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Old 11-02-17, 10:12 AM   #1
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196? Dilecta Le Blanc French Bike

This bike came to me last weekend from an old acquaintance. He knew little of its history, and I have not found much either. He purchased it in Montreal in the '80s to build a fixed gear. It is still set up that way! Now in his eighties, he wanted to find a home for it. It is equipped with Super Champion rims on French hubs. The wheels have had the dish removed for fixed gear strength. The frame is 59cm which I think I can ride. I hope to re-gear it and have it hit the road again. Feels light and springy. In the 30s and 40s the name was well renowned as a tour winner.
Anyone have more info?
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Old 11-02-17, 11:28 AM   #2
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Lug lining edge of lugs vs traditional tube/braze joint is an eye catcher
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Old 11-02-17, 12:05 PM   #3
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Ow, nice! Right up my alley. Looks like touring-oriented machine, with the long-ish chain stays and the eyelets for a front rack and/or fender on the fork blades. Looking forward to seeing it built up.
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Old 11-02-17, 02:59 PM   #4
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Dilecta was the brand of Albert Chichery, who established a factory in his home town of Le Blanc, Indre, in the central region of France. Chicery was born in 1888 and worked in his familiy's butcher shop before opening the bicycle factory. There are conflicting stories regarding the commencement of bicycle manufacture. One version states that the factory opened in 1913 but was quickly converted to muntions production for the Great War. Another version contends that Chichery served in the French military during the war and opened the factory after the war. Either way, continuous bicycle production does not appear to have been estabished until circa 1919-1920.

The Dilecta name chosen for the bicycles is from Latin and means highly valued. The brand gained a following during the inter-war years, with the company producing 25,000 bicycles annually and employing 150 people. The company also manufactured bicycles under the De Dion-Bouton and J.B. Louvert brands, which it had acquired.

Chichery entered politics in the mid-1930s. becomimg a Minister with the Vichy Goverment during World War II. He was kidnapped and murdered in 1944 but the company continued until 1968, when it went bankrupt.

Dilecta sponsored its first cycling team at least as early as 1923 and was a constant presence on the pro circuit through the mid-1950s, when it took a hiatus before returning briefly in 1966 & 1967. Brand palmares include two World Championships (1948 pro pursuit, 1967 amateur CX), three French pro CX titles (1926-1928, three French pro road titles (1927, 1928, 1954), the 1935 Vuelta a Espana, 1932 Paris-Roubaix, 1946Fleche Wallone and 1931 Bordeaux-Paris.

Attached is a postcard of the Dilecta factory during the inter-war years.
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Old 11-02-17, 04:23 PM   #5
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Thanks, @T-Mar, for the history lesson. One footnote I'd like to add: the 1948 world pro pursuit champion was Gerrit Schulte. While he rode for the Dilecta - J.B. Louvet -Wolber team that year, I'm fairly sure that the bike he rode on the track that day was actually a RIH Sport, made by the Bustraan shop in Amsterdam. No matter what the decals on the bike may have said.

Here he is (on the right), pictured with the bike:

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Old 11-02-17, 04:54 PM   #6
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Thanks very much @T-Mar and @non-fixie for the information. I had already decided to treat this bike with respect in deference to its previous owner but it sounds like it has a worthy lineage. It has a Dura Ace 54T crankset (big!) and will require lots of bits. I have little in the parts bin for a bike like this, but I tend to favour early Suntour. The Mafac Racers are great!
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Old 11-02-17, 09:41 PM   #7
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Very cool history lesson. thanks T-Mar.
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Old 11-19-17, 07:58 AM   #8
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Collecting parts and ideas for this old French Tourer. A friend brought by a Stronglite crankset (52-42) that should work nicely. My "big ole screwdriver in vise" tool was required to removed the CR fasteners. It has a mix of Campaqnolo and Pellisier hubs to sort out as well. It is these earlier stages of a build I enjoy the most. Why I am doing it? Where will I ride it? What should it look like? How much time and money should I invest? etc.
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Old 12-28-17, 01:41 PM   #9
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Work is proceeding on the Dilecta.
The 700c Super Champion Mixte rims (clincher OR tubular!) on Pelissier 2000 Professionnel high flange hubs are trued and mounted . I have an alternate set of 700c Super Champion Gentlemen (clincher only) rims on 1972 Campaqnolo high flange hubs (Gran Sport?) The Super Champion rims and all the hubs came with some assorted wheels and tools ( TS-2 Truing Stand and Wheelsmith Tensiometer) and two bikes I purchased this fall. All for $100!
Suntour GT RD, Suntour Spirt FD and 14-28 Freewheel with a new KMC Z7 chain and Jagwire silver woven cable set are handling the shifting duties for the time being.
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Old 12-28-17, 03:06 PM   #10
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Great choice of driveline components. SunTour was best-in-class back in those days, before everyone else copied the slant plano design. The normal-high front derailleur shift pattern is controversial, but I never had a problem with it on my old Nishiki. Cool project!
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Old 12-30-17, 06:35 PM   #11
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It's Coming Together!

