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1976 Motobecane Super Mirage

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1976 Motobecane Super Mirage

Old 01-02-19, 01:49 PM
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Cheseldine
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1976 Motobecane Super Mirage

Hello everyone,

You may have seen my other thread expressing interest in finding an old road bike to build up and ride around. Recently my uncle let me know he had I could have sitting in his shed. From what I can gather it appears to be from 1976 as that was the first year of the Super Mirage and they switched from 1020 to 2040 tubing in 1977.

The original spec sheet is as follows:
Weight-27 LBS
Frame Size-19.5, 21, 23, 25
Tubing-Fully Lugged, 1020 light steel tubing
Lugs-BOCAMA Luxe
Fork-MOTOBECANE deluxe tubular with chrome plated crown and ends
Headset-MOTOBECANE
Handlebars-MOTOBECANE Randonneur bend
Stem-S.R. alloy with recessed bolt
Brakes-Weinmann 999 center pull, quick release extension levers
Derailleur-Sun Tour V.G.T Luxe with stem power shirters
Cluster-ATOM or MAEDA 14-32 with Huret spoke protector
Chain-SEDIS
Crankset-TOURNEY Luxe, alloy cotterless with alloy guard
Pedals-ATOM 440 alloy with reflectors
Wheels-WEINMANN alloy rims, MICHELIN high pressure tires
Hubs-NORMANDY alloy with quick release
Saddle-Racing padded black
Standard Equipment-Reflectors C.P.S.C. approved
Color-Silver blue, Flame red and silver

Unfortunately, my uncle was quite tall, and the headset and seatpost were swapped out for very tall steel ones.All of the cables and housing is old and in rough shape. Here is my to-do list so far:

-Clean everything up
-New seat and seatpost (the old one was removed easily, but is much too longer, and will not fit very far down into the frame)
-New stem and possibly handlebars
-Wrap handlebars
-All new cables
-New cable housing
-Service bottom bracket
-Tighten/true existing 27" wheels - the front wheel spokes feel very loose
-New tires (probably some tan wall Paselas)
-New Chain

I am completely new to all of this and have a few questions:

What work should I attempt myself, and what should I leave to the local bike shop?

Which parts on the list of standard components are poor quality compared to modern standards and should be swapped out for the greatest benefit without compromising the vintage nature of the bike?

I believe the stem on these older French bikes is 22mm rather than the standard 22.2mm. Any recommendations for a replacement?

The inside seatpost tube diameter measures 26mm on my dial caliper - are there any good light-weight replacements? I love the look of the fluted ones.

Do I need any special tools for any of the restoration work, or can I get by with the metric hex wrenches and sockets?

Should the cable housing be 5mm OD for the brakes and derailleurs?

I'll probably think of more questions as my first build progresses, but this should get me started.

Thank you very much for all your time and help, and to Mountaindave for his assistance in my other thread.

I'll keep this one updated as this project progresses.
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Old 01-02-19, 02:16 PM
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I remember your post, and I think you've acquired a great ol 'becane to work on. The original components are quite serviceable and dependable, provided they're not worn out. Consumables should all be replaced, per your list. You could cut the existing seat post down with a medium-sized tubing cutter, just remember to keep enough for proper insertion, and clean up the resulting lip with a file and/or emery cloth.
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Old 01-02-19, 02:28 PM
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What work should I attempt myself, and what should I leave to the local bike shop?
Unless you're changing out headset cups/races, do everything yourself. Get well acquainted with Sheldon's website.
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Old 01-02-19, 04:45 PM
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Awesome classic bike! My entry to road biking was buying a ‘72 Mirage, weighed too much but very cool. About 7 years ago I bought a ‘79 Super Mirage and revived some memories. Enjoy the smoothness!
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Old 01-02-19, 05:59 PM
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What would be by best option for a replacement stem? Going on ebay and trying to locate an original Motobecane branded SR stem, or getting a new Nitto and attempting to reduce the outside diameter from 22.2 to 22mm? I'd prefer an era correct replacement if possible.
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Old 01-02-19, 06:08 PM
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It is trivial to sand a 22.2mm stem to 22.0 -- been there ... done that a few times. As much as I like period-correct, I hate crashing due to failure of a metal fatigued vintage part even more.
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Old 01-02-19, 06:58 PM
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Before getting crazy about the stem, see if you can drop it down to fit you. It is definitely 22.0.

