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New guy with an old Pueugot

Old 09-16-20, 11:16 AM
  #1  
gdgross
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New guy with an old Pueugot

Hi all - just registered on this forum to ask a maintenance question.

I've started cycling into work a few days a week on a 1970s(?) white peugeot that used to belong to my dad. (See attached pic for those more knowledgeable about old bikes than I, which is everyone in this forum I imagine.) I'm not an experienced cyclist, but i'm a generally in-shape guy, so the rides haven't been too bad.

I noticed in the last few rides that something seems off. The bike may be pulling slightly right, or there may be some stiffness in the steering when I put my weight on the handlebars. (I don't notice this when the front is unloaded.) It sort of feels like the steering is jerky or maybe inaccurate or something? Makes me a bit afraid to take my hands of the handlebars. It seems to me that I only notice the pulling/steering stiffness after, say 7-8 miles or more. Although that could just be my perception, today was only my third ride into work.

The crank is good, I actually had it replaced recently. I know the front forks are *very* slightly bent, but I've been riding on this bike for years without noticing that there is any problem. (just a lot more regularly now!)

Could this be the bearings in the steering mechanism? If so, is it possible to repair, and where would I go about finding parts for this dinosaur? I'm fairly handy mechanically, fwiw. If not that, what else should I be looking for.

Thanks all!
Geoff

edit - apparently I cant attach pics unless I've made 10 posts on the forum. just imagine a white road bike from the 70s, haha.
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Old 09-16-20, 12:51 PM
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Hello and welcome!
I am not a long-timer here by any means, but have been around bikes my whole life. The "steering mechanism" you are referring to is called a "headset" in bike speak. Your old Peugeot will have what is called a 1 inch threaded headset. This will be slightly important when trying to figure out how to replace the bearings, which you can absolutely do. There are several "how-to" guides on the internet for how to service a headset. Old Peugeots can be a little tricky compared so some others, but nothing that is way out of the ordinary. For example, I just found out that my Peugeot headset, the upper portion works a little different, so the bearings seat a little differently, but otherwise, is exatly like any other headset. There are rumors that some old French bikes take Metric sized bearings, but these may be myths and rumors.

You just need about 50 (without seeing your headset, we will never know!) 5/32" bearings (Chrome steel, #25 , you can get away with #300 , but why? should be around $5) and some grease. Removing the handlebars will involve loosening(but not removing!) the nut at the corner of the stem and pulling. Possibly hard! The rest is in the online guides of how to service a headset. The stem can get stuck. I have loosened the bolt, removed the front wheel placed the forks on the floor and, with a gentle tap of a small sledgehammer, gotten them to move that way (old Schwinn LeTour). Then the stem pulled right out!
Again welcome and hope it goes well.

Other option is a bike shop. They can certainly fix that up if they know much of anything. Find the place that has been around the longest!
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Old 09-16-20, 01:19 PM
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I would deal with the bent forks first, and then look at the headset.
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Old 09-16-20, 02:22 PM
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Thanks guys.

After some googling and picture comparisons on bike boom peugeot dot com (can't post links either, lol), I think this bike is a PX10 rather than a UO8 or A8. I'm not sure if that makes any difference to the headset or the front forks, just an FYI. I would post a pic if i could haha.

I'm not sure i feel comfortable bending the forks at all! But totally comfortable replacing ball bearings and disassembling the steering mechanism though. I'd say after playing with the (fully assembled) headset right now that the steering feels slightly "gritty" although the forks seem to turn fine under no weight load.

Anything else that could contribute to the slight feeling of instability in the ride?

Thanks!
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Old 09-16-20, 02:32 PM
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If you have a PX-10, then you have the desirable Stronglight V4 headset. Do NOT replace it if at all possible, it probably just needs cleaning and grease, maybe new bearings - like all Stronglight headsets, the V4 is durable and good quality.

My question is - have you checked to make sure the rear wheel is sitting straight in the rear dropouts and that the rear wheel is tracking in a straight line with the whole bike? If the rear wheel isn't straight back there and in alignment with the frame, it will throw the bike off balance a little, and I have learned it makes the bike feel like it's going sideways down the road. Maybe this is too basic a question, but if you haven't checked that, do and see what that does for you. The sudden sensation of the bike not being quite right could be due to this.
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Old 09-16-20, 02:54 PM
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Thanks rusty, I haven't checked that, pretty new to cycling on a regular basis and maintaining my own bike too. Is it just a matter of checking that the wheel is equidistant from each side of the frame forks on the top and bottom? or is there a better way?
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Old 09-16-20, 06:05 PM
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An overly tight headset can cause steering issues. Possibly if bike sat a very long time the headset grease can be either gone or turned to varnish. Also if ridden without clean serviceable grease bearings might be worn. Might be that simple service will clear up a lot.
Do you live where there is a co-op? If headset needs work so might bottom bracket, both easy fix
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Old 09-16-20, 06:22 PM
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When removing the fork be aware that many early Peugeot's had a combination of caged bearings (all stay together) and uncaged ones in the fork. Disassemble over a catch tray so you wont watch your bearing fly across the ground.
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Old 09-16-20, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by gdgross View Post
The crank is good, I actually had it replaced recently. I know the front forks are *very* slightly bent, but I've been riding on this bike for years without noticing that there is any problem. (just a lot more regularly now!)
Why was the crank replaced?
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Old 09-16-20, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
Why was the crank replaced?
one of the pedal arms was bent, and it had a little wiggle on every rotation. I thought this may have been contributing to my steering issues. I don't think they replaced the whole interior mechanism, but one of the arms for sure.
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Old 09-16-20, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by oldnslo View Post
When removing the fork be aware that many early Peugeot's had a combination of caged bearings (all stay together) and uncaged ones in the fork. Disassemble over a catch tray so you wont watch your bearing fly across the ground.
Thanks! will do :-)
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Old 09-16-20, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by gdgross View Post
one of the pedal arms was bent, and it had a little wiggle on every rotation. I thought this may have been contributing to my steering issues. I don't think they replaced the whole interior mechanism, but one of the arms for sure.
A bent crank arm means it was crashed, I wonder if the fork got damaged as well.
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Old 09-16-20, 09:06 PM
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Have you oiled the headset bearings through the perimeter gap around each cup?

