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Old 03-09-13, 10:35 AM   #1
kclark987
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Putting Clipless Pedals on my 60's Gitane track bike?

I have an old Gitane track bike that I like to ride in the spring when the roads are sometimes wet, plus, I like the fixed-gear spinning early in the season. Anyway, for years, I've lived with the original rat-trap pedals and toe clips, but I'd really like to throw on a set of Speedplay pedals. Is it possible to swap out the crank arms on this cottered-crank design, or is there a better way? Pic of bike is below.

Kevin near Rochester, MN
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Old 03-09-13, 10:38 AM   #2
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Putting Clipless Pedals on my 60's Gitane track bike?

Pedals can be swapped without swapping crank arms. Cottered cranks are elegant and should be left intact imo.
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Old 03-09-13, 10:39 AM   #3
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if its a standard 9/16th threaded crank arm you should just be able to take the existing pedals off and replace with the speedplay pedals on, without needing to swap the crank arms
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Old 03-09-13, 10:51 AM   #4
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if its a standard 9/16th threaded crank arm you should just be able to take the existing pedals off and replace with the speedplay pedals on, without needing to swap the crank arms
That's the problem...the current pedals are not a standard thread. I took it to a bike shop years ago and the guy said it's some strange French-standard thread and no one has made pedals to fit this for years...
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Old 03-09-13, 11:05 AM   #5
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They are 14mm. The only real option is to tap them to 9/16 if you want to keep the crank. Its not a big deal but it will only bother people who want to restore it, but its a rider so ride it.
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Old 03-09-13, 11:06 AM   #6
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He didn't offer to tap the arms to standard 9/16"? Any bike shop should have the taps.

It's a trivial job, even on steel arms.

I've tapped the arms on three of my four French bikes.

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Old 03-09-13, 11:18 AM   #7
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That's the problem...the current pedals are not a standard thread. I took it to a bike shop years ago and the guy said it's some strange French-standard thread and no one has made pedals to fit this for years...
Still have options. On the one hand, there are pedals available with French threads. On the other, it's not a huge thing to re-tap the cranks to accept the standard pedal threading.
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Old 03-09-13, 11:27 AM   #8
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The only French thread clipless pedals I've seen were the first generation LOOKs. I would just have a shop tap the existing cranks if you really want to use your Speedplays.
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Old 03-09-13, 11:30 AM   #9
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KClark, have you ridden a fixed gear with speedplay pedals? If so, then skip this paragraph. But if you haven't, I suggest you try it, and make sure you like it, before doing anything to the bike. I have heard that toe clips and straps are easier to deal with on a fixed gear bike than any clipless system. I haven't tried it, though (I have clips and straps on my fixed gear bikes).

If you can't get speedplay pedals in French thread (and this wouldn't surprise me) and you don't want to tap the crank arms, you definitely can replace the crank. You can probably keep the existing bottom bracket cups, then use square tapered spindle for cottered cranks, or possibly just use English threaded cottered crank arms on your existing crank spindle. There are many options.
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Old 03-09-13, 11:51 AM   #10
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Pedals can be swapped without swapping crank arms. Cottered cranks are elegant and should be left intact imo.
True, but his crank arms may well be metric thread, and I'm not aware of any clipless pedal available with metric thread. The arms could be re-tapped to ISO thread (easy with aluminum arms, not so easy with steel arms), or the arms could be replaced with a cotterless crank and appropriate spindle or bottom bracket.
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Old 03-09-13, 11:53 AM   #11
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The only French thread clipless pedals I've seen were the first generation LOOKs. I would just have a shop tap the existing cranks if you really want to use your Speedplays.
I thought I remembered Speedplay having French thread pedals, but a quick search didn't yield any results whatsoever. A re-tap may be the only option after all.
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Old 03-09-13, 12:52 PM   #12
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I saw some guys turning custom speedplay spindles over at Weight Weenies, I bet a competent (home) machinist can furnish you with a set if you don't want to retap your cranks.
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Old 03-09-13, 01:11 PM   #13
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can replace the crank. You can probably keep the existing bottom bracket cups, then use square tapered spindle for cottered cranks, or possibly just use English threaded cottered crank arms on your existing crank spindle. There are many options.
This and save the parts so if you ever sell the bike, the new owner can restore it. For road use, as elegant as cottered cranks are", I recommend going cotterless, one less thing to worry about, drop some weight and it opens the open the door to stand threading and a larger pedal assortment.

