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Gitane Interclub...

Old 07-20-19, 04:01 PM
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Gitane Interclub...

A fellow I know (and who knew me) told me a few years ago that he had an old bike looking for a good home and he just now dropped it off. I am not partial to Gitane bikes, having had several with crappy plastic-bodied Simplex derailleurs with crappy bendy black plastic Simplex gear change levers.
This one has lots of Japanese parts (Sugino chain rings and Sugino Maxy cranks, Suntour GT derailleur) and has a Brooks Professional saddle, PIVO stem, and French Mafac brakes - and Mavic tubulars on Normandy hubs. If he can find the clinchers, he will drop them off....

Seems like a decent bike, but dirty and I have started cutting the thick, heavy dirty handlebar wrapper off to expose the bars so I can redo the tape..

Is the Japanese stuff stock or did it get rebuilt ??
Any idea of what year it was built ??

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Old 07-20-19, 06:47 PM
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The frame, judging by the decals, looks to be pre-1974 so the Japanese components are later additions, including the Brooks saddle. Suspect that the previous owner(s) didn’t care for the Simplex derailleurs and shifters that we’re OEM for that era.
The frame looks to be in very good condition and that orange is quite popular - it has softened into a nice color and patina. Good rims and if the saddle is still comfortable, you may have a nice bike that just needs some cleanup.
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Old 07-20-19, 06:52 PM
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Ouch! Missed the kickstand earlier. I would remove that right away. You may need to do some corrosion control where the kickstand was in contact with the frame. Light sanding and color matching the orange at a body shop will arm you with the right stuff to cover bare metal. A little polish and wax will do it right!
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Old 07-20-19, 07:59 PM
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Ptretty sure the bike is a 75 and secondary export ie Canadian so nearly anything is possible since Gitane like Moto used parts fro nearly all makers on the cheap to keep costs down meat production at this time they do not actually spec specific components on the Interclub which was offered with 27 's or tubis like a lot of French bikes at the time. If you got one on order you just kinda what ever they shipped.
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Old 07-21-19, 06:43 AM
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Nice bike. I had one similar vintage. It came with the Sugino crank. French pedal threads too. And sew-ups were standard. The Interclub was meant as an introductory racing bike. And Gitane orange is quite unique, very french.

Cool handlebar waterbottle cage too.
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Old 07-21-19, 04:15 PM
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1973 was final year for this transfer set

are bottom bracket cups black oxide finish?

if chainset original to cycle would expect the chrome plated Sugino BB cups

inner face of crank arms is marked with a date code

Date of Manufacture of Bicycle Components can be used to date a bike: component dating


by 1975 the Interclub was coming through with the Huret "honeycomb" dropouts

& Verot TS cahinset

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Last edited by juvela; 07-22-19 at 05:27 PM. Reason: punctuation & addition
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Old 07-21-19, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
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1973 was final year for this transfer set

are bottom bracket cups black oxide finish?

if chainset original to cycle would expect the chrome plated Sugino BB cups

inner face of crank arms is marked with a date code

Date of Manufacture of Bicycle Components can be used to date a bike: component dating


by 1975 the Interclub was coming through with the Huret "honeycomb" dropouts

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-----


-----
Thanks:

BB cups are chromed and the markings on the crank arms is "Forged 171 M14"

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Old 07-22-19, 02:24 AM
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Rear brake cable bridge would date frame toward early 1970s.
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Old 07-22-19, 05:24 AM
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Nice find. I have a special like for most French bikes. Anyway...

I really can't remember the details of finding this Inter Club but I believe it is pretty much wearing original issue components, with the exception being the after market saddle. The OPs, with the Japanese stuff is likely later seventies. I believe that the French were the first, or close to the first, to adopt the Asian version of bicycle technology. Less expensive? Worked better? Who knows, but this early seventies one is French all the way, as nearly as I can tell...


And why is it in such nicely preserved condition...
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Old 07-22-19, 11:45 AM
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I'm thinking early 70s; the Sugino Maxy is probably the stock crankset, as Gitane shifted from cottered steel to the modestly-priced Maxy to cut weight and make it more competitive. The SunTour derailleurs are probably aftermarket, but they were inexpensive and readily available and worked better than anything else - that was my rationale when I replaced the Simplex stuff on my department store West German "Brownie" with comparable SunTour stuff. The Interclub was apparently built with a variety of tubesets, and was apparently always on the light end of gaspipe back when. I would suggest cleaning and lubing and repacking and adjusting everything and riding it - the Interclub is allegedly like a Raleigh Super Course in terms of "punching above its weight." I keep hoping to score an Interclub cheap and in my size someday ...
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Old 07-23-19, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Flying G View Post
The frame looks to be in very good condition and that orange is quite popular - it has softened into a nice color and patina.
They do like orange...

