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Trying to identify this Track Bike....

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Trying to identify this Track Bike....

Old 09-10-19, 07:30 AM
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roadbikeChris
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Trying to identify this Track Bike....

Hello,
I purchased this bike recently for $50 and It was claimed to be a Mercian. It is not. Just looking for some help. A nearby bike shop tech said he thought it might be French, late 70's handmade. Any thoughts are welcomed!











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Old 09-10-19, 07:49 AM
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Bottom bracket looks Nervex-ish. Lugs look like DuBois (i'm seeing this called a plainer version of Nervex professional, on the internet).
Before everyone else asks:

What is the BB threading?
Seat post size?
Can't see dropouts in pictures.
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Old 09-10-19, 07:57 AM
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Thanks. It has horizontal dropouts according to the tech. BB threading? Not sure what that is...
I will get post size when I get the bike back later today.

Trying to get to the bottom of who made the bike so let me know any pics I can provide.
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Old 09-10-19, 08:00 AM
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Gitane Mexico no. 1903? I'm seeing Bocama Professional lugs and swaged over seat stay tops and the same contours of chainstay crimping on my old TdF. It has what looks to my eyes like a Stronglight P3 headset and a Stronglight 93 chainset. If you have a 26.4 mm seat post, that would indicate metric gauge 531, and that model had a tretubi frame.

If that is indeed it, it dates from the era when Gitane swaged over the tops of the seat stays instead of doing the willow-leaf tops, so that's what, 1971-75? @verktyg will be hopefully be along to lend his Gitane-discerning eye ...
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Old 09-10-19, 08:19 AM
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This will be an education. Its all Greek to me. I am not sure what any of that actually means? lol Is it good?
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Old 09-10-19, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by roadbikeChris View Post
This will be an education. Its all Greek to me. I am not sure what any of that actually means? lol Is it good?
Yes, good to ride.
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Old 09-10-19, 09:13 AM
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Dang! The shop called and they need a special tool to remove the crank so I can't get it back til they get it from another shop! No more pics or measurements until Friday.
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Old 09-10-19, 09:20 AM
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Old 09-10-19, 09:31 AM
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Don't panic. The crank takes a Stronglight puller, which uses a 23.35mm metric thread, rather than the commonly seen 22.0 used on most cotterless cranks or the 23.0 used on T.A. cranksets (the back side of older Park crank pullers has that one). MAKE SURE THEY USE THE RIGHT TOOL - a T.A. puller might strip the threads.

If I am correct and you have a 3-tube 531 Gitane Mexico, what it means is you will have a lovely riding old bike. The bike I have ridden more than any other for the last five years or so is a c.1971 Gitane Tour de France set up as a road fixed-gear, and it simply works, period. Metric gauge 531 is really nice stuff, and your bike looks to be a 58 or 60 cm to top, which I can assure you is a magic spot for Gitanes.

Swaged means they simply cut and folded the tops of the seat stays over and brazed them down rather than neatly cut and mitered on a cap piece. It meant they could speed up frame manufacture during the bike boom when the whole industry was groaning to meet the new demand for adult lightweight bikes. Not as pretty as a normal seat stay top, but very functional. The Bocama lugs were widely used on a range of models, and many manufacturers thought enough of them to use them on their top of the line machines. Gitane went to those lugs on the TdF sometime around '72 or '73, as they look to be pretty easy to braze up neatly and solidly and get a good join without too much fiddling around.

Stronglight 93 cranks are my favorite vintage crank, and I have a set of those on my Gitane that I modified to single-ring use. If that is a Stronglight P3 headset, it should clean up and repack nicely and give many more years of service. The bottom bracket threading refers to which thread pitch was used when the bottom bracket shell was threaded - my strong suspicion is that it is French, 35 mm x 1 mm, both sides right-hand threaded, as opposed to ISO/British 1.37-in x 24 threads per inch with a reverse-thread drive side, or Italian, or Swiss, which is French but with a reverse-threaded drive side.

Some mechanics will wig out when confronted with French bikes, which used different dimensions and parts, but it's easier now to find good parts for these bikes now than it was 20 years ago.

If I am right and it is a Gitane, it'll be worth the hassle and the wait - and $50 was a steal of a price.
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Old 09-10-19, 09:34 AM
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Thank you for all the information! Wow! I am excited to get this bike roadworthy.
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Old 09-10-19, 11:05 AM
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French for sure. Maybe Mercier, no way Mercian. Nice bike, though. And what about that Doniselli behind it in the first picture--please do tell!
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Old 09-10-19, 11:20 AM
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Sorry that bike went the way of the seller from whom I bought mine. It was long gone before I happened upon the ad...
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Old 09-10-19, 02:09 PM
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----

Llug pattern BOCAMA Professional.

