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1974 Motobecane Grand Touring - What work is needed here??

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1974 Motobecane Grand Touring - What work is needed here??

Old 03-08-21, 03:38 PM
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kolt54321
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1974 Motobecane Grand Touring - What work is needed here??

Hey all! Just bought a '74 Motobecane Grand Touring yesterday for $70. I've taken as many close up pics (in my profile - still can't link them yet sorry!) as I could - but totally new with bikes so hoping it is helpful. What are your thoughts on this one? I already have a Trek Multitrack 700 (apologies, yesterday quoted 720 - it's a 700, steel frame) from '91, that rode great all throughout last year but the gear switcher needs a complete overhaul. I've left it effectively as a single-speed for now, brakes adjusted, standard (non-drop handlebars) and a hybrid. I'm hoping to use the Moto as a road bike that could get me through 25M rides of scenic routes! Not racing with this or plan on going very fast, just far hopefully. Standard handlebars on the 700 do leave my hands more sore on bumpier parts of the ride.

Album here: https://bikeforums.net/g/album/20787983 . Finally able to link!

Another user noticed yesterday:

* Back derailleur is not original (Shimano SIS), not held on correctly.
* 1x conversion is lame here - they just took off the front derailleur and called it a day. Won't be useful in going up hills.
* Chain is too short
* Missing crank bolt (drive side)
* Will always be heavy since it's a steel frame + steel cranks. Alum tires thankfully.
* French parts - more specialty (not easily replaceable) and 27'' tires - not 700C, a bit harder to find, but not rare.

As I'm new to this, I took this to the local bike shop (I'm hearing this was a mistake?), and his comments were:

* Will re-fit back derailleur
* Something wrong with the gears, may need new cable. Will fix/replace
* Will replace crank bolt
* Back brake needs adjusting (as expected)
* Doesn't really see the chain as too short
* Don't think it will be the absolute best at fine-tuned climbing hills but there's enough spacing within the back gears to provide ample variation.

They quoted ~$50, and so I left it to them. I'm no good with adjusting brakes, so I figured it's worth the cost just for the tune-up (+ an expert lookover), and they'll have the crank bolt which may be hard for me to source. Not sure if this is a lot, but how would you have gone about it?

As I know there are experts here on the vintage side, I'm hoping to hear your thoughts! Both on whether there's something else that needed to make ridable, and if there's any beginner-friendly adjustments that would be great for quality of life. And whether this bike would be suitable after everything for longer rides! Thanks everyone

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Old 03-08-21, 03:51 PM
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Old 03-08-21, 03:54 PM
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Pretty bike. $70 is a decent price on this bike and $50 labor is a fair quote for the work that is being done. You should get some new tires.

Panaracer Pasela 27 x 1 and 1/4 are a good choice.

https://www.biketiresdirect.com/prod...d-tire-27-inch

These Schwalbe tires are good as well, https://www.biketiresdirect.com/prod...7-x-1-1-4-tire

Tire availability is spotty because of the supply disruptions so you may have to look around a bit to find your tires.

Eventually you will want to change the gearing to 2 x 5 from the current 1 x 5. The nervar sport crank has an obsolete 128 bcd which means that chainrings aren't easy to find. You might be able to find one here by putting up a WTB in the C&V for sale forum. Alternatively that's really, really close to 130 bcd which is still made so you should be able to find a new chainring that will work. You may have to enlarge the hole a bit to make it work.

You'll need different chainring bolts to make this work and a front derailleur.

Did you ask the seller whether he/she had the old derailleurs and the old chainring? If not, it's worth asking as they may have them and might be willing to give them to you.

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Old 03-08-21, 04:00 PM
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-----

thanks for the new images and for the pic assist

this will make it much easier for readers to give advice & suggestions

an earlier discussion thread on the bicycle resides here -

Is this worth $75? Would be an upgrade to my Trek Multitrack 720

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Old 03-08-21, 04:13 PM
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Where are you located? If anywhere near far western MD I have a (not steel) triple crank I took off my 1979 Motobecane GT (replaced it with a Biopace triple) that needs a new home but I really really don't want to ship it.

Note I paid 68$ for my GT at a thrift store , they are actually nice bikes, not like my Le Champion but a lot better/lighter than a lot of stuff
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Old 03-08-21, 04:21 PM
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I wouldn't ride a bike with a missing crank bolt unless I was trying to loosen the arm.

