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Old 01-07-18, 02:16 PM   #1
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Need help with ID: rusty, French, 650B

Picked up this today. It appeared in the classifieds on Christmas eve and I managed to restrain myself for two whole weeks. But today it still had no takers, and I crumbled and gave the seller a call. Sure enough, I am now the owner of another derelict French bike.

It's a 60cm (barely) frame which was the main reason to be interested. At least I'll have a fighting chance of being able to ride it. Lots of parts have been replaced over the years, but the few things I did sort of recognize made it worth the price of admission, such as the bar stem, brake levers and the fenders. Anything else would be a bonus.



There's a braze-on for a monobloc derailleur:



Pedals, with some serious-looking straps:



Braze-on mount for the (original?) shifter and DIY solution for the double plateau:



Interesting head lug shape:



Seat cluster:



No immediate evidence of a head badge:



Lower head lug, fork crown and CLB "650" brake:



Fork ends:



PO's name and address:



So, what have I got here? I'll be spending the next couple of evenings carefully cleaning and looking for more clues.

TIA.
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Old 01-07-18, 04:28 PM   #2
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Chainstay mounted derailleur suggests a bike built in the late 30s through the 50s, but probably in the earlier part of that period, given the slacker seat tube, more upright head tube, and wing nuts on front axle. I like the brake levers. It's a pity that it's spent so much time outdoors in the rain.
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Old 01-07-18, 04:45 PM   #3
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Chainstay mounted derailleur suggests a bike built in the late 30s through the 50s, but probably in the earlier part of that period, given the slacker seat tube, more upright head tube, and wing nuts on front axle. I like the brake levers. It's a pity that it's spent so much time outdoors in the rain.
Thanks. Interesting you should say that. I've just disassembled most of the bike - it came apart quite easily - and I think that the Simplex braze-ons are not even original to the bike, but were added later. Have a look at these pics.

The lugs are quite intricate and look nicely filed:



This, hoewever, looks to have been brazed on afterwards. I'd even say there has been something else in its place before that was removed:



The derailleur hanger too, looks pretty crude compared to other parts of the frame:



Some more details:









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Old 01-07-18, 04:58 PM   #4
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I haven't found a serial number yet, but something may be hiding beneath that black paint.

I did find the address on the 'dog tag': it's a Parisian address, quite close to the Père Lachaise cemetery.
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Old 01-07-18, 05:03 PM   #5
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Subscribing, just so I can get some idea of the year model and the brand you have there NF. Best wishes on the research and resurrection of this Frenchman.

Bill
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Old 01-07-18, 05:03 PM   #6
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And yes, the brake levers are rather nice. Hadn't seen these before, but they look better than the equivalent MAFAC items.

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Old 01-07-18, 05:23 PM   #7
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Seems to me the "dog tag" might represent the builder or shop, J Minard seems to ring a bell but cursory research turned up nothing. Going to go through the big Rene Herse book again.


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I haven't found a serial number yet, but something may be hiding beneath that black paint.

I did find the address on the 'dog tag': it's a Parisian address, quite close to the Père Lachaise cemetery.
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Old 01-07-18, 05:46 PM   #8
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How far are you taking this project?

How much is it from your normal fit?

Following with interest!
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Old 01-07-18, 06:05 PM   #9
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And yes, the brake levers are rather nice. Hadn't seen these before, but they look better than the equivalent MAFAC items.

-----

These are me favourite guidonnets. The roughly triangular cross section of the lever makes for greater rigidity than other brands. Also holds true for their extension levers.

-----
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Old 01-07-18, 06:11 PM   #10
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How far are you taking this project?

How much is it from your normal fit?

Following with interest!
Dunno. I'd like to get it back on the road (preferably with me on it), but it is 2-4 cms smaller than I would need for a French fit.
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Old 01-07-18, 06:31 PM   #11
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-----

Lugset appears it may be NERVEX 86bis/158.



