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Barn Find - Gitane Professional Tour de France 1971?

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Barn Find - Gitane Professional Tour de France 1971?

Old 05-10-19, 09:49 AM
  #26  
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Yeah, deserves tubulars... and a prettier pump peg.

Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----

If bike a 1971 its Stronglight 93 chainset will be the early type ("G1") which is somewhat prone to failures at the pedal hole.
My first thought -- after 48 years??? I'd think this a non-issue, woulda broke by now.

My second thought -- no idea how many miles on this bike, or how hard. Maybe only ridden in first gear.

Now I need to go check the 93's I have stored away for a date code.
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Old 05-11-19, 12:41 AM
  #27  
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Claw Hanger Rant

Originally Posted by jonwvara View Post
Chas, I've often benefited from your deep reservoir of TdF knowledge. But I will observe mildly that the Red Clover Components site doesn't suggest or recommend modifying a Simplex derailleur hanger--it merely notes that it can be done. As you know, it was a common "fix" back in the day. Like you, I think it's a terrible idea. I believe it's clear to most readers that I favor the non-destructive alternatives that are also mentioned.
JV
Thanks for the kudos. guys.

JV,

Apologies, I confess that I'm guilty of starting my anti claw hanger RANT just looking at the pictures and not reading the text on your website.

Back in the day amateur hammersmiths thought that castrating Simplex dropouts and using a Campy RD with a claw hanger was the way to go. ARGH!!!

Here's 2 magazine articles from 1972 and 1973 on how to destroy a Simplex dropout (note the first FOOL describes the dropout as both a "lug" and a "fork"):



During the late 60's and early 70's French bikes were just about the only ones that came with Simplex dropouts. Those bikes weren't held in any special esteem and modifying the derailleur hanger to take a Campagnolo or Suntour RD wasn't considered a big issue, especially with the disdain held for Simplex Delrin derailleurs.

We sold Gitane TdFs and a few other brands with those dropouts. It was a simple operation to file a travel stop notch into the trailing side of the dropout and run a 10mm x 26 TPI or 10mm x 1mm tap through the mounting hole. (10mm x 1mm is a standard spark plug size and is available at most auto parts and hardware stores for ~$5.00)



Serious riders who could afford the ~$29.00 price tag for a Campy NR derailleur went that way. For others, the $6.00 Suntour V or $7.00 VGT long arm was just the ticket.

By early 1975 the Shimano Crane and the long arm Crane GS (also the Titlist and Tourney) derailleurs were readily available and easier to install. You just had to tap the mounting hole out to 10mm. They had a travel stop tab that fit over the front of the dropout just like Simplex derailleurs.




Over the years a lot of different derailleurs had these travel stop tabs including the 1st generation Campy Rally, later Campy models and many different Shimano models.

Two other things:

Simplex RDs from that era fit all of the Campy style dropouts without a problem. The tab fit over the front of the hanger just like on Simplex dropouts.

Even after the mounting hole in a Simplex dropout has been tapped to 10mm, Simplex RDs will fit without a problem because the minor diameter for those treads was still 9mm, the same as the Simplex rear mounting bolt.

One other observation, most of the PX-10 owners in our region stuck with Simplex Delrin derailleurs back then, even the racers.

"Just One More Thing"



Push rod, plunger style, match box or whatever you want to call them FDs whether Simplex, Campy or what have you, s**ked.

Rather than a parallelogram that attempted to lift the chain from the small sprocket to the larger one they try to push the chain off the sprocket, forcing it to move upward. And yes,I know all the tricks to get them to work. I have them on 4-5 bikes.

verktyg
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Old 05-11-19, 01:11 AM
  #28  
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Claw Hangers HATE HATE HATE

Like I said in my Grateful Dead lyrics: "Out in the Rain and cold and Wind" and the claw hanger falls out of the dropout and spins around and wraps the chain around the freewheel, trying to straighten out the mess with wet greasy fingers....

I don't have any bikes with claw hangers but I've thought about it and if perchance a really nice old French or British bike without an integral hanger came my way, I would figure a way so that the claw would remain solidly in place when the rear wheel was removed.

I was thinking that drilling a hole in the dropout and the claw so that it would be bolted in place would be an easy fix.

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Old 05-11-19, 06:24 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
Thanks for the kudos. guys.

JV,

Apologies, I confess that I'm guilty of starting my anti claw hanger RANT just looking at the pictures and not reading the text on your website.

