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French eccentricities, what can I expect?

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French eccentricities, what can I expect?

Old 10-05-21, 12:34 PM
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The Trashman
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French eccentricities, what can I expect?

I found a UO-10 recently, and was already aware of some of the oddities the French engaged in, but am less than enthused to find out that extends to needing $40+ specialty crank pullers.
I am aware of the potential of reverse threaded bottom brackets, odd seat post/stem diameters, french threaded pedals, what other oddities did they engage in that might cause potential issues or other inconveniences? I've noticed some smaller things, like the ball end straddle wires, the brake adjustments on the brakes.
The badge ~1980 from the chart I saw, and the strong light cranks are the french threading for the remover, (but 9/16-20 threaded pedals), which I read was pre 1982, so it is likely around that age, would it be likely be using the french threaded bottom bracket?
That aside, how do people delete reflectors that have the curved portion to fit the rear tube, can you buy curved spacers, or should I just cut off the curved portion?


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Old 10-05-21, 12:43 PM
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I would guess only the headset is French. Leave the BB fixed up in place, and you won't have to worry about the bb threading. Pedals are standard. Just start tearing it down and see what works and what doesn't.
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Old 10-05-21, 01:06 PM
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If you have to service the BB, try your LBS or co-op/bike kitchen if there’s one nearby. They should pull the arms for a small fee. At the co-op where I volunteer, we would do it for no charge in hopes that you would come back to buy stuff.
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Old 10-05-21, 01:11 PM
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If you remove the reflector brackets you can find nesting pads for the front and the rear. The curvature is slightly different from one to the other, but you can probably just use flat washers or nothing at all. Your bike is late enough that the Frenchness of stuff is unlikely to pose many problems. Have fun!
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Old 10-05-21, 03:48 PM
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Likely Swiss threading on the bottom bracket, removes like English.
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Old 10-05-21, 04:33 PM
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I have been working on an 83 UO14 and consider myself still a French virgin. Mostly standard stuff on the 83, and sounds like on yours too. Luckily the 76 Motobecane I got at the same time is lower end so I won’t get my French introduction there either. Good luck though.
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Old 10-05-21, 04:50 PM
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There's most likely a baguette stuffed inside the bottom bracket shell.
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Old 10-05-21, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. 66 View Post
Likely Swiss threading on the bottom bracket, removes like English.
...Peugeot used Swiss threading ? I can see why people get discouraged by them.
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Old 10-05-21, 05:45 PM
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.
...hard to tell about the BB threading, but by the time they made that one, it was not quite so idiosyncratic as their 70's bikes.
Rejoice in the fact that by the 1980's, the vast majority of the components on them were reusable, and longer lasting.

It's a glorious vintage for Peugeot, and it was created not too long before the end of such things.

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Old 10-05-21, 06:16 PM
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Per the label under the BB, it is a UO10 in size 57 cm.
The BB could either be French or Swiss, so be careful if you want to take off the fixed cup, as they will be threaded opposite from each other. You can determine the fixed cup threading by removing the easier to remove, non drive side cup and looking into the BB. The direction of the BB shell threads should be visible.

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Old 10-05-21, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by The Trashman View Post
That aside, how do people delete reflectors that have the curved portion to fit the rear tube, can you buy curved spacers, or should I just cut off the curved portion?
Probably gets some at a coop or LBS as well.
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Old 10-05-21, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
The BB could either be French or Swiss, so be careful if you want to take off the fixed cup, as they will be threaded opposite from each other. You can determine the fixed cup threading by removing the easier to remove, non drive side cup and looking into the BB. The direction of the BB shell threads should be visible.
There may be marks on the fixed cup face that indicate whether French or Swiss thread.
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Old 10-05-21, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
There may be marks on the fixed cup face that indicate whether French or Swiss thread.
Marks are inconsistent though, Companies marked them differently and some do not mark them at all, like on many mid to lower end Peugeots.. Surest way to find out is looking into the BB.
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Old 10-06-21, 06:46 AM
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Slightly off topic, does the lug design tell anything about which standards a particular Peugeot model has? Looking at one 70's aztec/pyramid style specimen
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Old 10-06-21, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Krov9 View Post
Slightly off topic, does the lug design tell anything about which standards a particular Peugeot model has? Looking at one 70's aztec/pyramid style specimen

...AFAIK, the Aztec lugged Peugeots were all fully French. BB threading, tubing diameters, steerer, pedal threading, etc. were all French metric.
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Old 10-06-21, 11:38 AM
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I'm confident that the OP's example is from 1979 or 1980.

Expect a reverse-threaded drive-side bb cup (either English or Swiss, I don't know). The original BB parts should be well made and durable, but use 11 balls for even better longevity.

Crank puller threads are normal here, pullers can be found for under $10.
I would buy one, since it allows you to position the right arm as many times as needed, at home, to find the best of four positions (for truest chainring axis).
I know that I can run through all four spindle positions in just a few minutes, torquing each position to well short of recommended torque before choosing the best one and really tightening.

Thinks like the straddle cables never seem to wear out, so are like any other part of the caliper.

Handlebar stem is likely 22.0 quill and 25.0 clamp, so bar and stem may need to be changed as a pair if the bar or stem has poor rider fit dimensions.

Front derailer will not be long for this world if it has a plastic body, so perhaps best not tighten the clamp screw much, if at all.

