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Le Champion '73 (or '72), starting rebuild

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Le Champion '73 (or '72), starting rebuild

Old 04-04-15, 05:41 PM
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Le Champion '73 (or '72), starting rebuild

I finally started work on this one, been holding on to it for about a year. I have a few questions. No frame pics yet but here are some of the goodies:

Shop receipt, Apr '73. The guy who sold it to me said he was told it was a '72, so it could have been last year's inventory:



Some of the components. Brooks Pro saddle, Campy NR derailleurs, Universal brakes.





Stronglight triple crank:



Lyotard pedals:



3 ttt stem and handlebar, Universal brakes, Suntour ratchet bar ends:



I have the wheels too.

Now a few questions. The steel parts need oxalic acid treatment. However I thought I read here somewhere that OA wasn't good for aluminum. That leaves me undecided about how to clean the rust off the FD. OA yea or nay?

At one point the OO of this bike fell in love with Motobecane's red/black color scheme so he repainted the frame, didn't do such a good job. I can try to remove the paint and hope the original is okay. Or I can take it to a good shop for stripping and repaint, or I can build it up as-is and ride it at least for a while. Recommendations?

The housing of one of the Universal brake levers is cracked. I may need a replacement. Will definitely need hoods. Thoughts?

Thanks!
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Old 04-04-15, 05:49 PM
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Drew it.
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Old 04-04-15, 05:50 PM
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Jim,
I want to follow this build....regarding the paint post a pics. If the previous owner sanded the original finish then I think you might need a repaint etc .My Moto had a clear coat on it so if only top coat you may get lucky..will the new paint flake off easily? if not try wet sanding with 800 or 1000 and go slow...don't cut through the original finish etc. In any event you might be able to salvage the original but may not be the best will loose the stripping and silkscreening....worth a try.
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Old 04-04-15, 05:51 PM
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i put all rusty components in a mineral spirits bath, let sit for an hour, and then scrub them under a running faucet. if they still show signs of rust, i drop them in acid (naval jelly) for ten minutes at a time then scrub again.

that's too bad on the repaint. i'd have to see it.
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Old 04-04-15, 06:01 PM
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Pretty neat Jim. I would disassemle all of those components that come apart and AO only the steel and chrome parts. A little light scrubbing on those that don't come apart with 4/0 steel wool or fine Scotchbrite pad. AO will oxidize the aluminum parts.
When you say the "housing" on the brake lever is cracked, you mean the main body part? Not uncommon.
I may have a spare for you.

I would definitely repaint it in the original color if you can. And get water slide decals from Gus Salmon if you want the best.
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Old 04-04-15, 06:08 PM
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Unfortunately there aren't many, if any, color scans from the 72-73 Motobecane catalogs online but I'd see if there is any of that teal blue paint underneath the black. Teal and creamy white would be cool. Like SJX426's bike.

http://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vi...restoring.html

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Old 04-04-15, 07:00 PM
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Thanks for the link, rootboy. I had conversed with SJX some months ago and yes, my bike is like his, even has the same seat cluster treatment. There is teal blue and white visible under the repaint in a few spots. As I said, it was not a great repaint.

xm1, I will post some pics. My intent for the frame has been to remove the paint with acetone or similar, but I can't do it indoors so it will have to wait until the weather warms. I suspect it was not sanded but that's just a guess. If worse come to worse I can take it to HotTubes where I had the Masi repainted.

When you say the "housing" on the brake lever is cracked, you mean the main body part?...I may have a spare for you.
That is what I mean, and if you have a spare that would be great!

