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A Frejus Tour de France c. 1964

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A Frejus Tour de France c. 1964

Old 05-06-18, 10:15 PM
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Kilroy1988 
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A Frejus Tour de France c. 1964

Hello!

I recently purchased this Frejus on Ebay from a new seller with rather gloomy photographs and a brief description to go by - though he'd checked the serial # which reflected a build date of sometime around 1963. It is equipped with Huret Jubilee derailleurs and was advertised as coming with the original Campagnolo Gran Sport derailleurs, and with chrome and paint in "a bit rough" condition. The seat tube is 58cm c-c with a 57cm top tube.

It turned out that the chrome on the fork ends and stays is mostly shot though around the head tube it's quite nice. There is a lot of minor chipping and scratching on the paint - especially on the top tube - but there is no serious rust or anything else wrong with the bicycle that I would consider damaging to its integrity. Also, the derailleurs I got were a set of Campagnolo Valentino (which was released in 1964 as far as my research indicates) and the hubs on the bike are Simplex. This is suggestive of a Middleracer model (one below the Tour de France) but the frame does have the Tour de France decal in place. Whatever the case may be, I received a substantial partial refund and am still happy with how the transaction turned out. The bicycle came very well-packaged.

I quickly peeled off the old rubber bar tape and began tinkering. The brake cables were set up funky and the rear one was very short, so I am going to replace that. Learning how to set up the adjuster barrels on the Balilla brakes was tricky, as each was positioned differently and it was not until I began fine-tuning the adjustments that I realized which way was correct. The front wheel needs to have its axle put back in with new grease on the bearings, as it was disassembled for shipping. The bottom bracket and headset were advertised as recently refurbished and that feels about right.

The bike has nice Frejus branded headset and crank arms, a Club No. 29A saddle that oiled up nicely and was still quite supple, and 3TTT stem and handlebars. My hope is to get the rear brake set back up, rebuild the front axle, wrap the handlebars and ride it a while to see how I like the Huret Jubilee stuff, then I'll clean up the Valentino at some point and put it back in its rightful place.

I'll post updates as I move along! Cheers!

-Gregory

Flickr album with more photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/456653...57695874975564






Last edited by Kilroy1988; 05-06-18 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 05-06-18, 10:55 PM
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Gorgeous.
Where had it been living before coming to you? Surviving leather saddle, no rust - usually mutually exclusive.
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Old 05-07-18, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Gorgeous.
Where had it been living before coming to you? Surviving leather saddle, no rust - usually mutually exclusive.
Good morning! The bike was up in Portland, and has a pretty old shop sticker (I suspect its the original seller) from Raul's Bicycles in San Jose, CA. Looks to have been a west coast rider for at least a good portion of its life!

-Gregory
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Old 05-07-18, 12:39 PM
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Very cool bike! Great that the saddle survived as well! Have fun with it!

Joe
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Old 05-18-18, 08:05 AM
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While the presence of a seat post collar would typically indicate pre-boom, that Valentino derailleur is not the 1964 version but the Valentino Extra version introduced in 1969. Also, the presence of the claw suggests your frame has stamped dropouts, which would be atypical for a Tour de France. Based on what I know about Frejus, the stamped dropouts and Valentino Extra would point towards a boom era Mezza Corsa. Also, the oval down tube decal is typical of the reported, boom era, Bozzi manufactured models. Check the back of the crank arms. as there may be a two digit dare code. Also, what size seat post does it use?

Edit: I forgot to ask about the wheel size.The wired-on tyres with Schraeder valves also points towards a Mezza Corsa, unless the OEM tubulars were replaced with 28" x 1-5/8" x 1-3/8".

