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1971 Gitane Fork problem

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1971 Gitane Fork problem

Old 07-30-20, 08:15 PM
  #1  
davbiken
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1971 Gitane Fork problem

Hi- new Here!
I don't fix a lot of bikes but I do pick up stuff at the dump i mean transfer station. That is where I grabbed a 1971 Gitane grand sport deluxe Mixte thinking I could fix it up. It has not been so easy. The frame seemed in great shape- did not look at all bent up. I tried to use as much of the original parts as possible and cleaned it up, changed the brake and shift cables and just rode it for the first time a few days ago. There are several issues but the front wheel seems to be the biggest problem. When I put the wheel in all the way to the bottom of the dropouts it is off-center in the fork and leans to the right. I can cheat by pulling the left side down a little then tightening, but it soon gets off-center and rubs. So it seems as if the left fork is a tiny bit short. Also the forks are spread apart too much- about 100mm inside dim. and the wheel looks like 95mm wide, so they need to bend together. I am not able to upload pics but based on my description does anyone have tips are advice that might help? Great-Thanks! Also, about the rear derailleur/wheel, I guess in the rear you can't push the wheel all the way up into the drop-outs because the one on the right derailleur side is much shorter. So on the back it seems you have to center it and clamp it down. If this is not normal let me know. Thanks!
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Old 07-30-20, 08:24 PM
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Yeah for the rear you need to center it by eyeballing the wheel so it is properly centered between the brakes and the stays. You cannot push it back all the way because the rear derailleur is there on a hanger.

For the front, I wouldn't sweat the difference between 95 mm spacing on the wheel and 100 mm fork; that's no big deal for a steel fork.

You should be able to clamp down the quick release hard enough so it doesn't move in the front fork. It may be that the front quick release skewer isn't doing its job properly which is why your wheel is moving on you. Replace the skewer and see if that fixes the problem. Also make sure the brakes are properly centered.

Then I'd check to see if the wheel is properly dished. Try a different front wheel to see if that solves the problem. If it does, the wheel is out of dish.

You have one of these right?


Last edited by bikemig; 07-30-20 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 07-30-20, 09:03 PM
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Yes! same exact one! except the one I have is blue aqua color and no chain guard. You have a nice one there- looks good! Anyway what you say about the front fork makes sense but my front wheel does not have a skewer and I can never seem to get it tight enough to prevent the shifting. Maybe I can just file one side a tiny bit or put in a little shim. The wheel is not dished. I've tried it both ways and tried a different wheel- it is the fork. Thanks for the help!
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Old 07-30-20, 09:24 PM
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Old 07-31-20, 04:53 AM
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davbiken
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Hey thanks ! Those are my pictures! I was not able to attach them until after I posted 10 times
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Old 07-31-20, 05:10 AM
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That's a good looking bike. I should have said check to see if the front wheel is properly centered, not dished in post 2 above.

So yeah just work your way logically through the possibilities: is the brake centered, can you tighten the wheel down properly, are the drop outs properly aligned, is the wheel centered, and then last maybe the fork is off.

The one thing you don't need to worry about is that the hub spacing may be a bit narrower than the fork. That just doesn't matter with a steel fork.
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Old 07-31-20, 06:26 AM
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Early 70's Bike Boom Gitane Gran Sport Deluxe Mixte

davbiken You have an early 70's bike boom era Gitane Gran Sport Deluxe which was the upgraded version of the entry level Gran Sport model. Gitane used the Gran Sport model name from the late 60's until about 1976.

We assembled 100's of Gran Sport/Grand Sport Deluxe bikes BITD. They were poorly packed. Your bike looks better than many of the bikes we pulled out of the shipping boxes.

In Europe, 100mm became the de facto standard front hub width except for France where the standard width was 96mm up into the early 80's. Better quality French bikes indiscriminately came in either width: "Is it wrong or just French"...

The wheel centering problem was common, even on new bikes out of the box. It could be as bikemig mentioned, the front wheel needs to be dished but more likely, the fork is misaligned.

If you're lucky, the dropouts are misaligned and that's and easy adjustment. This video shows you how to make and use inexpensive dropout/fork end alignment tools. Start at 1:26 minutes in the video:


Frequently the fork blades themselves were not accurately brazed into the fork crown and are not aligned with the steerer tube. That's more work and can turn into a can of worms!