Back in the day amateur hammersmiths thought that castrating Simplex dropouts and using a Campy RD with a claw hanger was the way to go. ARGH!!!

Here's 2 magazine articles from 1972 and 1973 on how to destroy a Simplex dropout (note the first FOOL describes the dropout as both a "lug" and a "fork"):



During the late 60's and early 70's French bikes were just about the only ones that came with Simplex dropouts. Those bikes weren't held in any special esteem and modifying the derailleur hanger to take a Campagnolo or Suntour RD wasn't considered a big issue, especially with the disdain held for Simplex Delrin derailleurs.

We sold Gitane TdFs and a few other brands with those dropouts. It was a simple operation to file a travel stop notch into the trailing side of the dropout and run a 10mm x 26 TPI or 10mm x 1mm tap through the mounting hole. (10mm x 1mm is a standard spark plug size and is available at most auto parts and hardware stores for ~$5.00)



Serious riders who could afford the ~$29.00 price tag for a Campy NR derailleur went that way. For others, the $6.00 Suntour V or $7.00 VGT long arm was just the ticket.

By early 1975 the Shimano Crane and the long arm Crane GS (also the Titlist and Tourney) derailleurs were readily available and easier to install. You just had to tap the mounting hole out to 10mm. They had a travel stop tab that fit over the front of the dropout just like Simplex derailleurs.




Over the years a lot of different derailleurs had these travel stop tabs including the 1st generation Campy Rally, later Campy models and many different Shimano models.

Two other things:

Simplex RDs from that era fit all of the Campy style dropouts without a problem. The tab fit over the front of the hanger just like on Simplex dropouts.

Even after the mounting hole in a Simplex dropout has been tapped to 10mm, Simplex RDs will fit without a problem because the minor diameter for those treads was still 9mm, the same as the Simplex rear mounting bolt.

One other observation, most of the PX-10 owners in our region stuck with Simplex Delrin derailleurs back then, even the racers.

"Just One More Thing"



Push rod, plunger style, match box or whatever you want to call them FDs whether Simplex, Campy or what have you, s**ked.

Rather than a parallelogram that attempted to lift the chain from the small sprocket to the larger one they try to push the chain off the sprocket, forcing it to move upward. And yes,I know all the tricks to get them to work. I have them on 4-5 bikes.

verktyg
Kurt Miska and Paul Pierce--sheesh! I've always felt that it's unfair to judge people from the past by the standards of a later time, but I'm prepared to make an exception for these two guys. Mr. Miska starts his article with the words "If you have the urge to tinker with your bike, like I do,..." You can't make this stuff up. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the verb "tinker" as "to repair, adjust, or work with something in an unskilled or experimental manner: fiddle," and the noun as "an unskilled mender: bungler." So at least he had that part right.

As for Mr. Pierce, what can you say? The directions he provides are just about hopeless. The editor couldn't even be bothered to provide any photos. I pity the fool who attempted to follow them. No wonder there are so many butchered hangers out in the world.

Thanks for sharing the articles.
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Old 05-11-19, 06:30 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
I don't have any bikes with claw hangers but I've thought about it and if perchance a really nice old French or British bike without an integral hanger came my way, I would figure a way so that the claw would remain solidly in place when the rear wheel was removed.

I was thinking that drilling a hole in the dropout and the claw so that it would be bolted in place would be an easy fix.

verktyg
Nice one! You got me--I was momentarily shocked and horrified until I realized that you were chain-yanking..

For what it's worth, I have never really a problem with mounting claws rotating. Mine seem to stay in place well enough if the mounting bolt is tight. I suppose you could use a little blue threadlocker. but I never have.
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Old 05-14-19, 12:40 PM
  #31  
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Update

Thanks again everyone for your advice and input. It looks like this TdF will clean up nicely, the shiny bits anyway. I dusted her off and cleaned up the saddle... which I was really keen on trying out since I've read so much about Ideales, especially the rare alloy rail 90. It's surprisingly comfortable (for an around the block ride). I didn't do much more than that since the tires leave something to be desired. The seller called the tires "new". I think "unridden" would have been a better description. I was scared to go far since even without pumping them up much they seemed ready to burst. But at least I know the frame is close enough to my size that I'll be able to enjoy it once it's all sorted out properly.

So, some more questions for the experts.....

Does anyone have any advice on prettying up (darkening) the Derlin parts of the Simplex derailleurs? Obviously I don't want to weaken them, but this bike has done quite a few miles in the sun and the black bits are now more a washed out grey. I haven't yet read the threads that already cover this, but thought I'd ask all the same. (Same goes for the little "nuts" on the shift levers, the plastic covers of which are still nice and dark despite being black plastic.)