After some quality time with the old Dilecta, it is looking pretty special to me. Need to get some better pictures but here are a couple taken on my phone. At this point I believe it to be 1965-68 (factory closed).
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Old 01-01-18, 05:15 AM   #12
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After some quality time with the old Dilecta, it is looking pretty special to me. Need to get some better pictures but here are a couple taken on my phone. At this point I believe it to be 1965-68 (factory closed).
Wow that looks fantastic! I really love what you've done with her. Very nice work!
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Old 01-01-18, 06:04 AM   #13
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Good to see that bike back in roadworthy condition. Well done!
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Old 01-01-18, 06:17 AM   #14
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This bike is awesome, nice job and great history lesson as well.
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Old 01-01-18, 07:29 AM   #15
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-----

Fine project well done!

Thanks so much for sharing it.

Find it interesting that frame constructed with rack eyelets on blades yet no corresponding ones on seat stays. Makes me wonder how it may have been configured ex-works.

In case anyone is curious, there are several Dilecta threads over at the Tonton forum, including a tandem.


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Old 01-13-18, 03:40 PM   #16
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I now believe the Dilecta is likely a 1965 to 1967 model, so I'm going to call it a 1965. When spring arrives I will ride it for a while and see if further changes are required. I'm pretty sure that lovely leather covered old Fujita Seamless YFR saddle is going to hurt! Weight is 24 lbs as shown.
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Old 01-23-18, 03:06 PM   #17
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Some new images with the new Brooks B17N I thought the bike deserved. Future work will be finding building/modifying an appropriate front rack. I also took it for a short ride today and it feels nice!
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Old 01-23-18, 03:53 PM   #18
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Looks good, that Brooks. Will feel good too, once broken in.
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Old 01-23-18, 06:33 PM   #19
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Great looking bike!! Fabulous job!
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Old 01-23-18, 06:41 PM   #20
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Looks good, that Brooks. Will feel good too, once broken in.
Definitely indeed do want a Brooks or an Ideale tensioned leather saddle on that bike. Lookin' good!
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Old 01-23-18, 07:09 PM   #21
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My kind of bike. Fantastic job!
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Old 01-24-18, 09:55 AM   #22
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My kind of bike. Fantastic job!
Mine, too. I like barcons or downtube shift levers instead of stemmies, but everything else, from the Brooks saddle to the somewhat relaxed sport-touring geometry with decent tire/mudguard clearance, is great. This thread has been quite an education for me, thanks to information provided by some of our usual suspects.
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Old 01-24-18, 02:55 PM   #23
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Mine, too. I like barcons or downtube shift levers instead of stemmies, but everything else, from the Brooks saddle to the somewhat relaxed sport-touring geometry with decent tire/mudguard clearance, is great. This thread has been quite an education for me, thanks to information provided by some of our usual suspects.
Thanks for the kind words about the Dilecta, it has been a fun project and I'm sure the bike will evolve. On the matter of shifters, I have a couple of favoured oldies with down tube shifters but I actually can't say I like them, and SunTour bar ends are expensive and I've never tried riding with bar ends. The SunTour stem shifters work nicely for me and I also have them on my drop bar MTB.
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