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1972-75 Le Jeune Tour de France

Old 11-24-15, 10:30 AM
  #1  
rsterman
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1972-75 Le Jeune Tour de France

This is a bike that was just given to me by a friend. It has probably not been ridden more than 100 hours. It has all original equipment, and everything is in working order. All I have done is clean, shine, and lubricate he bike. I am now stockpiling parts that may or may never need replacing. I plan to ride this bike for a long time. I will never sell this bike, but I need a reasonable idea of its value so I can determine how much to sink into inventory to keep it running smoothly over the years. I think it probably cost around $150-160 originally. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Rsterman
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Old 11-24-15, 11:22 AM
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Nice!. Get rid of the kickstand and get a different saddle.
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Old 11-24-15, 11:31 AM
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I wouldn't trust the tires if they're over 12 years old. Never heard of a LeJeune Tour de France. If it was a Gitane TDF it would be worth plenty.
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Old 11-24-15, 11:55 AM
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You have a nice bike there. Bikes are pretty simple machines. Unless you ride huge amount of miles nothing will really wear out but tires, and maybe the chain. The cranks on that bike are steel. The chainring will probably go 20,000 miles before they wear out. I run MAFAC brakes on sev er al bikes and most have original brake pads. They last a long time.

So that said the biggest sore spot on your bike is well the saddle, but besides that, the shift levers. If you use the bike a lot the levers will break. They are plastic and tend to snap off in time. A good set of shift levers would be a good thing to look into.

In time you may want to replace the wheels with an alloy rimmed set. They roll a bit easier. But the rims you have, although steel, are really pretty good. I have them on several bikes and actually like the way they take bumps. On longer rides you start to notice the weight though.

But I wouldn't worry about replacement parts. Ebay is there for anything you may need. Parts will break from mishaps like falls, sticks getting caught up in spokes, running over a critter, but from regular riding not much to fail.

And valuewise, as it sits, it's held it's original value well. $150-175.
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Old 11-24-15, 12:29 PM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by rsterman View Post
This is a bike that was just given to me by a friend. It has probably not been ridden more than 100 hours. It has all original equipment, and everything is in working order. All I have done is clean, shine, and lubricate he bike. I am now stockpiling parts that may or may never need replacing. I plan to ride this bike for a long time. I will never sell this bike, but I need a reasonable idea of its value so I can determine how much to sink into inventory to keep it running smoothly over the years. I think it probably cost around $150-160 originally. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Rsterman

It appears to be a low end bike in excellent condition... Stockpile nothing.

The steel handlebars, steel DEA or Rigida SuperChromix rims, plastic Simplex gear levers, and what appear to be stamped mild steel rear drops are a give-away. Steel cottered Nervar cranks... Decent enough stuff but heavy.

Seriously: The Mafac brake pads will have lost their ability to grip after all these years and should be replaced. You will put fresh grease into the wheel and crank bearings, throw on a set of new tires (or not) and ride it. The lack of paint fade indicates that it has obviously been stored indoors - so the Kenda Super HP tires should still be more or less OK. Don't over-inflate the front or you will get a real buzz up through the front forks.

Keep it running smoothly over the years ?? Decades you should say.
The bike has what appear to be nice Normandy alloy hubs and unless the bearings have been maladjusted they should require nothing but fresh grease every 5 to 10 years of moderate biking. Even if they are steel, if properly maintained and not abused they will outlast your need of them.

If the bike has been used as little as you say, and stored well, it is probably as good now as it was when it was made - and, with a modicum of maintenance (and a new seat) will likely give good service for anywhere from 3 to 5 more decades if you don't lend it and don't let you kids use it.

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Old 11-24-15, 01:14 PM
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Saddle is definitely not original. Is that the height it needs to be at for you to ride it? If so, the frame is too large for you and you should really get a smaller bike.

No need to stockpile anything. This is not a special bike and no reason to waste money on stuff that you will probably never use.

