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Tune-up Motobecane

Old 05-24-22, 12:43 PM
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Tune-up Motobecane

I stopped at the local shop to quickly check out my used Motobecane. They recommended replacing brake pads, chain, handle bar tape, trueing wheels. Some pictures, hopefully I can do most of that myself because had I paid their tune up fees of around $150 for these things it would have sucked most of the desire of the recreation out for me.



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Old 05-24-22, 01:17 PM
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What is your time worth? Do you have the tools and the knowledge? Do you want to actually do it? If not $150 for all the work needed is pretty reasonable.
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Old 05-24-22, 01:17 PM
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You can probably do most of that work yourself, except for the wheel truing--that takes a bit of practice. Look at Youtube videos on how to replace the chain and wrap the bars. I'd remove those brake "safety levers" if you can ASAP--the "L"-shaped parts of the levers that are horizontal at the top of the handle bar; their name is misleading, and you'd do well not to get in the habit of using them.

EDIT: I am out of the loop on current bike shop prices: Would that $150 also have included replacing the cables and adjusting the brakes and derailleurs, in addition to the repairs you mentioned? If so, I think that would have been a good deal.

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Old 05-24-22, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
You can probably do most of that work yourself, except for the wheel truing--that takes a bit of practice. Look at Youtube videos on how to replace the chain and wrap the bars. I'd remove those brake "safety levers" if you can ASAP--the "L"-shaped parts of the levers that are horizontal at the top of the handle bar; their name is misleading, and you'd do well not to get in the habit of using them.

EDIT: I am out of the loop on current bike shop prices: Would that $150 also have included replacing the cables and adjusting the brakes and derailleurs, in addition to the repairs you mentioned? If so, I think that would have been a good deal.
Chain, pads and handlebars. The bike generally rides ok now.
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Old 05-24-22, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by TLit View Post
Chain, pads and handlebars. The bike generally rides ok now.
So keep it running well and keep it going. If you can do the tune yourself and want to do it go for it otherwise go get it tuned at the shop.

Bike should be tuned ideally once a year to keep it in good running order and deal with problems before they become an issue.
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Old 05-24-22, 02:35 PM
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If you put a new chain on a used freewheel (I assume freewheel, not cassette) you might find it skips under load. A new freewheel is relatively cheap but you will need the removal tool or pay the bike shop a small fee to remove the old one.
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Old 05-24-22, 06:20 PM
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I don't think your bike needs all that. It's low miles and clean. The seatpost pin is in backwards, the nut should be driveside. I would replace the steel wheels with alloy if anything, and/or service the bearings. The grease is 45 years old and may have dried. The rear brake cable should be strait to straddle, it needs to rotate up.

More on the wheels, the steel when used in wet conditions does not brake well, yes the ribbed rims help but not significantly. If it doesn't rain where you are then it's not a big deal.
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Old 05-24-22, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. 66 View Post
I don't think your bike needs all that. It's low miles and clean. The seatpost pin is in backwards, the nut should be driveside. I would replace the steel wheels with alloy if anything, and/or service the bearings. The grease is 45 years old and may have dried. The rear brake cable should be strait to straddle, it needs to rotate up.

More on the wheels, the steel when used in wet conditions does not brake well, yes the ribbed rims help but not significantly. If it doesn't rain where you are then it's not a big deal.
Thanks, most of the minor stuff like brake pads, seat replacement, handle bar wrap I can do myself. I'm thinking a good soak in WD40 might soften the chain up enough, though I realize soaking in oil may be optimum. I guess I was always used to fast riding, most of the bicyclists I'm seeing seem to be out for exercise not speed.
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Old 05-24-22, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by TLit View Post
Thanks, most of the minor stuff like brake pads, seat replacement, handle bar wrap I can do myself. I'm thinking a good soak in WD40 might soften the chain up enough, though I realize soaking in oil may be optimum. I guess I was always used to fast riding, most of the bicyclists I'm seeing seem to be out for exercise not speed.
WD40 will 'soften' the chain up, but it won't lube it. With videos so readily available today all it takes is a little desire to learn and that's a great bike to learn on. They don't get any simpler. Enjoy
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Old 05-24-22, 07:56 PM
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Hey... Time to get a few tools... Sounds like fun Fun FUN!

Possibly the only thing you need the bike shop for is to tune the wheels if you are not familiar with it. You can get a Spoke Wrench and a Tension Meter for less than 25 USD and true the wheels yourself. Youtubes abound... Don't be afraid. You are not going to hurt that Motobecane. Especially if you send pictures our way when ya get stuck...

Like I said... fun, Fun, FUN!

This is my favorite Bar Wrap: BV EVA Road Bike Handlebar Bar Tape

Even though they are a little harder to mount I use modern day Brake Pads just cause they work better: GPMTER 2 Pairs Bike Brakes Pads Set, 70mm for Cruiser MTB Mountain Bicycle Universal V-Brake Blocks with Hex Nut and Shims, No Noise No Skid
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Old 05-24-22, 07:59 PM
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I lightened your picture to get a better look when I made my comment. Here's that.

For videos, RJ the bike guy has some good ones YouTube. Also they are good over at C&V forum for advice.
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Old 05-24-22, 08:27 PM
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Yours is the same vintage as the one I commuted on for a number of years. Same cranks and stem shifters. Mine was blue though.