I bought a 76 Super Mirage at a garage sale about 40 years ago. Good, mid-range bike. Used it for everything from commuting to loaded touring. Tinkered the crap out of it over the years, before the frame got bent in a dooring incident. Got a 78 now, that I use as the errand schlepper.

One of the first things I'd consider doing is removing the so-called brake safety levers (if they're still on it). They regular levers will work fine with the pivot barrel extending out; If they bother you aesthetically, you can always replace the barrels, cut them down or just get levers (cheap used ones off eBay). I'd also replace the brake pads with Kool Stop Continental pads. If you're keeping the stem shifters, make sure you get the right cables; the cable heads are different. The derailleurs on it perform well, I'd leave them. Generally, I wouldn't get to crazy about replacing parts on a bike of this level. Just fix it up and ride it.

My 78



What I changed on it, was using some parts that were on the 76 and resting in the proverbial box of crap. The SR Laprade fluted seat post, the Suntour Bar Con shifters, Dia Compe side pull brakes and levers (I had to steal the centerpulls for another project). Got the Vetta seat for five bucks on eBay. Since it's just doing neighborhood errand duty, those are the cheapest Kenda tires I could find. The Blackburn racks, except for the add-ons were also used from the 76.
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Old 01-02-19, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Unless you're changing out headset cups/races, do everything yourself. Get well acquainted with Sheldon's website.

^This.

Just take your time and research how to do everything before starting, or learn from your mistakes like I continue to do. But, if you have the patience I advise the former.

Also, is the frame the correct size for you? As exciting as it is to build up/rehab a bike, nothing sucks more than to realize you put time and money into something that you can’t comfortably ride day-in day-out. Been there done that.

If you want/must get replacement period stuff, eBay is always an option. Just be sure to shop around and wait it out if stuff is grossly overpriced (it usually is).

Try to use any original components you can other than replacing consumables, if nothing else to keep initial cost down. Get the bike safe to ride and then decide what else, if anything you need to replace.

Post pics!




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Old 01-02-19, 11:23 PM
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Here you can see the current stem and seat post.
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Old 01-03-19, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Cheseldine View Post

Here you can see the current stem and seat post.

That IS set up tall, crazy tall. Stem and seat post are definitely not original. It depends on your riding style and how YOU like the the bike set up, but a more period correct stem would be my choice. And chop or replace the seatpost. You can also find brand new vintage style posts with a little searching, if eBay isn’t helpful.

You asked about special tools. To regrease the wheel hubs and overhaul the bottom bracket, you’ll need a number of things. Crank puller, cone wrenches, freewheel remover tool, bottom bracket tool, basic wrench set, etc. etc. Do a little research to figure out exactly the size/type you need before buying.

Looking forward to seeing it fixed up, good luck!

Last edited by Raleigh74; 01-03-19 at 07:05 AM.
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Old 01-03-19, 08:37 AM
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Do you have a local bicycle co-op? That provides a great mid-point between dropping it off at a shop (and learning nothing) and facing the task alone. The co-op where I volunteer adheres to a do-it-yourself (with assistance) attitude. Likely, they will have spare parts on hand for very cheap, the tools to do the work correctly, and you don't miss out on the knowledge!
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Old 01-03-19, 09:01 AM
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New Stem

Do you folks think something like this would work for a new stem?
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Old 01-03-19, 09:09 AM
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A lot of it depends on where you're comfortable. I'm about 5'10", ride a 56cm frame, and I'm more comfortable on a 90mm stem or so (and with less slant). I might consider a 60mm stem if the frame was larger than what I should be on--something like a 58cm--and I'm looking to cheat the reach.

Also, brake cables take 5mm OD housing, shift cables take 4mm (to answer a question from your first post). The brake cables are slightly thicker to handle the increased stress.
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Old 01-03-19, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Vintage_Cyclist View Post
Before getting crazy about the stem, see if you can drop it down to fit you. It is definitely 22.0.