Value is maybe $100-150 around here.
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Old 11-24-15, 03:10 PM
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You guys overlooked the Delrin Simplex derailleurs, whose platic bits are subject to crack or jockey wheels wear out.. Might have a Suntour Set for backup.
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Old 11-24-15, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post
You guys overlooked the Delrin Simplex derailleurs, whose platic bits are subject to crack or jockey wheels wear out.. Might have a Suntour Set for backup.
Whatever you do don't put Japanese parts on this bike. It's stayed french all these years, keep it that way. Those derailleurs might just last another 40 years, who knows?
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Old 11-25-15, 06:22 AM
  #9  
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Thanks for your assessment....what would be an example of ".....a good set of shift levers"?
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Old 11-25-15, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by rsterman View Post
Thanks for your assessment....what would be an example of ".....a good set of shift levers"?
On one of my bikes with Simplex derailleurs I have Campagnolo shifters. Another one has Simplex metal shifters, maybe the competition model. And yet another that has the Simplex levers that you have on your bike. Who knows maybe yours will last for quite sometime. Personally I have snapped about 1/2 dozen Simplex plastic lever sets. Usually the left lever for the frt derailleur is the one that goes.
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Old 11-26-15, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
Whatever you do don't put Japanese parts on this bike. It's stayed french all these years, keep it that way. Those derailleurs might just last another 40 years, who knows?
Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
On one of my bikes with Simplex derailleurs I have Campagnolo shifters. Another one has Simplex metal shifters, maybe the competition model. And yet another that has the Simplex levers that you have on your bike. Who knows maybe yours will last for quite sometime. Personally I have snapped about 1/2 dozen Simplex plastic lever sets. Usually the left lever for the frt derailleur is the one that goes.

BC,
Not to be politically correct or anything, but why is it ok to mix Italian components with French components or bike, but not Japanese components? After all, there have been many 1980's Peugeots with Japanese components.
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Old 11-26-15, 08:48 AM
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A lot of low end bikes slap on names like Tour De France, or Pro Race, or other such words to entice people who don't know a darn thing about bikes to buy a piece of crap. Unfortunately that's what you have there is a very low end bike with no worth other than scrap value, or if you like it because it reminds you of something in your past then fine, otherwise pass on it.
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Old 11-26-15, 09:04 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
A lot of low end bikes slap on names like Tour De France, or Pro Race, or other such words to entice people who don't know a darn thing about bikes to buy a piece of crap. Unfortunately that's what you have there is a very low end bike with no worth other than scrap value, or if you like it because it reminds you of something in your past then fine, otherwise pass on it.
First of all, the OP owns it already.

Second, does it make you feel better to value someone's pride, joy, and workmanship? Especially on a holiday which is all about family, peace, and thanks? WTF

Third, a few of us who bought the very same bike in 1972ish did so, because a Peugeot UO-8 was 33% more money for the same kit.
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Old 11-26-15, 10:17 AM
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The OP'S bike is a beautiful example of the bike boom era. All European components. And it's stayed unmolested for 45 years. When I see great examples of bikes from this era my philosophy is to preserve their heritage. Keep them period correct or upgrade them with components that would be fitting. Sure Suntour derailleurs were a popular choice back in the early 70's, but a Simplex LJ or Campy NR would carry on the European flair this bike possesses.

That's my philosophy and I am sticking to it.

As far as the influx of Japanese components on European bikes in the late 70's goes, I find that time in cycling the decline of the European bike. The Motobecane Grand Record for instance. At one time it sported TA cranks, Campy derailleurs, Normandy Luxe Comp hubs, Atom pedals - a tour de force of euro components. By the early 80's it was outfitted with Shimano 600. It just seemed lackluster in comparison to what it started out as. At this time a lot of bikes seemed generic as Japanese components proliferated.

Just my opinion. I rarely buy bikes post 1974. So I am very biased in my views. But we all have our own "thing" when buying and refurbing our classic machines.
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Old 11-26-15, 11:58 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post
First of all, the OP owns it already.

Second, does it make you feel better to value someone's pride, joy, and workmanship? Especially on a holiday which is all about family, peace, and thanks? WTF

