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Are French bikes junk?

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Are French bikes junk?

Old 12-10-21, 05:18 PM
  #176  
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^ I like the smell, too. Kind of a treat when changing the oil in one of the old cars.
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Old 12-10-21, 08:47 PM
  #177  
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Originally Posted by johnnyace View Post
This one is working really well for me. In fact it's my current favorite ride.

Motobecane Grand Record by John Jones, on Flickr
And its fabulous to look at.
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Old 12-10-21, 09:33 PM
  #178  
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
Yeah, it's hard on automatics! I'm the only one who touches my cars too, so I see any damage it might cause. I only tow with a manual car, and I do take extra care to change gear early and often (and gently!) when climbing and descending. Maybe that's another thing: automatics are more prevalent in the US. I've been thinking about a cooler for the manual transmission in my Saab. I've checked the temp a lot while hauling and it's not crazy, but I'm never really pushing it hard.
Adding the transmission cooler is a waste of money. Put in a good, synthetic fluid for better performance and smoother shifts. As far as I've ever hear, a manual pretty much can't overheat from towing. Money is better put towards making sure brakes, suspension, and fluids are as good as they should be. We plan to take a pop-up out to Montana next summer, minivan has gone 152k miles with no real repairs other then brakes so I'll be putting new, stiffer shocks and springs and new engine mounts which should make it good to go. It's previously hauled a Uhaul trailer through the Catskills loaded with cast iron and oak lumber with no troubles and could maintain 55 in 3rd going up mountains that were steep enough to add passing lanes. Manuals just don't care about load and heat.
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Old 12-10-21, 10:39 PM
  #179  
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
Manuals just don't care about load and heat.
that's a little too generalized. true..they're not like AT's with hydraulics, seals, and solenoids. but, whatever lube you use does care. friction is friction, and every lube has it's heat tolerance according to the formulation, and those little syncros are the most susceptible to poor/degraded lube. i know you said a good synth fluid, and it's generally on point, but not all are equal, ime. i tried M1 and amsoil in my manuals, it's just that redline really seemed the best. one tranny got better real quick, but i had to replace the other one as the wear had already gotten ahead of me. you'll know somethings up when it wants to get sticky shifting into certain gears. often the lower ones

ps. sorry. i know there's technical terms for all of this, but i'm forgetting them at the moment
pps. i do recall rotella geting high points on quality from my days of research
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Old 12-11-21, 12:47 AM
  #180  
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Of the factory bikes imported to the US, I was always impressed by Moto paint jobs.

...especially in the 70's. Whoever specced those Grand Record's and Grand Jubilee's had a good eye for color and contrast.






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Old 12-11-21, 01:29 AM
  #181  
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Is this one still going? I thought it would be gone in a few minutes. Not much in this thread helps change my mind on that save a few lovely photos of bikes. I think it's time to decommission this one folks.
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Old 12-11-21, 05:33 AM
  #182  
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
^ I like the smell, too. Kind of a treat when changing the oil in one of the old cars.
When I bought my 1960 Volvo (sorry it's not French) back in the mid 90's, it came with a leather wrapped steering wheel. It also needed a ton of work. In the course of changing all the fluids, I test drove the car with oily hands. To this day (25 years later), every time I drive the car, my hands end up smelling like gearbox oil from the leather wrap. I can live with it, but I really don't like the smell
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Old 12-11-21, 12:25 PM
  #183  
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
Don't worry, I am!!
Just sent some hardware and things out to Franklin for chrome. Procured a nice AVA bar for the stoker. Got to finish the stems and I need to either find or make a Lyotard pedal oil port clip - like the ones that cover the oil port on a campy hub, but for a Lyotard pedal. I'm working on some exciting stuff for the thread in the meantime, about the tandem's provenance, but it requires me to translate a couple documents from French. And I speak French, so I refuse to farm that out to any other person or software. But it's coming!

The gearbox project has been a long-term thing. It was a project before the tandem and it'll be a project after! Bike projects are like checkers and car projects are like chess, y'know?
Car repair is just less rewarding. Only thing less rewarding with cars is on the few occasions I have sublet work out, the mechanics charged crazy fees and or goofed up. Really depressing.
re-tighten the engine mounts? A different time when the serpentine belt went and the wife had to take it to a shop, where did that splash shield go? Have not used the same mechanic twice.
Have a new issue with another car, fuel leak on cold mornings, there is a TSB for it, even a parts kit... IF you live in a cold climate area, if you don't? too bad, so sad. Have parts.
Much more fun working on bicycles.
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Old 12-12-21, 04:33 AM
  #184  
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
Car repair is just less rewarding. Only thing less rewarding with cars is on the few occasions I have sublet work out, the mechanics charged crazy fees and or goofed up. Really depressing.
re-tighten the engine mounts? A different time when the serpentine belt went and the wife had to take it to a shop, where did that splash shield go? Have not used the same mechanic twice.
Have a new issue with another car, fuel leak on cold mornings, there is a TSB for it, even a parts kit... IF you live in a cold climate area, if you don't? too bad, so sad. Have parts.
Much more fun working on bicycles.
For me its a trust issue the machine is going to carry my family and I at 100+ mph for hours at a time, Im the only one I trust to insure were safe.
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Old 12-12-21, 05:22 AM
  #185  
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
Car repair is just less rewarding. Only thing less rewarding with cars is on the few occasions I have sublet work out, the mechanics charged crazy fees and or goofed up. Really depressing.
re-tighten the engine mounts? A different time when the serpentine belt went and the wife had to take it to a shop, where did that splash shield go? Have not used the same mechanic twice.
Have a new issue with another car, fuel leak on cold mornings, there is a TSB for it, even a parts kit... IF you live in a cold climate area, if you don't? too bad, so sad. Have parts.
Much more fun working on bicycles.
Am in total agreement. Uncle Tony's garage on youtube has lamented both the shortage of knowledgeable mechs and serviceable replacement parts. I've experienced this recently myself buying an alternator from a automotive BigBox store that the shell halves were so poorly aligned you couldn't get the bolt through...and the lad at the counter tried to tell me I was installing it wrong. Sigh.


