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Question, I have Motobecane 1975

Old 02-05-24, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa
Is he really going to have an issue with the headset or bottom bracket? The freewheel should be standard.

Folks have toured on French bikes for 50 years. He's far more likely needing more training, energy and rest.
I wouldn't worry about the headset as much as the BB and pedals. 50 even 20-30 years ago French parts were more readily available. That's beside the fact the bike isn't a "touring" bike as far as gearing, brakes, geometry, etc. Can you tour on a Schwinn varsity? Sure. Does it make sense? No. I could spend a few hundred dollars here and get a bike much more appropriate for the task.
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Old 02-05-24, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by dedhed
I wouldn't worry about the headset as much as the BB and pedals.
I wouldn't worry about any of it, and I doubt his 1975 pedal threads are French.

Can you tour on a Schwinn varsity? Sure.
​​​​​​Maybe you can. I'd prefer the Le Champion.

Even better might be a Grand Jubile. But that's been done, probably a million or so times.
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Old 02-05-24, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa
I wouldn't worry about any of it, and I doubt his 1975 pedal threads are French.



​​​​​​Maybe you can. I'd prefer the Le Champion.

Even better might be a Grand Jubile. But that's been done, probably a million or so times.
That is like saying people have crossed America in a covered wagon or on horseback, yes it can be done but it makes no sense in a modern context.
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Old 02-05-24, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by erepaal
I have had this bike since 75, basically my trek 1000, would be beat into pieces. This has A really comfortable Reynolds frame, with lugs, That makes for a good frame for the durability. Bars are good, brooks saddle good. I will rework the cabeling and the brakes. I will be building new wheels, a touring cassette, a three ring chain ring will also be a must.
I would have bought a touring bike, however, they are way to pricey. Remember, in 1976, during the bike centennial, folks were riding bikes, from sears and others alot more inferior. I know, a lot of you think I'm nuts, at 66 doing this, it's a bucket list item.
I don't think your nuts at all! But keep in mind, that a Sears bike made in 76 was made to be heavy duty, handed down to siblings and then to following generations, now these crappy Walmart bikes are lucky to make it 5 years.

The only reason I bought a new touring bike was because my old one, a 85 Schwinn LeTour Luxe got bent up by a hit and run motorist.
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Old 02-05-24, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
That is like saying people have crossed America in a covered wagon or on horseback, yes it can be done but it makes no sense in a modern context.
What you said makes zero sense.

By the way, just last year a man rode his horse through 30 states.
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Old 02-05-24, 10:48 PM
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I knew my analogy was flawed right after I posted it. It is ridiculous to advocate to ride across the country on a 50 year old bike that was never intended to be used for that purpose when it was built. Wheels aren’t suited for that use, geometry is not suited, gearing is not suited, pedals not suited and I could go on. It’s this fanatical illogical response whenever anything vintage is proposed all rationality completely leaves the room. As I initially suggested the OP should do a minimum of three days consecutively riding 100 miles per day and a minimum of 7000 feet of vertical per day and he still feels this bike is perfect for the trip then all is good.

I am not saying it can’t be done however why deny oneself of all the amazing advances in cycling technology. Let’s try again, Drive across the country in a Model T, millions have done it.
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Old 02-05-24, 11:31 PM
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If you insist on using this bike, you might invest in a couple extra Free Wheels with different gearing and pack them with you?
You could switch depending on terrain or wind or physical condition or whatever seems good for the day.
It only takes a couple minutes.

Is this ride supported?
Mileage goals each day that must be met?
Nobody wants to be the one that slows everybody else down.
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Old 02-06-24, 01:09 AM
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I think the real question to ask is not can, but would. Anyone can do almost anything, but if few to none would do it, that speaks volumes.

If experienced tourers, those better equipped to understand the task at hand, tell you they “would” do that ride on that bike, then it might be worth upgrading it.

If experienced tourers tell you they “would not” do that ride on that bike, you should probably find one that is better suited.

John
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Old 02-06-24, 01:44 AM
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A few concerns:

All bearings should be serviced, with all balls inspected with a magnifying glass, or replaced. Races and cones inspected for spalling, corrosion, brinelling (dents).

Chain takes the most wear. Frequently, you replace just the chain, and now the chain skips on the worn cogs or chainrings. Check this before your trip.

If any payload other than you; Old bikes have rear axles with the drive-side bearing inside the freewheel threads, and this puts the axle in greater bending stress, possible breakage, and flex, so not as precise alignment at bearing cones. Modern "freehub" with cassette cogs, puts the DS bearing near the outside of the cogs, near the right dropout, more in shear than bending, stronger. This was the primary driver for going to freehubs and cassettes.

If a weird-threaded bottom bracket, just makes sure it gets a quality rebuild, or replace the parts, and it should last the trip, IF, the cups have rubber seals and they are in good shape. If not able to seal out water and grit, it can go bad after a single rainstorm. But you should do this even if the BB threading is standard, you don't want downtime on your trip.

Inspect the rims very carefully for any signs of cracking at the spoke holes. Get a GOOD truing job (or do yourself) on both wheels, really good radial and lateral, and equalizes the spoke tensions. At beginning of truing job, check radial runout, any sign of flat spot(s) on wheels, can truing job and get new wheels.

All cables should be like new; Even a single broken strand, replace.

"Fresh" brake pads, the rubber gets old and will actually gall the rims when hard.

Carry spare spokes of each length, and spoke wrench, and know how to install. These are small and light.

Carefully inspect front and rear dropouts for any tiny cracks.

Make sure seatpost and fixing bolt are not frozen.

Make sure stem quill bolt is not frozen.

Make sure crank arms are not frozen on BB axle tapers, then reinstall, torqued to spec.

