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70's (?) Velosolex Etoile - restoration

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70's (?) Velosolex Etoile - restoration

Old 01-17-24, 09:27 AM
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70's (?) Velosolex Etoile - restoration

I have owned this bike longer than any of my current 20+ restorations. It has sat in the back of my basement, unloved, for years.

Purchased through a friend from an upstate CT bike shop in 1990, it was even then a homologation of N.O.S parts I was told. I put many miles on it back then with those dangerous shoes which had a slot to grip the pedals. (No quick release!)

In 1999 I bought a new Specialized and so it has sat for 24 years.

I finally decided it was TIME. Everything was disassembled cleaned regreased, adjusted and reassembled. I took it for a 2 mile ride and it works as it looks. I will ride it gain when the roads clear here in snowy CT.

The ONLY thing I purchased was new 25c tubular tires for safety, and replaced the lever rubber covers. All else original. Much patina still intact.

Sorry for the amount of pics and if they are TOO BIG. I love the process of capturing it clearly as well. My professional self won't let that go. (These are how I add them onto my Professional Gallery Website.)


As I saved it. VERY neglected. Tires = JUNK.















Now... there is very little online about Velosolex Etoile bicycles. I forum a post HERE ON BIKE FORUMS which has a curious owner asking the same.

Funnily he states his serial number is '62147F'. MINE is '62147EL' on rear dropout. Thoughts?

Thanks for viewing and any info you may have. otherwise it's simply a display post! I do this work to keep me sane. You understand.

Coop
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Old 01-17-24, 09:50 AM
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Looks lovely!
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Old 01-17-24, 01:58 PM
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-----



WOW, what a fabulous job!

Thanks so much for sharing it.

frame-

lugs: BOCAMA Super-Profesional (offered both with & without cutouts)




crown: Vagner DP+




shell: Raccords Gargatte Freres

ends: Huret Ref. 230 & 231 rear, 234 & 235 front



[1974 catalogue page]

readers will notice that dropout in catalogue illustration lacks the "blister" at the rear edge of the dropouts on the frame. this was added ca. 1973-1974 to give extra wall thickness to hole for adjuster screw but does not appear in catalogue as manufacturer reused an earlier illustration for catalogue of 1974.

---

serial -

'62147F'

​​​​​​'62147EL'

could not help but notice that when one reverses the last to numerals one gets the single most likely year of manufacture

possible that the "621" may be a model number

the letters could indicate either a form of serial or the identity of the framebuilder... [wylde speculation! ]


---

fittings -

interesting to note that all of the bits are of first quality save for the Normandy Sport hubs & Lightrace (Gourgaud) headset

the odd appearing saddle pillar is a seldom encountered Huret item which is shown in the catalogue page posted above

the only real temporally inappropriate fitting is the topmount shifters which did not come in before 1982

tried without success to read marking on pedal endcap. if it reads "SPIDEL" or "Lyotard" they are model 65 which is rare, valuable & top-of-the-line BITD

---

thank you again for posting this wonderful project!

-----

Last edited by juvela; 01-17-24 at 07:02 PM. Reason: spellin'
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Old 01-17-24, 09:22 PM
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juvela WOW! So appreciative of your time spent sleuthing this for me.

VERY informative and impressively accurate!

1. BCM lugs, Vagner crown, RGF shell, Huret ends; ALL exactly as noted. You know your sources!

2. Blister checks out in deference to the diagram. Whodathuunk.

3. Identical Serial number HAS to be a model identifier instead? Letters are mystery. (If someone else reading this now or in future, please educate us.)

4. Don't know anything about the hubs or headset. I recall at the time it was sold to me at a BARGAIN. Not surprising it would use more economy parts.

5. That seat post is exactly the one shown in the Huret catalog with the two bars as an upper clamp.

6. Topmount shifters probably added from newer stock even if the frame was built earlier. Like I was told, the shop used up NOS to get this done. Ditto on hubs and rims.

7. No, these original pedals are dependable and common MKS. Another non-costly item added to finish the build.

Because this is sentimental to me, THIS is one I will ride a bit and keep in better condition. First time removing and installing tubulars. (Thank goodness for Youtube!)

I appreciate you. Big thanks!

Coop
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Old 01-17-24, 09:28 PM
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Here are some in-process shots of the corrosion I had on rims, and the sanding and steel wool on spokes it took to restore.

I used strips of red 3M cloth vertically on the rims and then used a paste polish afterwards. Then a sealer.

You may laugh, yet I have had LOTS of success sealing up raw aluminum parts with a simple clear floor polish. it goes on quick and gives it a durable coating.

I have used it in my position in the marine/rowing world as maintenance for years, on old carbon fiber and fiberglass to seal them up quickly, and some metals.
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Old 01-17-24, 10:38 PM
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Lovely bike. I'd just like to know how you did your pictures so neatly in your post.
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Old 01-18-24, 09:45 AM
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AdventureManCO and others: In regards to photography, I posted a display tutorial in the GENERAL forum.

