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Motobecane Champion info requested

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Motobecane Champion info requested

Old 12-16-19, 01:10 PM
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Dan Chase
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Motobecane Champion info requested

Hi Guys,
Just picked up this Motobecane Team Champion from France and after some details on the settup and looking over some historical posts there some members with good knowledge on these.

Looks like its an early Team Champion model due to the chrome lugs and details (I believe the chrome was steadily reduced from 1970 onwards) - plus the Campag/Mafac combo was dropped in favour of al Campag from `69?

Anyway, trying to figure out which parts are the real deal and which are swopouts before I strip it down, clean and preserve the original finish along with a thorough overhaul.

Any details would be appreciated, Dan.




Last edited by Dan Chase; 12-20-19 at 01:14 PM. Reason: Title might be a bit stearn - UK based member so not familiar with protocol
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Old 12-16-19, 02:24 PM
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"37 Bic" on the fork steerer? A true team bike, perhaps?

Love the chrome lugs, seatstay caps and foil decals. What a beautiful bike - congrats on the score

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Old 12-16-19, 02:25 PM
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Very nice! congrats.
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Old 12-16-19, 02:48 PM
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French were pretty nationalistic, so most/all components would be from French manufacturers.

Likely came with the Mafac brakes, but not the Weinmann(German) levers.
Can't clearly see the bars and stem, but that would be another easy change that was done(potentially, bar stem and levers replaces from another bicycle)

I agree that it is likely an early model, pre 1974.

It should have French threaded bb (35 x 1)

Seat posts on French bikes were 26.6mm many times(Peugeot, etc)
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Old 12-16-19, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by 100bikes View Post
French were pretty nationalistic, so most/all components would be from French manufacturers.

Likely came with the Mafac brakes, but not the Weinmann(German) levers.
I think that's not correct. Weinmann, Universal, and Campagnolo brake levers were all specced far more frequently on Motobecane models of the 70s than MAFAC.
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Old 12-16-19, 03:12 PM
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As DD mentioned, possibly the real deal ~ team issue. Really need to scrutinize this one. BiC 1967-74.

Challenge to really verify. Motobecane brochures and date of printing can throw one off. Early team bikes did have chrome socks but Ocana big '73 TdF win was not on this bike as depicted in this 1974 German print brochure. Also, not sure what year they started but team bikes had five holes drilled, inline under the bottom bracket.


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Old 12-16-19, 03:53 PM
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I think an avenue of search would be TdF coverage from 1967-1969- International Cycle Sport, LeCycle to name two.
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Old 12-16-19, 04:11 PM
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I stand corrected.

My 1974 Buyers guide lists Universal 61 Brakes on both the Le Champion and Grand Record, no mention of Team model.

The lower end models(Mirage and Nobly) list Weinmann and even Dia Compe options. It appears they took what they could get - the
US bike boom was just getting rolling.

I would suggest that no matter what brakes were spec'ed, the levers and calipers would be the same manufacturer.
This model has Mafac brake cable hangers front and rear.

It would be expensive at the OEM level to break up sets. There might be a functional reason to keep them matched
as well, although in that era things were pretty interchangeable.

this model would most likely have come with tubular rims/tires as well.

The decals on this model are interesting. They don't conform with the Motobecane's I recall from about that time.
This could be a European issued bicycle brought over.

I am searching for my earlier buyers guides.

Last edited by 100bikes; 12-16-19 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 12-16-19, 04:35 PM
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Why do you call it a Team Champion? I'm not arguing, honestly just curious -- is there a decal or some such? I thought the Team Champion or Champion Team were model names for the USA market, named by Lawee the importer. I seem to remember seeing some older high-end French market Motobecanes with the top tube decal saying "Tour de France", though I don't see any model designation on yours. Apologies if it's there and I missed it.

Yours seems older than the "TdF" Motos I remember though. Some of the parts make me think more like mid-60s. The 49d cranks with TA chainrings, and the old Record rear mech -- if that's what it is -- can't tell if it's Record or Gran Sport. (The F. der. is a GS.) Few teams or OEMs spec'd the old bronze/steel derailers after the light-alloy NR came out in, I think, 1967. The "matchbox" GS front went away even earlier, for high-end bikes like this. If it really came with GS derailers, then this could be an early-'60s bike.

