Classic & Vintage This forum is to discuss the many aspects of classic and vintage bicycles, including musclebikes, lightweights, middleweights, hi-wheelers, bone-shakers, safety bikes and much more.

Building a Gitane Tandem

Old 08-20-18, 08:48 PM
  #1  
Aubergine 
Bad example
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Seattle and Reims
Posts: 2,947
Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 771 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 13 Posts
Building a Gitane Tandem

Last summer I bought a Gitane Sports Tandem from a man who was retiring and moving to Corsica. He had collected most of the parts (plus a few extras) but had not put it all together yet. This is what the bike looked like when I brought it home:



I stripped it of parts and paint and had it powder coated. It then sat in my shed awaiting the right time to put it all back together. Today a friend and I started cleaning it up and bolting on the stuff the previous owner and I had collected along the way. Here it is on the bike stand when we started.



Firs off, I put on the foil decals. The originals were not available, and I can’t say I care much for originality, so I put on some decals from an Interclub. They went very nicely with the apple green paint. I have a head tube decal for it as well, but it needs to be trimmed a bit to miss the mixte downtubes.



Meanwhile we cleaned up the four Stronglight crankarms. The front BB, which was mounted in an oversized, movable shell, was in decent shape so I simply put the original back in place. For the rear, though, I had a French Velo Orange BB that was just the right length for the triple. I like the way old Nuovo Record front derailleurs work so I added one from my box of parts.



Besides the two Mafac Racer brakes, this bike also has a drum brake. I have no idea yet how well it works! But it is a cool old thing.


__________________
Keeping Seattle’s bike shops in business since 1978
Aubergine is offline  
Likes For Aubergine:
Old 08-21-18, 01:09 PM
  #2  
speedevil 
I never finish anyth
 
speedevil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Western KY
Posts: 986

Bikes: 2008 Merckx LXM, 2003 Giant XTC mtb, 2001 Lemond Alpe d'Huez, 1997 Lemond Zurich, 1989 Cannondale ST, 198? Masi Nuovo Strada, 1984 Pinarello Turismo

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 235 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 11 Times in 10 Posts
That looks to be a great project. I've been looking around (not too seriously) for a tandem and something like this would be an enjoyable project. It's great that it will have a second lease on life when you're done.
__________________
Dale, NL4T
speedevil is offline  
Old 08-21-18, 01:39 PM
  #3  
Brian25
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 653

Bikes: Road, mountain and track bikes and tandems.

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 238 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Hi, I was admiring your tandem. Do you mind sharing what that green is called or and number code? I have used an old Campy double front derailleur for triples before. They do not work very well for triples. I would recommend a front derailleur designed for triples.
Brian25 is offline  
Old 08-21-18, 01:49 PM
  #4  
Aubergine 
Bad example
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Seattle and Reims
Posts: 2,947
Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 771 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 13 Posts
Originally Posted by Brian25 View Post
Hi, I was admiring your tandem. Do you mind sharing what that green is called or and number code?
I am sorry, but I have no clue what the color code is. As I recall, it was named something like Green Apple.
I have used an old Campy double front derailleur for triples before. They do not work very well for triples. I would recommend a front derailleur designed for triples.
Thanks for your opinion, but I use NR front derailleurs on most of my old triple crank bikes. They work very well, which is why I am using one on this tandem. It probably has to do with my shifting techniques; I am definitely an old-school friction shifter sort of rider. I have tried more modern front derailleurs designed for triples and can’t get along with them.
__________________
Keeping Seattle’s bike shops in business since 1978
Aubergine is offline  
Old 08-21-18, 02:23 PM
  #5  
seedsbelize 
Refugee
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Tixkokob, Yucatán, México
Posts: 11,261
Mentioned: 93 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4715 Post(s)
Liked 24 Times in 22 Posts
Originally Posted by Aubergine View Post
Last summer I bought a Gitane Sports Tandem from a man who was retiring and moving to Corsica. He had collected most of the parts (plus a few extras) but had not put it all together yet. This is what the bike looked like when I brought it home:



I stripped it of parts and paint and had it powder coated. It then sat in my shed awaiting the right time to put it all back together. Today a friend and I started cleaning it up and bolting on the stuff the previous owner and I had collected along the way. Here it is on the bike stand when we started.



