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Alons-y!:1972 Gitane Gran Tourisme

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Alons-y!:1972 Gitane Gran Tourisme

Old 02-27-21, 08:52 PM
  #1  
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Alons-y!: 1972 Gitane Gran Tourisme

Here is my latest build, a '72 Gitane Gran Tourisme. Alons-y translates to "Let's go!" in French, and that's how I feel when I look at this bike. I just want to jump on and go just about anywhere. I'm really happy with the way it turned out. The paint and decals are a little rough, but it has a nice patina and I don't have to worry about it getting scratched at this point.

Several forum members helped with various pieces. First, thanks to @SwimmerMike for getting the ball rolling with a great deal on the frame & fork, plus BB cups, brake calipers, headset, front & rear derailleurs, and seat post. Before I started this project, I have purchased a random mix of PX10 from @polymorphself, and the brake levers were re-purposed for this project. The sweet Simplex shifters came from @mtbikerjohn. The 13-30t Regina freewheel was purchased a while ago from @obrentharris for another project, but this is where it will probably stay. The wheels and the rest of the parts came from my parts bins. Thanks, all.

I'm not 100% done yet. I still want to add some lights to take advantage of the nice fork mount. I'm also looking to add a front and rear rack. I have a small rack built to be mounted on the Mafac caliper, but the chrome is a little too far gone. Maybe I'll add a chainguard if I can find a reasonably priced vintage one.

And now for the photos...



Head tube


Rear view

Saddle & seat cluster


Drive train


Rear angle
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'72 Cilo Pacer • '72 Peugeot PX10 • '73 Speedwell Ti • '74 Nishiki Competition • '74 Peugeot UE-8 • '86 Look Equipe 753 • '86 Look KG86 • '89 Parkpre Team Road • '90 Parkpre Team MTB • '90 Merlin Ti

Avatar photo courtesy of jeffveloart.com, contact: contact: jeffnil8 (at) gmail.com.

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Old 02-27-21, 09:07 PM
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Wow. It’s coming together great. I knew when you came to pick up the frame that she was going to a Forum member that would treat her right. I think the vendors just kicks it up another notch Enjoy!
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Old 02-27-21, 09:23 PM
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It's beautiful. I hope you have big hands. Those brake levers have giant reach.
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Old 02-27-21, 10:05 PM
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Beautiful! Very thoughtful and appropriate build - taking the best of many worlds and making an extremely competent sport tourer. Well done!! Be sure to post it up in the French Bikes thread, too.
More details on the drivetrain please! Looks like a half-step plus granny. Enquiring minds want to know.
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Old 02-27-21, 10:09 PM
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Same vintage Gitane as these that made it halfway (or so) around the world. Amazing trip.

https://ridewithgps.com/ride_reports...cle-part-1-fra
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Old 02-27-21, 10:14 PM
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really gorgeous bike
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Old 02-27-21, 10:21 PM
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My kinda build.
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Old 02-27-21, 10:40 PM
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Thanks for the nice words.

@mountaindave As for the drivetrain. It's a Stronglight triple 52-48-36 crankset, paired with a 14-30t Regina freewheel. Crane RD in back, and a Campagnolo Record FD. I had to steal some links from a second Sedis chain to make it work.

Here's an "as-received" photo:

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Old 02-27-21, 10:47 PM
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Did you have the right length spindle for that strong light triple? Those are hard to find.
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Old 02-27-21, 11:03 PM
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@bikemig, Yes, I did have both the triple crank and proper spindle on hand already. I’d been planning on using it for a bike for my daughter, but then reconsidered. She’s young and fit and this old man can use the extra gears. She’ll get a Campagnolo double instead. Win-win.
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Old 02-27-21, 11:13 PM
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Beautiful bike!
I ride by that mural 8 times a week!
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Old 02-27-21, 11:47 PM
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Looks gorgeous. I've had experience with only one Gitane ('85 Professionel), but it was my favorite bike ever, so I understand what you're saying. Which makes makes me feel churlish in saying it's "Allons-y". Mine, BTW, was an ADHD handful at low speed and relaxed and stable at high, so it was saying "Vite! vite! vite!!"
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Old 02-28-21, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by gaucho777 View Post
... I just want to jump on and go just about anywhere. I'm really happy with the way it turned out. The paint and decals are a little rough, but it has a nice patina and I don't have to worry about it getting scratched at this point....
I think the patina is just about right for my comfort level. Riding something too pristine just makes me nervous, and it's not worth the extra aggravation. I just chalk up any extra scratches I happen to add to the bicycle as just more stories for the bike and it's next owner to discover together.
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Old 02-28-21, 02:27 PM
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Thanks again for the nice comments.