Fortunately, the fork blades are made of soft steel tubing that can be easily bent (a few times but as the steel gets work hardened from repeated bending it gets stronger and harder to bend).

On a bike like yours, you can cheat a little - when you get the alignment close, use a round file to deepen the slot a little - (1-2mm) in the offending fork end.

IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE!!! Change those plastic brake levers to metal ones. They easily broke when new! DON'T TRUST 50 YEAR OLD PLASTIC BRAKE (BREAK) LEVERS!!!

Gitane Mixtes came in 3 sizes: 50cm, 54cm and 57cm seat tube heights. Yours looks to be the rarer 57cm size, measured from the center of the BB spindle to the top of the tube.


les spécifications sont sujettes à modification sans préavis - Specifications Subject To Change without notice.... and they did... Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.(component wise until you opened the box)





Oh, just one more thing.... Remove the brake pad holders and sand at least 1mm off of the rubber faces of the pads. 50 year old rubber doesn't stop well.

Enjoy!

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Old 07-31-20, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
snip . . .




les spécifications sont sujettes à modification sans préavis - Specifications Subject To Change without notice.... and the did... Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.(component wise until you opened the box)



Enjoy!

verktyg
I didn't realize that this model of Gitane came with seamless tubing. By the way, the pedals on the Gitane Gran Sport has 16 mm flats (not 15) . . .
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Old 07-31-20, 07:08 AM
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Seamless Gas Pipe Tubing???

Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I didn't realize that this model of Gitane came with seamless tubing. By the way, the pedals on the Gitane Gran Sport has 16 mm flats (not 15) . . .
Dream on.....

I GAR-ON-TEE you they used SEAMED gas pipe tubing with a 1.5mm wall thickness. "tuyau de gaz".... Check out the seam in the chain stay. Never trust what marketoids write! The person who wrote the copy probably had no idea what seamless meant!



Gitane used mostly Lyotard pedals with 15mm flats. Some of the later Lyotard pedals with hex ends instead of 2 flats may have been 16mm.

The upper pedal has the 15mm flats that Lyotard used for decades, the lower one the hex. BTW, Lyotard pedals with gray/black oxide spindles were metric thread, silver ones were inch thread.



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Old 07-31-20, 07:11 AM
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The pedals on my Gitane have black/grey oxide spindles and 2 flats and the flats measure 16 mm. . . . .
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Old 07-31-20, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
The pedals on my Gitane have black/grey oxide spindles and 2 flats and the flats measure 16 mm. . . . .
Hmmm???

One of my favorite tools:

Park PW-4 15mm Pedal Wrench... Works most of the time for removing pedals....

For times when PW-4 doesn't get the job done...

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Old 07-31-20, 09:32 AM
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Verktyg many thanks for the brochures!!! And the advice on tools! It is great to see all this stuff- I was kind of hoping I would find something like this here and this forum did not disappoint. I think I do have the Champion Blue and definitely the biggest 23.5" frame. It fits me and my daughters just barely 1 of the 2. It's a deceptively big frame. I will have to check my pedals.
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Old 07-31-20, 09:36 AM
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BTW is it hard to remove the fork? Should I just leave well enough alone? Oh and I think you are right about the plastic brake levers- they made me a bit nervous and the left one (front) actually has the end cutoff- if I could post pics I would. Want to stay original but safe also. I was surprised because my teenage daughter does not like bikes or biking (bad parent) but she was taken with this one.
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Old 07-31-20, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by davbiken View Post
When I put the wheel in all the way to the bottom of the dropouts it is off-center in the fork and leans to the right. I can cheat by pulling the left side down a little then tightening, but it soon gets off-center and rubs. So it seems as if the left fork is a tiny bit short. Also the forks are spread apart too much- about 100mm inside dim. and the wheel looks like 95mm wide, so they need to bend together. I am not able to upload pics but based on my description does anyone have tips are advice that might help?
First, check the alignment to ensure that the blades are equally offset and the dropout centerline is coaxial with the steer tube centerline. This is hard to do without a gauge of some sort, like the Park FT-4. Perhaps a local shop may have this tool?



If it turns out that one blade is longer than the other, causing this displacement, then you can use a round file to deepen the dropout slot on the side with the longer blade. Go slow, check often. It's easy to remove material but hard to put it back if you remove too much.

Finally, replacing the fork can be a reasonable option, especially if the headset is worn out and needs replacing. A replacement fork will have English thread, and allow a wider variety of replacement options.
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