One thing I'll have to decide is whether to keep the original gearing. The crank is 52-45-38 and the FW (on sew-up wheels) is pretty much a corncob, though I haven't counted the cogs (or if I ever did I forgot). The BF member (its second owner) who sold it to me asked that I restore it, not ebay it in pieces. If I'm going to restore it it should look the part. I could keep it as-is and it could be a stealth bike but then it should be a rider, and the CCRT would be only place flat enough for me to ride it!
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Old 04-04-15, 07:10 PM
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I don't think a triple would have been original gearing. But I guess it depends on how original you want to go with it.
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Old 04-04-15, 07:56 PM
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Wow, looks like a fun project Jim! Hot tubes worst comes to worst? I'm sure you mean cost and not finished product. I can't wait to see pics!
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Old 04-04-15, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by CV-6 View Post
I don't think a triple would have been original gearing.
You are right, it was not the catalog spec. The triple was a customer order for this bike, probably installed by the shop, not the factory. This is what the shop delivered to the OO.
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Old 04-05-15, 05:25 AM
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Jim, that FD can be taken down into itty-bitty pieces. Do so. The steel c-clips and pins can get the Ox acid. The Al parts can be burnished with a Scotchbrite pad cut into strips soaked in cleaner or something like WD-40. The cage will polish up with 0000 steel wool soaked in oil.
I've overhauled two NR FDs this winter using the above.

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Old 04-05-15, 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post

That is what I mean, and if you have a spare that would be great!
I'll take a look today.

I love that receipt. Check it out… what does that say? "Elvizia"? …$8.50...suppose that is for a spare tire?
And $7.50 tax on a three hundred dollar purchase! About 2.4 %.
Them were the days.
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Old 04-05-15, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
One thing I'll have to decide is whether to keep the original gearing. The crank is 52-45-38 and the FW (on sew-up wheels) is pretty much a corncob, though I haven't counted the cogs (or if I ever did I forgot). The BF member (its second owner) who sold it to me asked that I restore it, not ebay it in pieces. If I'm going to restore it it should look the part. I could keep it as-is and it could be a stealth bike but then it should be a rider, and the CCRT would be only place flat enough for me to ride it!
I would think that changing the freewheel and/or crank to a more useful range would still fall under the "restore it" description. It's not like you're stripping everything off to replace with Shimano.
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Old 04-05-15, 06:16 AM
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Triple was not original. See 80+ pics here.

In my experience, OA will not have any impact on AL parts. It will typically not impact paint either. The front end of the 'Nago was dunked with the fork for 24 hrs with no impact to the paint or decals. Hey this is even an Italian bike where everything falls off!

Do be careful with tightening the Universal brake lever on the HB. The design is a casting that is weaker than any other I know of. I would rather the lever move on the HB than break. I would look around for some other Mod 61 calipers. The hardware is in really bad shape.

The receipt looks right too! I recall they sold for around $315 back then.

Restoration to the original colors will be a trick. IIRC it is a silver base with a candy teal over the top, @rootboy and I had some discussion about the graphics. I always thought they were hand painted but I think @rootboy thought they were stenciled on.

I would like to have my frame set back but I don't hold much hope in finding one in the same condition or better in my size.

For those who haven't seen my OCD display on this site, here is the seat cluster @jimmuller was referring to.

[IMG]2008-06-07 15.42.52 by superissimo_83, on Flickr[/IMG]
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Old 04-05-15, 06:18 AM
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You could throw Jon some business and make that triple more manageable.
What is the wheelset like?

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Old 04-05-15, 06:27 AM
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Jim - I would go the restore it route over the "stealth" approach. It's a very worthy bike as you know, and so worth the extra effort. (I'm squarely in the teal and cream camp with rootboy on this point). The Uni hoods are often available on ebay (-Not cheap though).
- But I'd second @Pompiere 's comment on the gearing: It's better to have something you'll want to ride than 100% authenticity.

Oh - and with respect to the steel parts - I would go "all the way" and replace those rusty brake cables with some new stainless ones.
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Old 04-05-15, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
Oh - and with respect to the steel parts - I would go "all the way" and replace those rusty brake cables with some new stainless ones.
Oh come on, Auchen, the C&V style police will come after me if I don't use the original broken cable housing. You of all people should know that. On the other hand, they'd have to catch me first.

