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Another Mystery Gitane

Old 04-12-16, 08:45 PM
  #1  
peppep
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Another Mystery Gitane

I saw this CL ad and was intrigued. Any ideas what year/model this is? I took a look through the catalogs on gitaneusa.com and didn't see it--though there are so many, I very well could have missed it.

Gitanes Racing Bike black/chrome
"Frame - Three main tubes and Fork chrome-moly, 10 Speed Shimano 600 gearshift, Shimano aluminum rims, Shimano Brakes, on 27 x1/4 Continental Sport 1000 tires, Kalloy 6061 PG handlebar,
front wheel needs new tube ( flat), no time to fix, good condition, Needs some love, was told it is a early 80's bike? i am not shure
$ 250,00 - cash only"

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Old 04-12-16, 09:35 PM
  #2  
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1977 Japanese made Gitane Pacific. Looks to be made in March 1977. Model is the 600 Leger. It came in Blue and Black but only Blue is shown in the catalog.

The fork is not original and obviously the handlebars and other parts have been changed too.

Cheers
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Old 04-12-16, 09:55 PM
  #3  
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Thanks, vettracer. Reading up on it. Sounds like a not too exciting model.
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Old 04-12-16, 10:10 PM
  #4  
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It's as old as '77 and has a sticker saying "3 main tubes and fork Cro-Moly"? I don't doubt anyone, that throws me off a bit but I'm no expert. That said, I was reading on those Japanese Gitanes, price seems high indeed. I think I could count only 5 cogs in the cluster.
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Old 04-12-16, 10:12 PM
  #5  
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1977 Gitane 600 Legere

It's a 1977 "Gitane" 600 Legere. These were Gitane badged Japanese bikes made for Gitane Pacific for sale in the US market. They came with Shimano 600 components which were lower end alloy parts.

It would have originally had drop bars with Shimano barcon shifters. Whoever switched the bars to uprights, changed to stem shifters.

They came in pearlescent blue or black. The forks were half painted. This one is all chrome which could indicate that it's been replaced???

Double click to enlarge view on these catalog pages:

http://www.gitaneusa.com/images/catalog/1977_pg3.jpg

http://www.gitaneusa.com/images/catalog/1977_pg5.jpg


"Japanese Made" carries mythical status as wonder bikes.

Japan has never had a light weight road bike tradition. The vast majority of the millions of bikes used in Japan were 50 lb. rod and/or drum brake single or 3 speed tanks.




Prior to the late 70's most of the Japanese derailleur bikes were made for export to the US and to a lesser degree Europe. They were build to the specs of the importers many of whom didn't have a clue about bike ride or handling characteristics.

"Build a bike that looks like this" and the Japanese bike manufactures did! While the cosmetics were nice, they were heavy, clunky and handled like wheelbarrows!

I saw Japanese bikes with "chrome-moly" frames and all alloy components that weighed up to 32 lbs. Gas pipe European bikes with all steel components weighed 27 to 29 lbs!!!

If I remember correctly, these Gitane 600 "Legere" bikes were in the over 27 lb. category with all alloy parts!

In the late 70's someone clued the Japanese bike makers into copying the geometry of Italian and other European bikes. After that they became "mythical"....

IMO $250 is a little steep for this bike....

BTW, there's a Classic and Vintage Bicycles: What's it Worth? Appraisals and Inquiries Forum. Inquiries about pricing get bumped there....


verktyg

Chas.
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Old 04-13-16, 01:25 AM
  #6  
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Despite the general accuracy of your description, Japan actually did have its own lightweight cycling tradition prior to the 70's, as well as its own very nice tube sets and components. I have an all Japanese bicycle from 1964 that weighs 22.5 lb.
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Old 04-13-16, 02:30 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by devinfan View Post
Despite the general accuracy of your description, Japan actually did have its own lightweight cycling tradition prior to the 70's, as well as its own very nice tube sets and components. I have an all Japanese bicycle from 1964 that weighs 22.5 lb.
Au contraire mon frere....

