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What do we think of a Gitane Hosteller?

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What do we think of a Gitane Hosteller?

Old 10-14-21, 02:46 PM
  #1  
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What do we think of a Gitane Hosteller?

I've been tempted to make an offer and commit to a drive out to get to get this purple parrot. I'd missed out on one like it in the late '90s when I first started thrift-picking bikes. I passed it up as well as a "Breaking Away" era Little 500 bike to buy a Chiorda because it was Italian. Whoops.

So it looks pretty complete and in fairly good condition, worth $125-150?


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Old 10-14-21, 02:51 PM
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When it looks this pretty, yeah it's worth $125 or so. These are interesting bikes and those racks are great. I don't know if I've ever seen one this clean.

These have a cottered triple, right?

You know the downsides to this bike. The saddle is almost guaranteed to be painful. A replacement crank and BB is a bit of a pain. The bike will ride a lot better with alloy wheels. The FD and shifters are iffy. I can't tell what the RD is but it looks to be a replacment.
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Old 10-14-21, 03:23 PM
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Aluminum rims? Maybe.

Steel rims? No.

At least one pedal is missing its dust cap. Cottered crank, stamped drops and probably French thread.
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Old 10-14-21, 03:33 PM
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Does that have the square saddle rails?

Interesting bike, but I don't think you'd tour on it.
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Old 10-14-21, 03:52 PM
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I have a tandem with the same racks. Steel and a tad heavy. Cool tho.
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Old 10-14-21, 03:56 PM
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I salvaged a Mafac RAID rear brake off one years ago. This one might have one? Hard to tell from the pic. Replace with a cheapo Weinmann 750 centerpull, sell the RAID for $50, and you've made 30% back on your investment!
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Old 10-14-21, 06:51 PM
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I think you know the answer already since you said you regret passing on the the last one…
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Old 10-14-21, 07:07 PM
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A very unique bike that seems to have all the original hardware. The cottered triple gives it fantastic range that boom era bikes seem to have overlooked. Lights, fenders and rack are all desirable on this example.
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Old 10-14-21, 08:26 PM
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I have a ratty one that sadly has no fenders or racks. The drive side dropout had some gouges on account of the wheel slipping because the skewer wasn't knurled for some reason. Maybe it had been replaced by the original owner. I don't ride it much because of that but it's a nice ride when I do. dweenk has a 23" one I think he's trying to sell (or give away?) in the for sale section.
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Old 10-14-21, 09:49 PM
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What Do I think? Not Much... ;-)

Originally Posted by Dylansbob View Post
I've been tempted to make an offer and commit to a drive out to get to get this purple parrot. I'd missed out on one like it in the late '90s when I first started thrift-picking bikes. I passed it up as well as a "Breaking Away" era Little 500 bike to buy a Chiorda because it was Italian. Whoops.

So it looks pretty complete and in fairly good condition, worth $125-150?


It's about a 1969-1971 Gitane Hosteller in almost mint condition, even the plastic bar tape looks original. Unfortunately it's photographed from the WRONG side.

"A picture is worth a thousand words, but only if taken from the drive side" T-Mar



The rear wheel appears to be a cheap nutted replacement with maybe a 3 piece hubs. The bike would have originally had 27" steel rims with a QR hub and a Simplex QR to match the front.

Gitane Hosteller bikes were imported/distributed by Mel Pinto and several other Gitane dealers like Big Wheel and Wheel Goods from about 1969 to 1973. They weren't very common or popular in the US because unlike in France and other parts of Europe cycle touring didn't become wide spread until the Bicentennial (Bikecentennial) in 1975. A bike before it's time.

My first Gitane was a 1972 Gran Sport DeLuxe much like this one. It was love at first sight.... ... that is until I got my NOS 1971 all Campy except for the brakes Gitane Super Corsa. It had been hanging on display for ~ 3 years and I bought it for $150 during a year end clearance sale!



Hostellers used the same frame as the Gran Sport model except they had mounting points on the forks for a front rack, a generator bracket on the left chain stray plus were drilled for lighting wires running inside the frame.

They had front and rear racks, matching fenders with head and tail lights, a generator and some of them but not all came with cottered steel triple cranks. They had the somewhat industry standard 50.4mm BCD that allowed the use of alloy chainrings like TA and Stronglight etc.

Gitanes came with either Mafac or Weinmann center pull brakes and Simplex Prestige derailleurs, Lyotard 36 pedals, steel bars, Pivo cast aluminum Death Stems, steel seatposts, cheap prostate specific saddles of different painful varieties... All the accoutrements of entry level French bike boom models.

The Gran Sport models weighed about 27 lbs. - Hostellers weighed in at about 29 to 30 Lbs.

Nothing to write home about in terms of ride and handling. The bike in question looks to be a 62cm. Gitane measured from Center to Top and made bikes in 50cm, 54cm, 57cm, 60cm, 62cm and 64cm size.

The geometry was built to ride on the rough poorly paved European roads of the 1960's. Smaller sizes of gas pipe frames left a lot to be desired in terms of smooth riding. On 60cm and larger frames, especially with riders over ~180 lbs. the ride was much better because the larger frames could flex more.

It would make a real nice classic bike to take out on special occasions. If someone wanted to make it into regular rider with more modern components it could get real expensive, real quick.

BITD I converted several 54cm Gran Sport frames into beater/trainers with mid range components. They served their purpose.

