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1973 Gitane TDF

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1973 Gitane TDF

Old 03-01-21, 07:41 PM
  #1  
orcas island 
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1973 Gitane TDF

My New Years resolution about “no new bikes” lasted a full 2 months. Better than many of my resolutions...
Just couldn’t resist this gold Tour de France in my size. It lingered on EBay for about 6 weeks before my offer was accepted.
It’s a kind of a mish-mash as it stands right now; the Simplex derailleurs are gone, as are the original bars, stem, and Mafac brake levers. The Cyclone GT rear derailleur isn’t a bad upgrade, but that brutal flat bar and stem combo definitely are on their way out soon.
Overall in decent shape, but lots of nicks and scrapes in the gold paint. I know that color matching these 1970s Gitane colors is a problem, but does anyone have any guidance about their “flamboyant gold” color and how best to touch it up? Thanks!




Last edited by orcas island; 03-01-21 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 03-01-21, 07:53 PM
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-----

yes, that stem/bar set looks like something we might have seen on CHiPs BITD

now ye shall needs be keep an eye out for the special Zeus clamp parts so ye can fit Mssrs Tron e Berthet to an alloy pillar with integral clamp


---

hast the insularians as yet begun a fund so they can erect a memorial to "Millie Crown"?

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Old 03-01-21, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
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hast the insularians as yet begun a fund so they can erect a memorial to "Millie Crown"?

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Not to my knowledge.

Last edited by cb400bill; 03-01-21 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 03-01-21, 09:14 PM
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I mis-posted this in the Appraisals forum; does anyone know how I’d move to to the C&V forum?
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Old 03-02-21, 05:44 AM
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Old 03-02-21, 06:01 AM
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The original paint and chrome look very good overall. It's nice to have the rear dropout with the hanger claw--that way you're not held hostage to Simplex. Or is that a claw mounted outside a proprietary Simplex hanger? I can't tell from the photo.
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Old 03-02-21, 06:28 AM
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Here's a photo that will make you feel better about the condition of your paint. It looks like there is a white primer, silver undercoat and then a yellow glaze on top. The glaze has small cracks in it that are visible in direct sunlight. The paint just glows in the sun!

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Old 03-02-21, 07:20 AM
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That gold paint is awesome. Gitane did some amazing paint jobs. And the variety compared to the black and white if todays bikes. I used Testors gold with moderate success on a similar era Falcon. The Gitane gold is a deeper gold. I would say go to a hobby shop but are there any left? Where do sign painters go for their paint? Oh Wait, none of them left either. 😉
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Old 03-02-21, 07:32 AM
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I have a 1971 Gitane Apache that I'm working on and having the same problems with paint colour. Mine is a weird combo of burnt orange and goldy tan fused together? near impossible to match the paint. I did a google search on cars that were (insert colour here), then took the make and year and went to a car paint touch up store to see what they offered. It's still a crap shoot though and those touch up applicators aren't cheap.

How do body shops match a cars paint so well? Is there some method they have to match the exact colour (which is the easy part, I have an app on my phone that does that) and then have the paint custom made? I would guess that would be costly as well.
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Old 03-02-21, 07:58 AM
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That should have the Simplex RD hanger, but with Gitanes of that era nothing is certain.
Metric 531 French bikes are magic!

Top
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Old 03-02-21, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Schreck83 View Post
Here's a photo that will make you feel better about the condition of your paint. It looks like there is a white primer, silver undercoat and then a yellow glaze on top. The glaze has small cracks in it that are visible in direct sunlight. The paint just glows in the sun!

Interesting, my TdF frame set has a spot just like that!
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Old 03-02-21, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
That gold paint is awesome. Gitane did some amazing paint jobs. And the variety compared to the black and white if todays bikes. I used Testors gold with moderate success on a similar era Falcon. The Gitane gold is a deeper gold. I would say go to a hobby shop but are there any left? Where do sign painters go for their paint? Oh Wait, none of them left either. 😉

.....