If the bike is that old then some of the parts are too new, like the Phillippe stem/bars, groovy seatpost and Idéale saddle.

Wow, rear hub looks like a 3-piece, steel center. If that's a Campy, then it must be from the '50s. Take the hub locknuts off to see the date stamp.

Does the front hub have the word "Record" stamped in the middle? The original all-alloy Record hubs did not say Record there. I don't see a black "bat-wing" clip over an oil hole -- is the hole there (clip just missing?) If no hole, it could be a Pista hub that's had its axle replaced with hollow/QR. Also a slim chance it is Nuovo Tipo -- Campy did make some, for Motobecane, with the kidney-bean-shaped (bent oval) holes, but your hub's dust caps look too shiny for Tipo, and of course it has a Record QR.

Check the QR levers for "open C" versus "closed C" in "Campagnolo". The open C is 1962 and older I think. Someone here will know for sure. Same with the shift levers, older ones had an open C.

Of course wheels are the most commonly changed part on a racing bike, so this will only tell us the age of the hubs, not much about the bike.

Somewhat true for all the other parts too. This could be a later frame that someone put "retro" parts on. Though that's done less often, it does happen, I have a '70s bike with '50s parts on it myself.

Anyway, super cool bike, thanks for sharing!

Mark Bulgier
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Old 12-16-19, 05:01 PM
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Just remembered some more stuff I wanted to comment on.

The brakes, do they say "Racer", or do they say "Dural Forge". I'm guessing the later, which means '60s, and if there are no red washers at the pivots (can't see them) then I think it means early '60s. Again I bet there's someone here who knows exactly what year the red washers appeared... If the brakes have oil holes near the pivots (unlikely), it's even older, but those are really rare.

I think I recognize the housing hanger in the headset -- it's made by CLB (France). They made them with teeth built in to match up with the adjustment teeth on a Stronglight headset, so the hanger replaces the toothed spacer that comes with the headset. I think there was also an untoothed, regular flat CLB hanger. Can't tell from the pic which one this is. They don't say CLB anywhere on them, but it's just about the only cast-aluminum brake housing hanger; everyone else used steel.

Does the right rear dropout have a small hole for a spring in the derailer hanger, above the main threaded hole? Should be just barely visible just above the derailer, sometimes hidden in grime. That would be more evidence for an early-'60s frame. I don't know exactly what year the spring hole went away, but I think it was early '60s. Still, it's possible an older dropout with spring hole could have been used on a later frame, so this isn't iron-clad evidence.
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Old 12-16-19, 06:28 PM
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The bike has the Dural Forge Mafac Racer calipers--probably pre-1970. No US-market Moto had chromed lugs, fork crown, or seat stay caps that I have seen. American Motos were spec'ed by the US importer for the most part. This is a really interesting bike! Maybe it started life as a less than top model and has had equipment changes--look on the lower end of the down tube where there are marks from a different derailleur cable guide, for instance.

Last edited by Feldman; 12-16-19 at 06:30 PM. Reason: Want to add a guess as to origin
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Old 12-16-19, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by crank_addict View Post
Really need to scrutinize this one. BiC 1967-74. Challenge to really verify. Motobecane brochures and date of printing can throw one off. Early team bikes did have chrome socks but Ocana big '73 TdF win was not on this bike as depicted in this 1974 German print brochure. Also, not sure what year they started but team bikes had five holes drilled, inline under the bottom bracket.

I bet the OP's bike was originally Campy Nuovo Record-equipped - just one tell-tale is the residue outline around the original (now missing) clamp-on gear cable guide. The paint and decals certainly match the photo in the ad copy, and I agree it's an earlier bike than the winning '73 machine.

This is going to be a cool thread to watch. Apart from the fact that it's a nicely-built and very old and in super shape - it may have an interesting story, too. Hopefully the OP can find out more.

Anybody else want to see more pics? I do, I do

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Old 12-16-19, 06:55 PM
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Yes! More pics for sure, please.
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Old 12-16-19, 07:01 PM
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I would reference International Cycle Sport and LeCycle magazines with grand tour coverage for 1967-1969.
if as early as 1967, then the all Campagnolo assumptions are suspect.
The chrome lugs are the key indicator I think.
The hubs are a mismatch, but for grins, taking the front axle apart and checking date codes MAY be a place to venture from.
I don't think Stronglight cranks are date coded.
Seatpost and saddle are no doubt later exchanges.