And is the frame big enough for you?
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Old 03-08-21, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Pretty bike. $70 is a decent price on this bike and $50 labor is a fair quote for the work that is being done. You should get some new tires.

Panaracer Pasela 27 x 1 and 1/4 are a good choice.

https://www.biketiresdirect.com/prod...d-tire-27-inch

These Schwalbe tires are good as well, https://www.biketiresdirect.com/prod...7-x-1-1-4-tire

Tire availability is spotty because of the supply disruptions so you may have to look around a bit to find your tires.

Eventually you will want to change the gearing to 2 x 5 from the current 1 x 5. The nervar sport crank has an obsolete 128 bcd which means that chainrings aren't easy to find. You might be able to find one here by putting up a WTB in the C&V for sale forum. Alternatively that's really, really close to 130 bcd which is still made so you should be able to find a new chainring that will work. You may have to enlarge the hole a bit to make it work.

You'll need different chainring bolts to make this work and a front derailleur.

Did you ask the seller whether he/she had the old derailleurs and the old chainring? If not, it's worth asking as they may have them and might be willing to give them to you.
Thanks! Just asked the seller but don't have too much confidence that they'll answer. Hope they have the original! Good call.

Hm, I know the bike shop has 27'', just not sure how immediate the need is for replacement. The treat does look worn but no cracks... would you say it's best to replace those before some initial rides or if they look worn but good, it's fine to ride as is?

Thanks for the advice on the gearing! Looks like it may be a small challenge but worthwhile for me to note for the future if this bike is to become better.

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Old 03-08-21, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
I wouldn't ride a bike with a missing crank bolt unless I was trying to loosen the arm.

And is the frame big enough for you?
For sure, definitely not riding until the bike shop replaces the crank bolt. The frame feels a tad small but the seat is just the right height on the lowest setting - I'm a bit short at 5'6 so most bikes tend to be a bit tall on me.
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Old 03-08-21, 04:55 PM
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Is that a 19 inch or a 21 inch frame? Looks like it might be a 19 inch frame but hard to be certain from a picture.

If the tires look good with decent tread and no cuts, then you can ride them. Frankly it makes sense to ride it for a while and see what you think before you put any work into it.
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Old 03-08-21, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Is that a 19 inch or a 21 inch frame? Looks like it might be a 19 inch frame but hard to be certain from a picture.

If the tires look good with decent tread and no cuts, then you can ride them. Frankly it makes sense to ride it for a while and see what you think before you put any work into it.
Hm, good question. Sadly it's still stuck in the bike shop so can't measure it on hand... I'm thinking it may be a 19 inch as well. Not sure how it interacts with the tire size and height (might sit a bit higher on the 27'' wheels than on a 700c from the Trek 700) but the minimum seat height just barely works for me at 5'6-5'7. I'll ride it around and see how it goes! Luckily tires aren't too expensive so replacing them shouldn't be too terrible.

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Old 03-09-21, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by 3Roch View Post
Where are you located? If anywhere near far western MD I have a (not steel) triple crank I took off my 1979 Motobecane GT (replaced it with a Biopace triple) that needs a new home but I really really don't want to ship it.

Note I paid 68$ for my GT at a thrift store , they are actually nice bikes, not like my Le Champion but a lot better/lighter than a lot of stuff
Sure - may have some friends near you. Parts like that are probably rare enough that I'm not sure I'd come by them another way. Sent you a PM.
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Old 03-09-21, 01:05 PM
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I had the next year's model, a 1975 GT, which was essentially the same bike but with a Shimano Tourney crankset rather than the Nervar Sport in steel. The chainrings for those are available if you are patient, and both 40 and 42T can usually be found for reasonable prices. I paid $10 from a private seller for the 42 on my Surly Dingle-equipped Raleigh Competition, then paid something like $40 for a relatively rare 44T ring from a seller on French eBay. 40 and 42 were frequently found on bikes sold in the Anglosphere, though. And yes, one CAN modify a 130 mm bcd ring, and I think I actually have one like that in my parts bin. I can check if you are interested. I ran 39/47T chainrings on my Nervar Star cranks on a couple of different bikes before setting up the Dingle drive.

If you decide to replace the shifters, look for a set of SunTour Power Ratchet shifters. My '75 had the same ones as in the catalog photo for yours, black plastic handles. They are excellent, and if you are patient you can score a set of SunTour derailleurs to go with them. The V-GT Luxe is a wonderful unit, as are the shifters. I personally prefer the slightly later SunTour front derailleurs with conventional operation, that era often had reverse action derailleurs that I just never could get into sync with.