I bought a 76 Super Mirage at a garage sale about 40 years ago. Good, mid-range bike. Used it for everything from commuting to loaded touring. Tinkered the crap out of it over the years, before the frame got bent in a dooring incident. Got a 78 now, that I use as the errand schlepper.

One of the first things I'd consider doing is removing the so-called brake safety levers (if they're still on it). They regular levers will work fine with the pivot barrel extending out; If they bother you aesthetically, you can always replace the barrels, cut them down or just get levers (cheap used ones off eBay). I'd also replace the brake pads with Kool Stop Continental pads. If you're keeping the stem shifters, make sure you get the right cables; the cable heads are different. The derailleurs on it perform well, I'd leave them. Generally, I wouldn't get to crazy about replacing parts on a bike of this level. Just fix it up and ride it.

My 78



What I changed on it, was using some parts that were on the 76 and resting in the proverbial box of crap. The SR Laprade fluted seat post, the Suntour Bar Con shifters, Dia Compe side pull brakes and levers (I had to steal the centerpulls for another project). Got the Vetta seat for five bucks on eBay. Since it's just doing neighborhood errand duty, those are the cheapest Kenda tires I could find. The Blackburn racks, except for the add-ons were also used from the 76.
Is there a particular set of brakes I should be looking for to get rid of the safety levers? Or should I wait to figure out the stem first to see which bars I'll be able to use to determine which brakes will clamp to them?
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Old 01-03-19, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Raleigh74 View Post



That IS set up tall, crazy tall. Stem and seat post are definitely not original. It depends on your riding style and how YOU like the the bike set up, but a more period correct stem would be my choice. And chop or replace the seatpost. You can also find brand new vintage style posts with a little searching, if eBay isn’t helpful.

You asked about special tools. To regrease the wheel hubs and overhaul the bottom bracket, you’ll need a number of things. Crank puller, cone wrenches, freewheel remover tool, bottom bracket tool, basic wrench set, etc. etc. Do a little research to figure out exactly the size/type you need before buying.

Looking forward to seeing it fixed up, good luck!
Strangely enough, the seatpost will not go very far down the tube (maybe 5"), otherwise I'd just lower it all the way (also what makes me reluctant to chop it shorter). That said, it is a very heavy steel one and I'd rather cut a bit of weight by going with an aluminum one if possible. I measured the diameter of the seatpost tube at 1.023"/26mm. Is there a good aluminum fluted 26mm post that everyone on here likes?
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Old 01-03-19, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Hailstorm_7 View Post
Do you have a local bicycle co-op? That provides a great mid-point between dropping it off at a shop (and learning nothing) and facing the task alone. The co-op where I volunteer adheres to a do-it-yourself (with assistance) attitude. Likely, they will have spare parts on hand for very cheap, the tools to do the work correctly, and you don't miss out on the knowledge!
I wish we did, but the closest one is 2 hours away. I'm trying to find the balance between learning what I can, but at the same time not buying a bunch of expensive tools I may only use once.
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Old 01-03-19, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Hailstorm_7 View Post
A lot of it depends on where you're comfortable. I'm about 5'10", ride a 56cm frame, and I'm more comfortable on a 90mm stem or so (and with less slant). I might consider a 60mm stem if the frame was larger than what I should be on--something like a 58cm--and I'm looking to cheat the reach.

Also, brake cables take 5mm OD housing, shift cables take 4mm (to answer a question from your first post). The brake cables are slightly thicker to handle the increased stress.
The frame is a good fit for me according to the local bike shop. Great info with the cable housing!
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Old 01-03-19, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Cheseldine View Post
Is there a particular set of brakes I should be looking for to get rid of the safety levers? Or should I wait to figure out the stem first to see which bars I'll be able to use to determine which brakes will clamp to them?
IF you decide you don't want the safety levers, you only need to remove them. The barrel pivots in the levers extend beyond the lever to fit the safety levers, so they will be sticking out of the side of the lever. This is purely an aesthetic issue, the levers will work normally like this. The pivots can be replaced if you want to; eBay is probably the only source and they seem to generally go for about ten bucks a pair. A used pair of Weinman brake levers, without the safety lever issue and longer pivot barrel can be had for about the same. Someone on this board may have a box-of-crap pair that they can send you even cheaper. But at the end of the day, you don't actually need to do anything.