Firs off, I put on the foil decals. The originals were not available, and I can’t say I care much for originality, so I put on some decals from an Interclub. They went very nicely with the apple green paint. I have a head tube decal for it as well, but it needs to be trimmed a bit to miss the mixte downtubes.



Meanwhile we cleaned up the four Stronglight crankarms. The front BB, which was mounted in an oversized, movable shell, was in decent shape so I simply put the original back in place. For the rear, though, I had a French Velo Orange BB that was just the right length for the triple. I like the way old Nuovo Record front derailleurs work so I added one from my box of parts.



Besides the two Mafac Racer brakes, this bike also has a drum brake. I have no idea yet how well it works! But it is a cool old thing.


4 cross spokes?
seedsbelize is offline  
Old 08-21-18, 02:25 PM
  #6  
Aubergine 
Bad example
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Seattle and Reims
Posts: 2,947
Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 771 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 13 Posts
Originally Posted by seedsbelize View Post
4 cross spokes?
Looks like plain old 3 cross to me, but it’s hard to tell with those deck lines!
__________________
Keeping Seattle’s bike shops in business since 1978
Aubergine is offline  
Old 08-21-18, 02:42 PM
  #7  
non-fixie 
Shifting is fun!
 
non-fixie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: South Holland, NL
Posts: 7,718

Bikes: Yes, please.

Mentioned: 190 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1055 Post(s)
Liked 40 Times in 32 Posts
One of those exceptional cases in which the repaint is actually a major improvement. Well done!

Looking forward to the rest of the build.
__________________
Reasons to be cheerful!
non-fixie is offline  
Old 08-24-18, 08:24 PM
  #8  
RobbieTunes 
Half drunk? Finish!
 
RobbieTunes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Very Southern Indiana
Posts: 25,742
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 346 Post(s)
Liked 58 Times in 48 Posts
That thing is so cool. So fliippin' cool.
__________________
Robbie ♪♫♪...☻
I have unfinished business.

RobbieTunes is offline  
Old 05-10-19, 03:49 PM
  #9  
Aubergine 
Bad example
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Seattle and Reims
Posts: 2,947
Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 771 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 13 Posts
I parked the Tandem in the shed for a few months but got it back out again to finish it off. After working on it a bit the last three days it is close to done. As should be obvious, the timing chain still needs some adjustment, and I think I need a half link to make it all fit. And the crank needs to be spaced a mm or so to the drive side. As it is, the front derailleur can’t pull the chain onto the granny. Otherwise it works pretty well for an old Tandem!

Oh, and the rear drum brake. I set it up as a drag brake. The two Mafac brakes are operated by the normal levers, but I mounted an old Huret stem shift lever and ran a cable from that to the drum. So going downhill, I can put on the drum brake and then modulate speed further with the regular caliper brakes.

A last fun touch is the Campagnolo 980 rear derailleur, to which I added a Soma long cage. It works pretty well!

__________________
Keeping Seattle’s bike shops in business since 1978
Aubergine is offline  
Likes For Aubergine:
Old 05-10-19, 04:12 PM
  #10  
tiger1964
Senior Member
 
tiger1964's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Maryland
Posts: 686

Bikes: Drysdale/Gitane/Zeus/Palo-Alto/Falcon

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 171 Post(s)
Liked 11 Times in 7 Posts
Lovely, including the paint and I'm not even a fan of green.

Alas, I think the only Gitane tandem I've ever seen was in the brochure I picked up when I ordered my Grand Sport in 1971.