Finding a good, honest shop nowadays is like gold. I'd rather trust a politician than most wrenches these days. Also I trust but verify. I make sure they see me crawl under my rig when I get it back to check if they actually replaced the oil filter I marked, and inspect for any missing parts or bolts like your splash shield. Pretty sure most shops hate me....although I'm willing to drop significant money for repairs when I trust a place and it's something I can't do myself.

Last edited by poprad; 12-12-21 at 05:27 AM.
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Old 12-12-21, 05:38 AM
  #186  
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Originally Posted by cb400bill View Post
I think that you would easily find on this forum many thread about the wonderful bikes from Motobecane, Moser, Gitane, Stella, Peugeot, Rene Herse, Singer, Follis, Mercier to name just a few.

Do some digging.
Sorry for being late to the party but why did you include Moser in the list? I am assuming you mean F Moser who started building (and is still there) in Trento Italy.

As for the OP I think he just has had bad experiences as anyone can have with any XYZ product. I have had bad French bikes as well as from other countries. The coolest bike I have (to me) is actually a Mercier Formule 1 with all steel oval aero tubing and crazy purple flake paint.
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Old 12-12-21, 05:51 AM
  #187  
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Originally Posted by daviddavieboy View Post
...why did you include Moser in the list?
Francesco Moser, made in France
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Old 12-12-21, 05:57 AM
  #188  
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
I almost bought a Chevrolet Chevette in 1978. I sat in one, and said no, not this right after sitting in the driver seat.
I had 4 of them from 86 - 92. With snow tires on all year there wasn't a fishing hole I couldn't get to and hardly a 4x4 trail it wouldn't navigate. They were terrible as a daily driver but a great winter beater and spare vehicle to abuse. My daily (summer) car back then was a 68' Newport.
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Old 12-12-21, 05:59 AM
  #189  
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Originally Posted by cb400bill View Post
I must have them confused with the F Moser started by the racer. Sorry
.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moser_Cicli

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Old 12-18-21, 04:50 AM
  #190  
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Originally Posted by C9H13N View Post
The French build some of the world’s best nuclear reactors and jet aircraft, I’m sure they could make a decent bike or two.
only seing that one now. I live in the border region France/Germany and i can see Fessenheim from my balcony, just across the Rhine. Its list of malfunctions and incidents is longer than my arm. All adjacent communes in a 100km radius stock piled iodine pills for the public, in case. This is *not* standard procedure for every nuclear plant. Glad that piece of crap is getting torn down, it took them long enough. (this btw is also an area of seismic activity).

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Old 12-18-21, 05:35 AM
  #191  
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I grew up swimming in the Columbia River downstream from the worlds largest nuclear waste dump at the Hanford site, the problems of the French program are small potatoes in comparison.
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Old 12-18-21, 09:04 AM
  #192  
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Since we're on the topic of all things French, how about the awesome stuff happening in Paris for commuter cycling? It's nowhere near perfect, but there isn't any other city or mayor working so fast to be progressive. Love this fellow's channel too:


-Kurt
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Old 12-18-21, 12:31 PM
  #193  
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
Since we're on the topic of all things French, how about the awesome stuff happening in Paris for commuter cycling? It's nowhere near perfect, but there isn't any other city or mayor working so fast to be progressive. Love this fellow's channel too:
That is very cool. in 1976, I rode across Paris while on a 2 month European bike tour, including down several of the roads shown. It was a frightening experience! The cobblestone-covered Champs Elysee and car-infested circle around the Arc de Triumph were especially scary on our fully laden bikes. It looks like things have dramatically improved.

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Old 12-19-21, 01:00 AM
  #194  
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
Since we're on the topic of all things French, how about the awesome stuff happening in Paris for commuter cycling? It's nowhere near perfect, but there isn't any other city or mayor working so fast to be progressive. Love this fellow's channel too:

https://youtu.be/sI-1YNAmWlk

-Kurt
hose who loved the many detours about france and the french way of doing things might enjoy the newest episode of le grand tour by Msrs Fil de Clark, Jambonmond and Capitaine Ralentir. its on Amazon Prime now.
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Old 12-19-21, 06:49 AM
  #195  
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Originally Posted by martl View Post
hose who loved the many detours about france and the french way of doing things might enjoy the newest episode of le grand tour by Msrs Fil de Clark, Jambonmond and Capitaine Ralentir. its on Amazon Prime now.
While I'll admit that I am completely entertained by the shenanigans of these three, I'll also caution that if you have any appreciation for the nuanced truth about most vehicles' mechanical oddities - or things since ironed out by enthusiasts - you'll probably prefer the alternate title of "Clarkson, Lies, and Videotape."

-Kurt
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Old 12-19-21, 12:14 PM
  #196  
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
While I'll admit that I am completely entertained by the shenanigans of these three, I'll also caution that if you have any appreciation for the nuanced truth about most vehicles' mechanical oddities - or things since ironed out by enthusiasts - you'll probably prefer the alternate title of "Clarkson, Lies, and Videotape."

-Kurt
They are right about the hydropneumatic suspensions qualities, as evidenced by this bit of historic science.

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