Any recommendations on the paint and decals? Looks like Cyclomondo has pretty much all the decals needed to do a full replacement, but if I go that route should I leave the paint original and just touch it up (the top tube in particular is pretty sun-oxidized) or should I repaint? Thoughts?

And finally, and advice on the brakes? I plan on keeping these but the holders and pads have been modernized. I'd like something more original looking. Should I look for exact placements or go with something similar but remade? Any good sources?

I'm really looking forward to getting some miles on this TdF once it's a bit more ridable!

Thanks.



















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Old 05-14-19, 12:57 PM
  #32  
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@CriticalThought, I believe vaseline will bring the luster back to the delrin parts.
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Old 05-14-19, 07:41 PM
  #33  
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I've found that burnishing the plastic in the presence of a petro lubricant like motor oil or even WD40 brings back the black, I've used a sharpened chopstick for this.

I see the beginnings of cracking of the front derailer, it's failing in diagonal shear but I sure can't say when it might be totally unserviceable.
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Old 05-14-19, 07:46 PM
  #34  
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Thanks @dddd. I can see that now that you point it out when I look at that photo of it from the top. Hmmm... Now that I've been thinking about these Derlin Simplex I kind of want to keep them!. Maybe I can keep en eye out for an old but relatively unused one (this one has a lot of miles on it according to the original owner). Having an un-cracked spare would make me feel less concerned about riding with this.

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Old 05-15-19, 12:09 PM
  #35  
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Update - Looking for a new Front Derailleur - Simplex?

So, the Derlin bit of the front derailleur has fractures forming just about everywhere there is stress. Some places completely cracked through sadly. Some parts look like rust formed on the steel and the fractures formed with the expansion, kind of like uncoated rebar rusting causing reinforced concrete to fracture.

So.... what to do? Source a less damaged but identical Simplex front derailleur, or look for something that I can ride without worry but in keeping with the period and spirit of the Gitane?

Would love any suggestions. Maybe a later all metal Simplex? or a Huret? I'd like to keep it French and not have to worry about non-French tube sized mech.

Thanks again for all of your input. At least the rear looks good. I'll try to darken the Derlin and shine up the chrome.














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Old 05-15-19, 12:20 PM
  #36  
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Since many French parts were formed from steel sheet, I usually look for an all-steel, generic derailer without pronounced branding when looking to replace the plastic ones.

Note that you likely may have to shim the seattube clamp to fully grip on a French bike's slightly-smaller (Metric-sized) tubing.

Here's one example, 1979 UO9 Super Sport with a steel DNM front derailer sourced from shop discards. Works well, though I have to admit that even the Simplex plastic front derailers have always worked very well for me in dry conditions, even for spirited riding in these foothills.


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Old 05-15-19, 12:42 PM
  #37  
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I did some poking around and found that these derailleurs aren't too expensive, even as new-old-stock. I think I'm going to buy a clean & un-used one, and just take care of it and keep it out of the sun. If I can get as many miles out of one as the original owner got out of his one, then I'll consider it a win.
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Old 05-15-19, 12:44 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
Since many French parts were formed from steel sheet, I usually look for an all-steel, generic derailer without pronounced branding when looking to replace the plastic ones.

Note that you likely may have to shim the seattube clamp to fully grip on a French bike's slightly-smaller (Metric-sized) tubing.

Here's one example, 1979 UO9 Super Sport with a steel DNM front derailer sourced from shop discards. Works well, though I have to admit that even the Simplex plastic front derailers have always worked very well for me in dry conditions, even for spirited riding in these foothills.

Thanks for the perspective, @dddd I'll keep an eye out for an all steel one as well since it seems these Derlin ones inevitably fail (unless hung on the wall!).

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Old 08-09-19, 07:36 PM
  #39  
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What's holding this together!?

Some closeups of the rough-arse finish and lug / tube joint gaps on the Gitane..... stark contrast to the perfection of the Motobecane!


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Old 08-09-19, 10:56 PM
  #40  
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What are you working on now?
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Old 08-10-19, 01:29 AM
  #41  
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Yeah, that's pretty cheap-jack typical French 1970's production lugwork, there. But I bet you can't break it no matter how hard you try. Better to spend your time obsessing over whether your plastic derailleurs might break, and if so, when? (Mine haven't yet.)
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Old 08-11-19, 06:56 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by CriticalThought View Post
Thanks for the perspective, @dddd I'll keep an eye out for an all steel one as well since it seems these Derlin ones inevitably fail (unless hung on the wall!).