Every line looks just right.
tiger1964 is offline  
Old 05-10-19, 08:02 PM
  #11  
thumpism 
Bikes are okay, I guess.
 
thumpism's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Posts: 4,602

Bikes: Waterford Paramount Touring, Bridgestone RB-T, Trek 510 city build, Giant CFM-2, Raleigh Sports 3-speeds in M23 L23 and L19, Schwinn Cimarron oddball build

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1226 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 13 Posts
We had one for a while but didn't ride it much. Fun to play with but it also took up more than its share of space in a crowded basement so we let it go.

thumpism is offline  
Old 05-10-19, 08:26 PM
  #12  
due ruote 
Senior Member
 
due ruote's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 6,688
Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 489 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 11 Posts
Well done, grasshopper!

Will the eccentric bb not take up that slack in the timing chain?
due ruote is offline  
Old 05-10-19, 09:11 PM
  #13  
Aubergine 
Bad example
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Seattle and Reims
Posts: 2,947
Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 771 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 13 Posts
Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
Well done, grasshopper!

Will the eccentric bb not take up that slack in the timing chain?
I was not quite able to connect the chain when it was at its slackest position, and as you see in the pic it is still slack at the tightest position. Of course I might just be a lousy tandem mechanic.
__________________
Keeping Seattle’s bike shops in business since 1978
Aubergine is offline  
Old 05-10-19, 09:21 PM
  #14  
due ruote 
Senior Member
 
due ruote's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 6,688
Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 489 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 11 Posts
Originally Posted by Aubergine View Post
I was not quite able to connect the chain when it was at its slackest position, and as you see in the pic it is still slack at the tightest position. Of course I might just be a lousy tandem mechanic.
Your timing rings look pretty small. (Or is that an illusion?) With bigger rings I believe you could take up more slack.
due ruote is offline  
Old 05-10-19, 09:24 PM
  #15  
Aubergine 
Bad example
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Seattle and Reims
Posts: 2,947
Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 771 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 13 Posts
My recollection is that they are 30 teeth. Larger rings would not help take up slack; every one tooth increase in size (times two chainrings) would mean I would have to add two links to the chain, leaving me in exactly the same position I am now.
__________________
Keeping Seattle’s bike shops in business since 1978
Aubergine is offline  
Old 05-11-19, 01:53 AM
  #16  
verktyg 
verktyg
 
verktyg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 2,890

Bikes: Current favorites: 1988 Peugeot Birraritz, 1984 Gitane Super Corsa, 1981 Bianchi Campione Del Mondo, 1992 Paramount OS, 1990 Bianchi Mondiale, 1988 Colnago Technos, 1985 RalieghUSA Team Pro, 1973 Holdsworth

Mentioned: 127 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 502 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 20 Times in 18 Posts
Gitane Bike Book Tandem

Nice paint job. The green is close to the color Gitane came out with in 1974 when they switched from foil decals to the yellow or green clear plastic sheet style.

Yours is the "TANDEM SPORT" model.

We kept at least one of those Gitane tandems at the shop until about 1976 when they became unavailable. Most of them had Mafac Cantilever brakes but I've seen them with Mafac Caliper brakes like yours.

Only rode double on one of them for a few short rides but lots of single test rides on new bikes and customer's bike we were working on.

Most of those tandems we worked on were set up with a brake lever for the Atom drum brake on the rear bars. Some folks thought that it gave the stoker something to do or at least the sense of some control.

They used an odd 1 1/8" headset. We tried to grab all we could get when we found them. They may have been British thread??? Also there may have been some Stronglight 1 1/8" headsets used on those tandems.

1969 Flyer, List Price $199.50


1970's Catalog. This picture was probably filmed in Maryland not France.



In 1976 we started bringing in a few Andre Bertin tandems from France.



verktyg
__________________
Things aren't always what they seem... Don't believe everything you think!