Or-

Save some $"S Keep your vintage track bike vintage and go to Target, their fixie has been on sale for $35-$99 depending on location....check out the SS-Fixed gear forum for more on that one.
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Old 03-09-13, 01:37 PM   #14
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True, but his crank arms may well be metric thread, and I'm not aware of any clipless pedal available with metric thread. The arms could be re-tapped to ISO thread (easy with aluminum arms, not so easy with steel arms), or the arms could be replaced with a cotterless crank and appropriate spindle or bottom bracket.
That the arms are French threaded has been established... It wasn't mentioned in the OP that being the case.
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Old 03-09-13, 01:47 PM   #15
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KClark, have you ridden a fixed gear with speedplay pedals? If so, then skip this paragraph. But if you haven't, I suggest you try it, and make sure you like it, before doing anything to the bike. I have heard that toe clips and straps are easier to deal with on a fixed gear bike than any clipless system. I haven't tried it, though (I have clips and straps on my fixed gear bikes).
My understanding is that many track sprinters do not like clipless, because they can pull out of them due to the massive power they are laying down. For the average guy on the street, clipless should be every bit as convenient as it is in every other situation.
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Old 03-09-13, 02:13 PM   #16
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The vast majority of modern track sprinters use clipless pedals with straps. Here are some pictures of an example of how this is done.

http://www.bikeradar.com/road/galler...-stars-33594/4



With respect to clipless and fixed gear; I found it significantly easier than clips and straps. I've used clips and straps as well as SPD and SPD-SL on my fixed gear. SPD is a no brainer, you start pedaling, pedal comes around and you clip in. It's great.

SPD-SL is more similar to a clip/strap set-up in that you have to give just a little kick to get into the pedal, it's more difficult than SPD but still much easier than clips/straps. I would imagine Speedplays would be similar to SPDs since they're two-sided.

I would never go back to clips/straps, they're a big ol' pain in the but for fixed riding.
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Old 03-09-13, 02:43 PM   #17
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^^^^^ Nevermind the clipless pedals with straps. Look at the size of the thighs on that dude! ^^^^^
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Old 03-09-13, 05:12 PM   #18
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I also prefer clipless (SPD).
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Old 03-09-13, 05:20 PM   #19
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@Colonel, what's the significance of that well dressed mamajama, Porter?
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Old 03-09-13, 05:24 PM   #20
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Porter was a nickname I earned as a little kid.
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Old 03-09-13, 05:52 PM   #21
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Big ears or snappy dresser?
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Old 03-09-13, 06:10 PM   #22
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I also prefer clipless (SPD).
On your fixie, that is?

I don't really care what track riders do. My question was whether OP has ridden a fixed gear bike in the configuration he is trying to achieve. If so, carry on. If not, I strongly suggest he try it before doing anything to the Gitane.
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Old 03-09-13, 06:26 PM   #23
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His front wheel is on backwards.
no joke.
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Old 03-09-13, 06:46 PM   #24
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On your fixie, that is?

I don't really care what track riders do. My question was whether OP has ridden a fixed gear bike in the configuration he is trying to achieve. If so, carry on. If not, I strongly suggest he try it before doing anything to the Gitane.
I'm back... Good thought, and actually, I haven't ridden a fixie with clipless as this is the only fixed-gear bike I own and don't have friends with fixies. However, I'm pretty sure I'll like the clipless better because it's no picnic getting into the straps and trying to snug them up as my foot rolls by and loosening them up again as I come to a stop. Plus, not all clipless pedals are the same, and if you've ever used Speedplays, they are one of the easiest pedals to click into--you just stomp straight down and you're in. I'm thinking the clipless pedals will work better for me, but again, good thought and a fair thing to consider.

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Old 03-09-13, 06:51 PM   #25
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So what did I do? After reading all this about re-tapping the threads, I brought the bike by my LBS and they said for 30-min labor ($20) they could tap them for me. They also said they may have some old cottered crank arms that would fit my BB. The guy was too busy to do the work today or dig through the box, but said he would later this week and if he finds some--that's the route I'll take. Else, I will have him tap away. I'll post again later to let you all know the outcome.

Thanks to everyone who offered their insight. I'm new on the discussion board, and it was awesome to hear so many ideas. Plus, I got to see some of the largest thighs ever on a cycling dude!!! Impressive!!!!
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