No, the Delrin ones will eventually break even if hung on a wall.
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Old 11-17-21, 10:40 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
An ounce of knowledge is worth a pound of guesses!

Here's a link to my definitive guide to Gitane Tour de France bikes from the late 60's until 1974 on the GitaneUSA.com website. The links to the pictures are broken but please read through all the messages posted by me for details: verktyg

gitaneusa.com :: View topic - How to identify my bike - read first

Someday I'll have to re-do this treatise.

It's probably a 1971 TdF and.... I've NEVER seen any kind of date stamped into the steerer on the hundreds of Gitanes that I've worked on.

Supposed serial numbers mean nothing either. After a year or so of trying to figure this out on the GitaneUSA.com website we came to the conclusion that numbers stamped into Gitanes were at best lot, order or process numbers. Any records were lost in the 1990's.

Unlike Peugeot and Motobecane who used a piece of straight gauge seamed thin wall pipe with a split sleeve brazed into the bottom, Gitane used butted steerers made by Nervor (not Nervex or Nervar). They were probably made of seamed carbon steel but the drawing and butting removed any possible issues with a seam.



Below are before and after pictures of my 1969 Gitane TdF "barn bike". I bought it from Denis Stone, Stone's Cyclery in Alameda, CA in 2007. He originally sold the bike and did the all the service and modifications over the years.

It had been in storage for 15-20 years and the first pictures show what it looked like after I vacuumed about a millimeter of dust and crud off of it. I think the previous owner may have been riding it off road before it went into storage.





After a major overhaul, cleanup and touch-up.






@bikemig wash your mouth out! The thought of switching to Campy derailleurs! The Red Clover link suggests switching to a claw hanger or even worse "drewing" the Simplex hanger.

I HATE! HATE! HATE! claw hangers for real reasons like when you have to fix a flat out in the cold and wind and rain and the derailleur falls out of the dropout and spins around the freewheel and you're trying to to untangle the wet greasy mess!

The Simplex Criterium derailleurs worked better than a Campy NR on wider range gearing with good cables and lubrication.

There's a simple solution to get away from the Delrin derailleurs. Later direct mount Simplex derailleurs like the SX410 and SX610 will bolt right onto the drop outs with no problems at all. The metal Simplex front derailleurs worked well too.

Another simple solution requires tapping the 9mm hole with a 10mm x 1mm tap and mounting a Shimano or Campy rear derailleur with a travel stop tab like Simplex used. You can still go back to a Simplex derailleur because the diameter of the mounting hole is 9mm.

@CriticalThought and @ryansu those Simplex Criterium RDs had nice adjustable ball bearing pulleys. The problem is that in time the teeth would strip clean off of them. The standard sleeve bearing pulleys didn't have that problem very often. Shimano 10mm wide 5 speed pulleys are still available and inexpensive.

Clean it up overhaul the bearings and get rid of those CHEAP bike boom steel rim clinchers and replace them with some alloy rim wheels with good hubs and it should be a great riding bike. Pelissier 3 piece hubs were, are and forever will be crap, junk, garbage!

Word of caution, the black dye used on the Ideale 90 saddles NEVER rubs off and will stain light colored togs.

Hope this helps.

verktyg
Hello Chas - Pulling apart a TdF score and I saw a Nervor 68 stamp on mine. What do you think the 68 might indicate?




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Old 11-17-21, 04:10 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Dannyboy21 View Post
Hello Chas - Pulling apart a TdF score and I saw a Nervor 68 stamp on mine. What do you think the 68 might indicate?


I'd say based on the relative sizes of the 8's circles, that it's oriented the other direction and is "89"

So, not a year
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Old 11-18-21, 10:24 AM
  #45  
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You may have a point. I am working on dating the frame-set. I think I have it narrowed down to 70 or 71 based on the following:
Fork crown design
No derailleur hanger
Long point lugs
Non willow leaf stay caps

A 1968 steer tube might make sense on a 70 or 71 frame before the full on-set of the bike boom. I was hoping it was another piece to the puzzle.
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Old 11-19-21, 01:06 AM
  #46  
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Dating a Gitane Tour de France Frame

Originally Posted by Dannyboy21 View Post
You may have a point. I am working on dating the frame-set. I think I have it narrowed down to 70 or 71 based on the following:
Fork crown design
No derailleur hanger
Long point lugs
Non willow leaf stay caps

A 1968 steer tube might make sense on a 70 or 71 frame before the full on-set of the bike boom. I was hoping it was another piece to the puzzle.
I've said this many times before... Numbers stamped into Gitane frames mean NOTHING!!!