Third, a few of us who bought the very same bike in 1972ish did so, because a Peugeot UO-8 was 33% more money for the same kit.
Well I got nailed on that one and rightfully so, I was an arse about that, didn't realize he already owned it, so I sincerely apologize for my comments.
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Old 11-26-15, 04:46 PM
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Well the fact that I already owned it certainly wouldn't change your opinion of it, but I accept your apology. There are, of course, things of which you are unaware. First off it was a free gift from a friend. Fixing it up has't been a very big expense, and it is quite attractive compared to the Sears 10 speed I have had since college in the early 70’s (actually an upgrade for me) I just have started to cycle as way to keep off weight recently lost. It appealed to me to take something of this age and keep it period correct and use it for exercise. I think it will last quite awhile. I don't have any delusions about the overall quality. I just thought it was a pretty vintage bike that could be cleaned up and serve my needs nicely over the next years. I think it will do that without my having to spend beau coup dollars to do it. I've made it 45 years without spending loads of money to do it before, no need to beak the bank now. Others on this forum have said it is an attractive bike worth rejuvenating. I'm glad I went with their advice. You obviously are a more serious cyclist than me, and you are entitled to your opinion. I surely respect that. But i will tell you with certainty, you are not having one scintilla more fun than me! I sympathize with the "foot in mouth" gaffe. Lol.....certainly have had to extract my foot many times over the years!!!!!have a great holiday season.....
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Old 11-26-15, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by rsterman View Post
Well the fact that I already owned it certainly wouldn't change your opinion of it, but I accept your apology. There are, of course, things of which you are unaware. First off it was a free gift from a friend. Fixing it up has't been a very big expense, and it is quite attractive compared to the Sears 10 speed I have had since college in the early 70’s (actually an upgrade for me) I just have started to cycle as way to keep off weight recently lost. It appealed to me to take something of this age and keep it period correct and use it for exercise. I think it will last quite awhile. I don't have any delusions about the overall quality. I just thought it was a pretty vintage bike that could be cleaned up and serve my needs nicely over the next years. I think it will do that without my having to spend beau coup dollars to do it. I've made it 45 years without spending loads of money to do it before, no need to beak the bank now. Others on this forum have said it is an attractive bike worth rejuvenating. I'm glad I went with their advice. You obviously are a more serious cyclist than me, and you are entitled to your opinion. I surely respect that. But i will tell you with certainty, you are not having one scintilla more fun than me! I sympathize with the "foot in mouth" gaffe. Lol.....certainly have had to extract my foot many times over the years!!!!!have a great holiday season.....
I agree - why spend a bunch of money if you're bike gets you where you want to go. All that really matters is that you get out and ride - on whatever you have. Equipment is very secondary..
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Old 11-26-15, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by exmechanic89 View Post
I agree - why spend a bunch of money if you're bike gets you where you want to go. All that really matters is that you get out and ride - on whatever you have. Equipment is very secondary..
I agree too, if the bike serves it's purpose than it's good to go. I even said this before about higher end Walmart bikes are more than capable of doing 10,000 miles and that Le Jeune is built better than any Walmart bike so it should be just fine as long as maintenance is done on it. Yeah it's heavy but if you're not racing or wanting to go fast then it's just fine. I have a heavy MTB, 36 pounds of dead weight, but it served it's purpose even though the 90's era Shimano XT derailleurs is pure trash on it, but like I said as long as I maintain it and do constant adjusting it works, but I rarely ride it anyways so it's not a big deal.

But I kind of disagree with equipment being secondary...depending on how far you ride is where I will disagree. If you ride say 50 miles from home the last thing you want is equipment failure far from home; but if you're only riding say 10 miles from home than equipment failure is not that big of a deal.
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Old 11-27-15, 04:56 PM
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When my wife and I were newly married and in college in the early 1970’s, she worked Sears and Roebuck. She bought me a Sears 10 speed bike for $100. I thought it was the coolest thing. It worked beautifully, and was the best bike I had ever ridden. You can tell I wasn't, and never have been a bike aficionado. It has been my bike for the duration. It has performed admirably for all these years. So you can begin to see how my friend's gift of the 1970’s Le Jeune TDF has been an upgrade for me. I love the bike. Others have suggested that I not spend any money to stock parts as it is a "low end" bike. I concur with that. You suggested I might get some shifters that were more substantial, since the originals (Delrin plastic) have a tendency to crack with protracted use. I'm looking into that.....My old Sears bike has Shimano Lark rear derailleurs, Shimano SIS 42T front derailleurs, and METAL Shimano shifters. My question is are any of these Shimano parts compatible with my Le Jeune?

Thanks,
The Rsterman
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Old 11-27-15, 05:27 PM
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It's been a very long time since I had to deal with this sort of bikes so if I'm wrong hopefully someone will correct me but what I think I recall is that the Lark rear derailleur should be compatible but the French used a derailleur hanger which must be removed then have a newer one brazed on which is more work then it's worth; and the front will not due work due to the clamp being of different size (French) vs the English and the clamp will not tighten properly, optionally you could have the front brazed on too, but I wouldn't do any brazing for any derailleur.

You could go to E-bay and find a better quality NIB or NOS Simplex Prestige but not the delrin version. One like this would work fine: Vintage Simplex S001 T Prestige Rear Derailleur Friction Short 70s | eBay Of course it might cost $60 but there would be no need for brazing a derailleur hanger so it would probably cost the same. Go on E-bay and search Simplex front derailleur, make sure you measure the clamp size you now have and get the same size if you need a new front derailleur, these cost about $50. If the Shimano shifters are the band type like yours is it should work, if not again E-bay has these for around $25. Optionally you could go for barend shifters but those will cost more. Also if you find a Huret derailleur for the rear that would work too because they have the hanger, and it's a better derailleur than anything Simplex came out with. But if you go Huret I would go with Huret front and shifters too just so the bike has the same thing.

If I had your bike and the rear derailleur is bad I would find primarily a Huret or secondarily another Simplex that is another model up from the plastic body one. I use to have a Puch bike with that same derailleur you had and it shifted so poorly, no matter I did or a bike shop tried to do it almost made me give up cycling back in the early 70's thinking all rear shifters were that bad! but I was young and limited in my knowledge of such things and didn't realize there were better derailleurs on the market.