These headsets tend not to loosen or to get over-tightened, because of the toothed washer system of adjustment. It could have been messed with though and ended up too tight.

The bent fork is a red flag for a possibly bent steerer tube, which would induce a sensation of over-tight bearing adjustment.

If the steering pulls toward one side then the fork legs will likely need to be moved (bent, one at a time) toward the same side as it pulls toward. This symptom would be further indicated by the wheel no longer centering between the fork legs up near the crown.
But if both legs and the crown are bent to one side together, with the wheel still centering under the crown, then the fork steerer tube (inside of the head tube) could be bent by itself.
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Old 09-16-20, 09:23 PM
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Picture Assistance

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Old 09-16-20, 10:45 PM
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After seeing the photo, you have a Peugeot PR-10, the PX-10s less expensive stablemate - different cranks and Peugeotís house tubing for forks and stays - still an excellent bike!

Regarding the rear wheel, yes, see if it is equidistant between the seat stays and chain stays- then see if it lines up with the seat tube. Sometimes when a bike is serviced and the rear wheel is removed it isnít completely aligned - Iíve had some bikes where the wheels fall right into alignment and others that require some fiddling around to nail it.

Last edited by rustystrings61; 09-16-20 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 09-17-20, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by rustystrings61 View Post
After seeing the photo, you have a Peugeot PR-10, the PX-10s less expensive stablemate - different cranks and Peugeot’s house tubing for forks and stays - still an excellent bike!
Originally Posted by rustystrings61 View Post

Regarding the rear wheel, yes, see if it is equidistant between the seat stays and chain stays- then see if it lines up with the seat tube. Sometimes when a bike is serviced and the rear wheel is removed it isn’t completely aligned - I’ve had some bikes where the wheels fall right into alignment and others that require some fiddling around to nail it.


Thanks Rusty - i'll check the rear wheel, but i'm pretty sure it's straight. After the ride home yesterday, it sure feels more and more like a steering thing to me, so today (while I'm home) I will check out the steering tube and headset. It kind of feels like the handlebars don't want to turn until i sort of move them a little more forcefully. It's subtle, but it does make me feel a little nervous, and I haven't felt comfortable taking both hands off the handlebars since I noticed this.

FYI i have never done any work, oil, tightening or otherwise on the headset/steering, and I dont believe any work has been done by a pro on that either. In general, the bike has been sitting in my garage for probably 15 years, having been ridden about once a year up until the last few weeks, and never for the distances I am doing now (15mi each way.) That's after having sat in my dad's garage for another 10; he moved onto other bikes long ago.

Also, thanks to (i assume) the mods for pulling that pic i tried to post out of the ether!

Last edited by gdgross; 09-17-20 at 02:33 PM. Reason: didn't mean to yell :-)
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Old 09-17-20, 02:22 PM
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I am guessing PR-10, as well. There should be the remains of a French language Reynolds 531 sticker on either the seat tube or the downtube.

Delightful bikes -- my son still rides my 1980 PKN-10, successor to the PR-10, which I would have kept if it had been one size smaller.
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Old 09-17-20, 05:48 PM
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well, took out the old bearings, cleaned them up, lubed everything up, and put them back in (minus one that fell and I didn't see whether it was from the top or bottom...). I took a ride around the block and it felt fine to me. Then again i didn't notice the weirdness earlier until many miles into the ride, and mainly at probably over 12-15mph - not sure exactly what speed, as i don't have a speedometer.

FYI they were pretty dirty inside. I suspect this headset had never been serviced. I *know* I never did it, and i bet my dad didn't either.

Will report back tomorrow after my ride into work!
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Old 09-18-20, 11:21 AM
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Morning all - seems like re-packing the bearings was the ticket. Felt fine on the ride into work this morning!

In unrelated news, one of the nuts securing the real wheel to the frame had loosened and the wheel was rubbing against the interior of the frame. Fortunately, it was just a few miles from home and my wife came to my rescue me with a crescent wrench, which now resides in the backpack I take with me to work. :-)

I used to have a VW bug from the 60s that I was constantly fixing. Just the nature of old things i suppose!
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