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Velosolex Saint Tropez

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Velosolex Saint Tropez

Old 09-12-18, 07:32 AM
  #1  
dickbandit
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Velosolex Saint Tropez

I picked up a Velosolex Saint Tropez on CL for $50 because I noticed the Reynolds 531 tubing and figured it was worth a rebuild. Just finished u up and it rides great!

I kept it all original except for saddle and front derailleur. I replaced the bottom bracket with a Velo Orange as well. Would love to post photos— but I need a few more posts to be able to do that sorry.

It has:

Nervar Sport cranks
Simplex Prestige RD on simplex stamped dropout
Super Champion alloy rims with Normandy hubs
Weinmann 610 brakes and brake levers
Reynolds 531 and Durifort tubing




Posting here because I've been unable to find any info about these bikes online except for a few photos. I was wondering if anyone here might know a little more about them.







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Old 09-12-18, 09:06 AM
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Nice find! I can’t help with info I am afraid. But I would encourage you to post more so we can see your pics. :-)
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Old 09-12-18, 09:31 AM
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This a lovely bicycle and a fantastic bargain. There are some clues that allow us to date it to a narrow range. The Simplex rear dropouts are the 2nd version of the type 3480/81 dropouts. The original version, which had the Simplex name embossed into the rear web, was introduced in late 1972. The 2nd version, as seen on the OP's bicycle, with the Simplex name on the leading web, is first seen in the 1974 catalogue. The style of Reynolds decal used on this bicycle was replaced in 1974 with a version having a wide gold band a the bottom containing the company name and location. Bicycle manufacturers often had excess stock to use up and poor stock rotation could delay this, but typically the older style tubing decal persisted no more than a year or two. The combination of Simplex dropout and Reynolds decal suggests 1973-1975 manufacture, which is consistent with other frame features.

Outside of the OP's stated replacements, the components are consistent with this time frame and are likely OEM. Weinmann brakes on a French bicycle of this era are atypical but not unknown. The Durifort fork decal is in opposition to the full 531 decal and appears to be an addition by the previous owner. This raises the question of the whether the decal was transferred from the front fork. Besides the contrasting colour, the tips of the blades appear to be domed, unlike the fish mouth ends used on the stays. Given the era and level, this suggests a replacement. I also suspect that the fork will not have the reinforcing tangs as seen on the stay bridges. Given the suspect fork, I would closely examine the top and down tubes, in the area immediately behind the lugs, for signs of a bent frame (i.e. ripples and other tube distortion, cracked paint, touch-ups,etc).

The frame itself exhibits very nice workmanship for the era. It appears to be high grade, as opposed to a production frame with Reynolds 531 DB. The frame is almost certainly 531 DB but it wouldn't hurt to verify it by measuring the seat post diameter, which should be 26.4-26.6 mm,assuming has been correctly sized and a metric seat tube (i.e. 28.0mm outer diameter).

What I don't know is whether these were manufactured by Velosolex or contract built . Hopefully, other members can provide further enlightenment. Thxs for sharing the pictures. Enjoy your new acquisition. Pic assist....






Last edited by T-Mar; 09-12-18 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 09-12-18, 09:37 AM
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Interesting that both the Reynolds sticker and the Durifort sticker reference "fourreaux" or forks. One blade made of one and one of the other?
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Old 09-12-18, 09:47 AM
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Thank you so much for the additional info. When I got the bike the chrome fork (which I assumed was a replacement) was badly flaking and slightly rusty so I cleaned it up and repainted with the white enamel. Checked the frame for signs of a front end crash— didn’t see any ripples, bends or cracks so I assume I’m OK.
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Old 12-11-18, 10:45 PM
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Looks just like the velosolex la Parisienne. The fork was definitely replaced and possibly the brakes. I think they originally had mafac center pull brakes. It is a sweet bike!
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Old 11-10-19, 01:13 PM
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I'ts been over a year and I wanted to share an update. Since the initial rebuild I've added:

-Velo Orange leather saddle
-swapped out the wheels for some 27 inch wheelmaster Sun Cr18s I had lying around
-Replaced stem with a Nitto Technomic that had already been sanded down for a Peugeot I no longer own
-Replaced delrin Simplex with a Gipiemme branded SLJ 6600
-Replaced bars with Nitto B135 rando bars

I still haven't been able to find too much additional info about the Velosolex Saint Tropez. There was one for sale on Philadelphia CL last year around the holidays. It was stripped of most components. I considered buying it just for the original fork and then decided it wasn't worth it. In hindsight, maybe I should have. There is one for sale on eBay currently that has had many of the original parts replaced with period Japanese components.