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Old 01-07-18, 08:04 PM   #12
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The rear dropouts have a design that's very similar to the (non-forged) ones used on many British bikes in the late 40s and early 50s (before the British began importing Simplex and Campagnolo forged dropouts). I'm not a dropout expert, but I've heard them called "Stallard" (after Percival Stallard, who designed his own) or Cyclo.
P T Stallard
The integral fender eyelets are not quite the same as those on a bike I have so equipped; but their shape, opening, and the "droop" on the top front of the slot are very similar. I'm not suggesting that the frame is not French; 650B alone sort of quashes that notion. And it's quite possible that English and French builders were using the same designs, made by native providers.
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Old 01-07-18, 08:15 PM   #13
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Fascinating bike! Hope you can get it the rest of the way apart, and on a course for refurbishment. It appears that the bike list in your signature isn't entirely accurate!
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Old 01-07-18, 08:16 PM   #14
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Nice find. What is the weight of the frame like? You may want to drop a line to Jan Heine at BQ. He's pretty up on old french 650b bikes.
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Old 01-07-18, 09:10 PM   #15
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Goodness, you have a lot of work ahead of you.
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Old 01-07-18, 09:21 PM   #16
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Goodness, you have a lot of work ahead of you.
^^^ what he said ^^^

Every part of everything needs attention. Except for maybe the fenders. They look great.
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Old 01-07-18, 10:07 PM   #17
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That could be a lot of fun! If nothing is seriously wrong that may be quite a beauty in the "after"
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Old 01-08-18, 01:37 PM   #18
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Goodness, you have a lot of work ahead of you.
I may not be too bad. The bike was apparently well looked after before it was left outside, as everything came apart quite easily. Even the cotter pins popped out with just one firm tap. The only thing that slightly worries me is the fork, which looks to have suffered a sideways shunt of sorts. I'll need to investigate that a little further before delivering a verdict. The tires are gone and the saddle leather is toast, but otherwise we've got a fully functional bike, as far as I can see.

The black top coat is obviously a repaint and I've tried to carefully remove some of it in the obvious places on the down tube and seat tube to see if there were any identifying marks left.

The original color looks to have been grey, with cream or white box lining:



On the seat tube, something that looks like a cream-colored "swoosh" is appearing. It's in the area where one would expect a painted panel or brand mark:

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Old 01-08-18, 02:38 PM   #19
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I don't mean to imply it's not worth the trouble, just that it will be a lot of trouble.
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Old 01-08-18, 02:52 PM   #20
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I don't mean to imply it's not worth the trouble, just that it will be a lot of trouble.
Ah, but remember Tom, its not trouble, or a problem, if it is something you love doing.

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Old 01-08-18, 03:00 PM   #21
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Ah, but remember Tom, its not trouble, or a problem, if it is something you love doing.

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Right, I should have said work, as in, a labor of love.
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Old 01-08-18, 03:16 PM   #22
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Well, I'm still "working" on it.

As it seems that some stuff has been added later on and it feels rather light (not to say flimsy), it just occurred to me that the bike may originally have been a more racing-oriented machine that has been made into a tourer later in life.

So I weighed it, and frame and fork, including headset, bottom bracket and a couple of bolts add up to 3.7kg.

And with a couple of 700C wheels it looks like this:

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Old 01-08-18, 03:36 PM   #23
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-----

Interesting that there is plenty of room for 700's.

Appears there would be even room for 700's with mudguards.

Those CLB 650 calipers must have quite a looooooooong reach.

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Old 01-08-18, 03:41 PM   #24
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That's quite a bike and thanks for sharing. What's the current plan? Repaint back to grey with cream box lining? I think that would be lovely. Some nice details. I really like the fenders and rack especially.

Too bad it has one of those vulgar derailleur things added on... Was that like putting brifters on your vintage bike, circa 1950?? Did very early French tourist bikes ever use IGH, or were they flip flop or coaster wheeled only?
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Old 01-08-18, 04:05 PM   #25
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-----

Interesting that there is plenty of room for 700's.

Appears there would be even room for 700's with mudguards.

Those CLB 650 calipers must have quite a looooooooong reach.

-----
Back when I was first playing with my '75 Peugeot PX50L, I was able to fit SKS longboard fenders with a 35mm tire on a 700c wheel set. There was very little clearance as a 38mm tire would rub the front fender. The specified wheel set was a 38mm 650b. The only difference between 650b and 700c on that frame was the brake (650b = RAID, 700c = Racer)
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