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Vintage Gitane - What did I buy?

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Vintage Gitane - What did I buy?

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Old 11-25-16, 05:24 PM
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Vintage Gitane - What did I buy?

Bought this for my son today from a LBS. He has grown a bit and needed, or wanted a larger road bike. The bike is very light, and the wheels are really nice as are the brifters which are, of course not original to the bike.

Looking for more info about the frame. My preliminary research suggests it is a 1983 Gitane Criterium, but I can't tell for sure. Figured I would ask the good folks on the vintage forum what they know about this frame and fork.
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Old 11-25-16, 05:36 PM
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That's a good looking bike. More photos, from much closer to the bike, will help. If you put the photos on a hosting service like Flickr or Photobucket, you can link here to higher res photos. Check some of the threads from some of the vets here to see the ideal photo framing.

Edit: Your son is lucky!
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Old 11-25-16, 05:39 PM
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Nice, I love all Gitanes. Unfortunately I can't tell much from your picture, it's too far away. What are the tubing decals? My Criterium was a mix of Vitus 980 and 983
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Old 11-25-16, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by devinfan View Post
Nice, I love all Gitanes. Unfortunately I can't tell much from your picture, it's too far away. What are the tubing decals? My Criterium was a mix of Vitus 980 and 983
Decals are missing.
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Old 11-25-16, 05:41 PM
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Velo Orange makes nice leather top tube protectors. One would cover that paint damage pretty well. Looks like that bike got locked up a lot!
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Old 11-25-16, 05:45 PM
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Fairly certain the Criterium had internal brake cable routing, even in 83.
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Old 11-25-16, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by devinfan View Post
Velo Orange makes nice leather top tube protectors. One would cover that paint damage pretty well. Looks like that bike got locked up a lot!
Another way to cover damage.... sign shops have colored thin vinyl sticker material they cut decals and logos out of. You can get some in a close match or contrast color. Last time I needed some they just gave me a fairly large remnant.
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Old 11-25-16, 09:20 PM
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Could it be a 1980 Sprint?
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Old 11-25-16, 10:10 PM
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Gitane Criteriums were built with Supervitus tubing (The slightly thicker walled/stiffer 981).
Are there any Supervitus tubing deals on the frame/foirks?
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Old 11-26-16, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
Gitane Criteriums were built with Supervitus tubing (The slightly thicker walled/stiffer 981).
Are there any Supervitus tubing deals on the frame/foirks?
HUH? You knew this was coming....

Super Vitus 971 was introduced in the early 1970's. Most of the tubes in the set had the same wall thickness as Columbus SL tubing - 0.9mm in the butted ends and 0.6mm in the straight sections of the main tubes.

It was made of a low alloy high strength steel with properties the same as Reynolds 531 and Columbus tubing.

Note: Ateliers de la Rive, the French company that produced Durifort, Vitus 172, Super Vitus and other types of tubing changed the alloy steels that they used to produce their high quality bicycle tubes a number of times over the years. It's hard to find documentation on some of the changes so I've used "best source" information on tube specs and then cross check it...

In the late 70's they introduced light weight Super Vitus 980 that used the same alloy steel as Super Vitus 971 - only the tubes were thinner. SV 980 is probably ~200g lighter than SV 971 and Columbus SL tubing. It's only ~100g heavier than Reynolds 753!!!

In the early 1980's Ateliers de la Rive introduced Super Vitus 983 which was made of a high strength alloy steel in the same range as Reynolds 753 and Columbus Nivacrom tubing. The tube wall thicknesses were probably the same as SV 971.

I wouldn't go to the bank with this info, but... les spécifications sont sujettes à modification sans préavis


Now to the bike in question...

I Photoshopped the OP's picture, see below:

It's probably a 1980 or 1981 Gitane Tricolore/Vuelta or Sprint frame...
They look the same so it's hard to tell without tubing decals and close ups.

The Tricolore/Vuelta
frames had Super Vitus 971 tubes while on the Sprint, only the 3 main tubes were butted Reynolds 531 instead.

The model names and frame details could have varied by year and market the bike was made for.

The components are from a later period.

From ~1978 through ~1981 Gitane used graceful long point seat stay plugs with 1/2" (12mm) seat stays on their better models. Between ~1982 and ~1983 they went back to their French frugal ways and used cheap swagged tops on their seat stays...

In 1984 Gitane switched to fast back seat stays on their better models. The features on team bikes were 1 to 2 years ahead of adaptation on production frames.

In 1982 Gitane started using internal top tube brake cable routing. From the late 70's they had brazed-on cable guides.

I've posted some pictures of Gitane decals from the late 70's through early 80's. There was probably some overlap in years.

verktyg

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1978-79GitaneDecalsRed.jpg (87.1 KB, 261 views)
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1978-79GitaneDecalsBlue.jpg (29.7 KB, 263 views)
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1980-83GitaneDecals.jpg (45.7 KB, 263 views)
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GitaneDecals84-White.jpg (84.3 KB, 263 views)
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Old 11-26-16, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
Bought this for my son today from a LBS. He has grown a bit and needed, or wanted a larger road bike. The bike is very light, and the wheels are really nice as are the brifters which are, of course not original to the bike.

Looking for more info about the frame. My preliminary research suggests it is a 1983 Gitane Criterium, but I can't tell for sure. Figured I would ask the good folks on the vintage forum what they know about this frame and fork.
MRT2, Check out the picture below. Close up photos of the areas circled in red help in identifying a bike as well as full shots of the RIGHT* and left side. (you posted the right side which is good)

* My and and many others favorite peeve are people who post pictures of only the left side of a bike! Fear of machines and machinery??? They can't pump their own gas or change a car tire? The obscene, dirty, mysterious private parts of a bike are too much for them to deal with????

