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Old 07-22-14, 01:34 AM   #1
VintageRide
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1960's Le Juene

Alright, I guess I am a sucker for older French bikes - it could have something to do with that Peugeot U 08 I had back in 1973.... but anyway I tend to check the local Craigslist fairly often, usually out of curiosity and yesterday I came across this green LeJeune in my size. The seller bought it new when he was 18 and is now 66 so he put the year of the bike at 1966, and not knowing much about French bikes I at least knew the Huret Svelto rear derailleur on it was from that era. I realize this is not a high end model - most likely hi ten steel - but I have always liked the geometry and graphics of these earlier French bikes, such as those from Gitane and Jeunet and this one at least has some good looking lugs complete with cracked white paint on the head tube which kind of ads a nice patina.I also have a soft spot for high flange hubs and I am pretty sure these are Normandy. Another period touch that at least looks nice are the wing nuts, and although I know it has Rigida steel rims I don't see myself changing them as they appear to be in great condition. I believe the owner mentioned about the only non original item is the seat, which he still has, some hard plastic shell he could not sit on for any length of time apparently. I doubt the bike will get more than casual use with the gearing it has but that is fine - I have three other bikes for longer, hillier rides.
Interesting that the race bikes from just a few years earlier in general had the same type of steel cottered crank sets and except for the frame material and tubular rims were similar, including mounting brackets for the rear derailleur and even pressed steel dropouts. I guess what I am saying is the bike is at least an original representation of that time period and I don't want to spend much anyway, which in this case is a bit over 100.00. Would it also be reasonable to say that it is possible these pre bike boom frames may have been at least put together with a little more care? I have a few images from the ad, it may be a few days before I actually receive the bike and tend to think I better overhaul all the bearings before riding it. I remember reading that the Rigida rims usually have a diamond stamped on the rim with a number in the center denoting the year of manufacture so perhaps I could look there for a clue? I am quite aware of the odd ball French threading - including the slightly smaller diameter cotter pins and stems so at least I am prepared, though my intention is to leave it original. I doubt very much I will come across many of these and if anyone here is knowledgeable enough to give me some insight about the model and year if slightly out it would help - I have found very little on line so far. I noticed the head tube badge reads " Vainqueur Du Tour De France" which made me also wonder when the Savage/Le Jeune script disappeared?


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Old 07-22-14, 07:13 AM   #2
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Sweet. Really great find. Date is going to be 1969 at the earliest as Jan Jannsen won the TdF in 1968. They would not have put "Winner of the TdF" prior to that. I do not have any model info for that year.
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Old 07-22-14, 07:33 AM   #3
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I would get a decent saddle on it and adjust it more level. Install some toe clips and straps. Consider repacking the hubs and bottom bracket as decades old grease is probably there. Who knows about the build attention but the lower models would soon lose the intricate head lugs.
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Old 07-22-14, 12:34 PM   #4
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CV=6 I noticed you are quite knowledgeable about LeJeunes and wondered about the serial number and whether I can get anything meaningful out of it. Had it been a Gitane there is at least a site dedicated to the marque but part of the attraction, or even charm of a LeJeune is that they are uncommon although getting information can be a bit frustrating! The lower level bikes will never get the kind of attention high end ones receive of course the value not helping but in my case I wanted to have one just because finding an example that is original from that time period is difficult. Just checking prices on ebay for similar components quickly shows that the cost adds up if you need something but of course, most bikes are worth more in parts. Since looking locally ( even ebay ) in the last year I have come across perhaps ten or so bikes from the '60's that were mostly original and in my size ( and price range ) that includes Seattle and Portland so I feel fortunate to have found it. It had been posted for a month - I was not spending as much time looking - it was a good thing the owner lives on one of the islands, as a local sale it would have been gone quickly considering the market here has people asking 250 - 350.00 for the usual Peugeot U0 8s etc. I just need to find a frame pump and probably will need to find a Brooks B17 at some point, and a handlebar mounted water bottle would be nice. Cost will be the deciding factor as I put enough into the bikes I already have! I have toe clips, maybe some green or white straps would look good if I can find any.
I will try and get more information from the owner, he seems positive about his age and when he purchased the bike, although we all know what time can do for one's memory. Two years is not a big gap, perhaps it was a late 1968 production model. I have yet to come across another LeJeune with those down tube graphics, most have larger lettering and are also longer, very similar seat tube and head badge graphics though on one from around 1970.Still wondering about the Mafac brake levers with the white plastic body and their production time period, if it helps.

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Old 07-22-14, 12:36 PM   #5
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Really pretty bike but I'd lose the steel rims and replace them with alloy.
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Old 07-22-14, 01:47 PM   #6
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Could be late production 1968. Strike while the iron is hot. However the brake levers, according to VeloBase, are Course 130. VB indicates a 1973 introduction, but that could be open to debate. But that general design of the brake levers does tend to push the date into the 70s. Agree the DT markings are not often seen. Rather Gitaneish. The lack of Sauvage on the markings also put it 68 or later. I have a photo of a similar yellow bike that I cannot find. Still looking. No matter what, it's a neat find. Anytime you find a time capsule it is a neat find.