I was in Japan in 1964-65. I had a 1964 Bridgestone randonneur style bike that weighed 27 lbs with mostly steel components including stainless steel fenders, steel racks and generator lighting. It had Swiss made Weinmann brakes, Huret derailleurs and a Wright leather saddle.



Group ride in 1964. Most of the riders were US servicemen.



1967 ad for a bike like mine.




There were a very small number of light weight road bikes in the 21-23 lb range but the only ones that I saw were owned by Americans! They had thinner wall tubing than was used on most European performance models.

Also, the components on those bikes were European made.

That was at a time before Japanese products had established a reputation for quality. Nikon and Canon cameras plus some audio components like Akai and Oki were just beginning to receive world wide attention. Sony was still considered toy-like!


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Old 04-13-16, 05:10 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
The forks were half painted. This one is all chrome which could indicate that it's been replaced???
One data point: The f/f for my frankenbike was a '75 Gitane Gypsy Sport with a half painted fork. I learned pretty quickly that the whole fork was chrome plated up over the crown. Granted the base steel on the lower section was better polished so the plating was better, the the upper section was not too bad. I stripped the fork and left it all chrome. From a safe distance it looks just fine.

This could be the case with the OP's example. It may be the original fork. I cannot tell from the photos if the basic steel looks original or not.
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Old 04-13-16, 07:55 AM
  #9  
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Actually the bike in question did not originally have a half painted fork, it was a full painted fork with chrome drops. If you look at the pictures in the catalog linked above, you can see that. Also the spec page of that catalog states that is a Tange fork with chrome drops.

I have the same bike with the original Tange fork and the crown is completely different from the chrome fork on the bike in the OP.

Cheers
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Old 04-13-16, 08:15 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
Au contraire mon frere....

I was in Japan in 1964-65. I had a 1964 Bridgestone randonneur style bike that weighed 27 lbs with mostly steel components including stainless steel fenders, steel racks and generator lighting. It had Swiss made Weinmann brakes, Huret derailleurs and a Wright leather saddle.



Group ride in 1964. Most of the riders were US servicemen.



1967 ad for a bike like mine.




There were a very small number of light weight road bikes in the 21-23 lb range but the only ones that I saw were owned by Americans! They had thinner wall tubing than was used on most European performance models.

Also, the components on those bikes were European made.

That was at a time before Japanese products had established a reputation for quality. Nikon and Canon cameras plus some audio components like Akai and Oki were just beginning to receive world wide attention. Sony was still considered toy-like!


verktyg

Chas.
The Hagiwara family is one example of a cycling family that was building lightweight cycles since 1918 under the Alps Sport Cycles marque. Sanko derailleurs may have gone out of business in the 60's but they were building components intended to rival Campagnolo in the day. Most of the components on my 1964 Alps World Ace are alloy and very well finished, including the hubs, Nitto bar and stem and tubular rims, all Japan made. Not claiming this was common but its incorrect to say the Japanese did not have their own cycling tradition prior to the 70's.
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Old 04-13-16, 10:52 AM
  #11  
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Thanks for all the great info! You've helped me decide not to buy this bike. Though really I was just curious to read up on it!

Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
BTW, there's a Classic and Vintage Bicycles: What's it Worth? Appraisals and Inquiries Forum. Inquiries about pricing get bumped there....
I was asking more for general info on the bike than for $ value, so figured this was the right place. I didn't know much at all about Gitane, and some basic Googlin' made them sound interesting.
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Old 04-13-16, 01:31 PM
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Chas, I totally agree with your assessment about Japanese bike weight. They're mostly heavy durable framed bikes. Hard to get them going over 15mph. That's exactly why I rip the drop bars off most of them & install upright bars. There, all fixed. But, if you want to talk about Centurions & Shoguns with Tange 1 & 2 tubing. Well, that's a whole different story.
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