As far as the handlebars go, brake levers generally can fit handlebars of different diameters, because the mounting bands compress as you tighten them.

You obviously need a new stem and seatpost for that bike.

Non safety lever barrel


Safety lever barrel
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Old 01-03-19, 10:59 AM
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You can remove the safety levers, scribe a line on the barrel to show how much of the protruding end to remove, and then cut them with a dremel and cutting wheel, or a hacksaw (if you're careful and have a bench vise). Then touch up with a metal file. Purchase the Cane Creek replacement hoods to cover the lever body. Looks better that way and is more comfortable to boot.
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Old 01-03-19, 11:13 AM
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Nice bike. I have an older Mirage (with steel rims) that is an enjoyable ride despite the wheels. I am sure the aluminum rims on your bike will improve things even more.

With respect to your seat post and stem, I suggest that you get a suitable seat post first, and set the seat at the right height and fore-aft placement. Then calculate what length of stem you will need for the bike to fit your torso. As for the seat post, make absolutely sure that the diameter is in fact 26 mm and hunt around on eBay for a nice used one, or on Amazon for a new one. I have used Kalloy posts on my French bikes, and they look a bit clunky but work well and can be found in unusual diameters. But they are not the only choice!

For the stem, measure that as well. The old French standard was 22 mm diameter, but the more modern standard is 22.2 mm. Motobécane started using the modern standards sooner than the other French manufacturers, so your existing post might be 22.2, but in any case you need to check. It is pretty easy to sand down a modern post to fit (I have done it a few times) but it is possible to find a French post on eBay as well. Oh, and measure the bars as well where they fit inside the stem. French bars typically were 25 mm in diameter at the clamp, which is smaller than modern bars.

If you choose to remove the suicide levers, you can easily just hacksaw off the extension on the barrel. I have done that for several old Dia-Compe and Weinmann levers.

Finally, consider getting a set of Suntour Handlebar end shifters (aka Barcons). They are much nicer than stem shifters.
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Old 01-03-19, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Aubergine View Post
With respect to your seat post and stem, I suggest that you get a suitable seat post first, and set the seat at the right height and fore-aft placement. Then calculate what length of stem you will need for the bike to fit your torso. As for the seat post, make absolutely sure that the diameter is in fact 26 mm and hunt around on eBay for a nice used one, or on Amazon for a new one.
Yes, definitely solve the seatpost issue first before you pick a stem length. I would say that 60mm one you posted is probably too short for an average set up, but everyone is different. Look up how to adjust fit on your bike based on body proportions, that will point you in the right direction for stem length and height.
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Old 01-03-19, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Cheseldine View Post
I measured the diameter of the seatpost tube at 1.023"/26mm. Is there a good aluminum fluted 26mm post that everyone on here likes?
Double-check that measurement. The seatpost on my 78 is 25.4mm. If you pull your seatpost out, the size should be inscribed on it.
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Old 01-03-19, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Vintage_Cyclist View Post
Double-check that measurement. The seatpost on my 78 is 25.4mm. If you pull your seatpost out, the size should be inscribed on it.
I took my measurement from the inside of the seatpost tube, not of the post itself. I'd imagine the post would have to be a slightly narrower diameter. I looked at the post that was in there and didn't see any markings other than max depth - I'll have to check again.

I get even more confused since Sheldon Brown's sight lists it as 28mm for French bikes.
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Old 01-03-19, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Cheseldine View Post
I took my measurement from the inside of the seatpost tube, not of the post itself. I'd imagine the post would have to be a slightly narrower diameter. I looked at the post that was in there and didn't see any markings other than max depth - I'll have to check again.

I get even more confused since Sheldon Brown's sight lists it as 28mm for French bikes.
That 28 mm is the outside diameter of the tube, not the inside diameter. :-)
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Old 01-03-19, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Cheseldine View Post
First things first! Put the chain in the small ring and rear cog!

Then remove the pedals and toss. Japanese pedals (kkt or mks) would be a fantastic, inexpensive upgrade.

Last edited by SurferRosa; 01-03-19 at 08:08 PM.
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