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Road Test/Bike Review (1974) Motobecane Grand Jubile

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Road Test/Bike Review (1974) Motobecane Grand Jubile

Old 04-25-19, 04:35 AM
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Road Test/Bike Review (1974) Motobecane Grand Jubile



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Old 04-25-19, 05:55 AM
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Old 04-25-19, 08:08 AM
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1973 Grand Jubile

The bike in the 1974 Bicycling Magazine review is actually a 1973 Grand Jubile not a 1974. Different geometry, top tube length, fork crown an so on.

The Grand Jubile model was originally built for the French market and that particular bike was probably a sample or small initial shipment sent to Ben Lawee Inc. the US Motobecane importer back then.

I have a 1974 58cm Grand Jubile that I got it as a bare frame rescued from a dump. Took it to a frame builder friend's shop and we realigned the frame and fork. Paint was rough as it had gone through a crusher garbage truck.

I built it as a beater with a mix of period correct components, liked the bike so much that I picked up a second bare frame with good paint. It's been sitting for a long time waiting for a parts swap.




I don't know where Richard Jow got his data but some of it is WRONG! From the 1960's on European derailleur equipped bikes didn't have slack 70° angles on frames that large, only on some small 50cm frames.

The top tubes on these frames are 57cm not 55cm and the fork rakes are 40mm not 64mm. The head and seat tubes are 74° not 70°.

I've never seen a Motobecane made of straight gauge Reynolds 531 tubing. The tubing sticker clearly says 3 TUBES RENFORCES which means the 3 main tubes are butted. The forks and stays were made of light gauge seamed carbon steel tubing.

The 1974 Grand Jubiles had painted Wagner chevron top forged fork crowns rather that the chrome plated stamped steel crown in the reviewed bike.



The 1974-76 Grand Jubiles were available in silver with black trim, candy apple red with black trim and a few came in silver with red trim. The Grand Jubile was billed as a "club touring model for day long rides".

In 1973 Huret introduced their Jubilee derailleurs to celebrate their 50th anniversary which was in 1970! Better late than never.

A plausible story that I heard was the first bikes were called the Grand Jubilee model and they were equipped Jubilee derailleurs. That would have locked Motobecane and by default Ben Lawee Inc. into Huret Jubilee derailleurs so the name was changed to Grand Jubile with 1 E.

The early 1974 bikes had standard Jubilee RDs with a 28T FW capacity. By 1975 the bikes were coming with the long cage Jubilee RDs. They were pretty fragile derailleurs for the US market where most bike buyers had little or no experience shifting gears. Those bikes also had proprietary Huret dropouts that without a lot of work, were designed for Huret derailleurs only.

By the end of 1975 the updated Grand Jubile bikes had Suntour dropouts with industry standard derailleur hangers and were shipping with the new Suntour Cyclone GT long arm derailleurs which were very light but much more durable and less fussy to shift.

Ben Lawee was a master at bicycle marketing and saw that bikes with Suntour derailleurs were much easier to sell than ones with fussy, fragile French ones.

Bottom line is you have to take most of the bike reviews from that era with a grain of salt and put them in prospective. A lot of them were like record reviews on Dick Clark's American Bandstand: "I like it because the song has a good beat and easy to dance to"!

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Old 04-25-19, 10:19 AM
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Thanks for the detailed critique and adding your experience, verktyg!
I've wondered when someone was going to really challenge any objective information in a Road Test.