The Weinmann 999 Vainquer centerpull brake, with good pads and cables and housings, is a WONDERFUL brake that just fell out of fashion. The Mafac from the same era has acquired a new coolness factor because it's French, and the cognoscenti praise how it is hyper-adjustable, but the basic Weinmann works so well with good cables and housing and pads!

The Normandy Sport hubs, once properly cleaned and lubed, are surprisingly good as well. You probably have the basic Weinmann alloy 27-in rims, which aren't the greatest in engineering - but who cares?

My '75 was bought for $45 after languishing in a crawlspace in Greenville SC for probably 35 years. I bought it for the infamous clunker challenge 100 - but it changed my outlook on a lot of things. I started riding on a very similar Batavus, non-descript frame tubing, 27-in wheels, the lot, and I bought into the lighter/faster/skinnier-and-harder tires stuff. But when I built up my Motobecane and started riding it, I realized I wasn't really any slower on that bike than on my nice bikes. 27 x 1 1/4 at 70 lbs psi can produce an awesome ride, and when the tires are Panaracer Paselas especially so.
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Old 03-09-21, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by rustystrings61 View Post
I had the next year's model, a 1975 GT, which was essentially the same bike but with a Shimano Tourney crankset rather than the Nervar Sport in steel. The chainrings for those are available if you are patient, and both 40 and 42T can usually be found for reasonable prices. I paid $10 from a private seller for the 42 on my Surly Dingle-equipped Raleigh Competition, then paid something like $40 for a relatively rare 44T ring from a seller on French eBay. 40 and 42 were frequently found on bikes sold in the Anglosphere, though. And yes, one CAN modify a 130 mm bcd ring, and I think I actually have one like that in my parts bin. I can check if you are interested. I ran 39/47T chainrings on my Nervar Star cranks on a couple of different bikes before setting up the Dingle drive.

If you decide to replace the shifters, look for a set of SunTour Power Ratchet shifters. My '75 had the same ones as in the catalog photo for yours, black plastic handles. They are excellent, and if you are patient you can score a set of SunTour derailleurs to go with them. The V-GT Luxe is a wonderful unit, as are the shifters. I personally prefer the slightly later SunTour front derailleurs with conventional operation, that era often had reverse action derailleurs that I just never could get into sync with.

The Weinmann 999 Vainquer centerpull brake, with good pads and cables and housings, is a WONDERFUL brake that just fell out of fashion. The Mafac from the same era has acquired a new coolness factor because it's French, and the cognoscenti praise how it is hyper-adjustable, but the basic Weinmann works so well with good cables and housing and pads!

The Normandy Sport hubs, once properly cleaned and lubed, are surprisingly good as well. You probably have the basic Weinmann alloy 27-in rims, which aren't the greatest in engineering - but who cares?

My '75 was bought for $45 after languishing in a crawlspace in Greenville SC for probably 35 years. I bought it for the infamous clunker challenge 100 - but it changed my outlook on a lot of things. I started riding on a very similar Batavus, non-descript frame tubing, 27-in wheels, the lot, and I bought into the lighter/faster/skinnier-and-harder tires stuff. But when I built up my Motobecane and started riding it, I realized I wasn't really any slower on that bike than on my nice bikes. 27 x 1 1/4 at 70 lbs psi can produce an awesome ride, and when the tires are Panaracer Paselas especially so.
Nice! Clunker Challenge 100 sounds like a lot of fun - glad that's a thing here. Apologies if this is a stupid question, still very new to this - but what would I need to get those gears on the front side working again? Since it's been removed I'm not sure exactly what parts I'd need here, and how proprietary they are. Chain ring (to provide another gear), derailleur (to shift the gear), anything else? Am I correct in thinking each chain ring adds another dimension to the front (so 2x5, instead of 1x5)?

I'm honestly not sure what size would be best for the front (not sure what's currently on it...). Are the 40, 42, 44T rings all universal?

And yes! The brakes are actually really nice, convenient that they go both ways so no matter the hand position on the bars they're always in easy reach.
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Old 03-09-21, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
I wouldn't ride a bike with a missing crank bolt unless I was trying to loosen the arm.

And is the frame big enough for you?
Honestly, having it back from the bike shop, I'm not sure. Does the frame look too small in this picture? I'll likely be raising the seat another 1.5-2 inches (when pedal is at 6 o'clock, leg still isn't straight), but this was my first time on a road bike so was very thrown off by the handlebars being lower than the seat. Definitely felt a bit small but that's in comparison with the Trek which is a bit too large. Any thoughts?