Might check the last year for the Dual Forge Mafac brakes too...
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Old 12-16-19, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by bulgie View Post
Why do you call it a Team Champion?
I would ask the same question. Do racing specific Motos of this era feature such long brakes and frame eyelets?
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Old 12-16-19, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
The paint and decals certainly match the photo in the ad copy, and I agree it's an earlier bike than the winning '73 machine.


DD
Just for the sake of team BiC and that above brochure, Ocana's crash in the 1971 TdF was on a non-chromed bike. Though in 1970, the factory team Motobecane did have the 'chromed socks- this being first season for Ocana with BiC'. Yet in 1971, Rene Pijnen rode for BiC on a chromed socked fork as seen in the promo card below.

As for the OP's bike, that BiC marking is interesting. If assuming its actual factory team issue, narrows it to 1967-1969. Top riders likely rode custom Gemini or Anquetil's maker.

For availability to public and different markets, I think its been discussed elsewhere on the forum on the Team Champion and Champion Team bikes. Those would refer to -later than the OP's bike-

.

Regardless, its a 'champion' find!

Last edited by crank_addict; 12-16-19 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 12-16-19, 08:24 PM
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Very cool bike. The Weinnann levers are probably rider preference. MAFAC levers are really long reach. When Merckx rode with Peugeot he used Universal levers with MAFAC calipers. Just what he preferred.
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Old 12-17-19, 02:26 AM
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Hi Guys,
I`ll get some more pics up of the bike in a few days. Have been looking into this bike a little more - worth noting that the early Bic bikes from the Anquetil era very a lot from the more recognisable Ocana models from 1970 onwards. Early `67 ones show orange with varying amounts of chrome usually with a cream headtube, then the headtube goes ornage, then various bits of chrome go orange. Mafac brakes until `69 by the looks of things. Problem is, all the good pics of team bikes are from the Ocana period - earlier tend to be very grainy or black and white.

Decals changed a lot in that period - the chromed stickers are for early champions, the black lettered referred to by and earlier poster are 1970 onwards.

My thinking is, and I` havn`t pulled it apart yet to really find out, is that its maybe a team frame and forks (number 39 on the forks, number 33 on the frame) and then the rest probably built from parts, or, like most older bikes, stuff just gets changed.

As already mentioned, top riders change plenty of team settups to suit themselves - I also have a 2012 Pinarello that was an ex Sky/Wiggens bike - apart from the unbranded Zips and Veloflex tyres he used, its got loads of smaller modifications, I would say back in the day they swopped a lot of parts around to suit personal perference.

More pics soon.
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Old 12-17-19, 03:57 AM
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Oh what fun, been far too long since we've had a good TC/CT thread.

This appears it will not disappoint.

Here's a refresher to help it along.

obrentharris fantastic restoration from a while back, 1974, I was only entrusted with the frame that is still languishing in the queue.




Motobecane Team Champion - A Work in Progress
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Old 12-17-19, 04:25 AM
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Nice bike! I'll be following this
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Old 12-17-19, 06:33 AM
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Few more pics - more detailed close ups once its apart - should point out the "37 BIC" handwriting on the stearer tube is below old hard grease - had to check to make sure its not faked.






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Old 12-17-19, 06:49 AM
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Bic 1969 bic in 1969

Bic 1970 bic in 1970

Hope this helps
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Old 12-17-19, 07:13 AM
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I'm wondering if Bic could also just refer to a Bic orange paint code?

Cool bike regardless. It's rare to see pre-Ben Lawee era Motos this side of the pond, or Euro spec bikes in general.
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Old 12-17-19, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by jeirvine View Post
I'm wondering if Bic could also just refer to a Bic orange paint code?

Cool bike regardless. It's rare to see pre-Ben Lawee era Motos this side of the pond, or Euro spec bikes in general.
Could well be a paint code - mind you, the 33 serial number on the frame suggests something non production run.
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Old 12-17-19, 07:43 AM
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Open-C shifters? Could it be that old? Is that a steel barrel campagnolo rear hub? The plot thickens.
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