The only thing that I can figure out is maybe most people "mount" a bike from the left rear side!!!

Anyway hope this helps.

@Kevindale @devinfan and everyone else, feel free to copy the picture, I snagged it off of the net so it's fair game (I hope)

verktyg

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Old 11-27-16, 10:37 PM
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OP back. Thanks for the information. Still doing some research. Based on decals, it looks to be a 1980 - 82 model. My guess now is the Vuelta, as the Cranks are marked Shimano 600, and the seatpost, which looks very old says Sugino, though again, it is hard to know for sure what is original to the bike and what may have been replaced later.

I may post some more pics later this week. I replaced the huge platforms in favor of an SPD pedal/platform on the other side, and I replaced the cheap saddle with a Brooks Cambium I had on hand. Looks pretty good and hopefully, will ride even better. (makes me wish I were a few inches taller so I could take it for a ride).

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Old 11-28-16, 01:34 AM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
OP back. Thanks for the information. Still doing some research. Based on decals, it looks to be a 1980 - 82 model. My guess now is the Vuelta, as the Cranks are marked Shimano 600, and the seatpost, which looks very old says Sugino, though again, it is hard to know for sure what is original to the bike and what may have been replaced later.

I may post some more pics later this week. I replaced the huge platforms in favor of an SPD pedal/platform on the other side, and I replaced the cheap saddle with a Brooks Cambium I had on hand. Looks pretty good and hopefully, will ride even better. (makes me wish I were a few inches taller so I could take it for a ride).
MRT2, as I pointed out it's an early 80's frame that someone has put some mid to late 80's components on. It could have been parted out or maybe it's been "updated"...

Trying to match an old bike with a model name that's had the components changed is difficult, especially without better pictures - otherwise it's just guesses.

The bike could have been a Tricolore, Vuelta, Sprint or Criterium. From a distance they all look the same! You can't judge a book by it's cover just like you can't judge a 35+ year old bike without the original components by a fuzzy photo.

I'm not trying to criticize you, just giving suggestions on how to ID a classic bike. Been messing with Gitanes for over 40 years!

BTW, those "low profile" aerodynamic Shimano 600 crank arms with Biopace chainrings didn't come out until around the mid 1980's or later.

verktyg

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Old 11-28-16, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by devinfan View Post
Velo Orange makes nice leather top tube protectors. One would cover that paint damage pretty well. Looks like that bike got locked up a lot!
The guys that sold it to me say they applied clear coat to the areas with the damaged paint, and frame saver to the inside of the frame. I am not too worried about it, as I trust these guys and have done business with them before. They detailed my wife's old Peugeot UO8 a few years back so I am confident they know what they are doing dealing with vintage French Steel.

My son is actually pretty stoked about it. Too bad it is the end of November so the opportunities for us to ride together as a family are limited compared to, say, July. Even so, we rode together for a short while the other day to test the bike out and he was absolutely glued to my back wheel the entire time. I suggested he pull for awhile and I could draft off him and he said, maybe respectfully, or maybe not, that if he set the pace, I wouldn't be able to keep up.
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Old 11-29-16, 03:20 PM
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A few more pics

gitaneheadset.jpg

gitane der.jpg

gitaneseatpost.jpg
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Old 11-22-17, 03:12 PM
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I picked up a Gitane Vuelta 10 days ago, and have been stripping and cleaning since then - a good learning process.

Mine is the same blue, and has Shimano non-aero 600 group, apart from the headset. The original tubing decals are still mostly there, so I know it's Vitus 971. Doesn't feel super light, but I put that down to the Shimano parts.

Period gumwall-type tyres will transform yours, as will a change of bar tape and outer cables - dig around for Gitane competition images and you'll see that the teams used the blue with yellow bar tape! Certainly distinctive...

Enjoy yours.
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Old 11-22-17, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post

@Kevindale @devinfan and everyone else, feel free to copy the picture, I snagged it off of the net so it's fair game (I hope)

verktyg

Chas.

Glad this old thread popped up, that pic should be a sticky or something. Or maybe it is, I should probably look.
Cool pic.


I have seen a few collections of memorabilia in my searches and talking to people. One thing I noticed, it appears Gitane in the mid-late 70's was really marketing and consumer friendly. Lot's of posters, post cards and autographed stuff are out there. It surprises me they don't have a huge following and are not more coveted. They have some nice stuff. I guess because they didn't highlight a particular builder?
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Old 11-22-17, 04:06 PM
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OP here. My son is still riding his Gitane. We had some nice rides with the Gitane over the summer and early fall. Who knows. This bike is a keeper. Probably no reason why he shouldn't keep it at least through high school and most likely into his college years.
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Old 11-23-17, 02:50 AM
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GitaneUSA Forum

Originally Posted by Bikerider007 View Post
I have seen a few collections of memorabilia in my searches and talking to people. One thing I noticed, it appears Gitane in the mid-late 70's was really marketing and consumer friendly. Lot's of posters, post cards and autographed stuff are out there. It surprises me they don't have a huge following and are not more coveted. They have some nice stuff. I guess because they didn't highlight a particular builder?
"The French built bikes to ride not look at."

Check out the GitaneUSA.com website and forum. It hasn't been real activity lately but it's a GREAT site for Gitane information.
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