Too small?
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Old 03-09-21, 03:41 PM
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To get a rough idea if the frame fits you, straddle the bike. With feet flat on the ground lift the bike up snug against your crotch. Ideally you should then be able to get one or two inches of air under the each tire.

If you raise the saddle until your leg is straight at 6:00, then you have gone too far.

BTW: The Motobecane should night and day ride quality improvement over your Mulktitrack. Nice bike.
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Old 03-09-21, 03:43 PM
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The reason I asked about the size, I saw it was a very small frame and the seat post was extended quite a bit in those first pics.
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Old 03-09-21, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
The reason I asked about the size, I saw it was a very small frame and the seat post was extended quite a bit in those first pics.
Oh - great point. Seller was 6' so it was odd but necessary for him - frame probably too small for him for sure. Luckily seat slid smoothly to bottom of post so no rust there (will grease to prevent it getting stuck).
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Old 03-09-21, 04:06 PM
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As Insidious C has suggested, if your legs are ever straight, your saddle is too high.

On saddle height:
. (Other videos in Francis Cade's series "Bike Fit Tuesday" are also excellent.)

If the height of the saddle is about right for you when it's as shown in your new photo, then it's likely that the handlebar will be uncomfortably far forward. Though if your torso is long for your height, you may be OK.
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Old 03-09-21, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Insidious C. View Post
To get a rough idea if the frame fits you, straddle the bike. With feet flat on the ground lift the bike up snug against your crotch. Ideally you should then be able to get one or two inches of air under the each tire.

If you raise the saddle until your leg is straight at 6:00, then you have gone too far.

BTW: The Motobecane should night and day ride quality improvement over your Mulktitrack. Nice bike.
Thank you! Will be raising the seat a bit higher since per the advice it's a bit low. I'm glad I got lucky with this one, and that my LBS is affordable.

The Multitrack is pretty much sentimental at this point - it's run over pretty much everything without a tune-up from glass to nails in tornado warnings and whatnot without a squeak (gears are complaining but nothing sans that). I'm baffled that it's from 1991 but these bikes indeed do last more than I would have originally expected.

Taking it out today the Motobecane feels like a fast ride despite its steel, and I'm not sure I'd want to go any faster if I'm to keep an eye around me (maybe that's all road bikes). Bit of an off topic question - sorry if this is silly, but is it safe to ride in the hoods on a vintage bike like this one? It's not really sloping upwards, and I'm not sure if the brakes are meant for that type of weight stress (couldn't really find anything in a quick search of the forums). Still trying to get comfortable on it but though I'd ask!

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Old 03-10-21, 01:03 AM
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Originally Posted by kolt54321 View Post
Thank you! Will be raising the seat a bit higher since per the advice it's a bit low. I'm glad I got lucky with this one, and that my LBS is affordable.

The Multitrack is pretty much sentimental at this point - it's run over pretty much everything without a tune-up from glass to nails in tornado warnings and whatnot without a squeak (gears are complaining but nothing sans that). I'm baffled that it's from 1991 but these bikes indeed do last more than I would have originally expected.

Taking it out today the Motobecane feels like a fast ride despite its steel, and I'm not sure I'd want to go any faster if I'm to keep an eye around me (maybe that's all road bikes). Bit of an off topic question - sorry if this is silly, but is it safe to ride in the hoods on a vintage bike like this one? It's not really sloping upwards, and I'm not sure if the brakes are meant for that type of weight stress (couldn't really find anything in a quick search of the forums). Still trying to get comfortable on it but though I'd ask!
Yes it is safe to ride with your hands on the hoods. In fact, that is the position most often used. You can operate the brakes with your hands on the hoods, but to stop quickly it is best to first move your hands to the "hooks" directly behind the brake levers.
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Old 03-10-21, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by kolt54321 View Post
. . . the Motobecane feels like a fast ride despite its steel . . .
Umm, what? Does steel slow bikes down?
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Old 03-10-21, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by microcord View Post
Umm, what? Does steel slow bikes down?
You probably know better than me! I've heard they may be slower due to the "flex" that steel frames may have when riding.
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Old 03-10-21, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by kolt54321 View Post
You probably know better than me! I've heard they may be slower due to the "flex" that steel frames may have when riding.
Old myths die hard. You might be interested in:
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