Chas. ;-)

Last edited by verktyg; 05-11-19 at 02:18 AM.
verktyg is offline  
Old 05-11-19, 05:35 AM
  #17  
non-fixie 
Shifting is fun!
 
non-fixie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: South Holland, NL
Posts: 7,718

Bikes: Yes, please.

Mentioned: 190 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1055 Post(s)
Liked 40 Times in 32 Posts
Originally Posted by Aubergine View Post
I was not quite able to connect the chain when it was at its slackest position, and as you see in the pic it is still slack at the tightest position. Of course I might just be a lousy tandem mechanic.
To me it looks as if it is not yet in its furthest forward position. Try getting it further out. If that doesn't remove the slack, then winding it fully back and removing a link should do it.

Oh, and you might want to synchronize the cranks a bit more for peace of mind.

Love this green color.
__________________
Reasons to be cheerful!
non-fixie is offline  
Old 05-11-19, 07:06 AM
  #18  
due ruote 
Senior Member
 
due ruote's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 6,688
Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 489 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 11 Posts
Originally Posted by Aubergine View Post
My recollection is that they are 30 teeth. Larger rings would not help take up slack; every one tooth increase in size (times two chainrings) would mean I would have to add two links to the chain, leaving me in exactly the same position I am now.
But with a larger ring, wouldn’t each degree of turn of the eccentric move the teeth farther?
due ruote is offline  
Old 05-11-19, 08:48 AM
  #19  
palincss
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 354
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 160 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Aubergine View Post
I parked the Tandem in the shed for a few months but got it back out again to finish it off. After working on it a bit the last three days it is close to done. As should be obvious, the timing chain still needs some adjustment, and I think I need a half link to make it all fit. And the crank needs to be spaced a mm or so to the drive side. As it is, the front derailleur can’t pull the chain onto the granny. Otherwise it works pretty well for an old Tandem!

Oh, and the rear drum brake. I set it up as a drag brake. The two Mafac brakes are operated by the normal levers, but I mounted an old Huret stem shift lever and ran a cable from that to the drum. So going downhill, I can put on the drum brake and then modulate speed further with the regular caliper brakes.

A last fun touch is the Campagnolo 980 rear derailleur, to which I added a Soma long cage. It works pretty well!

You shouldn't need a half-link to properly tension that timing chain. That's what the adjustable bottom bracket device is for. And it looks in this picture as though the timing chain is too long. And also, note that the cranks aren't correctly set either for in-phase or out-of-phase.
palincss is offline  
Old 05-11-19, 10:37 AM
  #20  
Aubergine 
Bad example
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Seattle and Reims
Posts: 2,947
Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 771 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 13 Posts
Originally Posted by non-fixie View Post
To me it looks as if it is not yet in its furthest forward position. Try getting it further out. If that doesn't remove the slack, then winding it fully back and removing a link should do it.

Oh, and you might want to synchronize the cranks a bit more for peace of mind.

Love this green color.
The cranks were synchronized before I tested it! But the chain slipped. But you are right, I will try rolling the elliptic back again before trying the single link.
__________________
Keeping Seattle’s bike shops in business since 1978
Aubergine is offline  
Old 05-11-19, 03:12 PM
  #21  
palincss
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 354
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 160 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Aubergine View Post
The cranks were synchronized before I tested it! But the chain slipped. But you are right, I will try rolling the elliptic back again before trying the single link.
There's so much slack it looks like you may need to remove 1 or 2 links. In fact, you'd best check to see that the timing chain isn't stretched. Who knows how many miles are on it.
palincss is offline  
Old 05-11-19, 03:44 PM
  #22  
Aubergine 
Bad example
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Seattle and Reims
Posts: 2,947
Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 771 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 13 Posts
Originally Posted by palincss View Post
There's so much slack it looks like you may need to remove 1 or 2 links. In fact, you'd best check to see that the timing chain isn't stretched. Who knows how many miles are on it.
I know how many miles are on it! Zero. The chain is brand new. Any flaws in assembly at this stage are entirely down to the incompetence of the mechanic, namely, me.
__________________
Keeping Seattle’s bike shops in business since 1978
Aubergine is offline  
Old 05-11-19, 04:36 PM
  #23  
Random Tandem
Senior Member
 