Considering the bike was $50 and many of the upgrades were parts I already had or purchased on deep discount, I feel like I've done pretty well. It's a fun bike to ride and the only French bike I own
.
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Old 11-10-19, 03:09 PM
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Thank you for the update. Much appreciated!
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Old 11-10-19, 08:03 PM
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Many years ago, while at a yard sale, I asked the seller if he had any old bicycles for sale. He, thought for a moment and then invited me to go into a small shed, with half a dozen bikes there-in. Not much in there of much interest, except this five dollar find. Though I never did get to build up my Velosolex, I was impressed with the quality and comparative lightness of the bike...
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Old 11-10-19, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
Many years ago, while at a yard sale, I asked the seller if he had any old bicycles for sale. He, thought for a moment and then invited me to go into a small shed, with half a dozen bikes there-in. Not much in there of much interest, except this five dollar find. Though I never did get to build up my Velosolex, I was impressed with the quality and comparative lightness of the bike...
Yours was one of the few I was able to find on the internet while doing my research! It is a fairly light frame for what it is. Interesting that yours does not seem to have the 531 decal-- but seems otherwise identical. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 11-11-19, 04:30 AM
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As I recall and remembering that my method for weighing bikes was poor, to say the least, the Velosolex came in pretty light, compared to others that I had owned and weighed. I would be interested to know what the OP's weighs.
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Old 11-11-19, 07:08 AM
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VeloSoleX

VeloSoleX was a French manufacturer that started in business in 1946. They were best known for their Mopeds and also carburetors for European motorcycles and cars.




They sold a line of "10 speed derailleur bikes" during the bikes boom fad of the early 70's. The bikes were probably made for them by one of the large French bike makers that private labeled a slew of bikes.

We specialized in French bikes for the lower priced models at our shop. Around 1975 or so there was a shortage of French bikes in that price range.

We scoured all of the importers that brought in French bikes during the boom plus some shops we knew, looking for old stock bikes. We found some Bertins, Stellas, Liberias, and so on (we got them dirt cheap as closeouts and passed the savings on to our customers).

We located about 15 VelosoleX bikes at one shop and took them all.

There were a few of the entry level Parisienne models which were standard fare French bike boom velos.

Velosolex La Parisienne

Most of the bikes were the mid range Saint Tropez model with frames made of Reynolds 531 main tubes and Durifort forks and stays plus Nervar steel cotterless cranks. They were pretty nice for French bike boom models.

See @randyjawa post above.

Fix-a-fied Nervex Saint Tropez



In the tranche there were also several Etiole (Star) model VeloeSoleX bikes with all Reynolds 531 frames, sewups and alloy components. They were very well made with good cosmetics at a great price. Too bad we only had a few of them (and they were all brindle s**t brown).



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Old 11-11-19, 09:08 AM
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I have learned more about the Velosolex bicycle in the past few days than I have in the past ten or fifteen years. These days, for me, that old Velosolex would be a keeper. Unusual and not well know, I could not help but appreciate the workmanship displayed on the frame set. Silly me - the great bikes that I have let go, over the years...

Of course, one never knows when that special grail bike might come a knocking.
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Old 11-11-19, 09:14 AM
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@randyjawa, as Steven Wright said, you can't have everything; where would you put it?
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Old 07-08-20, 01:04 PM
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Red Velosolex

Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
I have learned more about the Velosolex bicycle in the past few days than I have in the past ten or fifteen years. These days, for me, that old Velosolex would be a keeper. Unusual and not well know, I could not help but appreciate the workmanship displayed on the frame set. Silly me - the great bikes that I have let go, over the years...

Of course, one never knows when that special grail bike might come a knocking.
I found and kept one of the same color and labeling as shown by you:
Cranksets Sugino Maxy 3-bolt
Simplex RD
Simplex dropout with number 43610 stamped on it
Super Champion alloy rims
Normandy hubs
Weinmann 610 brakes and brake levers

Not sure of age (70's?) and tubing (Reynolds 531?)
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Old 07-08-20, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
VeloSoleX was a French manufacturer that started in business in 1946. They were best known for their Mopeds and also carburetors for European motorcycles and cars.
Since this zombie thread has come back: In an earlier life I was a VW mechanic; Volkswagens used Solex carburetors.
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Old 07-08-20, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Wahl View Post
Since this zombie thread has come back: In an earlier life I was a VW mechanic; Volkswagens used Solex carburetors.
Yes, and as verktyg said, they also made mopeds that used a motor mounted atop the front wheel. The carbs and the moped are all I knew them for until this thread.

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Old 07-08-20, 08:29 PM
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I recall a couple of those Solex mopeds sputtering around my neighborhood as a kid. IIRC, several years later, Solex carbs even found their way to the first VW Rabbits imported here.
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Old 07-08-20, 09:20 PM
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ARGH! Zombie OT Thread Drift!

Originally Posted by Charles Wahl View Post
Since this zombie thread has come back: In an earlier life I was a VW mechanic; Volkswagens used Solex carburetors.


Chas. I too wrenched on "Dubs", also Porsches and BMWs.

There were Brit Solex carbs too. Solex took over Stromberg in 1965 and eventually they made Solex carbs in the UK. Volvo and Saab as well as domestic UK marques used them.

Speaking of the UK...



Joseph Lucas, The Prince of Darkness....

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Old 07-09-20, 12:10 AM
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Before rebushing the upper grunnion banjos.....
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Old 07-10-20, 09:02 AM
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The original VéloSoleX was a motorized bicycle created in 1941, according to an electricbikereview.com forum, and are now into e-bikes too.

Last edited by ViaBike; 07-10-20 at 09:06 AM.
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