Inexpensive Studio Photography Setup

(I did so on your prompting, so info would not get buried in an obscure post, OR limited to Vintage Bikes.)
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Old 01-18-24, 06:54 PM
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Nice bike! We don't get enough non-Peugeot/Motobecane/Gitane French bikes here. Was this the same company that made the motorized bicycles?
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Old 01-18-24, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by kroozer
Nice bike! We don't get enough non-Peugeot/Motobecane/Gitane French bikes here. Was this the same company that made the motorized bicycles?
Apparently so. There is a larger following for their VERY unique engine-on-front-wheel models.

Bicycles were probably an add-on because of their name status. Didn't happen.

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Old 01-18-24, 08:31 PM
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-----

this is something have long wondered about...

as to whether or not the company produced their own pedal cycles


-----
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Old 01-19-24, 04:36 AM
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Originally Posted by SharpByCoop
Funnily he states his serial number is '62147F'. MINE is '62147EL' on rear dropout. Thoughts?
Which dropout and which face?

That looks like a Motobecane model number; they were stamped on the inside right.
Serials were outside left, or bb shell, or nowhere...
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Old 01-19-24, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by oneclick
Which dropout and which face?

That looks like a Motobecane model number; they were stamped on the inside right.
Serials were outside left, or bb shell, or nowhere...
Left hand dropout visible on the outside. You can see it in one of the photos in the gallery.
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Old 01-19-24, 01:04 PM
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Looks like lots of hard work and a beautiful result! Congratulations!

FWIW, IMO it deserves gum-wall tires when those new black-walls wear out. More congratulations for sticking with sew-ups!

Thanks for the polish and photo tips, too.
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Old 01-19-24, 01:50 PM
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Fredo76 Thank you so much! I am pleased you looked carefully.

Here's the deal for my choice on the BLACK sew ups. it CAME with gumwalls.

But.... every time I see an aged set of gumwalls the lighter (gumwall) looks miserable. They don't age as well.

I KNOW I will not ride these to wear out. So I chose them to endure a lifetime of LOOKING good.

YMMV! Thank you.

Coop
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Old 02-20-24, 11:00 PM
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I owned a Velosolex Etoile, acquired waaaaay back in the summer of '72 or '73 from a bike shop in Oceanside Long Island where I was working as a mechanic. The shop was only around a few years, jumping on to and crashing with the bike and bust. Velosolex was positioning itself as an alternative to Peugeot, which was the hot bike of the moment. My shop didn't carry this model (too expensive) but I ordered it from the distributor. These pictures bring back a ton of memories. The original derailleurs were the Simplex Super LJ Gold, front and rear, with the magic retro-friction downtube shifters. The gold finish matched the Mafac breaks and levers. The seat post was the Satri Galet fluted and the crank was the Nervar. Frame was standard 531 db. I still have the fork from this bike though it's currently mounted to an old Carlton frame. I'm not even sure when I moved on from this bike but I think I sold it sometime in the late 70's in Seattle.
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Old 02-21-24, 06:13 AM
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[QUOTE=juvela;23132927]-----

this is something have long wondered about...

as to whether or not the company produced their own pedal cycles

I donl't think so. As a student in 80s I collected Velosolex (or Solex as we used to call them) motorised bicycles. They were made under licence in what then was a former Yugoslavia in 50s/60s. I had bought, repaired and repainted and sold on quite a few of these, using one or two as parts donors and buying some parts like engine block seals etc from a dealer up in Austria.

Never ever I've seen a bicycle made by Velosolex, nor did the owner of the dealership. I'd say third party build these and they just re-stickered them. Mistral was one of their models in 70s I believe.
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Old 02-21-24, 07:06 AM
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GREAT bike. Thanks for posting it.
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Old 02-21-24, 07:40 AM
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Good stories and info. Thank you.

I DID take it for a 15 mile ride and it ran as promised.

It will go in my rotation this Summer.

Coop
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Old 02-22-24, 11:01 AM
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One last note - I don't recall every component on the bike but I do remember that it was 100% French components - Ideale saddle (that I never had the patience to break in) and i'm pretty sure the hubs were Maillard.
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Old 02-22-24, 01:00 PM
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Beautiful.
I came upon a rough looking Velosolex bicycle at a swap meet in '21. I have two of the smelly motorized tur...er...bikes and thought it would fit right in. Alas, the seller thought it was gold and I walked away. I wasn't looking for another bike, just Sturmey Archer parts.

My 1977 4600, built for the US market, along with my two knuclehead grandsons on their E-ATVs.
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Old 02-22-24, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by SharpByCoop
Apparently so. There is a larger following for their VERY unique engine-on-front-wheel models.

Bicycles were probably an add-on because of their name status. Didn't happen.

I have a challenge: post this photo on the Ebike forum asking if anybody knows of a replacement battery.

As to the OP bike, what a lovely hunk of eye candy. So many unique touches.
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