This is based on and backed up by over a year of compilations by members of GitaneUSA.com Forum about 10 years back. What were the numbers?

They could have been in house batch or tracking codes?

Order numbers from large importers and distributors???

Or just something done by Gitane employees after a 2 litre wine lunch just to screw with Le américaines who would fret over these minuscule things 20 to 50 years on!



Micmo the parent company of Gitane was taken over by outside business interests 1992 and became part of Cycleurope. For all intents and purposes Gitane disappeared as a separate brand/marque. With that, so did any known records or traceability regarding "serial numbers".

The fork crown on your frame is a Nervex Pattern #5 Professional style. Gitane used these on some of their top models up until about 1972 when they probably ran out of them. They were intended to go along with fancy Nervex Professional lugs that Gitane stopped using about 1967. It was the Bike Boom and bike makers used what ever they could get or had laying around.



By late 1971, early 1972 Gitane had switched to Nervex DuBois fork crowns which were a better match for the Prugnat long point "Italian style" lugs. 102 was Gitane's model number for the TdFs until 1968 when it changed to 585. Being very frugal, rather than have new stickers made, the folks at Gitane took scissors and cut off 102!



The DS dropout on your bike has been "drewed" by some fool who should have been dragged kicking and screaming to the closet spay and neuter clinic!

During the early 70's Bike Boom Fad, because of availability problems, Gitane used up to 5 different types of Simplex dropouts including the Ref 881 narrow forged style without a derailleur hanger.



TdFs produced for the European market from 1968 to 1973 came with either proprietary Simplex dropouts or proprietary Huret dropouts depending on what brand of derailleurs the bike was to be equipped with.

On those bikes, only the 3 main tubes were butted Reynolds 531. The forks and stays were made of some kind of seamed carbon steel tubing. The easy way to spot the difference was Reynolds 531 forks ans stays had fish mouth ends where the seamed tubes had domed ends!

Some TdFs had Simplex fork ends and some Campy knock off Huret fork ends.

A few TdFs came with Campy dropouts but don't even go there!!!

About 1972 Gitane changed from long point Prugnat Type S lugs on the TdFs to medium point Bocama Professional lugs that they continued using until 1974.


The willow leaf seat caps were discontinued about 1971 as a cost savings measure. Also, the brazed on brake cable bridges stopped being used. After that the seat stays had swagged tops.




So the bottom line is... I think your frame is a 1971 to early 1972. That's the manufacturing date, not the actual sale date.

In 1974 Gitane models changed drastically and with it so did Gitane's long term US importer/distributor Mel Pinto Imports. The largest (62cm & 64cm) frame bikes and smallest (50cm) bikes were always the slowest movers. We were buying some of those bikes into early 1976 when they ran out of NOS models.

Bear in mind that this information is mostly based on personal experience with a little bit of logical estimation. Nothing involving classic bikes is carved in stone.



verktyg
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Old 11-25-21, 10:30 AM
  #47  
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verktyg - Thank you for taking the time to provide such a comprehensive reply, that you have likely given a number of times before. And one that makes sense to me. "Drewed" seems like medieval torture chamber terminology ... strong imagery. I appreciate your input. EDIT: looked up the term ... saw what Drew did to the Tommasini. Ouch! Now I understand, someone took a grinder to the SImplex hanger.

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Old 11-25-21, 06:48 PM
  #48  
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verktyg
Chas, this makes me want to go back and read all of your old posts. Love it! And I don't even have a French bike! And I'm not looking for one, either.
Thanks.

Last edited by Hobbiano; 11-25-21 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 11-25-21, 08:00 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by rustystrings61 View Post
I'm with verktyg on swapping out those junky wheels. Once you have cleaned and serviced and repacked everything and fitted this bike with some good wheels you will be rewarded by an amazing ride quality. Your bike appears to be a 60 cm to top, which is how they were measured when they were new, and I can tell you from experience that a 60 cm Gitane TdF is a magic bike, period. I've owned three through the years, and I still kick myself for selling the first one, regret selling the second and will never part with the third one. For me, anyway, something about the geometry of this size TdF is perfection.

I've never found a Gitane of any description that is this clean. Score!
Yes a beautiful bike.
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