Random Tandem's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 137

Bikes: Disc-Brake Sturmey-Archer S5 Hub All-Weather Commuter, 1970's Sekine, 1980's Kuwahara Tandem, plus a few dozen

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
After you get the timing chain worked out, you can try whether you like in phase, out-of-phase, or something in between. I prefer the back cranks 3 teeth behind the front cranks on my tandems as this helps smooth the weak spot in my stroke (as the stronger pedalling pilot, with one of my children as stoker) but it is close enough that I can put pedal at the top on the inside of a turn and know that the rear pedal will not strike. All of this you can try and see what you like best,but first lets get that chain on correctly.

First thing I would do is rotate the ecentric so that it is as close to the rear as possible, then make the chain as short as you can get over the chainrings. My guess is that this will mean that you need to remove a link. Then, rotate the ecentric until the chain tension only allows about a 6-10mm deflection in middle of the chain. Tighten the ecentric and rotate the cranks to see if there is another spot in the chain where it is much tighter or much looser. If so, you need to see if you can get the timing chainrings more centered on their cranks (I think sheldonbrown.com has a good section on some ways to do this). If the chain is much tighter at some point and you cannot centre the chainrings, you need to adjust the ecentric so the chain tension is correct at the tightest point.

Last note: often the bolts that hold the ecentric get really stuck and are hard to loosen after they have been left alone for a few years of riding in mixed weather. I recommend coating them in anti-sieze paste before you install them, and if there are through bolt holes use longer bolts that stick all the way through that you can put acorn nuts on to drive them out from the threaded end, rather than just relying on the hex socket in the head. I have had to drill out these bolts after the heads have rounded out and that is a very delicate job that involves a modicum of stress.

It looks beautiful and I am sure you will soon be enjoying the graceful power of a two-motored vintage ride.

-Will
Random Tandem is offline  
Old 05-11-19, 07:01 PM
  #24  
repechage
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 13,341
Mentioned: 77 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 936 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 13 Times in 11 Posts
Originally Posted by Aubergine View Post
My recollection is that they are 30 teeth. Larger rings would not help take up slack; every one tooth increase in size (times two chainrings) would mean I would have to add two links to the chain, leaving me in exactly the same position I am now.
No, remember you are dealing with arc length and circumferences. Setting up the timing chain taughtness required the aft chainring has to be held stable, I get the chain the correct length on top with the eccentric bottom bracket somewhere near high noon, then adjust the chain from there, if you have some slack, but cannot take a link out, hook it up and move the eccentric forward. I worry about crank angle timing last, after the tension is good. Everyonce in a while it goes well all at once, do not depend on it. There are schools of thought on how to set up the timing between the two cyclors. I would look at old pictures of the Herses on a tandem and go with that.
repechage is offline  
Old 05-11-19, 08:16 PM
  #25  
Aubergine 
Bad example
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Seattle and Reims
Posts: 2,947
Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 771 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 13 Posts
Originally Posted by repechage View Post
No, remember you are dealing with arc length and circumferences. Setting up the timing chain taughtness required the aft chainring has to be held stable, I get the chain the correct length on top with the eccentric bottom bracket somewhere near high noon, then adjust the chain from there, if you have some slack, but cannot take a link out, hook it up and move the eccentric forward. I worry about crank angle timing last, after the tension is good. Everyonce in a while it goes well all at once, do not depend on it. There are schools of thought on how to set up the timing between the two cyclors. I would look at old pictures of the Herses on a tandem and go with that.
Oh oh oh, I get it now. Thanks.

I have a half link and (more) knowledge now, so I bet I can get it set up properly tomorrow.
__________________
Keeping Seattle’s bike shops in business since 1978
Aubergine is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.