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French Motobecane Cyclotouriste M.T.H.C pre-1958

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French Motobecane Cyclotouriste M.T.H.C pre-1958

Old 05-05-22, 02:42 PM
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DanseMacabre
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French Motobecane Cyclotouriste M.T.H.C pre-1958


French Motobecane Cyclotouriste M.T.H.C pre-1957

French Motobecane Cyclotouriste M.T.H.C pre-1957

French Motobecane Cyclotouriste M.T.H.C pre-1957

My beloved French camping bike.
I bought it quite recently, january 2021. It was for sale in Leiden, Netherlands. The previous owner had bought it in 2012 in Reims, at a big antique fair. After the sale I immediately made a trip through the green heart of the Netherlands from Leiden to Rotterdam, it was lovely sunny weather.

I wasn't really planning on buying another bicycle, but the story will be familiar. Anyway, I found out that in the 1950s this kind of bicycle was the way to have a holiday in France as a worker, going camping on the country side. Cars were not easily affordable. So I am trying to revive that sentiment by taking this bike everywhere, at least, that is the plan.
In order to do that it needed better wheels and tires, to make maintenance possible again. The strange thing occurred that the bicycle itself was 80 Euro, the tires were 80 Euro, and a wheelset turned out to be 400 Euro. But I guess I am on the road again and in a mainainable form
Original wheels were Rigida Deco =std= with Michelin World Tourer tires. Now it has Velo Orange Voyager rims with Soma Xpress 650x38 tires. Next set of tires will be Grand Bois Hetre as those will be a bit wider at 650x42. I don't notice any difference in ride quality, I assume that is a compliment to the new wheels and tires.

The bike is super smooth, like butter soft on the road. It is very much alive and springy, maybe even too much, it is drawing a lot of attention while cycling. It is twisty as well, I am constantly swinging the handlebar.

Comments from bystanders range from "Did you pick that out of the canal yourself?" to "Look dad, an old cyclist!" (I am only 49...). I guess I cannot have the latter without the former

I will leave the bike mostly as-is, I think that does it justice. Just wondering about one thing really; should I put clear coat on the fenders for protection? It feels a bit like cheating, but having them rust away over the years is not that great either. Maybe just on the inside? What are opinions on that?
And the faux-leather handlebar tape, are there other options? I think it came with a two-plastic part in light blue. Maybe I should use Velox Tressostar cotton tape in blue, bleach it a bit. I just don't know if I will like that and if it is fitting for the bike.

And yes, the saddle is looking awfully shiny and new, but it works for my bottom, even after 80km. The original leather saddle was quite hurtful.

In the magazines and brochures, the 1960 model came with a modern Huret Allvit. In 1957 it still came with a Huret plunger and two-bolt connection, but that one also had light-metal fenders. This one has steel plated fenders, so I guess 1956 or older.

Now one picture with original wheels, tires and saddle, as it was on the marketplace marktplaats.nl


French Motobecane Cyclotouriste M.T.H.C pre-1957 as bought

Last edited by DanseMacabre; 07-13-22 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 05-05-22, 03:19 PM
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Extremely cool!
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Old 05-05-22, 03:24 PM
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Nice find. Glad you are putting it to use. I would not clearcoat the fenders. Clean and wax the whole thing. But please keep the patina.
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Old 05-05-22, 03:31 PM
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Yes, the patina is to be kept. It looks as if it had been to the moon and back. I dare not think how many kilometers it has done.
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Old 05-05-22, 04:04 PM
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What a wonderful bike! And it clearly found the right owner......please post pictures if you go on a camping trip!
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Old 05-05-22, 04:07 PM
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Great find! I wish they would have made them in my size BITD.
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Old 05-05-22, 04:13 PM
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That is a very rad bike. Does the light work?
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Old 05-06-22, 03:16 AM
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When and if I go on holiday I will for sure post pictures.

Yes, the lights work but are so low in light that they are basically useless. The front has a yellow light ofcourse I removed the cables to have it look a bit cleaner, there are led lights now for functionality, hopefully not too much in disharmony with the rest.

One thing I found out with the rear bolt-on hub is that they are still for sale at 120mm, but mostly for track bikes with a single freewheel. With a 5-speed freewheel it needs an extra cm spacing, which creates the need to change the spacers on the non-drive side. I think it is now at 125cm, but with a different bolt it could come down to 123mm. It is riding straight though, I guess it is fine now.
Also, the chain ran of a bit too often in the front, there is now a front derailer as a chain guide. It has a 5-speed chain from Simpson, not sure if it has too much flex and how it used to ride as new.
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Old 05-06-22, 03:28 AM
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Originally Posted by non-fixie View Post
Great find! I wish they would have made them in my size BITD.
Thank you. Yes, they are often in 54 or 57, but 60 is hard to find. And that might even be too small for some people
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Old 05-06-22, 05:22 AM
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That bike has style; thanks for posting.
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Old 05-06-22, 05:39 AM
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Thank you. I am happy with some positive responses
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Old 05-06-22, 08:48 AM
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Great job putting a fine old bike back into service!
The chain falling off the chainwheel may be a chainline problem. A rather in-depth explanation HERE.
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Old 05-06-22, 10:42 AM
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Thank you, I will check that out.
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Old 05-06-22, 03:49 PM
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Love it! I guess now we know where Raleigh got their inspiration for the Grand Sport.
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Old 05-06-22, 09:56 PM
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Entertaining bike.
I would consider arresting the rust and applying linseed oil- especially on the fenders.
I guessed the front mech is as a chain guide.
bent teeth? Wave in the sprocket?
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Old 05-07-22, 01:34 AM
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Linseed oil I will check out, that will be worth considering.

The teeth are not bent but the chainring is not completely round, I did my best to have it running straight A while ago it was very close to the chainstay and seemed to touch it. The chain ran of mostly when shifting to high gear while releasing pressure from the pedals. It only happened maybe 5 times in 2000 km, but the last time was in chilly rain and I just wanted it fixed. It all works now, but it would be good checking out the chainline and getting the chain ring in a more round shape.

The sprocket is a new Sunrace with 28 as largest cog. It used to have a 4-speed in the back from Atom (with 48x24 as largest, like 39x19). I put on a new chain and it ran flawless, even though it was old, as the bearings had long gone. It were the bearings in the freewheel that turned out to make all that noise With the new wheelset I put on a Sunrace 5-speed with 48x28 as largest, like 39x21. 7% is doable, 9% only for a short distance (with my legs). I made it up to the Posbank here, near Arnhem, Netherlands. Since the original derailer only seemed to do 3 gears I replaced it with the Huret Svelto which does 4 gears. The big gear is too close to the seatstay but I don't need it anyway.
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Old 05-07-22, 01:47 AM
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Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
Love it! I guess now we know where Raleigh got their inspiration for the Grand Sport.


Aha, 1973. The color choice mostly matches. Even the French uplift of the handlebar is nice
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