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Stella French bike

Old 05-26-19, 10:10 PM
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Stella French bike

I probably shouldn't have gone but I got curious. I saw an ad and the picture showed a cottered crank with brased down tube shifters on a pretty clean Simplex equipt french bike. The owner had tossed the steel wheels and put some decent/cheap aluminum 27" wheels with a Japanese freehubs. At $50 I had to walk away but at $25 I loaded it into the back of the Bolt and drove home. Well, I am between bikes at the moment and have lots of bottom bracket pieces, derailleurs, crank sets and freewheels. Anyone have any opinions on keeping what I think is a 70's bike original as possible or swapping out good used parts is the better solution. I don't want to desecrate a classic piece of history but is this bike that rare or valuable? I've got a set of barcons around someplace...hummm.


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Old 05-26-19, 11:15 PM
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I've never seen a fillet brazed Stella. Could be a rare model, or possibly not a Stella?

edit: I've also never seen Simplex Prestige shifters mounted without band clamp. Unusual bike there.
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Old 05-27-19, 06:02 AM
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You may as well just overhaul and ride it pretty much as is. I am no expert but I think you'll need either a French or Swiss BB as well as stem to make any changes. Looks like the FD was repaired already. Already repaired? Hmmmm.....
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Old 05-27-19, 07:23 AM
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-----

the lugless ones were roughly parallel to the Peugeot A08

dropouts are NERVEX

crown NERVEX Pattern 1

shell NERVEX Nr. 3300

pedals Eclair

you will be able to get a specific date from the backside of the cycle's Simplex Prestige rear derailleur:



a number likely close to 1973

---

you may wish to add it to the Stella thread:

Show us your Stella bikes

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@ollo_ollo @Hudson308 @Andy_K @73StellaSX76 @3alarmer

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Last edited by juvela; 05-27-19 at 10:26 AM. Reason: spellin''
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Old 05-27-19, 07:24 AM
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A lot different than my Stella for sure. I was given one a number of years ago by a close friend who no longer rides bikes. We used to go everywhere on our bikes in the 70's . It is the wrong size for me but I ride it occasionally just for old time's sake. They seem to be well made . Joe
1971 Stella before Ideal #87 Saddle that is now on the bike
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Old 05-27-19, 09:46 AM
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This bike should make a nice basic rider pretty much as is I wouldn't change out stuff if it works good. While a not as common as other French bikes this one isn't particularly rare or valuable I would put it an par with other upper entry level French bikes like the UO-8. I wouldn't worry about losing value by changing stuff.
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Old 05-27-19, 09:58 AM
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At $25 with alloy wheels, you did fine. You might even have a winner if you enter it into the velo cheapie contest thread!
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Old 05-27-19, 10:06 AM
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...what others have already said about level of quality and historic value. The issue these days with swapping out something like the crank for something lighter made of alloy with a square taper BB is finding French threaded stuff that will work. You can get a relatively OK sealed unit BB in French thread from Velo Orange, but be careful calculating the length you'll need for your crank application. Likewise, some of the other used part swaps become more tedious because of the metric frame tubing diameters. OTOH, steel cotterred cranks work fine and last a long time.

The rear derailleur with the claw hanger adapts itself well to updating, and you can usually find a front one with a clamp that will fit the seat tube. The stem and bar on some of those got a little iffy after logging some miles on them, but your bicycle looks to be little ridden. If you want to update those, your best bet is some Asian used stuff. It's pretty easy to take off enough meat from a 22.2 stem to make it work in a French 22.0 steerer. Use a medium sandpaper, and stop to check regularly so you don't go too far.
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Old 05-27-19, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post




You may as well just overhaul and ride it pretty much as is. I am no expert but I think you'll need either a French or Swiss BB as well as stem to make any changes. Looks like the FD was repaired already. Already repaired? Hmmmm.....
Yeah, repaired 😂.
The chain already skips many of the freewheel cogs so there's that... I think I can use the BB race and bearings to accommodate a square taper shaft. That would allow the use of one on the many triples I have. The derailleurs will have to go. The paint is remarkable although the decal is shriveling a bit.
Anyway it's nice to have something with nice paint for a change so I can just twist a few wrenches.😃
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Old 05-27-19, 10:50 AM
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...addendum: if you want to put rubber hoods on those Weinmann brake levers, the ones from Cane Creek work pretty well. You can replace the brake pads with just about any road bike shoe that uses a bolt attachment to the caliper. That's something you definitely want to do.