No help from me on the serial number.
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Old 07-22-14, 01:49 PM   #7
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I like it! Great color too. +1 on the alu rims suggestions, and a nicely worn Brooks or Ideale would look (and sit) great too. Otherwise I'd keep it as is. Seriously, if its ride is anywhere near as nice as my battered Gitane of similar vintage, you've got a great bike.

(I rebuilt it in May, and I've neglected all my other bikes since then. Took it to France for a week of touring and rode it in the retro Tour of Flanders. I may not be the lightest, with all the leather and steel, but I feel more at home on it than on anything else so far.)

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Old 07-22-14, 02:26 PM   #8
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It's the old story, a Brooks or Ideale seat would probably cost almost as much as the bike, but I never seem to regard the parts as anything more than getting any bike to where I can actually ride it comfortably, two that I have now and three other bikes before them started as frames so a mostly complete bike is a welcome change. It would probably be cheaper to buy a wheel set than rebuild the wheels on the bike with alloy rims, I cannot do it myself, I still think I will leave them as is and try it out first and make a decision then. Some here actually prefer steel rims, or do not mind them, and wanting to keep the bike as original as possible is my main concern. Still hoping this is a '60's model just to have something older!
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Old 07-22-14, 06:46 PM   #9
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I agree general design & appearance suggests early 70s. Sweet find!
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Old 07-22-14, 10:16 PM   #10
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In the early 70s Le Juene was by far the nicest bike at the LBS in my home town.
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Old 07-23-14, 12:04 PM   #11
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I appreciate all of the comments and information,and after mentioning some of the advice about the bike to the owner he admits to not being absolutely positive about the purchase year, quite certain he was not in his 20s when he was riding so outside of trying to date code some parts at some point I have to think it could be a 1969/70 model year as it appears the Tour Of France script on the head badge pretty well defines the year 1968. I checked Velobase and the only information is that those 130 Course levers were on a 1973 Peugeot - not very conclusive! Anyway I will know more when I meet up with the owner and finally can examine the bike over time.

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Old 07-24-14, 03:19 PM   #12
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I obviously have too much time on my hands lately - I have been checking online for any information and did come across a post on 01-02-11 by shnibop who had just purchased his LeJeune from an older person in France. I did notice it had the exact head badge although the down tube and seat tube decals were different they were closer in design than any other up to this point. Also, I have also come across an older Sauvage/LeJeune where the down tube decal had the same general design, although longer because of the wording so the bike I am getting seems closer to the older style decals. It could be that different models in the same year each had unique graphics, I don't know how much though - and of course the year of this sample bike is unknown, perhaps someone here remembers?





Here is a recent ad from the Toronto Kiiji - again no mention of a year, but I am guessing early '70's.. Similar head badge and seat tube graphics but down tube LeJeune is larger blocked script:






A LeJeune saved from the dump by RandyJawa, same lugs, color and basic components but different down tube and head badge decals - the seat tube decal is very similar though. I think it is very ( '70-'71 ) early '70's from the LeJeune lettering style. Sure wish there were some early brochures available!





Another member, oddjob2 - not sure of the year either but before 1972 from the date mentioned, same seat tube decal as mine, different down tube and head badge. I am thinking perhaps 1971 with the later style LeJeune block lettering style :




Another LeJeune from the late '60's ( maybe late 1967? ) I am guessing that this one on the French TonTon Velo forum that shows the older style lettering appears to have been used generally until late '69/early 1970:




And a track bike C.1970 from Bikecult.com site, which has the same type of head badge as shnibops and mine, but the more block style lettering. I could not download the head badge for some reason but same as mine, just yellow instead of gold color for the representation of France in the center:



Another frame for sale with a description that suggests 1970's but I would put it right at around 1969, same head badge and seat/down tube decal style as shnibops:




Despite mention of the Mafac Course 130 brake levers as early '70's I am, for now, going to put the LeJeune I am looking to purchase as a 1969, maybe very early 1970. No one really knows the exact year when Mafac introduced the 130 model, I have yet to see a photo of another bike that came with them - just images of the levers themselves but I will continue to investigate!
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Old 07-24-14, 07:42 PM   #13
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LOL. You are learning quickly that Lejeune markings are a confusing subject. I believe the logo on the white bike appeared about 69. I have a CdM frame that came with that head badge and a reliable source told me the frame was in an SF bike shop in 1969. But it was used on later frames as my tandem which was pretty reliably dated as early 70s has that head badge. I believe they used the markings on hand until they were gone in many cases. My 1972 catalog shows only plain block lettering but my own 72 bikes have the block letters on the white lozenge with CdM markings. Besides....catalog specs were always subject to change.