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Old 07-23-19, 07:35 AM
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------

Thanks very much for this larger format image!

Hubs look to be New Star.

1971 was final year the Atom 440 had this alloy dustcap with the slot.

This generation of Prestige shift lever launched 1970-71 so that brackets date closely.

Arrestors present as mixed kit:

MAFAC levers with blue hood on drive side and black hood on NDS. Is blue hood a replacement?

CLB Racer front caliper and Weinmann 750 rear caliper.

CLB front hanger.

Lever covers/sleeves appear Rampinelli (REG).

This combination of brake bits offers the rider no quick release.


-----

Last edited by juvela; 07-23-19 at 08:35 AM. Reason: addition
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Old 06-28-20, 11:32 AM
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Interclub

I've heard a lot of people say the Interclub was Gitane's entry level model ….. I believe the Grand Sport Deluxe was.... I found one in a yard sale and it all steel with a cottered crank …… very heavy bike ……(1972 model)
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Old 06-28-20, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by gitane1953 View Post
I've heard a lot of people say the Interclub was Gitane's entry level model ….. I believe the Grand Sport Deluxe was.... I found one in a yard sale and it all steel with a cottered crank …… very heavy bike ……(1972 model)
The Interclub was Gitanes entry level "racing" bike. Closer geometry, tubular wheels and had their "Service Course" designation. There was a time when someone new to racing would purchase a bike like this as a beginner racer. I had an Interclub, with tubulars, weighed in around 26 pounds. Not heavy for a bike in the early 70's.
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Old 06-29-20, 06:02 AM
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Interclub

I have one of each and both are stock from the factory ….. the Grand sport deluxe looks more like a Schwinn Varsity with the big steel cottered crank, steel rims and even has that big plastic spoke protector at the freewheel .........…. the interclub has alloy cotterless crank, alloy rims and no plastic spoke protector. The interclub is definitely a step above
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Old 06-29-20, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by gitane1953 View Post
I've heard a lot of people say the Interclub was Gitane's entry level model ….. I believe the Grand Sport Deluxe was.... I found one in a yard sale and it all steel with a cottered crank …… very heavy bike ……(1972 model)
I believe you taken statements out of context. As noted by member 'big chainring', the Interclub was Gitane's entry level "racing" model, as it was the cheapest model to come with a tubular wheelset, which was considered necessary for competition. Basically, the posts you read were making a distinction between the true "competition" line and the general purpose "recreational" line. If you look at things from an all encompassing perspective, even the Gran Sport wouldn't be considered the entry level model, as there were less expensive models in the Gitane line, There's a difference between "an" entry level model and "the" entry level model.

