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Gitane

Old 08-03-16, 09:00 AM
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Gitane

I have the opportunity to pick up a Gitane Tour De France. This would be the first vintage bike I've attempted to over haul. Is this a good bike to start with? If the frame is sound, what speed bumps will I encounter? I renovate old trucks, but never a bicycle. Just want to make it a "daily driver." Thanks
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Old 08-03-16, 09:04 AM
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https://sheldonbrown.com/velos.html
Nice bike, go for it but know that the French do it their own way !
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Old 08-03-16, 09:07 AM
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If you can renovate old trucks, you obviously have the mechanical aptitude to renovate this bike. Great score on this bike btw, it is a good one, Gitane USA - Tour de France

You should post some pics of the bike and you'll get some ideas of what to do. Bottom line is you need to overhaul the bike (new grease and ball bearings), replace the consumables (tires, chain, cables, and perhaps the freewheel) and properly adjust it.

There are some wrinkles with this bike since it is metric threaded; it will be a bit harder sourcing some of the parts (bottom bracket, headset) but not impossible.
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Old 08-03-16, 09:09 AM
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Welcome to the club....vintage French cycles have an allure unto their own. I would point you to Sheldon Brown's excellent overview of the, er, shall we say endearing challenges these bikes present. Google Sheldon Brown French and you should find it. Some of the finest bikes of the era were French. The TdF is probably one of those and will be a joy to ride.
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Old 08-03-16, 09:21 AM
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Congrats - I'd go for it if the bike and components are in serviceable condition. French threading/sizes should only be an issue if you need to replace components. If all are sound it's more a matter of cleaning and rebuilding what you have with fresh grease, cables, pads, etc. If parts do need to be replaced there should be plenty of experience and parts bins here to see the project through. Of course, there are some bicycle specific tools you'll need no matter what bike you end up with. Different bikes will require different tools depending on threading and other factors (crank pullers for example), so that's another consideration. Enjoy.
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Old 08-03-16, 09:22 AM
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I have never met a Gitane Tour de France that I didn't love - in fact, I rode mine today! Go here - https://www.gitaneusa.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2636 - and search around for bunches of information, especially from Chas. Colerich aka verktyg.

Potential speed bumps-
1. - Stronglight 93 cranksets, while utterly lovely and delightful to ride, require a special tool to remove them, as the extractor threads are a proprietary size just enough larger than standard OR T.A. threads that it is possible to strip them out with the wrong tool. Later TdFs often used Sugino cranks which use a standard puller.

2. - French threading. Really, people get their knickers in a twist over this, and it can mean seeking out either vintage or specialty parts from folks like Velo-Orange, etc. It's not that much of a hassle, and a few minutes of research and a little searching out and you can get stuff like bottom brackets and headsets and keep the lovely old thing running.

3. - Derailleurs. The stock units on these bikes were Simplex Criterium, which was largely built with Delrin, a nylon-based plastic also used for things like Remington Nylon 66 .22 rifles and other things. The better Simplex delrin derailleurs were better than they are given credit for being, BUT we are talking about 40-odd year old plastic. They fit into a Simplex specific derailleur hanger that ONLY Simplex stuff fits into. Options are (a) find a later, better, alloy Simplex/Gipiemme-badged-Simplex rear derailleur, which may involve some searching and/or the big auction site or (b) have someone modify the derailleur mount to accomodate different derailleurs (purists, avert your eyes!).

All of the above becomes moot in the event that this particular TdF came not with the usual Simplex dropout with an integral derailleur mount but was instead built with either Campagnolo dropouts (yay, you can fit anything in those!) or dropouts that use a mounting claw (again, you can use anything).

4. - Stem dimensions - I'll beat verktyg to the punch here - don't start sanding down a modern stem to 22.0 just yet. Pull the headset lock nut first and see if a replacement stem will fit into the steerer tube. I took verktyg's advice and discovered someone had replaced my TdF's locknut with a Zeus unit, and both locknut and steerer accomodated a Nitto Technomic Deluxe without any modifications.

