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?