On a less serious note, I confess this is a more ambitious beautifying project than any I've ever done. The Masi really needed painting and the components were all in decent shape but with no specific originality, nor a complete set. Every other bike in the "stable" is visually C to B+.
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Old 04-05-15, 07:32 AM
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Jim, if you look at the 'before' scans of the Mirella you'll see that a lot of her comps were in the same condition when I started. Yours will clean up nicely.

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Old 04-05-15, 09:01 AM
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Alas, Jim, rooting through my stuff all I found was 4 spare Universal lever blades, without bodies. Probably because of the same failure phenomena.
Sorry...
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Old 04-05-15, 02:17 PM
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Nice project Jim. How about some photos of the frame? I restored a 72 Le Champion a couple years ago. Like yours it still had a lot of original parts. The frame looked horrible although structurally it was fine. Here are some before and after photos:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/476463...629900829179/#
I used Cyclomondo decals. They were fine for the most part, but the main "Motobecane" down-tube script is too thin and is barely visible.

Right now it's clad in all-French racing gear: Simplex LJ, Maillard 700, Mafac Competition, etc.
Another finish option would be the BIC team livery of all-orange with big foil decals. It's not strictly authentic for this frame but it sure looks cool.
This is off another website:
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Old 04-05-15, 06:47 PM
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Frame pics, as promised. A few are not focused so well. Sorry.

First, the head tube.





Seat cluster:



The fork (Luke, use the fork). It looks like someone started removing paint, possibly by sanding. Still, the original looks pretty good if you ignore some scratching.







The OO's paint even extends to getting red on the springs on the stop screws.



Finally the BB.



The wheels are Mavic, lightly stippled brake surfaces, no discernible model name. The hubs are high-flange Campy, not labeled Record, and carrying just the Campy winged wheel, which I understand means they are pre-NR.

Finally, I compared the '72 and '73 catalog descriptions. There is only one difference. The seat post for '73 is described as "Campi style", two words missing from the '72 description. Since this bike's seat post is a straight alloy post w/o integrated clamp I supposed it must be '72. Otherwise I suspect there is no way to tell the difference. I also examined the steerer tube for markings. My Masi's is labeled Reynolds and some digits, and Cyclart informed me that yes they were using Reynolds forks for a while. However this Motobecane's ST has no marking. But that may mean nothing at all.

No wooden plug in the disassembled fork, unlike the CT's which does still contain the wooden plug.

I'm thinking I might end up upgrading the brakes if I can't find a U 61 replacement, and the FW which BTW is a 14-24.
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Old 04-05-15, 07:21 PM
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I think it would look great in the original colors and it's a frame worthy of a good restoration. The triple front is a cool original upgrade and I'd keep it; I would get a more old man friendly freewheel to make the ride more enjoyable.

I will look forward to progress reports on this Moto.
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Old 04-05-15, 07:32 PM
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le champions shouldn't be red/black. i know moto even painted their super mirages that scheme, but le champions should be teal/cream.

a month ago, i missed picking up a $150 one by a day. i hate myself.
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Old 04-05-15, 07:47 PM
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I would keep the paint as is or spray with primer to protect where needed, build it up with what you have on hand and spend the summer riding it. See if you like it and really want to spend the time and money to do a proper restoration. Even a base, 1 color, pro paint job with prep. shipping etc. will be around $300. At least. An original style paint job is in the $500-$700 range, depending.

Repainting to original spec is a slippery slope. The new paint looks great but then you don't want to hang all of you old, beat up, period correct parts on it. Soooo you start looking on ebay and then it all spirals out of control........
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Old 04-05-15, 08:17 PM
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The seat post is simply, a post of AL.

The hubs, if original, are Campy Tipo but made with the Record Flange cut outs.
[IMG]2008-06-15 00.30.48 by superissimo_83, on Flickr[/IMG]

The only things on this bike that were not original in the pics are the rims, tires, chain and freewheel. The original freewheel is

[IMG]Cyclo-Competition 14-15-17-19-21 by superissimo_83, on Flickr[/IMG]

the post:
[IMG]P1000590 by superissimo_83, on Flickr[/IMG]

the clamp

[IMG]P1000605 by superissimo_83, on Flickr[/IMG]
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