Great bike it was too. I do my own work and after a full overall cleaning and re-lube it rode like a champ for some years before I sold it to a buddy when I got a vintage Cannondale roadie. Putting some time, parts and perhaps a gently used set of aluminum rim wheels onto your Motobecane would give you a very sweet riding bike.

Sadly parts and especially labor cost a lot more these days. So the shop was not at all out of line with their parts and labor quote. But as the others are saying it's not that hard to learn to do this stuff yourself.

And another call to toss the old crusty chain. You might free it up but a worn or restored rusty chain is going to more rapidly wear out the sprockets. And that is where the real money is. So get a new chain even if it's a low cost replacement. It'll save you more in the end.
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Old 05-25-22, 08:06 AM
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Serial number is: 3691185-701, I've been looking online and can't find year of this one. Anyone know on this one?
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Old 05-25-22, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by TLit View Post
Serial number is: 3691185-701, I've been looking online and can't find year of this one. Anyone know on this one?
Ha... Finding the year of a French bicycle by it's serial number can be a real chore... Best to browse the online old catalogs till you find your bike.
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Old 05-25-22, 10:58 AM
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$150 will likely be more than enough to purchase every tool needed for a full overhaul of this bike and every other bike like it built before 1990.

Overhaul and flip one or two bikes and you'll quickly break even. Add a couple more, and you'll have enough to upgrade the Mirage to a Grand Record.
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Old 05-25-22, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
$150 will likely be more than enough to purchase every tool needed for a full overhaul of this bike and every other bike like it built before 1990.
Ya know, I hadn't even thought about it in those terms, but you're right.
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Old 05-25-22, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
Ha... Finding the year of a French bicycle by it's serial number can be a real chore... Best to browse the online old catalogs till you find your bike.
Ha! I have an older sister who lives in Europe and speaks French like a diplomat, I guess I could ask her...
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Old 05-25-22, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
$150 will likely be more than enough to purchase every tool needed for a full overhaul of this bike and every other bike like it built before 1990.

Overhaul and flip one or two bikes and you'll quickly break even. Add a couple more, and you'll have enough to upgrade the Mirage to a Grand Record.
I'm sure that's right, but I'm going to follow the old saying to make haste slowly. I'm realizing that I was negligent in the past with maintenance, only addressing issues like tires when I got a flat.
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Old 05-25-22, 07:19 PM
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I have the same bike! Well, almost... yours has a cotterless crank; mine is cottered. The cotterless crank was on the "Super Mirage" in 1975 when I bought mine.
Somehow I managed to keep the bike, and a few years ago I serviced all the bearings, changed the bars and put new brake levers on it. It's actually a delightful bike to ride. Friction shifting 2 x 5, a traditional 10-speed. The fork and front wheel were damaged by a drunk landlord about 30 years ago. The replacement fork is chromed, and the new front wheel has an aluminum rim, so the braking is much better.

They're right about the tools. You might not recover their cost by fixing other bikes, but the satisfaction you'll get from doing the work yourself may be reward enough... it is for me!


The overhauled Mirage. Paint is a bit rough, but the steel frame makes a comfortable ride.



Alloy bars, Paul brake levers and Ergon cork grips.



Original Suntour VGT Luxe derailleur.



Original head tube badge.
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Old 05-25-22, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by TLit View Post
Serial number is: 3691185-701, I've been looking online and can't find year of this one. Anyone know on this one?
Ask on the C&V forum. The depth of knowledge there is sometimes mind-boggling. Especially with old French bikes.
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Old 05-26-22, 11:42 AM
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Moto serial numbers are zero help in determining anything. If it's an American market bike imported by Ben Lawee, then you can look at those catalogs for info. Forum member Mark Bulgier hosts them all here:

https://www.bulgier.net/pics/bike/Catalogs/Motobecane/
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Old 05-30-22, 05:52 PM
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I've made some small improvements, far from what the pros do, but good enough at this point. Just got back from a 15 mile or so trip around town, a lot of climbs and was able to stay on bike up the steepest hill.

QctZ0gv.jpg (4608×3440) (imgur.com)
KY2jG0g.jpg (4608×3440) (imgur.com)

Concerns are as others said that maybe interior grease has gone bad, also that the chain may not be the greatest. Wrapped the handlebars, have oiled chain and all junctions a number of times. One tire has a slow leak, not sure if fix a flat would be useful.
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Old 05-30-22, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by TLit View Post
One tire has a slow leak, not sure if fix a flat would be useful.
How about the "old standard" fix? Take the tube out, immerse in (soapy) water, and find the leak. Patch it or replace the tube. Do the same with the other wheel if there's any doubt about the condition of the tube.
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Old 05-30-22, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by sweeks View Post
How about the "old standard" fix? Take the tube out, immerse in (soapy) water, and find the leak. Patch it or replace the tube. Do the same with the other wheel if there's any doubt about the condition of the tube.
That's a lot of work and I don't have the tools or the experience.
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Old 05-30-22, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by TLit View Post
That's a lot of work and I don't have the tools or the experience.
Your bike, like mine, has quick-release wheels, so the only tools you need to change a flat are tire levers. Fixing a flat is a skill that frees you up to ride farther than you can walk back. It's not a lot of work, and once you know how to do it can be done in 15 minutes; maybe a bit more for the rear wheel.
I'd go so far as to say that even if you plan to pay a shop to do all your routine maintenance, you should at least acquire the ability to change a flat.
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