Back when we carried Gitane, the Gran Sport and Interclub had a lot of common components, including the same tubing, headset, stem, brakes, derailleurs, crankset and hubs. The biggest difference were the tubular rims and tyres, which added about 15% to the cost, and removed a few pounds of weight.
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Old 06-29-20, 12:40 PM
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I'm with you all up until the crankset and derailers…. every GSD I've seen had a heavy steel cottered crankset and simplex derailers and every interclub had an alloy cotterless crankset and suntour rear derailer … obviously I haven't seen every GSD and interclub ever made. … and I have heard people say that they would throw any part on them if they ran short
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Old 07-03-20, 01:00 AM
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I had a Gitane Interclub that was bought early in 1971, it came with steel cottered Stronglight cranks, an Atom Freewheel, Simplex Criterium derailleurs, a hollow Pivo stem, French made leather saddle, (not Ideal, but I can't recall the brand on it). The wheelset was a pair of Normandy red label large flange hubs laced to a pair of Mavic tubular rims, Lyotard pedals, and Dunlop brand tires. The brakes were Mafac 'Racer'. The bike was bought by a relative who passed it on to me in 1975. It was white with foil decals much like the OP's bike. The paint quality was horrid, it was a constant struggle to keep the rust at bay on that bike. I do remember it had an abnormally low front chain ring, shifting low to high was a challenge for the Prestige derailleur. I removed the Simplex derailleurs in favor of a pair of new take off Huret Svelto derailleurs someone gave me, and almost from the beginning I ran a set of Mavic Super Champion 700c clinchers on it as well, but returned the bike to 100% original when I sold it about 15 years ago. It was a heavy bike, to me the bike was just transportation. It wasn't anything special, just a run of the mill French bike back then, it wasn't light, and it wasn't particularly a good fit for me so it got limited use in comparison to several other bikes I owned back then.
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Old 07-03-20, 10:40 AM
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our shop sold Gitanes from about 1970 to 76. The Sugino and Suntour are stock, they were trying to prove they were progressive
and not sticking to Simplex to the bitter end like other French brands. Being the entry level racing model it used "better" tubing
but being Gitane they used whatever was handy (in stock at the factory) so no tubing sticker bcuz it could be any mixture of
Durifort, Falk,or even straight 531 mains but even at that they would combine with the cheapest headtube and steering column.
but after all that I have a deep soft spot for the bike. I put people on tubs for the first time and man were they amazed!
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Old 07-03-20, 11:00 AM
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to Gitane1953: there was a model below the Grand Sport Deluxe just called the Grand Sport and there was a model
below that that was so basic and heavy that they wouldn't put Gitane stickers on it and it wasn't in the catalogs.
it was called the Royal Asport. Gitane Pacific (the California importer) didn't want any non-Gitane bikes on our floor
so they gave us 100's of Grand Sport sticker sets and we rebranded the bikes as Sport
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Old 07-03-20, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by steve sumner View Post
to Gitane1953: there was a model below the Grand Sport Deluxe just called the Grand Sport and there was a model
below that that was so basic and heavy that they wouldn't put Gitane stickers on it and it wasn't in the catalogs.
it was called the Royal Asport. Gitane Pacific (the California importer) didn't want any non-Gitane bikes on our floor
so they gave us 100's of Grand Sport sticker sets and we rebranded the bikes as Sport
That kind of thing was more common than most realize, not only with Gitane. Manufacturers also re-branded bikes so they could sell the same line of bikes to neighboring dealers and such. Importers here brought in tons of bikes badged as what ever they felt like just to get competing models on the showroom floors.
I remember one case in particular back when I was working for a local bike dealer. They had ordered a particular model and received a different model. The customer was set on that one model bike. The supplier sent a decal set for the bike the guy wanted and told us to just change the stickers, "The two models were identical anyhow". There was a $200 difference in the two models. Bikes would come in with no tubing decals, wrong model name decals, and often we would open a box up to find that they changed the color options from what the brochure advertised. Thus the disclaimer on so many brochures stating "Components subject to change" or "Actual models may differ from models pictured". I'm not sure about other areas of the country but here Gitane was a brand brought in by an independent importer, not a manufacturer's dealer network. The bikes weren't always spec'd out as advertised and on occasion odd models would show up.
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Old 07-03-20, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by gitane1953 View Post
I'm with you all up until the crankset and derailers…. every GSD I've seen had a heavy steel cottered crankset and simplex derailers and every interclub had an alloy cotterless crankset and suntour rear derailer … obviously I haven't seen every GSD and interclub ever made. … and I have heard people say that they would throw any part on them if they ran short
Here are same year catalogue entries showing both models with the same drivetrain. Gitane didn't switch the Interclub to a SunTour drivetrain until sometime after we stopped carrying them, which was 1974. The first French brand to spec Japanese drivetrain components was Motobecane in 1973, courtesy of USA importer Ben Lawee. I don't recall any of the major brands having distributing divisions during the boom. The Japanese used American divisions of Japanese trading companies while the Europeans used independent American distributors. All that changed when the boom crashed in 1975 and everybody was suddenly competing for a smaller piece of pie. The easiest way for the bicycle manufacturers to maintain profits was to eliminate the middle man (I.e. distributor) and set up their own USA based importing and distributing divisions.


