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1980 Gitane Criterium?

Old 12-23-09, 10:31 PM
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garage sale GT
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1980 Gitane Criterium?

I picked up a Gitane. As you know, Gitane does not put model name decals on their bikes. I believe it to be a 1980 Criterium based on the Vitus 971 tubing, Stronglight 106 crank, lack of chrome tips on the fork, and Spidel components which seem to be top notch.

I am concerned the frame may not be what it appears and may have been fixed up with better components.

My reason is that you can see the notched ends of the tubing where the dropouts attach, and where the seatstays attach to the seatpost clamp. Far lesser bikes have nice, bullet shaped fillets of braze metal built up around the dropouts. Did Gitane just want to provide an affordable race bike with a good frame and parts by saving on brazing time? Is it structurally sound? I guess you can't tell that, but should I be concerned? are the fillets necessary?

Also, the notch for the seatpost clamp appeared to have been cut with a sheet metal nibbler. It looked like someone pulled back the chip and clipped most of it off, leaving about 1/8" with a sheared notch on either side.

Last, the fork says Super Vitus 980 though it does match the paint on the frame.

The previous owner said he recently got it from a bike shop where it had been sitting. I suppose they could have put all their French parts on a few frames and blew them out on Ebay?
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Old 12-23-09, 11:53 PM
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umpire54
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Bikes: 1953/54 Bianchi CdM, 63 Bianchi Record, 2~1968 Bianchi Record , 81 Raleigh Competition, 73 Italvega Nuovo Record , 76 Araya Randonneur, 72 Gitane Interclub, 87 Centurion Le Mans RS , 2008 Motobecane Hybrid, 86 Miyata 710, 91 Miyata Triple Cross

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Picture?? Mama...he wants a digital camera for Christmas!

Oh...they did put model names on in the 70's I know for sure...I own a 72' Interclub with decals all over it. Grape colored. Kewl!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/umpire5...7622021869133/
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Old 12-24-09, 07:42 AM
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http://www.gitaneusa.com/

The site has a forum and old catalogs they may answer some of your questions.

I found it while doing research on a 1983 Gitane Criterium I picked up for $20 !

The components that were on this bike DID NOT completely match the catalog and I had reason to believe the were original. For example the crank and bottom bracket were NERVAR (Defunct French brand) but the catalog said Stronglight. Leading one to believe that components list developed for the marketing lititure was not strictly adhered to.

BTW: The bottom bracket and headset on this 1983 bike are English!

Last edited by zebede; 12-24-09 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 12-24-09, 08:26 AM
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garage sale GT
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I am aware that French bikes are famous for not always having the spec'd components. My issue was that it looked a bit like someone's first braze job. Why wouldn't they just go the extra mile and put nice brazing on a frame with such nice components?

Well, mine was pretty darn close to spec. The lesser ones did not come with Vitus or the good components; the higher ones had things like chromed fork ends. I had to swap the bars and stem out because it was a 25.4 stem and a 25.0 bar! It rotated, and the sharp edge of the stem clamp shaved a chip off, which crumpled up into a hard little lump which gouged a groove into bar and stem as the bar continued to rotate; I decommissioned the bar with a hacksaw because it could have split in half.

The "manage attachments" button seems not to work. There's a pic of the bike in the "chicago area c&v'ers meet up and ride!" thread from day one.
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Old 12-24-09, 08:32 AM
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Here you go.



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Old 12-24-09, 08:42 AM
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Thanks for the help. I just went digging through the old thread to try to bring the picture back but you beat me to it.

The closeup has some tubular wheels which seem to have been built up by a bike shop. It originally came with Spidel hubs and Mavic Module E rims equipped with Michelin E-types, which I think were the first raceable clincher. Some of the smoothest cones I ever saw; turn better than new Ultegra hubs.
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Old 12-24-09, 09:57 AM
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Here are the pics. You have to expand them if you want to really see what I am talking about.

You can't really tell how bad the gouge was on the handlebar because I thought I could save the stem and tried to clean it up a bit. I decided to get a new one for safety's sake.

I guess they are forged dropouts, after all, but why would they leave it like that? Are other Gitanes like that? I see Umpire54's is not; how about zebedee's?

I have carefully filed the bottom of the notch for the seatpost clamp round, to prevent cracks, so no pic. It is possible, of course, that a previous owner didn't think the notch was deep enough and used a sheet metal nibbler to expand it.
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Old 12-24-09, 06:04 PM
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1983 Gitane Criterium rear drop out drive side

I went out in the garage on christmas eve to take pictures for you. This frame is my new year project.



Last edited by zebede; 12-28-09 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 12-27-09, 01:43 PM
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garage sale GT
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Thanks but it says "Invalid link specified".
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Old 12-28-09, 07:13 PM
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I can see the picture now. Can you. While it appears the changed rear drop outs between the 3 years for the criterium, the quality of the craftsman ship is similar.
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Old 12-28-09, 08:41 PM
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Thank you very much, that is good to hear. I was just worried because it is out of the ordinary from my limited experience. If they're all that way then I shouldn't conclude it's poor work or maybe not a real Super Vitus frame. There's probably plenty of braze metal from a structural standpoint.
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