I am going to nitpick for a moment. It is Lejeune, not LeJeune or Le Jeune.
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Old 07-24-14, 08:13 PM   #14
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cv-6 Nitpicking is always welcome - I was going to owe up to my mistake on the proper spelling, it does not help when you post late at night! The thought had occured to me about the possibility of the factory using various decals on hand as some bikes that looked to be later production had some earlier decals, though I was not sure. It could give a person a headache!
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Old 07-31-14, 02:46 AM   #15
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For now, until I get some definite information, I will put the bike at 1969/70, owner still believes he was 18 or so ( 1966 approx. ) and about 20 when he stopped riding the bike for a time. Anyway, the rear Huret Svelto derailleur has the smooth jockey wheels which should make it an early version which might help the time period. Universal crankset ( 47/52 ) with an Atom 14-26 five speed freewheel. The hubs are Normandy with Huret wing nuts, Rigida steel rims. Stem is a Pivo with steel 37mm handlebars and the Mafac Course 130 levers with Racer center pulls. The original plastic hard shell seat is a Sportex mounted on a simple steel tube. The pedals are Eclair. I am looking for a vintage 19" frame pump and will most likely put a handlebar mounted water bottle on some day. I don't think the seat will be very comfortable so will most likely get a leather one - an Ideale hopefully. I should mention that the frame is a 58 cm with a 58 cm top tube, 44 cm chain stay length and the seat and head tube are both 73 degrees. It may take another month or so before a test ride, I have to repack the front hub ( did the rear ) as well as the bottom bracket and head set, true the slightly out front and rear wheels and replace the black brake cables with original color white ones. I will post some better pictures soon for those that may be interested. Is there any idea of what model this is ( no serial numbers that I could find ).
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Old 09-15-14, 04:22 PM   #16
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I think this is a place to jump in. I am interested in when Lejeune bought Sauvage. I have a bike on its way to me and it is Sauvage (as opposed to Sauvage-Lejeune. I suspect that helps date it. I will know more soon when it arrives. Pictures look good.
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Old 09-15-14, 05:04 PM   #17
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Sauvage Lejeune became Lejeune around 1968-69. Jan Jannssen rode a Sauvage Lejeune to victory in 1968 TdF.
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Old 09-16-14, 05:54 AM   #18
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Nice find! I would definitely pick that up if it were close to hear. I slept on a nice Lejeune for one day about a month ago and someone swept in an scooped it up.
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Old 09-16-14, 08:50 AM   #19
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When I worked at Bikecology in the early 1970s a couple of the younger mechanics bought very nice Le Juenes for themselves -- butted Reynolds 531, 3-bolt TA Professional crankset, tubulars, beautiful red finish with great-looking graphics. The boss was impressed that they could climb the local hills of the Malibu - Santa Monica - Brentwood - BelAir area with their 52-42/14-22 stock gearing, but at the same time we were selling PX-10s geared 52-45/14-21.
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Old 09-16-14, 09:59 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LogansRun View Post
I think this is a place to jump in. I am interested in when Lejeune bought Sauvage. I have a bike on its way to me and it is Sauvage (as opposed to Sauvage-Lejeune. I suspect that helps date it. I will know more soon when it arrives. Pictures look good.
Really cool bike, Logansrun. What do you suppose that bar covering is? Stitched leather? Rubber?
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Old 09-16-14, 10:01 AM   #21
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hello John E,

have one that sounds like your description. it has the t.a. trois attachees chainset, luxe competition tubular wheels, mafac brakes, juy criterium gears. it is flambouyant red, not the opaque red more commonly seen. lots of chrome including seat stay caps. have estimated it to be from ~1973.

sorry, no peechas.
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Old 09-16-14, 10:17 AM   #22
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As I don't have it... I would be guessing. But from others I have seen and this one I think rubber. Perhaps stitched or faux stitched. I really hope that survives. Whether leather or plastic.... its old. Hard to imagine it surviving. That said, from the photos the bar covering looks good.
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Old 09-16-14, 01:23 PM   #23
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Great to see another interesting example - it looks to be equipped with 650b wheels which if so makes me wish I could find one as well, in a larger size though. I have two 650b bikes and like them a lot, though the Lejeune i have is quite nice riding for what it is. Hope to see more images once you finally have the bike and get it cleaned up. Looks quite nice with those color coordinated racks too!I have only been out riding on mine once so far and have to do some more this fall. I wanted to have one older vintage bike that I could keep in mostly original condition so will not be changing anything - unless it wears out or breaks. I have been trying to attach some larger images but seem to be having difficulty using photo bucket for some reason.



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Last edited by VintageRide; 09-16-14 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 09-16-14, 01:36 PM   #24
juvela
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the discussion of the MAFAC Course 130 brake levers above reminded me of a Lejeune i once saw which was fitted with Ballila Corsa 61 brakes. it had the opaque red w/blue headtube scheme and looked to be a midliner of some sort. i guessed it at the time to be from the late '60's. this was about forty years ago.

has anyone ever heard tell of these brakes coming on a Lejeune, or should we just assume that they are a retrofit?

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Old 09-16-14, 03:19 PM   #25
John E
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
hello John E,

have one that sounds like your description. it has the t.a. trois attachees chainset, luxe competition tubular wheels, mafac brakes, juy criterium gears. it is flambouyant red, not the opaque red more commonly seen. lots of chrome including seat stay caps. have estimated it to be from ~1973. ...
Yup -- that sure sounds like the model and the right period -- pretty much Le Juene's answer to the Peugeot PX-10. Very nice, even w/o pictures.
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Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
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