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Harvesting parts off of a French tandem?

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Harvesting parts off of a French tandem?

Old 05-25-20, 07:10 AM
  #1  
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Harvesting parts off of a French tandem?

I'm in junk trading negotiations for a Gitane tandem. The Mafac cantilevers and TA crankset caught my eye and I'm wondering if the rear hub could get reduced to 126mm spaceing? The shifting gear is Simplex, but I'm not seeing much plastic in the pictures.

I've got a Roy Thane/Holdsworth touring frame that I would like to build up. It seems like I would have a pretty good start, especially if the rear wheel was usable. I would have to find a left side crank arm, though I have looked at TA tandem cranksets and it looks like the bolt flange could be machined of of a Left Tandem arm.

Lastly I do have a bit of an ethical twinge about stripping a classic survivor. So feel free to let me know if I'll be "Smashing Ming" or opening a box that should not be opened...


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Old 05-25-20, 07:53 AM
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I have an old gitane tandem too. Mine has cottered cranks so i am not that tempted but i do like the cantilevers.
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Old 05-25-20, 09:07 AM
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If you do decide to strip it I would purchase the front crankset.
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Old 05-25-20, 09:13 AM
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The TA tandem crank set would be best off sold as a full set- there is demand for those.
the proceeds would fund almost all that you need.
not sure how much the rear hub can be narrowed.

actually this probably has 27 wheels
if 700c the whole bike would have value
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Old 05-25-20, 09:14 AM
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I guess it depends on the state of the survivor. I have an early 70's Gitane tandem with TA/Mafac, and it is a nice ride. But I can't see anyone taking the trouble to build one of from a bare frame, if you were to strip the parts. If the frame is in rough shape, I'd say go for it. You are at least saving the components.
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Old 05-25-20, 09:22 AM
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Dibs noted...
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Old 05-25-20, 09:51 AM
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I recently stripped a Gitane tandem found in a local pawn shop. For under $100 I got some Stronglight cranks and rings, 4 good pedals, Simplex derailleurs and shifters, some nice tires, cantilever brakes and levers and an okay bar and stem set. DEAL!
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Old 05-25-20, 09:56 AM
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not sure what you mean about reducing the spacing of the rear hub. the old Gitane should be spaced at 120.
TA arms really only fit Ta spindles (properly) of course they can adapt to a "B" fit. The french cups won't do you
any good. does the Roy Thane even have canti posts? it all seems like too much work for next to nuthin
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Old 05-25-20, 10:06 AM
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Depending on the year of your Holdsworth the rear spread may be closer to 120mm than 126mm. My '72 Holdsworth Professsional is around 120mm.
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Old 05-25-20, 10:42 AM
  #10  
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It is a pretty complete tandem,I would feel bad stripping it down. Does nobody need a decent-quality old tandem anymore? I mean it has an eccentric and everything. Spread the rear triangle and put a freehub and indexed shifting on it, and a good team could really make that thing fly.

I guess I wouldn't machine off the flange of a left-side TA tandem crank. Those are rare enough as it is.

Finally, you may be painting yourself into a corner if you put that rear wheel on your Holdsworth. It likely has a French threaded hub, and a new freewheel will be next to impossible to find when the time comes. Besides, it deserves lighter weight components and 700c wheels so you can have better tires.

Same for the BBs, likely French threaded. But I've been able to put old TA cranks on pretty much any BB I've tried, with no trouble.
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Old 05-25-20, 11:09 AM
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For the inquiring minds: The Roy Thane has cantiliever mounts and is spaced at 126mm.

I havent been able to pin down the age of this bike. How long were French threaded hubs in production? I do have a 40h hub I could swap in if that was necessary. I'm working on a straight hobby junk for hobby junk swap, so this might be a "free" bike.

I did find a reference suggesting that these frames built without a diagonal tube or set of stays are very wippy. Im firmly in the clydsdale camp, and it would be a while before my son could reach the pedals.

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Old 05-25-20, 11:28 AM
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What "left side" crankarm so you need? Looks like the Gitane has both. I have a spare T/A tandem crankset missing the right front (the flangeless one).

If your other frame is higher quality I probably would not object to stripping this one for the parts. Someone will probably buy it from you just to hang up. Old tandems generally have a really tight stoker cockpit that your curved seat tube do not do much to improve.

I learned you can only do so much to improve those oldies but they sure are cute.

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Old 05-25-20, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
The TA tandem crank set would be best off sold as a full set- there is demand for those.
(...)
+1. I paid 200 for an old Motobecane tandem a couple of years ago, just to get my hands on its TA tandem crankset.
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Old 05-25-20, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by bark_eater View Post
For the inquiring minds: The Roy Thane has cantiliever mounts and is spaced at 126mm.

I havent been able to pin down the age of this bike. How long were French threaded hubs in production? I do have a 40h hub I could swap in if that was necessary. I'm working on a straight hobby junk for hobby junk swap, so this might be a "free" bike.
Doesn't look like junk to me!!
It would likely be hard to sell though. But maybe different in this virus-addled time?