I'm still enjoying my same-sized 1979 UO9 Super Sport from this very same period:

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Old 10-06-21, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
I'm confident that the OP's example is from 1979 or 1980.
Crank puller threads are normal here, pullers can be found for under $10.
I would buy one, since it allows you to position the right arm as many times as needed, at home, to find the best of four positions (for truest chainring axis).
I know that I can run through all four spindle positions in just a few minutes, torquing each position to well short of recommended torque before choosing the best one and really tightening.
The crank is definitively the 23.3 stronglight threading, not the standard one.
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Old 10-06-21, 01:30 PM
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I feel for ya. I can do USA/Japanese bikes in my sleep, no longer up to the challenge of a French bike.
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Old 10-06-21, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
I would guess only the headset is French. Leave the BB fixed up in place, and you won't have to worry about the bb threading. Pedals are standard. Just start tearing it down and see what works and what doesn't.
I'm with SurferRosa. Unless you want to replace the entire BB for some reason, leave the fixed cup alone. It isn't hard to clean and regrease the bearing race with the fixed cup in place, and you can clean up the outside of it as easily on the bike as off.

Besides, if you pull the fixed cup and it is French threaded, you run the risk upon reinstallation of experiencing the self-removing fixed cup phenomenon endemic to French-threaded (and Italian-threaded) fixed cups unless you (a) use blue Loctite and (b) tighten the thing until it screams for mercy and then tighten it a little more. (Do not ask me how I know all this.) Leaving the fixed cup in place means you won't run that risk.

Hey, enough trouble comes into our lives unbidden. Why go looking for more?
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Old 10-06-21, 03:08 PM
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Stronglight cranks require a Stronglight crank puller, not the standard French puller.
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Old 10-06-21, 06:29 PM
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What models that were sold in the US market are likely to have forged dropouts or 700c wheels, though probably close enough to see some Canadian models down here?
I'm curious since rear stamped dropouts drive me nuts especially since I remove rear wheels so often while working on them, plus the derailleur hangers look ugly. If I need a $45 crank puller, might as well get my use out of it and look for some more over the next few months since I probably won't tear this one down to bearings until next year, just get it clean and workable for now while other projects need to be finished.
There was a green marseille I saw a month or two ago for $50 that was very clean and had forged dropouts, but was too small for me.

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Old 10-06-21, 06:45 PM
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There are a lot of neat French bikes with forged drop outs. Find a top end bike like a Gitane TdF, a Mercier 300, a Peugeot PX 10, a Moto Le Champion, etc. There are plenty of other models (and manufacturers) out there.

French bikes have their oddities and their charms. What's so special about French bikes?

They're cool in an old school way, there are a number of really great old French bikes out there, and they typically don't cost a lot. Plus they're easy to mod to turn them into good bikes for climbing. You live in an area with mountains. The Stronglight 99 crank and the TA crank both are very fine for a bike you want to use to climb with.

Stronglight switched over at one point so that the later ones use a regular puller. The 3 arm stronglight that came on my UO 10 uses a stronglight puller.

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Old 10-06-21, 07:29 PM
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Not any mountains I'd be getting to in biking distance, but I certainly wouldn't mind having a 30t gear like I see on the stronglight you mention. Endgame I would like to build up a gravel capable bike, but I have no frames I feel like using for that end. Something with forged dropout/derailleur hanger,ligher frame set, braze ons for cages, the mafac brakes look like they'd reach far enough down if going from a 27 to a 700c, the 30T option on the crank would help with the overall looks since it wouldn't need as large of a rear cassette.
Though it's somewhat meaningless to talk little details since I buy whatever is cheap enough to lull me into a sense of it being a cheap project and looks interesting.
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Old 10-06-21, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
There may be marks on the fixed cup face that indicate whether French or Swiss thread.
This. OP's bike is in the crossover period of French/Swiss (79-81, +/- 1yr), but even if Swiss, just don't take off the fixed cup, and there's nothing to worry about. It's a no-brainer. I'd be shocked if the races of those cups were pitted. Possible, but doubted. Damn things were pretty stout by the late 70s.

Typically speaking, for this specific transitional era, whether NERVAR or Stronglight BB, if the edges and the face of the fixed cup are perfectly smooth, it's nearly always French**. If any of the following three are true, it's typically Swiss: Fixed cup is bronze/yellowish in color when cleaned, there's a line embossed around the entire circumference edge of the fixed cup, or there's an embossed line circling the hole in the fixed cup.
.
**Sometimes the bronze-yellow tinting on the metal fades and is almost undetectable until you hold it next to a Campy cup.
.
YMMV, but I've found one exception to the rule above, and I'm not convinced what I was seeing was actually stock, unmolested.

But really, going back to the 1st paragraph, just don't mess w/the fixed cup. With how low-end this bike is, there's not much reason to replace the BB, and if you need a replacement spindle because it's pitted to hell or you want to go single/triple, I may be able to recommend a few NOS replacements you should still be able to get fairly cheap.

French isn't that hard. People make it a much bigger deal than it really is. The biggest PITA for me is models requiring a 22.0 quill stem, which may be the case with this one.
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Old 10-06-21, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
Stronglight cranks require a Stronglight crank puller, not the standard French puller.
There is no "standard French puller." Stronglight, the inventor of the square-taper cotterless crank, used a 23.35mm diameter extractor thread. Why 23.35mm? Who knows? Maybe Stronglight got a great price on 16mm mounting bolts and calculated that 23.35mm would allow clearance for a typical 16mm socket wrench. What's harder to explain is why Zeus, which also used 16mm mounting bolts, used a 22mm diameter extractor thread, requiring a particularly thin-walled socket to remove the bolts. But TA (also a French crank manufacturer), used a 23.0mm extractor thread, with 15mm mounting bolts. And Nervar, another French crank manufacturer, used the by then widespread 22mm extractor thread diameter with 15mm mounting bolts. By 1982, even Stronglight had converted to using 22mm diameter extractor thread, with 14mm mounting bolts.
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