy when I don't have time to wrench.

About the beginning of this lifestyle, I ended up with an interesting Motobecane frame. I think I remember the owner saying it was a team champion but that means very little because I know I can't rely on my own memory regarding these things.

Anyway, so the frame has Huret dropouts, brazed on brake cable guides, windowed lugs, 531 tubes (full) and came with brand panto'd headset and very fancy aluminum cup stronglight bottom bracket. 'Best guesses have the metalwork dated around 1978-1979. The paint is original. The red fork color also seems to be original as are the transfers. This would also be the last year of 531 on better bikes and external lugs on lower bikes.

The graphics are original and usually found on later models (1984) and frames destined for US were equipped with Campagnolo dropouts.

The chain stays are not freaky short but it is not a Grand Record (though it is the exact color of my 1970 Grand Record). It weighs the same as an '83 PZ-10 in the same size. It has some remnants of other transfers, not typical on a production bike that I can't make out.

I am sorry the photos aren't better. I need to make a photo booth. It would be great to trace the serial numbers or find the exact model though i know serial numbers are often useless.

42?6898 803

Thanks for looking.


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Old 01-18-13, 07:40 PM   #2
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This frame looks to be from the 80's shortly after Moto went under and beacame MKS.
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Old 01-18-13, 07:40 PM   #3
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I know nothing. Reynolds decal seems to place it in late 70s...
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Old 01-18-13, 07:44 PM   #4
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Quite a mystery Frank. Tell-tale BB hole pattern of the Team Champ and Le Champion. Cutouts in the lugs look late 70's. As Dbakl said, the "gold band" Reynolds decal, with Ti trademark looks late 70's. It's just those graphics that are a stumper. European market, maybe?

What's that tubular braze on thingy by the drive side dropout? Housing stop?
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Old 01-18-13, 08:05 PM   #5
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Looks nice. Maybe a respray? or just new decals at some point?
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Old 01-18-13, 08:09 PM   #6
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frank my friend in RI has a le champion that has the same drillings in the bottom bracket but i think it may have campy dropouts but the same lugs im going down there sunday so i can check out the rest of the details
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Old 01-18-13, 09:08 PM   #7
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Spec-wise, it seems to stack up to be a '79 European C-41. (E.g., The badge, the Huret DO's, the '531 frame)
However - The paint/graphics proclaim c. '84 Team Champ.

I'll call it a '79ish prototypical TC unless someone can say otherwise.
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Old 01-18-13, 09:16 PM   #8
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Here are a few of my 1978. Columbus SL tubing. I'm stumped. Many similar features, but different tubing, and the stay ends are quite different from Frank's bike.



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Old 01-18-13, 11:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by zukahn1 View Post
This frame looks to be from the 80's shortly after Moto went under and beacame MKS.
Motobecane changed their name to MBK.
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Old 01-19-13, 07:10 AM   #10
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Thanks for the input. I have been calling it a late 70's C-41. It does have original paint on both frame and fork (If I was to guess a date by looking at the texture, I would say 1975-1978) with Huret drops at both ends. The bits of green color in the images is turtle wax with oil residue.

I have seen other Huret drops with the housing stop built in. I was fascinated to find the flat, swept seat stay tops and unique housing stop were also features on an early 70's Limongi at the shop (though a little different).

I have been searching photos to try to find a yellow/red team livery. I guess I should get some measurements.

I think Motobecane are also called "MOBEC" and I am sure I have read on CR that the upper models looked to be built by different hands over the years.


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The frame is also going to need a little brazing as the front cable stop is ready to fall off.


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Due, that bike is beautiful! Kyle, I would appreciate that!

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Old 01-19-13, 07:21 AM   #11
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That weird red fork throws me off a little, but seems indeed like an original Motobecane paint job with that weird habit of theirs to just chrome the top of the crown but paint the bottom...
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Old 01-19-13, 11:37 AM   #12
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The Huret short dropouts made their debut in 1977, however I believe that headbadge style first appeared in 1978. The down and seat tube logo style first appeared in 1981, on the La Redoute-Motobecane team bicycles and was used on the team bicycles until their demise, circa 1985. However, the ones on the seat tube do not appear lined up, as if they had been applied letter by letter, so they may not be OEM. Based on the characteristics, pending further evidence, it appears to be a very late 1970s, European model, either upper mid-range or lower, high end. Could you post a picture of the chain stay and seat stay bridges? TIA.

Edit: A photo of the fork ends/dropouts would be appreciated also.

Last edited by T-Mar; 01-19-13 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 01-19-13, 05:03 PM   #13
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The Huret short dropouts made their debut in 1977, however I believe that headbadge style first appeared in 1978. The down and seat tube logo style first appeared in 1981, on the La Redoute-Motobecane team bicycles and was used on the team bicycles until their demise, circa 1985. However, the ones on the seat tube do not appear lined up, as if they had been applied letter by letter, so they may not be OEM. Based on the characteristics, pending further evidence, it appears to be a very late 1970s, European model, either upper mid-range or lower, high end. Could you post a picture of the chain stay and seat stay bridges? TIA.