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Old 05-18-18, 08:26 AM
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Cool looking bike. That stated, if my memories of my childhood Sears 10 speed are any guide, I think you will find that the Campy Valentino is the most useless crap ever invented. Hopefully you will have better luck.
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Old 05-18-18, 09:33 AM
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Disappointing news, indeed... The drop outs have no numbers on them. The seat tube is prominently stamped with a serial number on the non-drive side, which does seem rather "boomish" to me, now that I think about it. The number is 100622. The seat post size appears to be about 26.2mm, but my micrometer only goes to mm so I have to estimate - it's just a hair over 26.
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Old 05-18-18, 09:50 AM
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26.2mm would be typical of the boom era, lightweight, hi-tensile steels used on Italian models. It has me leaning even more towards a Mezza Corsa. Any date codes on the crankarms? Wheel/tyre size?
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Old 05-18-18, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
Disappointing news, indeed... The drop outs have no numbers on them. The seat tube is prominently stamped with a serial number on the non-drive side, which does seem rather "boomish" to me, now that I think about it. The number is 100622. The seat post size appears to be about 26.2mm, but my micrometer only goes to mm so I have to estimate - it's just a hair over 26.
If the seat tube outer diameter is 28.0mm (likely for a French bike), rather than the more typical 28.6, a 26.2mm seatpost would indicate butted frame tubes.

The 6-bolt Simplex chainrings are great -- I have a pair of those on my 1960 Sieger.

I realize Valentino derailleurs are Campagnolo's equivalent of the Ford Edsel (and Tullio's son was named Valentino, and Henry's was named Edsel), but is the front one any worse than the pushrod Gran Sport it closely resembles? These work OK for half-step.
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Old 05-18-18, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
If the seat tube outer diameter is 28.0mm (likely for a French bike), rather than the more typical 28.6, a 26.2mm seatpost would indicate butted frame tubes.

The 6-bolt Simplex chainrings are great -- I have a pair of those on my 1960 Sieger.

I realize Valentino derailleurs are Campagnolo's equivalent of the Ford Edsel (and Tullio's son was named Valentino, and Henry's was named Edsel), but is the front one any worse than the pushrod Gran Sport it closely resembles? These work OK for half-step.
Frejus was an Italian brand and this one appears to be a Bozzi (Legnano) manufactured frame. Metric tubing would seem improbable.

The Valentino FD actually is better than the Gran Sport, courtesy of the the added support for the push rod.
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Old 05-18-18, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Frejus was an Italian brand and this one appears to be a Bozzi (Legnano) manufactured frame. Metric tubing would seem improbable.
...
Oops -- my bad.
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Old 05-18-18, 11:10 AM
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Frejus is a sort of grail bike for me. Even if it is not a top shelf example, it is still a Frejus and carries with it some of the charm. Have fun with the restoration and post progress photos for the rest of us.
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Old 05-18-18, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Frejus was an Italian brand and this one appears to be a Bozzi (Legnano) manufactured frame. Metric tubing would seem improbable.

The Valentino FD actually is better than the Gran Sport, courtesy of the the added support for the push rod.

T-Mar, the extra support on the box end may have been added to assist the thinner (compared to the Gran Sport) push rod.
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Old 05-18-18, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
Disappointing news, indeed... (..)
Don't worry too much. So far I've found that companies that make nice-riding bikes make them at all levels. Unless you're a racer it's not so much about the weight or the stiffness as it is about the geometry and the ability to deal with challenging road circumstances. If anything, hi-ten frames tend to be pretty good at the latter.

For real-world application, your bike looks rather promising.
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Old 06-14-18, 07:57 AM
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@T-Mar

I believe the initial dating on this frame to be roughly correct.

Frejus serial number chart

The date code on my frame is 100622, which places it squarely between two other bikes posted on the Classic Rendevous database that date to the early 1960s. One of those (the chrome road bike) even has the original sales tag with the frame number used as a reference. The stamp on the pista frame (#100927) is in the same place as mine. Looking at the other frames, it seems clear that the numbers only kept going up, all the way into the 1970s, when the numbering system seemed to change and veer off in many directions.

I will now consider finding a Gran Sport rear derailleur to put back on the bicycle instead of that Valentino, which must have been purchased later in the bicycle's life... It was re-equipped with the Huret stuff as well, so it's not as if someone considered it sacred.