In a humorous way, it reminds me of this scene from My Cousin Vinny with you playing the part of Vinny Gambini.
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Old 04-25-19, 01:29 PM
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I have a bright green one from early 1974. Love it. (And yes, the saddle had been put right, thank you).
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Old 04-26-19, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
snip


Those bikes also had proprietary Huret dropouts that without a lot of work, were designed for Huret derailleurs only.

snip . . .

verktyg
Can you mod those Huret drop outs so that they work with a normal derailleur? Just wondering as I have a raleigh with those drop outs and I'm trying to figure out what to do with the frame.
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Old 04-26-19, 02:25 PM
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I have a 78 Grand Touring and I am always hoping to run across a GJ in my size for a good price to have a pair. The 23 inch frame of that era is a good fit for me.
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Old 04-27-19, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
... a whole lot of great information ...
verktyg
Thanks for sharing all that! My Grand Jubilé, which I generally guess is a 1975, was silver with red trim and had Campagnolo rear dropouts. I read a theory somewhere that the Grand Jubilés with Campagnolo dropouts were built to be Grand Records but got re-purposed. The fork on mine is definitely a Grand Jubilé fork, with cheap looking stamped dropouts, but otherwise nice.
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Old 04-27-19, 09:15 PM
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Interesting. The GJ I just got has Campy dropouts.
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Old 04-28-19, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Can you mod those Huret drop outs so that they work with a normal derailleur? Just wondering as I have a raleigh with those drop outs and I'm trying to figure out what to do with the frame.
One suggested modification is to braze a small piece of welding rod to the bottom of the dropout, so that the detent matches that used on Campagnolo and Japanese dropouts.
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Old 05-01-19, 05:38 PM
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No, No, No...

Originally Posted by Aubergine View Post
One suggested modification is to braze a small piece of welding rod to the bottom of the dropout, so that the detent matches that used on Campagnolo and Japanese dropouts.
Much simpler solutions which I will post later, tonight maybe.

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Old 05-02-19, 12:55 AM
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Modifying Huret Dropouts

Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Can you mod those Huret drop outs so that they work with a normal derailleur? Just wondering as I have a raleigh with those drop outs and I'm trying to figure out what to do with the frame.
Huret and Simplex introduced their proprietary derailleur hangers in the early 60's maybe earlier. Each company with their antiquated world view wanted to corner the French and by default the European market so that a bike owner could only use their brand of derailleur.

French customers had to decide what brand of rear derailleur they wanted to use when they bought a better quality bike: Huret, Simplex or heaven forbid Campagnolo (which became the de facto standard).

The French thought very highly Huret Allvit derailleurs. In the 1960's it was their answer for an all metal derailleur to compete against Campagnolo. They also thought highly of this guy at the time:

La grande Zohra



Getting back to dropouts, Campagnolo 1010A and all of the copies had 10mm x 26 TPI or 10mm x 1.0mm threads in the hanger for mounting derailleurs (just about identical pitch). The travel stop was at 7:00 O'clock.



Classic Huret dropouts had 10mm x 1.0mm threads. The travel stop is at 4:00 O'clock that only works with Huret derailleurs unless modified.



@Aubergine "One suggested modification is to braze a small piece of welding rod to the bottom of the dropout, so that the detent matches that used on Campagnolo and Japanese dropouts."

An easier way is to drill a hole at 7:00 O'clock and tap it to fit a 3mm x .5mm screw like the ones used for dropouts stop screws. A broken stop screw about 3mm - 4mm long is great for the job. You could also just use the screw without threading the hole and hold in with some Loctite. You could even a small finishing nail with Loctite. That will work well with any style derailleur that works with Campy style dropouts.



The next solution is use a derailleur that has a stop tab that fits over the front of the hanger like Simplex, some Shimano and a few Campy derailleurs.

Most earlier Huret dropouts will need to have a small notch filed in for the tab to fit, see arrow in this picture below.



Simplex mount



Older Shimano RD



Campy 1st generation Rally



Mid 70's Huret with factory made relief for the travel stop tab.



Two different solutions, hope this helps.

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Old 05-02-19, 12:58 AM
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Grand Jubile With Campy Dropouts

Originally Posted by Dylansbob View Post
Interesting. The GJ I just got has Campy dropouts.
Can you posts some pics? I have some ideas about the Campy Dropouts.

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