If you like the bike, which it sounds like you do, then I would spend the money to upgrade it regardless if the bike itself is worth it. I was reading somewhere that those frames actually rode nice even though they were heavy, so you may have a nice riding bike you just need to improve the mechanicals enough to make it enjoyable all the way around without breaking the bank and $150 or so for derailleurs and shifters is cheap but you would realize a big improvement in it''s operation especially if you go with Huret.
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Old 11-27-15, 06:44 PM
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"So that said the biggest sore spot on your bike is well the saddle, but besides that, the shift levers."

hilarious...I plan on adding a Brooks B17 saddle of some sort that works better with the bike overall. I have alwaysl suffered from the notion that my arse is sore because of some pain that I must endure to be a cyclist, rather than something I must endure until I break in a saddle that will be a joy for a long time....I'm looking fwd to this new cycling challenge.
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Old 11-27-15, 06:58 PM
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Hey @rekmeyata,

thanks for your advice.....I think it is very sound advice. I will use it, I promise. I gave the bike over to my bike shop guy for final tuning after cleaning everything up as best I could..........

i plan to use my old Sears bike as the sacrificial lamb to help me learn how to: take down to bare frame, replace parts as need be, put back together, repaint, and make like new.....I really like that challenge......hell, what other types of things should retired people ,committ themselves to a worthwhile project, and go for it !!
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Old 11-27-15, 08:39 PM
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When buying a saddle keep in mind the geometry of the bike and your sit bone width. A Brooks B17 is a touring bike saddle, this is a bike designed for more of an up right setting position, it has a wide rear end to allow for this type of position. Brooks makes different type of saddles with different type of widths to accommodate everyone from touring to racing, so pick a saddle carefully. Also the B17 is thick leather saddle that can take several months or about 500 to 900 miles to break in, for some this may be to long of a period, but once it's broken in it will last a very long time especially if taken care of. There are fast methods of breaking in those saddles but if you follow any of those recommendations Brooks will void their warranty and with good reason, the saddles life will be shortened.

I have a couple of Brooks and one is a B17 and they're quite nice, but there is a lower cost alternative, the Gyes GS19BH, see: https://www.amazon.com/Gyes-Leather-G.../dp/B013T3WF0M I never tried one of these but reviews have been favorable. Here is a forum discussion concerning these saddles: https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vi...xperience.html Like any saddle there will be those that like a particular saddle and those that don't, there is no perfect saddle that 100% of all riders will like.

Whichever saddle you get follow the manufactures instructions on how to care for it. The only deviation I took from the manufacture was that I don't turn the spanner bolt as much or as often as the manufacture suggests, in fact I haven't turned my bolts in over 3 years but the manufacturer wants you to it every 6 months which at that pace you would run out the bolt in about 3 to 4 years! All I do is check the bolt for looseness, if any I turn it about 1/8th of a turn and not a 1/2 as recommended. I also use Kiwi neutral colored (get neutral or any color you buy will turn your shorts that color!) paste (not cream) shoe wax and apply it like you would to a shoe. I find the Kiwi wax to hold up way better then Proofide and Kiwi won't soften the leather as much like Proofide will do which means you can apply it many times without slowly weakening the leather which is maybe why I don't have to adjust the spanner bolt as much? It does make the saddle a bit slippery but if the saddle is tilted correctly it's not an issue. Also if you know you'll be riding in the rain with a leather saddle invest in a saddle cover, no leather likes water. The saddle will take on a darker patina after you had it for awhile, this is due to sweat, but most people like the way the saddle looks after this occurs.
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Old 11-27-15, 11:16 PM
  #24  
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I still maintain that this entire thread is worthless if the bike is way too big for you. In the attached pictures, is that where the saddle has to be for you to ride the bike? How tall are you?
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Old 11-28-15, 07:34 AM
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6' tall......I' 68 yrs old,imay be shrinking however!
got bike from shop today....here were his comments: both rear derailleur pulleys are destroyed, chain is stretched and has several kinks, front chain rings are pointed and very worn, free wheel has lots of wear, entire drive chain needs to be replaced. He lso,said the bike seems to have 15-20,000 miles on it....

talked with the guy who gave it to me again today .....he said the bike was never ridden more than 100 miles....a big disparity here ....can't think of why he wouldn't be truthful with me for a gift?

any observations greatly appreciated.....I can take the ugly truth if necessary. Bike rode great today on test ride.....only the click which I think is the missing cog on one derailleur pulley.....everything else seems pretty standard to me....Thoughts
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Last edited by rsterman; 11-28-15 at 04:47 PM. Reason: Needed to add photos
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