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  1. #1
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    Manufrance Hirondelle

    Last week I picked up this bike off CL for a winter project.

    After some initial searches came up empty I figured I should post some pictures here and see if anyone knows anything about it.

    Everything is in good working order (other than tires which look pretty old).

    I'm new to the world of older/vintage bikes so any information would be helpful...what (if any) components might be original...suggestions for upgrades...or if it is rare and would be better off in someones collection before I start pulling off/replacing components.

    Thanks.

    2014-08-17 14.35.07.jpg2014-08-17 14.38.45.jpg2014-08-17 14.38.17.jpg2014-08-17 14.37.48.jpg2014-08-17 14.37.36.jpg2014-08-17 14.37.03.jpg2014-08-17 14.36.53.jpg2014-08-17 14.36.25.jpg2014-08-17 14.36.11.jpg2014-08-17 14.35.49.jpg2014-08-17 14.35.27.jpg2014-08-17 14.39.16.jpg

  2. #2
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    looks like ~1971. are hubs New Star? the overwhelming majority of cycles produced by Manufrance were contract builds done for others so its nice to see one with the company's own badge.

    there is a good deal known about the maker's history -

    Manufrance main page

    also a bit more in this forum thread - scroll down to post nr.6:

    Vita Sprint--Is it a good value at $125?

    thank you for sharing your find with the forum!

  3. #3
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    Yep, New Star hubs...

    Thanks for the links. That's pretty much all I've been able to find; lots of history, but not much info on any road bikes after ~1950/60 other than a few Google image results without much info in the links.

  4. #4
    Senior Member randyjawa's Avatar
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    Based on what I see, that bicycle is in original condition, sporting only cosmetic blemishes. Again, from what I can see, the component group is also original issue. And, should you wish to learn more about the vintage bicycles in general, please feel free to visit MY "TEN SPEEDS", a website built just for people like you who are sporting a new and growing interest in vintage road bicycle ownership and even restoration.

    Hope that is a help.
    Learn how to find, restore and maintain vintage road bicycles at... MY "TEN SPEEDS"

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mc_aines View Post
    Yep, New Star hubs...

    Thanks for the links. That's pretty much all I've been able to find; lots of history, but not much info on any road bikes after ~1950/60 other than a few Google image results without much info in the links.
    you do not give your location but here in the u.s. where i am located we saw a great many cycles made by manufrance which were imported during the bicycle boom of the early 1970's under a variety of names.

    one of their customers i can recall was the turin bicycle co-op of chicago.

    for image results on sources such as google or flickr one would need to know the names of some of the contract builds. iirc these included roger riviere, olympique, riviera and some others this elderly brain cannot now pull up.

    other readers will be able to add numerous names to the list...

    the machine's New Star hubs were done by the makers of Pelissier brand products.

  6. #6
    gbi
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    Hello mc_aines, the simplex quick release skewers on your bike can be worth a few $$$ if they are in real good condition. So, don't throw them away if you decide to change them out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gbi View Post
    Hello mc_aines, the simplex quick release skewers on your bike can be worth a few $$$ if they are in real good condition. So, don't throw them away if you decide to change them out.
    the stern one is incomplete.

    forgot to mention that the cycle appears to be swiss threaded. the black oxide Bardon fixed cup has four pair of flats - an octogon. this is the code for swiss thread. markings on end of bb spindle will likely read "REWAX MD."

    have a Manufrance partial bicycle hanging in the rack. it is a silver base model from ~1973-74; roughly parallel to a Peugeot U08. curious to check its bb now after seeing yours.

  8. #8
    As found... devinfan's Avatar
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    Man, I had the exact same bike! Same colour and everything. It was a fantastic riding bike, steel wheels and all. I wouldn't change anything except for swapping that saddle out for a Brooks. Every other "improvement" I made to mine secretly made it worse, it was perfect in it's low-end French way to start with. FYI it'll end up looking awesome if you go for red tape and a honey Brooks saddle, that's what I did with mine and it looked sweet. This is a great riding bike despite it's not-to-lofty pedigree, I'd hang onto it and keep it as is. Nice find.
    My bike is cooler than me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by juvela View Post
    the stern one is incomplete.

    forgot to mention that the cycle appears to be swiss threaded. the black oxide Bardon fixed cup has four pair of flats - an octogon. this is the code for swiss thread. markings on end of bb spindle will likely read "REWAX MD."
    Correct again...are Swiss threaded parts hard to come by (sealed BB etc)? Just trying to get a sense of what I'm getting into (as a complete rookie) before start investing time and money, or if I will keep this stock and pick up a more common frame to work off of.

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    wrt "swiss threaded parts" - the fixed cup of the bottom bracket is the only "swiss" dimension fitting on the machine so it is not much of an issue. nothing to be a-feared of.

    the bicycle's tyres appear they may be original, hutchinson? this tells us it has not been ridden very much in relation to its age; appears in very fine shape for the annuation.

    about all one need do is disassemble, clean and lubricate. then reassemble. lo' and behold "robert will be thine uncle."

    if she is a good size for you then by all means do just as devinfan suggests: "keep & ride."

    if i wanted to do a couple minor improvements i would add toeclips and straps, change the delrin shift levers to metal ones and do as devinfan suggests fitting a quality saddle. its your bum so no one here can tell you what model will be most comfortable.
    Last edited by juvela; 08-17-14 at 06:23 PM. Reason: keyrekt spellin'

  11. #11
    As found... devinfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mc_aines View Post
    Correct again...are Swiss threaded parts hard to come by (sealed BB etc)? Just trying to get a sense of what I'm getting into (as a complete rookie) before start investing time and money, or if I will keep this stock and pick up a more common frame to work off of.
    I wouldn't say this is the ideal bike to learn to wrench on, almost none of the parts are standard. You'd be better off with an 80's Japanese bike if that's your goal. That being said, if you're looking for a nice rider with lots of options for racks and fenders, you have a great bike. Also, in my opinion the frame is not of the level where you should be throwing money at it, it'll be good money after bad. This is a fine bike, but it doesn't have any resale value. If you're looking for a frame to hang expensive components on, this is not the best candidate either. I would just focus on getting it into safe riding condition and enjoy it.
    My bike is cooler than me.