Check both derailleurs for rattle-level looseness in the pivot linkage, should not have.

Inspect saddle carefully for any signs of structural cracking.

Inspect handlebar, especially near stem clamp, for any signs of cracking.

The thing that will wreck the trip the most, is if you need a repair, and the bike shop cannot get the part off without destroying things. That's why so many "...check not frozen".
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Old 02-10-24, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
That is like saying people have crossed America in a covered wagon or on horseback, yes it can be done but it makes no sense in a modern context.
Clearly you don't "get it" and there's probably no point trying to explain "it" to you. Just try to accept that some people enjoy this sort of thing, ignore them and move on.
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Old 02-11-24, 07:16 AM
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yes, this can be done. you might be better off starting with another bike however

- use a mountain bike triple crank and sealed bottom bracket
- Shimano MTB rear derailleur for wide gearing range
- get a strong rear wheel built by a reputable shop.
- I'd suggest you install Paul brakes, they are the best rim brakes

and generally go thru everything, chain, cables, etc and get it in as good and reliable condition as you can

/markp
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Old 02-11-24, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
I knew my analogy was flawed right after I posted it. It is ridiculous to advocate to ride across the country on a 50 year old bike that was never intended to be used for that purpose when it was built. Wheels arenít suited for that use, geometry is not suited, gearing is not suited, pedals not suited and I could go on. Itís this fanatical illogical response whenever anything vintage is proposed all rationality completely leaves the room. As I initially suggested the OP should do a minimum of three days consecutively riding 100 miles per day and a minimum of 7000 feet of vertical per day and he still feels this bike is perfect for the trip then all is good.

I am not saying it canít be done however why deny oneself of all the amazing advances in cycling technology. Letís try again, Drive across the country in a Model T, millions have done it.
Did you know that people were doing long expedition rides, expeditions are a lot longer than a tour, going all the way back to 1884? And that guy traveled across the world on a high wheeler, were the wheels suitable? was the geometry suitable? what about the gearing? The list goes on, but he did it. So I think if a guy could do that on a single speed bike made of primitive steel, primitive parts, etc, I think a 50 year old bike could handle tour just fine as long as it is gone through very well before going he'll be fine.
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Old 02-12-24, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata
So I think if a guy could do that on a single speed bike made of primitive steel, primitive parts, etc...
Bear in mind that a highwheeler's technology wasn't so different from horse'n'buggy tech of the day. Fixes back then could have been easily done when needed

Originally Posted by rekmeyata
I think a 50 year old bike could handle tour just fine as long as it is gone through very well before going he'll be fine.
I'm inclined to agree but the world's a different place now, we know more about what to expect and allow for. I'm not as worried about the bike (I ride a '72 Motobecane Grande Record) as I am the rider. It's a quest for sure, one that I wouldn't undertake lightly.
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Old 02-12-24, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by spclark
Bear in mind that a highwheeler's technology wasn't so different from horse'n'buggy tech of the day. Fixes back then could have been easily done when needed



I'm inclined to agree but the world's a different place now, we know more about what to expect and allow for. I'm not as worried about the bike (I ride a '72 Motobecane Grande Record) as I am the rider. It's a quest for sure, one that I wouldn't undertake lightly.
Bear in mind that back then while a bike like that may have been easier to fix, the problem was more about finding parts, remember, he is on a bike, there were no bike shops, no home improvement stores, no Walmarts, nothing for many many miles, there was no way a person could carry all the parts they might need. Remember, there wasn't any paved roads back then, so the roads beat up the bikes a great deal more in 25 miles than riding 3,800 miles across the US paved road system; and also keep in mind that people have been using bikes to traverse the world since than from all years using all sorts of bikes. Heck, I bet modern man wouldn't even be able to ride a high wheeler across the USA today, not alone around the world!
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Old 02-13-24, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata
Bear in mind that back then while a bike like that may have been easier to fix, the problem was more about finding parts, remember, he is on a bike, there were no bike shops, no home improvement stores, no Walmarts, nothing for many many miles, there was no way a person could carry all the parts they might need.
Ever meet a blacksmith?

No?

Have any idea why?
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Old 02-13-24, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by spclark
Ever meet a blacksmith?

No?

Have any idea why?
This conversation is getting stupider by the post, I'm no longer going to respond to this insanity.
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Old 02-15-24, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by erepaal
I have a 1975 motobecan la champion, I want to ride across the country, in 2026, do you think I could use this bike, or will it fall apart. Columbus steel tubing, campy parts.

thanks,
Eric
From my 1975 booklet!

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Old 02-23-24, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by erepaal
I have a 1975 motobecan la champion, I want to ride across the country, in 2026, do you think I could use this bike, or will it fall apart. Columbus steel tubing, campy parts.

thanks,
Eric
I road a '76 Motobecane Grand Record through Northern Virginia, along the C&O canal to Shepherdstown, WV, to Front Royal then along the Skyline Drive. Basic bags, slept once in a campground. Four days. This was 42 years ago.
If you are planning to do this, are you planning to stay in hotels every night? Are you planning to load the bike up to camp and cook?
Seems like Le Champion is a pretty high end racing bike but much less so to do the distance if loaded. I am 72 and planning to do some touring this spring but on a Trek with all oft he stuff needed to camp and cook AND all of the possible repair stuff needed to be self sufficient. Now a days, biking is safer in so many ways but as Clint Eastwood always says: "A man has to know his limitations" [excusing the rather sexist connotations of the remark].
Good luck. Don't forget to check in with you LBS...
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Old 02-23-24, 02:44 PM
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BTW, I did upgrade a Motobecane Super Mirage (I like Motos) with triple front and lower gears for the RD. LOTS of modifications required to get this setup. You will NEED WATER BOTTLES more than you may have used before.
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