Shell GARGATTE.

Can not see crown well eno' for an ID.

Yes to a MICMO produit.

-----
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Old 09-10-19, 02:11 PM
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MICMO? Does the serial number help at all? And what is the crown?

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Old 09-10-19, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by roadbikeChris View Post
MICMO? Does the serial number help at all? And what is the crown?
Fork crown. The top of the fork, right below where it is attached to the frame.
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Old 09-10-19, 03:11 PM
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Oh OK thanks, I will have the bike back Friday and I can check that.
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Old 09-10-19, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by rustystrings61 View Post
Gitane Mexico no. 1903? I'm seeing Bocama Professional lugs and swaged over seat stay tops and the same contours of chainstay crimping on my old TdF. It has what looks to my eyes like a Stronglight P3 headset and a Stronglight 93 chainset. If you have a 26.4 mm seat post, that would indicate metric gauge 531, and that model had a tretubi frame.

If that is indeed it, it dates from the era when Gitane swaged over the tops of the seat stays instead of doing the willow-leaf tops, so that's what, 1971-75? @verktyg will be hopefully be along to lend his Gitane-discerning eye ...

I think this is pretty much spot on. In the 1974 catalog I see a Gitane Mexico no. 1904 that seems to be it.....


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Old 09-10-19, 05:11 PM
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I also think Gitane is a likely guess, Chas would know for sure (but since Juvela has also chimed in I bet this is what rustystrings nailed it as)...great find!
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Old 09-10-19, 06:37 PM
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Can someone help with pronunciation of Gitane.....sounds silly but I want to say it right when I am speaking to my repair guy.
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Old 09-10-19, 06:46 PM
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Jit-un-yay...I think.

Edit: nope, I'm wrong.

Gitane means “gipsy” in French, and this French brand exported large amounts of its bikes to the United States in the 1970’s. There, they are commonly pronounced “gu tan“, but this famous marque should be pronounced “jzee tah”. You’ll get a nod of approval from a Frenchman for doing so.

From here: http://www.thevelocollective.com/pro...kes-and-parts/

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Old 09-10-19, 06:54 PM
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Thanks thats awesome! But I don't know if I will say it that way. I am going along speaking perfect English then I breakout with Jzee-tah. a little weird!

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Old 09-11-19, 12:12 AM
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Gitane Mexico Maybe?

Mel Pinto Imports was the primary Gitane Importer and Wholesale Distributor for the US from the mid 60's until 1973. From 1968 on they only listed 2 models of track bikes:

The Track Standard plain steel frame model with mostly steel components and cheap sewup wheels. It was billed as the lowest priced track bike sold in the US at the time.

Back in the early to mid 70's we kept one or two on hand, mostly for the road racers who used them for early season training.

We sold them for $69-$79. At the end of every racing season, the riders were usually broke and sold them back to us.

The Professional Piste track model had an all Reynolds 531 frame and all Campagnolo components.

The Mexico was a European model with the 3 main frame tubes made of butted Reynolds 531 tubing. It came with Stronglight 93 or other model alloy cotterless cranks and slightly better components than the Track Standard bike.

Except for the "72" stamped into the head tube lug which indicates a 72 angle lug, all of the other numbers are meaningless.

The headset is a bog standard Gitane model used throughout the bike boom era into the mid 70's.

As @rustystrings61 explained, the tops of the seat tubes are swagged in a stamping press and then brazed onto the frame. Cheap and dirty method but it's worked for over a century.

The seatpost diameter can tell you a lot about the model. Most Gitane Reynolds 531 frames used a 26.4mm seatpost. A lesser quality of tubing would take a 26.2mm or smaller. Gitane plain steel tubes used a 25.8mm seatpost.

A frame that size no matter what the tubing, should give a decent ride. Being it's a track bike, the handling is going to be twitchy!

verktyg
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Old 09-11-19, 01:10 AM
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Originally Posted by roadbikeChris View Post
Can someone help with pronunciation of Gitane.....sounds silly but I want to say it right when I am speaking to my repair guy.


at 0.28, 1.08, 1.49, 2.49
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Old 09-11-19, 03:26 AM
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Whatever the make of frame, it lacks hand finishing so a factory built frameset.

John
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Old 09-11-19, 06:33 AM
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I don't have proper tools to measure the seapost but it appears to be 25cm across roughly. I only have a straight edge however. I am guessing all this information leads me to believe I just have a crappy old bike. That all took the wind out of my sails really quick!

Last edited by roadbikeChris; 09-11-19 at 06:44 AM.
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