...and lettuce not forget the resource provided by nail varnish...


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Old 03-02-21, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by top506 View Post
That should have the Simplex RD hanger, but with Gitanes of that era nothing is certain.
Metric 531 French bikes are magic!

Top
When did Gitane start using integral hangers on the TdF? My 1971 had the plain dropout with the claw, but my current Tdf, which I think is a 74, has the integral hanger.
EDIT: Just looked up an old thread on that particular bike, and it (the TdF with the integral hanger) actually appears to be a 72, not a 74. So the changeover from claw to integral mount could have happened in 1972--or, given the scarcity of parts during the bike boom, it could have been much more random than that.
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Old 03-02-21, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Murray Missile View Post
Interesting, my TdF frame set has a spot just like that!

I think you should experiment and share your results with the OP! I like juvela 's idea to use nail polish as the color glaze...
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Old 03-02-21, 12:10 PM
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I was under the impression that Gitane never really did a changeover of dropouts during the foil decal era - rather, due to the demands of the Bike Boom they used whatever dropouts they had on hand. That's how you get TdFs with Simplex dropouts with integral derailleur tabs AND the matching prong on the left side; same dropouts WITHOUT the left side tang (as the first pattern was used up); Campagnolo dropouts in the rear w/ Simplex fork dropouts and steerers cut for Stronglight P3 headsets; Simplex dropouts without a derailleur tab. I don't remember ever seeing any Mel Pinto-imported TdFs with Huret ends (used on comparable European models with painted non-Reynolds stays), but who knows? They might be out there too.
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Old 03-02-21, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by jonwvara View Post
So the changeover from claw to integral mount could have happened in 1972--or, given the scarcity of parts during the bike boom, it could have been much more random than that.
This.
According to verktyg , anything went in '71. No hanger, Simplex hanger, Campy hanger, just use what's at hand and get 'em out the door.

Top
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Old 03-02-21, 12:41 PM
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You know, a friend of mine had the relatively rare Evolution Orange edition of the 2000 Mazda Miata, and the color really looks like what's depicted here (errors caused by my computer's screen display always possible).

Originally Posted by top506 View Post
This.
According to verktyg , anything went in '71. No hanger, Simplex hanger, Campy hanger, just use what's at hand and get 'em out the soor.
And here I thought it was simply chopped off. I cannot tell in the photos.
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Old 03-02-21, 01:12 PM
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Nice loophole...not a "new" bike. I have to say that I initially did not like some of the 70's colors, like this gold, but they have grown on me.

I picked one of these up a few years as an impulse/local pickup Ebay purchase, hoping I would like it, but it matched the Criterium a bit too much. The Gitane frameset was nice enough, but has been sitting in the basement for a while and I might purge it this spring. (not for sale atm, so please do not ask.)
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Old 03-02-21, 01:20 PM
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If you want to redecal (okay, they're stickers, not decals) that TdF, you can get good looking repros from Greg Softly at Cyclomondo here. I put a set on my brother-in-law's early 70s Gitane Tdf and it looks good.

Do not worry about Greg being in Australia. I have bought from him twice now; he is responsive and you'll get your stuff pretty quickly.

Nice score, BTW. That looks like the not-so-common Ideale seat with the aluminum (I think) plates instead of rails. Too bad the leather is a bit, shall we say, swaybacked. I hope it is still rideable

The friend who got me into cycling BITD had one of these (a lovely shade of blue) and it was a fine machine. He replaced the bar and stem with a 3ttt stem and Cinelli bar. I've asked him how he got a slightly larger-than-standard diameter Cinelli bar into a standard-diameter 3ttt stem (oh, that crazy Cino Cinelli and his proprietary dimensions). All he will say is "it wasn't easy."
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Old 03-02-21, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by cb400bill View Post
Thread moved to C&V.
Thank you!
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Old 03-02-21, 02:29 PM
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Nice score. Seems like there are lots of Gitanes showing up lately. Personally, I'd just leave the scratches the way they are. They add character!