One thing I'm curious about and would welcome feedback on is the seat post clamp/rails fitting. The rear cradle does not fit as it should over the right saddle rail. There's a gap of about ~3mm in the 10 o'clock direction. I measure 52.4mm between the outside of the rails where it exits the rear cradle, which is slightly larger than the measurement I get for the outer edges of the cradle channels. My concern is eventually damaging/collapsing the saddle rail. The clap is not twisted when viewing from the side angle. I tried switching the front and rear upper cradles, but it didn't make a difference. The rails fit snugly in the bottom cradles, so it's confusing to me why the top cradles aren't also a snug fit. Are there different width cradles? My instinct tells me I should squeeze/bend the saddle rails together slightly, but thought I'd check with the masses before I do anything to this nice Ideale saddle I'll regret. Am I missing anything?



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Old 02-28-21, 04:03 PM
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Fantastique!!!

Absolutely LOVE that Gitane!!! Always love seeing a beautifully restored French bike!
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Old 02-28-21, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by gaucho777 View Post
Thanks again for the nice comments.

One thing I'm curious about and would welcome feedback on is the seat post clamp/rails fitting. The rear cradle does not fit as it should over the right saddle rail. There's a gap of about ~3mm in the 10 o'clock direction. I measure 52.4mm between the outside of the rails where it exits the rear cradle, which is slightly larger than the measurement I get for the outer edges of the cradle channels. My concern is eventually damaging/collapsing the saddle rail. The clap is not twisted when viewing from the side angle. I tried switching the front and rear upper cradles, but it didn't make a difference. The rails fit snugly in the bottom cradles, so it's confusing to me why the top cradles aren't also a snug fit. Are there different width cradles? My instinct tells me I should squeeze/bend the saddle rails together slightly, but thought I'd check with the masses before I do anything to this nice Ideale saddle I'll regret. Am I missing anything?



So... without the saddle in there, and completely removing the bolts that tighten the cradles where the saddle rails rest... do top and bottom cradles match each other, i.e., do the half cylinder grooves where the seat rails nest, do those grooves then align? (This would eliminate issues casued by your saddle rails, as well as the tightening bolt holes being off center.)
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Old 02-28-21, 09:59 PM
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I had an old leather saddle’s rails splay wider than the cradle. Tightening it down, which was a bear to get it centered, solved it.
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Old 02-28-21, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by uncle uncle View Post
So... without the saddle in there, and completely removing the bolts that tighten the cradles where the saddle rails rest... do top and bottom cradles match each other, i.e., do the half cylinder grooves where the seat rails nest, do those grooves then align? (This would eliminate issues casued by your saddle rails, as well as the tightening bolt holes being off center.)
It's a good question. I didn't notice anything amiss before I mounted the saddle. I'd have to remove the saddle and double-check to be sure (which I don't have the chance to do tonight).

@mountaindave Thanks for the input. I tightened it down pretty well, but I was afraid to tighten it down with all my might for fear of crushing the rail.

I'll give it another go tomorrow...

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Old 03-01-21, 12:28 AM
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Originally Posted by mountaindave View Post
I had an old leather saddle’s rails splay wider than the cradle. Tightening it down, which was a bear to get it centered, solved it.
I don't think it's the saddle rails because they're a good fit for the lower clamp. The problem is that the upper part of the clamp isn't matched to either the rails or the lower clamp. One might be tempted to wonder if the upper clamp came from a different post except that the rail spacing is well defined so all upper and lower clamps should have the same spacing. This one is strange.
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Old 03-01-21, 06:16 PM
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A quick update, on the saddle issue...

I removed the saddle to be sure the cradles lined up properly. Check.



Then I re-installed. Again, same issue but this time on the left-hand rail!



So, before fully tightening the cradles, I gave a little squeeze with a C-clamp, and everything fell right into place. Voila!



Hopefully, this may help someone else down the road.
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Old 03-01-21, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by gaucho777 View Post
A quick update, on the saddle issue...

I removed the saddle to be sure the cradles lined up properly. Check.



Then I re-installed. Again, same issue but this time on the left-hand rail!



So, before fully tightening the cradles, I gave a little squeeze with a C-clamp, and everything fell right into place. Voila!



Hopefully, this may help someone else down the road.
Sweet... I'm happy that you were able to fix the issue. Am I thinking wrong, but doesn't that sorta point towards the seat rails being on the wide side, or maybe a bit out of parallel, or a combo of the two issues? My OCD wouldn't allow me to leave something like that alone either.

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Old 03-01-21, 09:29 PM
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I may have used a c-clamp as well. It’s been a few years. Good on you for documenting it!
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