If you are fortunate, everything will be there and still work and be serviceable. They were really nice bikes, and I wish I had kept every one of the TdF's I have owned through the years!

Last edited by rustystrings61; 08-03-16 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 08-03-16, 09:41 AM
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Guys, this is exactly the info I need. Sheldon's article is excellent. I'll post some pictures as soon as I get my hands on it, later today. Thanks

Last edited by LouB; 08-03-16 at 10:31 AM.
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Old 08-03-16, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by LouB View Post
Guts, this is exactly the info I need. Sheldon's article is excellent. I'll post some pictures as soon as I get my hands on it, later today. Thanks
I'd rather see photos of the old trucks
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Old 08-03-16, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post
I'd rather see photos of the old trucks
Here ya go. '70 C10 Long bed stepper.
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Old 08-03-16, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by LouB View Post
Here ya go. '70 C10 Long bed stepper.

Perfect hauler for the TdF!


SP
OC, OR
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Old 08-03-16, 08:09 PM
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LouB nice color on that truck.
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Old 08-04-16, 05:04 AM
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FWIW, the 531 Gitanes are something special. My Super Corsa (first cousin to your TdF with Campy bits rather than the French mix) is one of my 'cull 17 to 5' bikes.

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Old 08-04-16, 06:56 AM
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Sweet stepside there. I loves me some Chevy trucks, like the five I have owned over the years. As to the TdF Gitane, most definitely would be a great candidate for renovation. As said, watch the French threading, where applicable, bottom bracket, head set, crank arms for pedals, seat post, etc. I always liked the looks of the TdF, Gitane seemed to take it bearing the name of their country's premier sporting event seriously.

Where is Chas Vertyg when you need him? Hey Top V, sound off.....

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Old 08-04-16, 03:35 PM
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Well, the TdF turned out to be a not-so-TdF. Why do people put silly stickers on stuff??? Fortunately, the price was right..$10. When I showed it to my locale bike guru, I got a solid basic education on vintage bikes and a ton of good info, so the education was worth that. I'm more determined than ever to find that diamond in the rough..but it's not this one!
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Old 08-04-16, 03:47 PM
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You don't like this bike? Why not?
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Old 08-04-16, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
You don't like this bike? Why not?
I was told that it was an entry level bike, and not one that was worth refurbishing. What are your thoughts. I'm learning as I go. Thanks
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Old 08-04-16, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by LouB View Post
I was told that it was an entry level bike, and not one that was worth refurbishing. What are your thoughts. I'm learning as I go. Thanks

Is it a Gitane? There are lots of classic frames with stamped rear dropouts and straight-guage tubing that look and perform respectably. Only you can say what you want, though.., don't let someone else tell you what isn't (or what is) "worth it".
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Old 08-04-16, 04:14 PM
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It's a Grand Sport Deluxe. A true classic from the bike boom years. I would fix that up. Very nice riding bikes.

But if you are new to bike rehab you would probably be best buying another bike which you could get parts from. Maybe not the most economical way to go, but you only have $10 invested so far.
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Old 08-04-16, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by LouB View Post
I was told that it was an entry level bike, and not one that was worth refurbishing. What are your thoughts. I'm learning as I go. Thanks
you were told right, but it still could be made ride-and-useable for modest money if you just are looking to get a bike on the road. I would replace the plastic Simplex changers (or wait until they break and then do it oh SNAP! That RD is pre-broken, just lose all the Simplex plastic stuff), do a full overhaul of bearings and replace consumables (tires/tubes, brake pads, cables/housing) check the chain for stretch and if it's OK just lube it, otherwise new chain.
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Old 08-04-16, 04:21 PM
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Good bike to learn some skills on. You can sell it down the road to recoup investment in money, if not time, if you're careful and look around for inexpensive parts.
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Old 08-04-16, 04:28 PM
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"Worth refurbishing" is a very, very subjective term. Check out the https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vi...challenge.html. That bike would be a perfect entry. My entry in that challenge has taught me to appreciate a good many aspects of refurbishing old bikes that I had previously overlooked in my quest to always build very nice bikes. For instance, my usual tendency to just toss any part that I thought was poor quality or in rough shape was replaced (temporarily) with a drive to see how much I could salvage. At the end of the day I'll be lucky if the $98 I've spent nets me a bike that's worth $100, but I've gained experience and the bike is actually really growing on me.

