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What's so special about French bikes?

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What's so special about French bikes?

Old 03-01-17, 01:27 AM
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What's so special about French bikes??

Personally, I feel that my 84 Peugeot PY10FC ticks all the boxes I have for what my personal, ultmate grail bike should have, but the best thing about it is it's "Tout French" except for only the tires and the saddle (Standard from the factory and used by the Peugeot team, Weinmann Carrera 400 brrakeset, Schwalbe Milano tubulars and Selle Italia Turbo /saddle, but I do have Micheline SSC tubs ready as my next pair for the bike). but I'm so happy how everything else, al French prts and components went together and resuted in the bike I now have.....
Heck, I'll take on a French build anytime before anything else (even an exotic Italian). Does someone have an 83 Gitane Pro (Lemond/Fignon/Hinault race bike replica) they can sell me asap??.....Or maybe even a Turbo Mecacycle??
But maybe I'm also partiial to French bikes because I grew up as a kid in the 70's with my father buying and loving cars like a Peugeot 404 Pinninfarina coupe, a couple of Renault 16TS' and a Renault 17 Gordini......

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Old 03-01-17, 01:30 AM
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I've always been partial to the Victor Hugo quote on Sheldon's French bike page: "Le beau est aussi utile que l'utile."

I can also confirm what @gugie says about the French Reynolds decal. Even a reproduction version has that effect.

My first experience with a "French" bike was a late 70's Japanese made Gitate Gypsy Sport. All the threading and tube sizes were English, so I feel like I missed out, but it did have fabulously ornate lugs for an entry-level bike and that lovely fork rake.



More recently I got a proper French bike ('72 Motobecane Grand Record), and while I didn't exactly turn it into the bike equivalent of a Croissanwich I did defile it a bit.



I've been meaning to take this for a ride past the Portland replica of the Jeanne d'Arc statue.
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Old 03-01-17, 06:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Wileyone
Again English Tube Sets. So much for french originality.
Been answered - Yes, it's called Vitus.

And show us where they copied the Huret Duopar, the Stronglight 49, Stronglight 99, and the Mafac Racer from.
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Old 03-01-17, 06:23 AM
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Also the idea of the randonneuse and of the Concours des Constructeurs. Full-on steel rando bikes, less than 20#!
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Old 03-01-17, 07:28 AM
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For me, the boon or bane of C&V French bicycles has always been their metric sized tubesets. Depending on your riding style and preference, they could slightly whippy or wonderfully compliant, compared to a bicycle with similar geometry built from imperial sized tubing.
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Old 03-01-17, 07:33 AM
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Old 03-01-17, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Wileyone
Did the French ever have their own tubeset?
One example:

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Old 03-01-17, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by oddjob2
That was a good read. Thankfully the towns that I visit in provincial France for the most part did not appear to be as affected by depopulation. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is paralleled in other smaller cities and large towns in most other industrialized nations, including the U.S. The young "escape" to the large metropolises because they do not see opportunity in their hometowns. I do hope this trend begins to slow or reverse to some extent.

I love all things French and bicycles are no different. Part of the enjoyment is working with something that is unique and different which has a certain "je ne sais quoi". Currently my daily rider is a U08 that I continuously tweak to my tastes and a PX10. In the queue is a Gitane professional Super Corsa courtesy of a fellow BF member.

Untitled by irishbx4th, on Flickr

Untitled by irishbx4th, on Flickr

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Old 03-01-17, 08:00 AM
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I got interested in cycling at an early age-12 in the mid 1970's. I was fortunate to grow up in a small town with miles of low-traffic country roads in the area, and a parent could entrust a responsible kid of that age to ride around the countryside without being in danger. My cycling habit was supported by mowing lawns, etc. Bernard Thevenet was the new king of the Tour de France and it was not lost on me that his bike was French as were (essentially) all of its components. This was interesting since the good cyclists in the area strived to have bikes that were "fully Campy", but I was interested in doing something different. After saving for quite some time, I upgraded from my Atala Grand Prix to a fully French Bertin C-37, their top racing model. Everything functioned so beautifully...The Simplex Super Lj derailleurs, The Mafac 2000 brakes, the Stronglight 105 crankset and the wheels...The WHEELS...Maillard 700 hubs and Super Champion tubular rims...and the whole thing was barely 20 lbs. I was 15 when I got this bike, and it forced the "Campy guys" to rethink their biases against French bikes...It was a fabulous handling bike that I only sold as I grew a bit more and it was a size small....I still regret it.
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Old 03-01-17, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1
What's so special about French bikes??