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Old 07-04-20, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Here are same year catalogue entries showing both models with the same drivetrain. Gitane didn't switch the Interclub to a SunTour drivetrain until sometime after we stopped carrying them, which was 1974. The first French brand to spec Japanese drivetrain components was Motobecane in 1973, courtesy of USA importer Ben Lawee. I don't recall any of the major brands having distributing divisions during the boom. The Japanese used American divisions of Japanese trading companies while the Europeans used independent American distributors. All that changed when the boom crashed in 1975 and everybody was suddenly competing for a smaller piece of pie. The easiest way for the bicycle manufacturers to maintain profits was to eliminate the middle man (I.e. distributor) and set up their own USA based importing and distributing divisions.
.
.
Most bike shops back in the day had one, sometimes two marquis brands that they sold and were direct dealers for. For instance, a Schwinn dealer would deal direct with Schwinn, a Columbia dealer, a Ross dealer, a Rollfast dealer all dealt direct with their main company supplier. In the late 70's I worked at one who sold Raleigh, Motobecane, and Ross as their main brands, then they carried various lesser models that were bought from their general suppliers that also on occasion sold a line of bikes.When Trek came about, they took on Trek as well dealing directly with Trek.
Peugeot came from Franklin in NJ, Motobecane, Atala, Lejeune, all came from a distributor, just as Sun Cruisers and Jamis bikes do today. They were sort of pushed as house brands, often with limited parts support.
Peugeot was an exception, for a distributor brand they basically had full parts availability.
Brands that I remember dealing with direct were Schwinn, Ross (Chain Bike Corp), Rollfast ( DP Harris), Columbia, Trek, and a handful of small BMX manufacturers. I seem to recall that Raleigh, Motobecane, and Univega all came from the same vendor back then, at least in the later years.
Most imports came through some sort of importer but in the early days Raleigh was kept separate and run more like an American bike company with full parts lines, catalogs, and a visiting factory rep who you saw pretty much weekly. Raleigh was almost always paired with another major US brand.
Many smaller companies were run by the builders themselves, calling to place an order often got you the owner of the company on the phone. I also believe that Giant was their own distributor, they had their own reps, their own catalogs, and they answered the phone as Giant Bicycles. When the bike business was booming back then each factory rep would call daily to see what you needed. An end of buisness day order usually got your bikes delivered the next afternoon. I worked a lot of late hours assembling bikes for the next day back in the 70's. For the most part, the biggest boom seemed to be in the mid to late 70's, after Breaking Away hit theaters, it seemed everyone wanted a road bike and we sold thousands of them. before that, it was 20" kids bikes, middle weights and three speeds.
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Old 07-04-20, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by vintagebicycle View Post
Most bike shops back in the day had one, sometimes two marquis brands that they sold and were direct dealers for. For instance, a Schwinn dealer would deal direct with Schwinn, a Columbia dealer, a Ross dealer, a Rollfast dealer all dealt direct with their main company supplier. In the late 70's I worked at one who sold Raleigh, Motobecane, and Ross as their main brands, then they carried various lesser models that were bought from their general suppliers that also on occasion sold a line of bikes.When Trek came about, they took on Trek as well dealing directly with Trek.
Peugeot came from Franklin in NJ, Motobecane, Atala, Lejeune, all came from a distributor, just as Sun Cruisers and Jamis bikes do today. They were sort of pushed as house brands, often with limited parts support.
Peugeot was an exception, for a distributor brand they basically had full parts availability.
Brands that I remember dealing with direct were Schwinn, Ross (Chain Bike Corp), Rollfast ( DP Harris), Columbia, Trek, and a handful of small BMX manufacturers. I seem to recall that Raleigh, Motobecane, and Univega all came from the same vendor back then, at least in the later years.
Most imports came through some sort of importer but in the early days Raleigh was kept separate and run more like an American bike company with full parts lines, catalogs, and a visiting factory rep who you saw pretty much weekly. Raleigh was almost always paired with another major US brand.
Many smaller companies were run by the builders themselves, calling to place an order often got you the owner of the company on the phone. I also believe that Giant was their own distributor, they had their own reps, their own catalogs, and they answered the phone as Giant Bicycles. When the bike business was booming back then each factory rep would call daily to see what you needed. An end of buisness day order usually got your bikes delivered the next afternoon. I worked a lot of late hours assembling bikes for the next day back in the 70's. For the most part, the biggest boom seemed to be in the mid to late 70's, after Breaking Away hit theaters, it seemed everyone wanted a road bike and we sold thousands of them. before that, it was 20" kids bikes, middle weights and three speeds.
While I was talking only about foreign brands, I should have made the distinction between foreign and domestic brands. Up to and during the boom, foreign brands were handled almost exclusively by importers. Domestic brands were dealt with directly through their internal sales departments. There was a 3rd case where foreign brands had domestic manufacturing (such as the Raleigh and Sekine factories opened in Canada during the boom), in which case sales were through a domestic sales department.

Giant did have their own American based sales and distribution division but that wasn't until the late 1980s. By that time most of big foreign brands had their own American absaed sales and distribution divisions.

The LBS where I worked and that I later managed sold primarily 10 speed lightweights during the boom years of 1971-1974. The consumers who bought them were primarily teens and young adults. The 30+ crowd bought primarily 3 speed city bicycles. The pre-teen crowd was mainly hi-risers at the being of the boom era but had switched to mostly junior racers by the end.

I was out of the bicycle retail business by the time of Breaking Away but still had lots of contacts and was indirectly involved via competition and coaching. So, I still ran into a lot of the reps and owners and was cognizant of what was happening in the industry. While there was a mini-peak around the time of Breaking Away, it wasn't nearly as big as the peak boom year of 1973. There was another peak in the mid-1980s with the advent of television coverage of triathlons, Grewal's 1984 Olympic gold medal and LeMond's European successes but even it didn't approach 1973. Sales didn't surpass the 1973 peak until the early 1990s, courtesy of the booming popularity of ATBs. Of course, your local market may have been different and not have reflected overall market trends.
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