Regarding the saddle, I was able to refurbish and reshape my alloy-railed Ideale similar to yours. I removed the leather, soaked it in a bucket of water, dried it, cleaned up the hardware, and re-assembled with a bunch of towels/rags pressed between the rails and wrapped tightly in another towel. This helped flatten the top of the saddle and stop the sides from flaring out. I made a thread about it. (In that thread I said I soaked it for about 12 hours, but in hindsight, I think just an hour or two would be sufficient.) Hopefully, you can still see the sequestered Photobucket images in that thread. Mine was probably in worse shape to start, and it's still holding up very well:

Thread: Ideale Reborn!

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Old 03-02-21, 03:39 PM
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Between the metallic gold and the metallic green found on the early 70s models, they're both just gorgeous. I have a plain sky blue, plain bright orange, both early 70s, and a bare frame I need to (finally) paint this year but I haven't been able to decide on a color yet.

Totally under-valued frame, considering what I paid for all three of the ones I've bought in the last decade. One of the only bikes I own multiple frames of. My only gripe is they used a super-cheapo rolled steel tube for the brake bridge. the stay bridges are the only single thing I would change about the TdF/SC frameset to make them look as high-end as they feel.

The repro decals are OK. Honestly, though, I think the foils look cheap as hell. The only stickers that don't look cheap are the fork decal, the hand, the Reynolds stickers, and the head decal isn't horrible but foil just has a cheapo vibe to it for me. I have a couple of downtube decals on-hand, but not sure I'll ever use them.
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Old 03-02-21, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by francophile View Post
My only gripe is they used a super-cheapo rolled steel tube for the brake bridge. the stay bridges are the only single thing I would change about the TdF/SC frameset to make them look as high-end as they feel.
Well, the crudely pinched-off ends of the seat stays where they're brazed to the seat lug are a little bit of a kludge, too, especially compared the the nice willow-leaf caps on the earlier models. But that's part of their charm, I guess. As everyone else has noted, they sure ride nicely.
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Old 03-02-21, 07:47 PM
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Not sure whether this claw was added later or whether this was the way it came from the factory?
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Old 03-02-21, 09:11 PM
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Great Gitane...hope it fits you and that you plan to ride/love her! I know because I bought my 1973 Gold Gitane TDF two years ago, and was concerned right off the bat with touch-up with the correct color, using nail polish. And preserving the Reynolds stickers. I used clear-coat nail polish on the stickers, and they're no longer peeling off. Got a new set of Reynolds stickers from Cyclomondo, along with a couple of replacement foil decals (full set pending). Both are identical to the originals.


Here's what I finally found that serves the purpose: COVERGIRL "Outlast" Nail Polish in "SULFER BLAZE".

It's a spot-on match color-wise, with one minor drawback - it has Glitter.


But it's fantastic for nicks, dings, etc...ever "nickel-sized" splotches. From 4 feet away you don't notice the glitter.


If you Google "Covergirl Sulfer Blaze", you'll find numerous sources for sale for around $3-$4 a bottle. It's not a current color you'll find in stores...I happened across it by chance a couple of years ago in a Dollar Store.


I understand Verktyg once had a Gold Gitane (Super Corsa), and I've been meaning to ask him or whoever else knows...what's with the Gold? Was it a 1-2 yr, limited color that happened to make it's way into Mel Pinto's stable? Gold isn't listed as an option on any catalogs I've seen.


Anyway, if you'd like further info on hangers, headset, Sugino crankset upgrade, etc., feel free to contact me. I've been through it all with the help of fantastic advice and postings from Verktyg and others on the forum.


Here's are shots of mine when I first got here, and two years later with a ton of touch-ups and a few upgrades.


Welcome to the club!


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