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Old 05-04-13, 06:03 PM   #1
mtmann
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Help I.D. Mystery road bike, probably French?

After looking at this bike in my LBS for over a month, I decided to slap down the $25 and try to resurrect it. It's been rattle canned black, but the paint under is obviously orange. Chromed fork and chain stays/seat stays. Rear spacing is 126 with Campy dropouts. Diamond braze-ons for rear brake bridge and chain stay bridge. NO water bottle braze ons or cable guides. Flat lugged fork crown, fairly distinctive head tube lugs and wrap-around seat stays.
Because it's been repainted, I can't swear to the original nature of components, but it has a Nervar 40/52 crankset, sylvan pedals, pivo stem, sun tour F/R deraillers circa early 80's, Suntour 6-speed freewheel, center pull brakes probably Dia compe but labels gone. Wheels are 700c, Weinmann concave rims, unlabeled hubs but not high flange.
Any ideas?
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Old 05-04-13, 07:45 PM   #2
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those are Prugnat lugs, a FR product but used by British and Italian builders, too...to determine nationality you should pull the seatpost and check for size, measure the ODs of all 3 main tubes, check the BB shell threading (British bikes used the Nervar Star cranks, too).
More detail pics wouldn't hurt.
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Old 05-04-13, 08:22 PM   #3
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Good bones there, the components as to indicating what it is I do not think are of much use. Best chance would be that the headset and cranks MAY be original.
I would consider it is going to need a respray, so I would wet sand the down tube in hopes to finding the original graphics, of course one could try goof-off first just in case the rattle can is really cheap paint.

My guess is that it is French.
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Old 05-04-13, 10:01 PM   #4
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I measured the seatpost with calipers - it's chromed steel, nothing special, and measures 26.5 outer diameter. Tried the Goof-off with limited success. uncovered triangular sticker at top of downtube, apex pointing down, with two bottom sides saying "acier" and "special" with top word maybe starting with a "B" or 2nd letter is a "B." will try to post picture tomorrow with tube measurements as well.
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Old 05-04-13, 11:26 PM   #5
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like this?
Early Columbus foil sticker, probably early '70s...the preceding foil sticker was rectangular, a couple rectangle variations date back to the '50s.
This example (snagged from the excellent blog of Angel-o) is on a Stella (French), but Italvegas (built in Italy by Torpado) were known to use this tubing and even used the French language decals.
If the measurement is accurate, you may have metric Columbus tubing, since a 26.6 or 26.4 would be typical seatpost sizes used. Metric tubing will have even mm outer diameter main tubes, Imperial tubing has fractional mm (since it's based on the inch).
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Old 05-04-13, 11:44 PM   #6
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Nice lugs with quite long, fine points. There could be quite a nice bike under all that old crud and rattle can paint!
Note that some English bikes also had those wrap around style seat stay tops......
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Old 05-04-13, 11:55 PM   #7
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I agree and based on a few pics I saw of Stellas: they used those lugs...might be a strong contender.
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Old 05-05-13, 09:57 AM   #8
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That's it! and the sticker underneath the triangle was a big rectangular white sticker (like the Stella you show). Unfortunately, either the rattlecan paint or my Goog-Off efforts removed the lettering on this, but it's a pretty close match. Even the frame color seems to be similar. Do you know if the Stella shown has the wrap-around seat stays?
I measured the outer diameter of teh tubing and near as I can figure, the TT is 26mm and the DT & ST both 28. Actual measurement add .1/.15, but I figure with two layers of paint on either side, it's most likely an even number bare. here's a few more pics.
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Old 05-05-13, 11:02 AM   #9
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I don't have any other info (or pics) of that Stella, but you might contact Angel Garcia via his blog and ask him (at least I think that's the author of this blog).
veronaman@gmail.com is his email addy, the blog is
http://italiancyclingjournal.blogspot.com/
He is a wealth of info.
Back to the bike: I'd bet money that it's a high-end Stella, or possibly one built by the same hands, since there were a couple other brands that came from the Stella workshop.
The brake bridge looks like it might have a square cross-section...am I seeing that right? If so, that was a feature I think I'd only seen before on a Jan LeGrand frame...but folks copy folks they like.
Edit: on 2nd thought I think it looks round to me, now.
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Old 05-05-13, 01:33 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
like this?
Early Columbus foil sticker, probably early '70s...the preceding foil sticker was rectangular, a couple rectangle variations date back to the '50s.
The triangular Columbus indicated main tubes only. The rectangular ones typically full butted tubes. Stella did use those stickers.
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Old 05-05-13, 01:35 PM   #11
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Ah! good to know^, thanks.
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Old 05-05-13, 01:54 PM   #12
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Looks like it could be a 2nd-tier Stella, but typically Stella used the 'fishmouth' treatment at the stay/blade-to-dropout area, so this one is a little different. That sure looks Stella-ish, as others have indicated. French-threaded?
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Old 05-05-13, 10:57 PM   #13
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Pulled the cranks this evening. BB is Sakae 35 x P1. So yea, French, it looks like. Didn't take it off, so I suppose it could be Swiss, but I doubt it. On plus side, there's fairly fresh grease down there, and all looks clean and feels good, so hopefully I won't need to replace the cups. And there's always velo orange if I do.
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Old 05-19-13, 10:17 AM   #14
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After doing some more searching, i found a good post about a nearly identical bike. It looks like what I have is one of the "Arctic cat" bikes sold by the snowmobile company back when they decided to get into the bike business in the late 60's/early 70's. Made by French company Stella. It really was a "bike boom" wasn't it? Hard to imagine bicycles on the floor at a Polaris dealer nowadays... Apparently, when Arctic Cat decided to get out of the bike business, these could be had pretty cheap, but what that meant in dollars I have no idea. From what I can find, it looks like they carried these bikes over several years, and more than one model; he one I have is fairly high-end with Columbus tubing, chromed fork and stays, and Campy dropouts, but not all Arctic Cat bikes had those features. I've also seen pictures of green ones. Here's a link to one nearly identical to my find.
http://paulsbicycle.blogspot.com/201...by-stella.html
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Old 05-19-13, 06:55 PM   #15
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I believe they still do, google Polaris Bikes . Wal*Mart and Meijer have an SS cruiser for 159.99
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