I have always found those low end pedals they put on French bike boom imports to be vexatious. If you decide to stay with he cottered crank arms, it's not that hard to retap the holes to fit a standard pedal threading of today, rather than the French ones you now have. It's a little more difficult, and goes slower than an alloy crank arm rethread, but if you use a decent tap, do it with the arms removed and in a vise, and go slowly with plenty of cutting oil, it works out fine.

Alternatively, you can just service the bearings on the ones you have with some fresh grease. But the platforms eventually loosen up at all the fitted joints, and they are relatively heavy compared to a modern pedal.
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Old 05-27-19, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Cycle Tourist View Post
Anyway it's nice to have something with nice paint for a change so I can just twist a few wrenches.😃
...said to himself every guy who has ever started on a French bicycle project.
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Old 05-27-19, 03:06 PM
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[QUOTE=3alarmer;20949462]...said to himself every guy who has ever started on a French bicycle project. [/QUOTE

I do understand..😫 I have owned 2 Peugeot's and a Raleigh with french threads. I once retapped the bottom bracket and steerer tube on one of them accidentally when I was 12. 😁
Anyhow with a $25 investment, I'll do what I can and try to smile through, but thanks for the warning.🙄
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Old 05-27-19, 04:28 PM
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...no disrespect here. I have always had a soft spot for Stella bicycles, because the first bike I ever had with butted tubing that had pretensions of being a "real road bike" was a Stella of about that same color and vintage, but with lugs and better frame tubing....so maybe a step or a step and a half up in their line.

The paint on mine was terrible, as you might expect if you found it in a pile of bikes in a scrapyard in Merced, stripped of everything but the crank, fork and headset. But gee whiz I loved that bicycle. By the time I got to the point in life where I could repaint it, I'd figured out it was a little small for my riding style and anatomy. Otherwise, I'd probably still be riding it sometimes.

They're well worth preserving in some rideable fashion, if for no other reason than the geometry and the decals. It's a bike name that has a long history back in road racing.
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Old 05-27-19, 09:32 PM
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Of the 20 - 30 Stellas Iíve seen over the years, in real life and pictures this is the first lugless Iíve seen, nor that color. Iím not questioning it, just interesting. Iím not an expert and donít know. I would guess itís from late in production, close to their demise sometime around 1975. Is the serial number on non-drive side rear dropout?

No problems changing out parts, especially if you archive the old parts. I think improvement in crank and pedals would be noticeable (for smoothness). Looks like a nice ride, enjoy!
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Old 05-27-19, 10:18 PM
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The derailleur is stamped '72. I found a longish BB square spindle in my spare parts, a triple that fits perfectly so I lucked out big time. I have plenty of FD's and 1 RD. Unfortunately the barcons won't fit the small bars but I do have some accushift 7 speed DT shifters and some old aero brake levers. The blue plastic tape has got to go and the gumwall tire has cracks so my financialoutlay should be minor. So far, so good.😗

Love some of the pictures and comments. Thanks for the tip to check the back of the RD for the date.
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Old 05-28-19, 08:17 PM
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I was mistaken. The barcons do work so I ordered some cable stops for the DT. An old riveted triple has found a home and old aero Exage brake levers. I have a threaded RD hanger, some proper bar tape and a new tire on the way. I'll drop some pictures when it's done.😃
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Old 06-04-19, 12:04 AM
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New pics of Stella after....