I personally think your bike is worth fixing up. Finding a decent rear wheel at an acceptable cost will likely be your biggest challenge. I used to have a 1977 Gitane Gypsy Sport which came to me in worse shape than your bike and was every bit as much of an entry level model, but once I got it cleaned up it rode great. I've regretted selling it many times.

So, yeah, if your goal is to find a diamond in the rough that bike isn't it. But if you're OK with a sort of interesting piece of glass in the rough it could do the trick.

BTW, my Clunker 100 bike came to me with the same derailleurs you've got there. I was able to clean them up into what I think is working order, but I swapped in some Shimano bits in their place. It looks like your rear derailleur is missing a few pieces. I'd be happy to trade you mine for another Chevy stepside picture or something if you decide to take this on.
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Old 08-04-16, 04:36 PM
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I also wanted to mention that your crankset looks like the same one that is on my Steyr Clubman. If I'm not mistaken you've got 53/36 chainrings there. That's kind of an "in" thing on new bikes right now with cranksets being marketed as a "mid-compact." I find it a nice combination to use with the limited range of a 5-speed freewheel. It's a heavy steel cottered crank that no one will envy, but it's very functional.
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Old 08-04-16, 05:35 PM
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I'm with the crowd about this entry level model. Use the methods detailed on Randyjawa's "My 10-speed" website to help you along with the restoration. MY "TEN SPEEDS - Home Page
Randy's site is invaluable for someone wanting to learn the ins and outs of restoration, or just getting that old school bike back into riding condition.

No need to get each little detail perfect, unless that is what you enjoy about bicycle restoration. As said, it would make a nice riding and good looking bike, and a great learning tool for getting in the C&V world.

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Old 08-04-16, 06:47 PM
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Former '68 short step owner here. Love the 67-72s, best damn trucks on the planet, except for those rear cab corners and the sheet metal box that carries air from the cowl to the kick panel vent

This isn't a bad bike and it's a good one to cut your teeth on. Let me give you my 2

You'll still get nailed with the plastic derailleurs here, but really, the thing that's really gonna chap your ass with this bike is the cotters on those cranks. A lot of people will give you lots of wild ideas how to press them out and in, but I'll be straight up: Hammering isn't the way to go your first or even hundredth time. Find someone near you with a proper cotter press, either the BikeSmith one, a classic VAR07, or a manufactured tool, I've seen a few that seemed to work fairly well. I've got a VAR07 and I can literally pop out a cotter in less than 5 seconds, and press it back in just the same - SAME cotter too, with undamaged threads, which is one of many benefits to the right tool.

Look for a local bike co-op they have what you need. I know a Bench vice will work, but here's the thing those YouTube videos won't tell you: If you don't get the damn cotter in there perfectly perpendicular to the jaws of the vice, you're going to bent the threaded end and you'll be drilling the cotter out.

If you and up destroying the cotters, drop me a line. I can hook you up with proper NOS cotters. The cottered frames tend to hit Craigslist here in the fall/winter for some reason, last 12 bikes I've overhauled have been cotterless cranksets.
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Old 08-04-16, 07:04 PM
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It may be a Gran Sport but it has the cool stock fenders. The French really did have a way with gas pipe and allegedly these Gitanes rode well above expectations - I am encountering that right now with my C&V clunker challenge Motobecane. Fix it up and keep your eyes peeled for a set of Normandy bibs laced to alloy rims ....
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