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50's Motobecane, I think

Old 09-21-13, 10:38 AM
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bargainguy
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50's Motobecane, I think

I am completely out of my element here, knowing next to nothing about Motos before the bike boom, so relying on the advice of the kind experts here for help.

Sold to me as a 50's Motobecane. Normally I wouldn't consider a bike like this, but my first decent bike was a Moto so there's some sentimental value in the marque. I love the crank design in particular with the wings. So my questions are:

#1 : 650b wheel size seem correct for this era/manufacturer?

#2 : Totally lost on the 3-speed derailleur + shifter. There is writing on the RD, none on the shifter, but it's worn off so much I can't make out anything other than perhaps starts with S. Before I got close, was thinking maybe Huret, but with the S, perhaps Simplex?

#3 : Ladies bike or tourer?

#4 : There is a bracket with the word "Trelock" attached to the right fork blade. Some kind of integrated lock mount, perhaps?

#5 : "Chretien" - I know this is the French masculine form of Christian, but nothing else. Model perhaps? This is repeated on the rear fender sticker.

#6 : Is it really 50's or perhaps later?

#7 : Value as is? Not sure I'm up to this kind of rebuild.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 09-21-13, 10:40 AM
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This is such a cool bike; nice find. I'm out of my element on this one as well but you will have fun restoring it.
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Old 09-21-13, 02:44 PM
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Oooh, that's the bomb. Rare/odd enough so the only way to figure out value would be to auction it off on the evilbay.
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Old 09-22-13, 05:31 AM
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Someone on another forum guessed early 60's from frame design and what he thinks is a Huret jockey cage w/plastic wheels.

A general question: Were "Tobecs" (as the French call them) imported into the US in any numbers before the bike boom of the 70's and Lawee Inc.? If Bill is right and Chretien is the name of the shop in Angers - not the model - then this bike was brought from across the pond. We know this much - Pantin is the factory outside Paris where Tobecs were knocked out along with motorcycles, but Angers is much farther away, couple hundred miles.
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Old 09-24-13, 04:48 PM
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Update: I emailed Mike Kone of Boulder Bicycles. He previously took over the Rene Herse brand, so if anyone knows French bikes in the US, it's him. His response:

Hi Don,

Only thing strange is the chainguard marking - probably as you figure a shop's unique indentifier.

Bikes like this are actually very common in France - nothing to stump the experts. Its a nice production 650b in the style that is very typical to the French makers. It must be rather late production for a bike of this style. I do wonder if the foil downtube decal was added later. Bikes like this were made in the thousands but are very very nice. A few years back someone from San Francisco filled up a shipping container with hundreds of similar bikes and imported them into the US. So they are out there....just very few in the US. The first wave of french bikes to come over were usually all 10speeds. Lots of cool stuff we never saw..

Regards,
Mike
Boulder Bicycle
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Old 09-24-13, 05:06 PM
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Bikemanbob had a Louison Bobet similar to above with 650b wheels for sale last year in the D at $150 for a very long time. I don't know if he actually sold it.
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Old 09-24-13, 05:26 PM
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Interesting. I have no intention of keeping this one; I'd rather see it in a museum or in the hands of someone who could do a decent resto (I can do most bikes but wouldn't touch this one!) so it could go on display somewhere in all its glory. It's just so unusual in this country, deserves a better audience than just me. I have a philosophic objection to selling on ebay so I guess it'll just stay with me until I find it a new home.

Edit/update: Someone has determined the RD is a Huret Svelto, production 1967-70. Assuming it is original to this bike, that would probably make it one of the last 650b models before the factory switched to 10-speed production in 1970 or so.

Last edited by bargainguy; 09-25-13 at 07:16 PM.
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