  12. #12
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    Is that frame fillet brazed? I don't see lugs and it seems to be from before the use of Tig welding. Cool!

  13. #13
    If I own it, I ride it CV-6's Avatar
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    Walt's Bike Shop in Columbia, MO sold a ton of those in the early 70s. Basic bike, good price, nice ride.
    Lynn Travers

    Photos

    ISO: Lejeune Champion du Monde Ultra Leger Reynolds 753, 53-55cm

  14. #14
    As found... devinfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by likebike23 View Post
    Is that frame fillet brazed? I don't see lugs and it seems to be from before the use of Tig welding. Cool!
    I think it's the same method that Peugeot called in external brazing. In this case it resulted in a frame that is lighter than you'd guess until you separated it from the heavy components.
    My bike is cooler than me.

  15. #15
    Yeah, you betcha!
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    Quote Originally Posted by mc_aines View Post
    Last week I picked up this bike off CL for a winter project.

    2014-08-17 14.35.07.jpg
    Brilliant!!!! I am minutes from taking delivery (been tracking it on Fed Ex since Friday!) of an immaculate white Hirondelle. The Hirondelle was my first "ten-speed", bought one about 1971-72 at Walt's Bike Shop (see post below by CV-6), rode it into the ground, and then it was stolen in 1982. Yours looks good, down to the tires and rims (I remember those dimpled rims). The only thing missing on my bike are the quick release hubs/levers.


    It may not be standard, but it's a super easy bike to work on. I taught myself how to true rims, tear apart hubs, change and adjust cables, and adjust the derailleur on that bike. I'm planning on a 20-30 mile ride in the Texas Hill Country this weekend (going to be a different ride than my 16lb Cannondale!). I'll post some bike porn when it's all together.
    gsteinb: "I'd like to change my answer: Yes, your bike is holding you back. Buying a new one will prevent this thread from going on another 10 pages."

  16. #16
    Yeah, you betcha!
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbi View Post
    Hello mc_aines, the simplex quick release skewers on your bike can be worth a few $$$ if they are in real good condition. So, don't throw them away if you decide to change them out.
    Have you seen these anywhere for sale?
    gsteinb: "I'd like to change my answer: Yes, your bike is holding you back. Buying a new one will prevent this thread from going on another 10 pages."

  17. #17
    gbi
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    Hello Minnesota Expat, ebay seems to be the place where you can find the skewers. Sounds like you have a Hirondelle in very nice condition. The style of skewer on the OP's bike were made in three versions, all black, all white, and combination black/white. The white versions tend to be more scarce and pricier. Also, if you are lucky, you might find some at an older bike shop, or co-op.
    Last edited by gbi; 08-19-14 at 12:21 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by devinfan View Post
    I think it's the same method that Peugeot called in external brazing. In this case it resulted in a frame that is lighter than you'd guess until you separated it from the heavy components.
    I'm pretty sure this bike is standard fillet brazing. In-external brazing was where they dropped silver or brass chunks into the tubes with the tubes in a jig. They then heated up the joint and the filler melted inside forming a fillet inside the joint. The outside of the joint is very smooth and looks to have no fillet at all. I saw how they did it on the show "How it's made". Here's the link:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZPS_iwoeJg.

  19. #19
    Yeah, you betcha!
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbi View Post
    Hello Minnesota Expat, ebay seems to be the place where you can find the skewers.
    I remember them being Simplex, all metal with a slight curve in the "handle" and stamped "Simplex". And yes, I just found some on eBay. Toe clips and shoes are next. Thanks!
    gsteinb: "I'd like to change my answer: Yes, your bike is holding you back. Buying a new one will prevent this thread from going on another 10 pages."

  20. #20
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    Minnesota Expat -

    if your simplex skewers were all metal with a curved handle they would be a later version than the ones on the cycle under discussion. ~1971 was the last year for the type fitted to this green bicycle.

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    frame constructed of nervex bits. crown is model 2215 pattern no.2. dropouts are item 1036. brake bridge is 600 series. nervex does not show a swiss threaded lugless shell in the catalogue here.

    checked the lugged example on hand. it is also swiss threaded. badged as manufrance only. dating 1973-74.

  22. #22
    Yeah, you betcha!
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    Quote Originally Posted by juvela View Post
    Minnesota Expat - if your simplex skewers were all metal with a curved handle they would be a later version than the ones on the cycle under discussion. ~1971 was the last year for the type fitted to this green bicycle.
    Thanks! Pictures coming this weekend. I just got some cloth Newbaum tape from Amazon.com and am picking up new cables and housing. This is going to be fun!
    gsteinb: "I'd like to change my answer: Yes, your bike is holding you back. Buying a new one will prevent this thread from going on another 10 pages."

  23. #23
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    thanks for the update.

    look forward to the arrival.

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