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Old 06-04-19, 02:40 PM
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-----

you should know better by now

four new images and only one of drive side

that one doth showeth chainset not


-----
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Old 06-25-19, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----

you should know better by now

four new images and only one of drive side

that one doth showeth chainset not


-----
I probably did it subconsciously. The triple, black, rivited crank looked ugly on a rather sweet French frame. I am rebuilding with a nicer crank, probably a double and already swapped the 5 spd. freewheel for a 6. The shortest BB axels I have still cause the better looking triples to stick out too far keeping the FD from getting the big chainring. I think a double will work.
I was warned! French bikes are just different. The BB axels need to be 7cm not the 6.8 that are so common so the conversion is taking longer and costing more than I'd hoped. The $25 bike is a tad over$100 now. 😂 The DT decal is toast and my hand painted refresh doesn't grab me. The replacement costs $10. Since the head tube and seat tube proudly proclaim "Stella" I think I'll pass.

Pictures to follow...with the drive side.
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Old 06-25-19, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Cycle Tourist View Post
I probably did it subconsciously. The triple, black, rivited crank looked ugly on a rather sweet French frame. I am rebuilding with a nicer crank, probably a double and already swapped the 5 spd. freewheel for a 6. The shortest BB axels I have still cause the better looking triples to stick out too far keeping the FD from getting the big chainring. I think a double will work.
I was warned! French bikes are just different. The BB axels need to be 7cm not the 6.8 that are so common so the conversion is taking longer and costing more than I'd hoped. The $25 bike is a tad over$100 now. 😂 The DT decal is toast and my hand painted refresh doesn't grab me. The replacement costs $10. Since the head tube and seat tube proudly proclaim "Stella" I think I'll pass.

Pictures to follow...with the drive side.
For a crank set chances are you can run a 2 rings only on vintage MTB/ Touring triple which can be had fairly cheap likely using the BB you have. Running 2 or only one 1 ring on a nicer vintage MTB crank is cheap way to get a quality crank on a vintage bike. One of my regular riders has a MTB triple crankset setup as a single.
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Old 06-27-19, 01:36 PM
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The re-completed Stella.

Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----

you should know better by now

four new images and only one of drive side

that one doth showeth chainset not


-----





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Old 06-29-19, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...what others have already said about level of quality and historic value. The issue these days with swapping out something like the crank for something lighter made of alloy with a square taper BB is finding French threaded stuff that will work. You can get a relatively OK sealed unit BB in French thread from Velo Orange, but be careful calculating the length you'll need for your crank application. Likewise, some of the other used part swaps become more tedious because of the metric frame tubing diameters. OTOH, steel cotterred cranks work fine and last a long time.

The rear derailleur with the claw hanger adapts itself well to updating, and you can usually find a front one with a clamp that will fit the seat tube. The stem and bar on some of those got a little iffy after logging some miles on them, but your bicycle looks to be little ridden. If you want to update those, your best bet is some Asian used stuff. It's pretty easy to take off enough meat from a 22.2 stem to make it work in a French 22.0 steerer. Use a medium sandpaper, and stop to check regularly so you don't go too far.
Thanks. Here it is
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Old 06-29-19, 06:02 PM
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...I should think you will be very happy riding that.
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Old 07-01-19, 01:34 AM
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Lugless French bike boom era bikes were all entry level gas pipe specials. The bike may have been made by a large French contract builder like Manufrance. A lot of French bike makers did that for their entry level models.

I wouldn't recommend putting any more work or money into it than you already have. Just ride and enjoy it.

BTW, the stem needs to be lowered 3/4" to 1" (20mm to 25mm). Stems need to be inserted 75mm to 80mm to get below the threaded section of the steerer.

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Old 07-07-19, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
Lugless French bike boom era bikes were all entry level gas pipe specials. The bike may have been made by a large French contract builder like Manufrance. A lot of French bike makers did that for their entry level models.

I wouldn't recommend putting any more work or money into it than you already have. Just ride and enjoy it.

BTW, the stem needs to be lowered 3/4" to 1" (20mm to 25mm). Stems need to be inserted 75mm to 80mm to get below the threaded section of the steerer.

verktyg
Thanks. The DT lugs made me wonder. I bought it at $25 looking to turn it over. I should have cleaned it and changed the FD and called it a day for max profit. Still, now it's a cool day tripper and I'll break even.🤗
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