-Gregory
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Old 06-14-18, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by non-fixie View Post
Don't worry too much. So far I've found that companies that make nice-riding bikes make them at all levels. Unless you're a racer it's not so much about the weight or the stiffness as it is about the geometry and the ability to deal with challenging road circumstances. If anything, hi-ten frames tend to be pretty good at the latter.

For real-world application, your bike looks rather promising.
+1 I understand the feeling of thinking itís one thing and finding out otherwise. But plenty of lower end boom era bikes ride great without a big weight penalty. Thatís a lovely bike with great style. I would give it a fair chance to prove itself in the road.
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Old 06-14-18, 10:40 AM
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It reminds me a lot of my early sixties Olmo. Mine is not top end either but still has Campy and Olmo/Magistroni everything. Not top level, but not a dog either compared to other brands. Lots of details.

That is a great older bike.
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Old 06-14-18, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
[MENTION=20650]

I will now consider finding a Gran Sport rear derailleur to put back on the bicycle instead of that Valentino, which must have been purchased later in the bicycle's life... It was re-equipped with the Huret stuff as well, so it's not as if someone considered it sacred.

-Gregory
I've got a spare Gran Sport RD. If you're interested, PM me.
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Old 06-14-18, 02:03 PM
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I have a small eye out for a '64 bike of decent quality as that's the year I arrived on the planet. I'd be proud to have that on my wall, or even better in my fleet . Enjoy!
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Old 06-23-18, 09:16 PM
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Well, I was fortunate enough to obtain in trade a nearly pristine example of an early '60s Gran Sport derailleur from @jj1091 - thanks, Mike! I had to use the Valentino pulleys and drop out hanger to get it to work right with the original chain and axle that came with the Frejus, but it does indeed work.

I put all of the cables on last night and dialed it in, then checked it again this afternoon and went out for a 12 mile spin. I think at this point I just need to make sure everything is properly tightened and will consider it ready to ride! I can't complain about the shifting qualities, considering I have little prior experience on such early Campagnolo equipment, but I'm generally impressed. The saddle is rather funky feeling because it's wider than the Brooks I'm used too, and I was sticking to it a bit after the restoration work and proofide I recently applied.

Overall, the frame feels like a bit of a tank... It is not really comfortable but it is responsive and the power transfer is smooth. I'm used to riding rather whippy Reynolds 531 frames and this is certainly a different sort of machine!

Before my next ride I'll put on some toe clips and straps and swap out the saddle for an old Brooks B17 I've been riding lately. I think that will put to rest (or confirm) any reservations I have about the ride quality. Cheers!

- Gregory






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Old 06-23-18, 09:19 PM
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Old 06-23-18, 10:09 PM
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-----

Very nice job, congratulations on the completion!

Interesting that it is fitted with 3TTT Touriste stem & bar set as 1963 was the very first year for 3TTT products.

You may wish to keep an eye out for Frejus fork blade transfers, should they be available separately. They were mounted ex-works so must have worn away.

Balilla brakeset makes for an odd mix as it has the model 61 calipers paired with some economy levers. The companion lever for the model 61 caliper has a cast, rather than sheet, body and prominent bulge at the front. It incorporates a quick release.

The cycle's Sheffield pedals are model nr. 663.

Are hub barrels stamped Frejus? They look to be Fratelli Brivio products in any case. If you were to attempt to convert hubs to QR you might find that the barrel interiors are too small to accept a hollow axle.

​​​​​​​-----
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Old 06-24-18, 04:57 AM
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Nice work, Gregory, she's a beauty. Glad the RD worked out for you.
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Old 06-24-18, 08:17 PM
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Looks great! Good job! I think bikes from the 60's feel more "tankish" in general due to materials and construction methods compared to more modern bikes (at least from the 80's onward). But they definitely have their own vibe
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Old 06-25-18, 03:19 AM
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Lovely bike!
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