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Motobecane Grand Sprint - 1978?

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Motobecane Grand Sprint - 1978?

Old 11-15-17, 03:43 PM
  #1  
sunburst
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Motobecane Grand Sprint - 1978?

Of course, I meant Grand Sprint (how come I can't edit the title?). Here's one I picked up on cl recently. It seems similar to the orange one in this article, so I'm guessing it's around 1978.
1978 Motobecane Grand Sprint, C2 Vintage Road Bike Review

It has the original 27" wheels and has a 6-speed freewheel (when did 6-spd arrive?). Unfortunately, the seat-tube tubing sticker has come off, although the article says Vitus 172 for 1978. Unlike the article, my forks never had a tubing sticker. The shifters and derailleurs are Shimano, and the crank has the Motobecane logo.

It has a 52cm seat tube, but 57cm top tube (those crazy French!), so I'm thinking I can make this work for me. My ideal size is 56cm, but all my other 56's have equal seat and top tubes. If there's some reason a long seatpost will fubar the riding and fit geometry, please speak up before I do my usual full restoration and money sink (e.g. cables, pads, and in this case calipers, tires, wheels, seatpost, bars, leather saddle). I have restored many Peugeots, so I know what I'm getting into.

Can anyone help date this or give me any insight into the frame or anything other points of interest? Oh yeah, serial #55144. Btw, I copied this entire post to the Motobecane Serial # thread.


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Old 11-16-17, 04:02 AM
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Fixed thread title
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Old 11-16-17, 07:49 AM
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Looks like from the 1st half of the 1980's. The Grand Jubilee was usually one model above the Grand Touring. I remember back then, lower priced Peugeots had like, bottle braze-on's,, when the same model Motobecane's didn't.
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Old 11-16-17, 11:22 AM
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The stripes on the downtube indicate that it was 80s, not 1978. Since the model doesn't appear in subsequent catalogs, I would guess 1980. https://bulgier.net/pics/bike/catalog...m_Champion.jpg
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Old 11-16-17, 01:42 PM
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Ah ha! There's a Motobecane on CL I've been trying to identify. The bar end shifters threw me off, must have been changed by an owner. Guess it's a Grand Sprint.

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Old 11-16-17, 07:37 PM
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OP bike sure looks like a '78 though that may depend on market of country. I acquired a US market 1978 Moto'bacon' barn find that transformed into a tribute Ocana / BiC. Excellent rider and absolute super fun budget project. Positively id having Vitus 888 tubing. Good enough for a smaller size frame of which I could just fit with a longer post.

Retained the stock handlebar, Motobecane marked (Weinmann 500) brakes, crank (Sugino). Replaced everything else with leftover Campy N. Record, hubs, pedals too. B17 narrow saddle. 700c tubulars. The project was embarrassing cheap. Super fun and attention grabber. I wouldn't mind doing another and exact build.

Originally marketed for junior class racer with regulation gearing.

as found

[IMG]Motobecane Gran Sprint barn_find by carrera247, on Flickr[/IMG]

next to my '72 Le Champion

[IMG]IMG_9539 by carrera247, on Flickr[/IMG]

and the '79 Super

[IMG]DSC_1667 by carrera247, on Flickr[/IMG]

gone but not forgotten

[IMG]DSC_1704 by carrera247, on Flickr[/IMG]
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Old 11-16-17, 08:07 PM
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There is no Grand Sprint in the '78 catalog. Only '79-'80.
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Old 11-20-17, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by pfaustus View Post
The stripes on the downtube indicate that it was 80s, not 1978. Since the model doesn't appear in subsequent catalogs, I would guess 1980. https://bulgier.net/pics/bike/catalog...m_Champion.jpg
I just googled multiple Motobecane years and can find the Grand Sprint in '79-80, as Lazyass says. The '79 Grand Sprint came in "Champagne Gold", and the '80 in "Inferno Red". Mine looks halfway in-between to me - orange, so I'm going to assume this is the "Inferno" and say it's from 1980.

The spec sheet says the frame is Vitus 888. And Vitus 888>172, correct? And most of the specs jive with what parts I pulled off while stripping the frame yesterday. Altus derailleurs, SR cranks, etc. Although my inner chainring is 42, rather than the 40 as spec'd.

I found a slighter longer/cleaner/better 68.2(?) seatpost in my spares yesterday. This helps a little as all the parts are semi-corroded. This is going to be another big parts cleaning and restoration exercise (which I've done many, many times).

Oh, one mystery maybe someone can speak to. The freewheel is 6-speed but the dropout spacing is only 120mm. And these are definitely the original French wheels. On all my other vintage bikes, 6-speed goes with 126mm spacing. Was there a close spaced 6-speed freewheel in this era? Or did Motobecane use a narrower hub and/or spacers? Regardless, I'm going to cold-set the dropouts to 126mm to use a nicer set of wheels (bought on cl a couple of years ago, but that coincidentally came from another Motobecane).

Last edited by sunburst; 11-20-17 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 11-20-17, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
The spec sheet says the frame is Vitus 888. And Vitus 888>172, correct?
No; 888 was the entry-level Vitus tube set, and 172 was at or near the top of the line.

From Vitus history by Norris Lockley:

Durifort continued as a set well into the 1970s by which time Ateliers de la Rive had introduced Vitus 171, a series of double-butted tubes in chrome-molybdenum steel, with wall thickness generally of 1.00 / 0.7mm. This was a quality tubing subjected to special drawing treatment to improve the structure of the steel and to reduce possibilities of fatigue cracks. Companies such as Peugeot used huge quantities of this tubing. Later in the 70s/early 80s, the company introduced alongside Vitus 172 - slightly lighter than 171 - an extra-light series called Super Vitus 971.

The base set at this time became known as Durifort-Rubis 888. Not much later Ateliers revised its range to include Vitus 888, at 2030 gms, a plain gauge set for touring frames, Vitus 181 a D/B set weighing 1790gms for racing., Super Vitus 983, at 1624gms, a "Course Professionel" set and Super Vitus 980, at 1507gms a "Course Professionel" Serie Extra Legere set.
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Old 11-20-17, 01:00 PM
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That actually makes sense, as I just sold a too-big Grand Jubilee frame that was 172. It didn't compute that this Grand Sprint > Grand Jubilee.
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Old 11-20-17, 01:11 PM
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The freewheel is 6-speed but the dropout spacing is only 120mm. And these are definitely the original French wheels. On all my other vintage bikes, 6-speed goes with 126mm spacing. Was there a close spaced 6-speed freewheel in this era?


Suntour? Suntour Ultra was a 6 speed freewheel the width of normal 5 speed. It can be made to index. https://www.sheldonbrown.com/suntour-freewheel.html
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