Edit: A photo of the fork ends/dropouts would be appreciated also.
Thanks! I went by the shop and snapped a few more photos on the way to take a walk.

The chain stay bridge is a rolled tube with punched hole and no reinforcements. The seat stay bridge is a little nicer and I got a photo of that. It's a seamless tube, fillet brazed with a thimble.


29 1070 by barnstormerbikes, on Flickr

Fork drops.


29 1067 by barnstormerbikes, on Flickr

I also photographed remains of bands on the seat tube and another one I can't identify on the right side of the down tube. The bands look like they were applied when the paint was wet.

The chain stays are 430mm at the longest axle position. I think the angles are 73/73. I should have measured the MOTOBECANE letters to see if they were cut to a fractional or metric increment. Letters purchased at a stationary store are "hot cut" and usually have a lip on the edge. These were cold die cut and pretty old vinyl.

The tubes weren't mitered inside the BB shell with a great degree of care.


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Old 01-19-13, 05:27 PM   #14
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Frank, what makes you so sure the paint and logos are original? Especially the fork, where you can see yellow paint beneath the red. From what others are saying, the construction (late 70's) would be earlier than the logos (early-mid 80's).
Looks like a pretty nice frame.
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Old 01-19-13, 06:29 PM   #15
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Well that bridge is identical to my euro spec grand record... Got
to check the DO's at home though.
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Old 01-19-13, 06:46 PM   #16
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lugs, weird axle stoppers and raised logo's are also the same as on my euro grand rec. as are the dropouts. Mine have no markings however. Yours apparently has a stop for the DT shifter clamp on the top of the tube, whereas mine has it on the bottom.
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Old 01-19-13, 07:14 PM   #17
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Frank, what makes you so sure the paint and logos are original? Especially the fork, where you can see yellow paint beneath the red. From what others are saying, the construction (late 70's) would be earlier than the logos (early-mid 80's).
Looks like a pretty nice frame.
I wasn't really able to see all the masking flaws until I looked at the images.

The stickers may have been added later after a respray for sure but paint is old and cracked like an original spray. My GR has really long chain stays but it is very close in color.

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Old 01-19-13, 07:17 PM   #18
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lugs, weird axle stoppers and raised logo's are also the same as on my euro grand rec. as are the dropouts. Mine have no markings however. Yours apparently has a stop for the DT shifter clamp on the top of the tube, whereas mine has it on the bottom.
Sounds like a winner! I think the racing models have 74 angles and this bike is closer to 73. Do you have a chain hanger and perf'd BB shell?

The 1979 French catalog shows the C-41 with the same tube set and dropouts.

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Old 01-19-13, 07:31 PM   #19
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Sounds like a winner!
Yeah, but the BB shell is different (no drillings) and the chain stays on my Grand Record don't seem that long as they are on your GR.. about 415 mm if I measure it correctly (which I doubt). Anyway, I think we can safely assume that the Motobecane factory at the time went through some great shuffling and parts and build methods ended up all over the place for all kinds of markets
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Old 01-20-13, 01:22 PM   #20
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After doing some more research, I'm not even convinced that this is a European model. The frame features are very consistent the circa 1978 Le Champion right down to the Huret dropouts, bullet shaped stay and blade ends, tangs on the blades but not the stays, flat on the brake bridge, etc, etc, etc.

I even happened to stumble across a photo of the bicycle, posted by a previous owner. It looks like those seat tube bands were simply electrical tape, to protect the finish, probably because it was a repaint and not baked. The down tube sticker appears to have been another piece of black electrical tape to protect the frame from the knurled cable tension knob of the Duera-Ace EX brakes that it was previously equipped it. The downtube stickers are again, not aligned well. I'm pretty much convined this was probably repainted in the early to mid-1980s.
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File Type: jpg motobecane ftwelder.jpg (99.8 KB, 37 views)
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Old 01-20-13, 03:43 PM   #21
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Here's a couple more of my '78. Again, lots of similarities, but not identical.


Last edited by due ruote; 01-20-13 at 03:44 PM. Reason: fixed photo
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Old 01-20-13, 03:49 PM   #22
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Great sleuthing there, T-Mar.
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Old 01-20-13, 06:55 PM   #23
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Here's a couple more of my '78. Again, lots of similarities, but not identical...
Yes, but yours is a 1978 Team Champion not the Le Champion, which was a step down, used Reynolds versus Columbus, didn't have the tangs on the bridges and used the Reynolds bullet ends on the dropouts ends of the stays and blades.
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File Type: jpg Motobecane 1978 Le Champion a.jpg (47.1 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg Motobecane 1978 Le Champion D.jpg (27.6 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg Motobecane 1978 Le Champion B.jpg (101.4 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg Motobecane 1978 Le Champion C.jpg (17.0 KB, 11 views)
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Old 01-20-13, 09:08 PM   #24
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Yes, but yours is a 1978 Team Champion not the Le Champion, which was a step down, used Reynolds versus Columbus, didn't have the tangs on the bridges and used the Reynolds bullet ends on the dropouts ends of the stays and blades.
Right you are - that looks like a good match.
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Old 01-20-13, 09:14 PM   #25
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And note the little derailleur housing stop right by the dropout. Same as Frank's.
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