Personally, I feel that my 84 Peugeot PY10FC ticks all the boxes I have for what my personal, ultmate grail bike should have, but the best thing about it is it's "Tout French" except for only the tires and the saddle (Standard from the factory and used by the Peugeot team, Weinmann Carrera 400 brrakeset, Schwalbe Milano tubulars and Selle Italia Turbo /saddle, but I do have Micheline SSC tubs ready as my next pair for the bike). snip . . . .
This bike makes me a little jealous but in a good way, .
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Old 03-01-17, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K
More recently I got a proper French bike ('72 Motobecane Grand Record), and while I didn't exactly turn it into the bike equivalent of a Croissanwich I did defile it a bit.
I used de file on a couple of places on that frame prior to powder coat. I must have missed a spot or two.
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Old 03-01-17, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Vonruden
...drops mike and walks away
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Old 03-01-17, 08:33 AM
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Best of both worlds

PX-10 w/ Campy components:
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Old 03-01-17, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Vonruden
Man that bike is a beauty!
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Old 03-01-17, 10:42 AM
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French bikes are no more idiosyncratic than others. They just happen to have lost the standards wars. That's what makes them seem weird. French standards emerged at the same time as other standards emerged. You could even argue that they make more sense, since it is based on the metric system more than the others.
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Old 03-01-17, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
French bikes are no more idiosyncratic than others. They just happen to have lost the standards wars. That's what makes them seem weird. French standards emerged at the same time as other standards emerged. You could even argue that they make more sense, since it is based on the metric system more than the others.
You sound like a true apologist for the French Revolution, after the revolution everything will be logical including bicycle standards, Who the heck needs a system built on base 12 like the British insisted on using?
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Old 03-01-17, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig
Who the heck needs a system built on base 12 like the British insisted on using?
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Old 03-01-17, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
French bikes are no more idiosyncratic than others. They just happen to have lost the standards wars. That's what makes them seem weird. French standards emerged at the same time as other standards emerged. You could even argue that they make more sense, since it is based on the metric system more than the others.

Today is 10 Ventôse, time flies.....
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Old 03-01-17, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K
very clever, thanks for posting.
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Old 03-01-17, 11:03 AM
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Hand made Constructeur's bikes Like Alex Singer,etc... are a whole different level of work than a common mass produced Peugeot.

... mostly they just have a lot of Gaul..

Thought the Prime Meridian should go through Paris...









....

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Old 03-01-17, 12:16 PM
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Whats not to love when the French overly think, such as the dropouts?

Fun blog read > Mid-Life Cycling:: A Honeycomb Or A Spider? From Huret?

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Old 03-01-17, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by crank_addict
Whats not to love when the French overly think, such as the dropouts?

Fun blog read > Mid-Life Cycling:: A Honeycomb Or A Spider? From Huret?

That is a good blog post. This is by one of the members of Bike Forums and it does a nice job of explaining how to deal with French drop outs:

Derailleur Hangers Demystified - Red Clover Components
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Old 03-01-17, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig
Who the heck needs a system built on base 12 like the British insisted on using?
Well, base 10 is only evenly divisible by 2 and 5; base 12 is evenly divisible by 2, 3, 4, and 6.
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Old 03-01-17, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
French bikes are no more idiosyncratic than others. They just happen to have lost the standards wars. That's what makes them seem weird. French standards emerged at the same time as other standards emerged. You could even argue that they make more sense, since it is based on the metric system more than the others.
That's exactly it. Everything metric certainly does make more sense logically. The standards that survived ended up being a strange and seemingly random mix of metric and imperial. I suppose bikes are more like a medieval city than a planned Roman town...
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Old 03-01-17, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by crank_addict
Whats not to love when the French overly think, such as the dropouts?


Bikemig, If you need about a 54cm, I have a Gitane with a frankly awful spray job that needs a home and new paint. €30 (to cover the bubble wrap and a box) plus postage and it's yours...

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