Enjoy!

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Old 10-15-21, 07:32 AM
  #11  
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I really like older, lower end French bikes. They have charm and style. That said, they are overpriced for what they are. The derailleurs tend to be iffy, they have steel cottered cranks, and steel rims. If you buy one, it's because because you think they're just kind of cool. If you want value, get a Japanese import with a chrome moly frame and alloy components.
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Old 10-15-21, 07:59 AM
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What Do I think? - Addendum

As I mentioned in my previous post, Hostellers were uncommon, especially so in our area with any bikes that came with fenders - not much rain in the Southwest. The early Hostellers, also Gitane tandems and Gran Toursmes had metal fenders like the bike pictured. Later ones had chrome like plastic fenders with color coordinated stripes. The later racks were chrome instead of matching paint too.

I forgot that the Hostellers had Pivo alloy randonneur bars. About half of the ones that I saw had double cottered steel cranks rather than triples. They had the same TA style 50.4 BCD chainrings attached to crank arm. Like their sister Gran Sport models, there was no telling what kind of brakes they had until we opened the box - Mafac or Weinmann.

Most came with Simplex Prestige derailleurs but a few, especially those made for the European market came with Huret Allvit derailleurs. At the end of the bike boom in 1973, some Gitanes even came with Suntour derailleurs.

The purple color on the OP bike is spectacular but it wasn't one of the colors listed for Hostellersin the US catalogs - red, blue or black. I only saw one bike boom era Gitane in the steel that was black. It was a European version Gran Sport with steel rimmed 700c wheels that someone brought in for service.

Dark green and purple were my least favorite colors back then. With exception of white, orange and sky blue, the rest of the colors were flamboyant (candy apple).... dyed transparent lacquer applied over a white base coat that chipped if you looked at it too hard.

During the boom era, Euro bike makers were in such a hurry to push bikes out the door that they were frequently poorly packed. By 1973 many of the Gitanes that we received had the wheels rolling around loose in the boxes which scratched and chipped the paint plus damaged the decals. It got so bad that Gitane provided touch up paint kits with little tins of all of their colors packaged in cigar boxes! They also sent us stacks of the Mylar foil decals in red and blue. That didn't make our job of assembling those Gitanes any easier.

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Old 10-15-21, 08:49 AM
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What do we think of a Gitane Hosteller?

We think it is a very nice bike. And we would like one in 25½", thank you.
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Old 10-15-21, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by bear_a_bug View Post
I salvaged a Mafac RAID rear brake off one years ago. This one might have one? Hard to tell from the pic. Replace with a cheapo Weinmann 750 centerpull, sell the RAID for $50, and you've made 30% back on your investment!
SACRILEDGE! It's a relatively rare (tho' not top end) dedicated touring bike and almost completely original!
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Old 10-15-21, 10:18 AM
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If it fits you, that doesn't seem a terrible price in this pricing climate.
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Old 10-15-21, 12:16 PM
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Looks like I'll be passing on it as my bike budget is going towards something else. Around the same size (argueably too big), but much newer and brighter.

If anyone else in the PNW wants to take a long drive, it's in Sequim.

https://seattle.craigslist.org/see/b...382758596.html
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Old 10-15-21, 12:57 PM
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How was the light wiring routed on these? Does anyone know of good pictures to show this? I saw a hole for the rear fender, but what about the routing to the front?
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Old 10-16-21, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by beech333 View Post
How was the light wiring routed on these? Does anyone know of good pictures to show this? I saw a hole for the rear fender, but what about the routing to the front?
Isn't that a wire going from the head tube to the fender? I looked at mine but it's got no fenders or lights, nor does it have a hole in the headtube that I can see. Not that I know anything about wiring since none of my bikes have them. I do wonder what those little bits under the down tube are though. They're small, only a few millimeters.
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Old 10-16-21, 06:21 AM
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I'd buy this bike, if it were local and if it fit me, then ride the heck out of it. Dynamo guides(assuming they are there), color matched fenders/racks, and that purple Gitane paint would be too much for me. I came close to messaging the OP to see if he would pick it up for me, but lacking the size and looking at my collection, I decided against it.

I'm settling for my green Gran Tourisme instead, in far worse condition. A dynamo wheelset will be built for it over the winter. I'm curious if the wiring would be routed the same.
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Old 10-16-21, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by beech333 View Post
How was the light wiring routed on these? Does anyone know of good pictures to show this? I saw a hole for the rear fender, but what about the routing to the front?
External wiring.The frame has a few small split tabs on the down tube that route the wiring from rear to front, and an eyelet in the front fender in order for the wire to get on the underside edge of the fender. There are also tabs at the underside edge of the fender to keep the wire away from the tire. The rear fender has another eyelet near the generator mount as well as tabs at the underside edge of the fender.

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Old 10-17-21, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I really like older, lower end French bikes. They have charm and style. That said, they are overpriced for what they are. The derailleurs tend to be iffy, they have steel cottered cranks, and steel rims. If you buy one, it's because because you think they're just kind of cool. If you want value, get a Japanese import with a chrome moly frame and alloy components.
"Whatch you talkin bout Willis?"
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Old 10-17-21, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
"Whatch you talkin bout Willis?"
Value is all in the eye of the beholder, right? I'm not sure if I've seen a "lower" end French bike in the valuations forum that you didn't think was underpriced . . .
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