I did find a reference suggesting that these frames built without a diagonal tube or set of stays are very wippy. Im firmly in the clydsdale camp, and it would be a while before my son could reach the pedals.
You have a kid? They grow like weeds! Especially with how fast time is passing these days, it will feel like a week and then he'll be taller than you. However flexible this thing is, it's better than a modern cheap tandem, or worse yet, one of those trail-a-bikes.
I personally think it's all in how you ride it. I rode my standard-gauge-tubing Colin Laing tandem with easily 60lbs of touring gear and 375lbs of team. It was fine uphill and down. Never felt scary or too flexible. Same with big, drunk stokers on my Jack Taylor, which is a "lady-back" frame like yours and un-braced. Unruly loads can be controlled even on a flexible frame, with a little wrangling. You should have no problem if all you've got is a kid!
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Old 05-25-20, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
. You should have no problem if all you've got is a kid!
Now there's some refreshing optimism!
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Old 05-25-20, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by bark_eater View Post
Now there's some refreshing optimism!
Ha, first time anyone accused me of that! Just a die-hard tandemist. I learned to captain a tandem at age 14 with my mother on the back. She has balance issues because of a brain tumor she'd had removed in the late 1960s. Seems we were always leaning one way or another, but we managed well enough to ride in the Duluth tandem rally! Before that, I was her stoker and learned to keep her upright from the back seat. Kids are adaptable that way. Or at least I was..
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Old 05-25-20, 12:10 PM
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Wish this tandem had any of the parts needed for my French tandem.
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Old 05-25-20, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by steve sumner View Post
not sure what you mean about reducing the spacing of the rear hub. the old Gitane should be spaced at 120.
TA arms really only fit Ta spindles (properly) of course they can adapt to a "B" fit. The french cups won't do you
any good. does the Roy Thane even have canti posts? it all seems like too much work for next to nuthin
My gitane with the same ders came 145 from the factory. Was also 700c and did have french thread on the hub.

To the op, I stripped the brakes from mine and still have them sitting in a drawer, you want them you can have them for shipping, pm me if so.
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Old 05-25-20, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
Doesn't look like junk to me!!
It would likely be hard to sell though. But maybe different in this virus-addled time?


You have a kid? They grow like weeds! Especially with how fast time is passing these days, it will feel like a week and then he'll be taller than you. However flexible this thing is, it's better than a modern cheap tandem, or worse yet, one of those trail-a-bikes.
I personally think it's all in how you ride it. I rode my standard-gauge-tubing Colin Laing tandem with easily 60lbs of touring gear and 375lbs of team. It was fine uphill and down. Never felt scary or too flexible. Same with big, drunk stokers on my Jack Taylor, which is a "lady-back" frame like yours and un-braced. Unruly loads can be controlled even on a flexible frame, with a little wrangling. You should have no problem if all you've got is a kid!
Hey! I love the trail-a-bike! Admittedly, its not super stable.

Id love to get a tandem as my daughter gets a bit bigger. Ive kept my eyes on the burleys and others as they pop up.
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Old 05-25-20, 03:31 PM
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I've been putting most my energy into a Surly Big Dummy, so I can take my son for a ride and get some exercise. We did a lot of miles with a trailer, but he really out grown it. He's pretty boisterous, so I need to have a seat belt for him so he doesn't stand up surf or other tricks. It will be awhile before he's ready for a tandem.
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Old 05-25-20, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by bark_eater View Post
I'm in junk trading negotiations for a Gitane tandem. The Mafac cantilevers and TA crankset caught my eye and I'm wondering if the rear hub could get reduced to 126mm spaceing? The shifting gear is Simplex, but I'm not seeing much plastic in the pictures.

I've got a Roy Thane/Holdsworth touring frame that I would like to build up. It seems like I would have a pretty good start, especially if the rear wheel was usable. I would have to find a left side crank arm, though I have looked at TA tandem cranksets and it looks like the bolt flange could be machined of of a Left Tandem arm.

Lastly I do have a bit of an ethical twinge about stripping a classic survivor. So feel free to let me know if I'll be "Smashing Ming" or opening a box that should not be opened...


Once the total crankset gets broken up, this frame effectively becomes scrap aside from a die hard like Mr. scarlson.

Too bad you're so far away, this frame looks like one I would try to go with.

I've got some TA cranks that could be part of a trade but the whole tandem shipping thing is usually a deal breaker.
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Old 05-25-20, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
I've got some TA cranks that could be part of a trade but the whole tandem shipping thing is usually a deal breaker.
I looked into shipping a tandem, just for curiosity. Pretty much completely dis-assembled, in two boxes, one for the frame, one for the other bits, around $300 across the country, give or take $50. It's the combination of "volumetric weight" and oversize charges that is the killer, make it small and it is *much* cheaper.
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Old 05-25-20, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by oneclick View Post
I looked into shipping a tandem, just for curiosity. Pretty much completely dis-assembled, in two boxes, one for the frame, one for the other bits, around $300 across the country, give or take $50. It's the combination of "volumetric weight" and oversize charges that is the killer, make it small and it is *much* cheaper.
Therein lies the rub, once this is cannibalized, the frame isn't worth shipping unless its something very special, right size, can't live without, or........
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Old 05-25-20, 04:19 PM
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I had two Motobecane tandems. Offered them up cheap, the pair for half of what just one set of cranks would bring. Finally gave up. Sold two two crank sets, bar end shifters and other parts.

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Old 05-29-20, 02:58 PM
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Just wanted to report that bike is in my possession. Almost half the asking price was covered with a pile of kids bikes and accessories. I'm not sure of the N +/- total of 3 wee bikes for a tandem but I think it was a good deal for both parties. The seller was not about the social distancing and from the bumper stickers might be a party loyalist. Besides that charming quirk, he's really nice guy who was getting into classic bikes and once the crisis passes, I plan on checking in with him.
I will be hanging the bike in my garage for the meantime. I'm not sure what my plan for the components is but if anyone is interested in the frame I will be travelling between DC and NYC at some point.

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