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1975 Motobecane Le Champion

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1975 Motobecane Le Champion

Old 07-01-24, 01:31 PM
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1975 Motobecane Le Champion

First ride, two thumbs up!! Bar tape to be added, I have two to choose from.

Questions. The seat post is Campagnolo, 22cm length and 26.6mm diameter. Are longer ones available? I probably need another 2-3cm. The Campagnolo Super Record brake levers….one is tightened down all the way on the bar and it is just barely tight enough. The other one was a bit loose when tightened down all the way, I fashioned a shim from a piece of sheet metal to go between the clamp and the bar and now it is like the other one, just barely tight enough. I wish I could tighten them both a bit more. Did Campagnolo make different size brake lever clamps? Any other ‘tricks’ to allow for more tighening?


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Old 07-01-24, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker Pete
First ride, two thumbs up!! Bar tape to be added, I have two to choose from.

Questions. The seat post is Campagnolo, 22cm length and 26.6mm diameter. Are longer ones available? I probably need another 2-3cm. The Campagnolo Super Record brake levers….one is tightened down all the way on the bar and it is just barely tight enough. The other one was a bit loose when tightened down all the way, I fashioned a shim from a piece of sheet meal to go between the clamp and the bar and now it is like the other one, just barely tight enough. I wish I could tighten them both a bit more. Did Campagnolo make different size brake lever clamps? Any other ‘tricks’ to allow for more tighening?
Very good, well done.

This was a foregone conclusion, Moto's of this era are some of the best of the day, exuding French cool and easily going toe to toe with the best of the day.

Plenty of longer seatposts, just not those, make sure you get the right one 26.6, don't compromise the seatlug.

The brake levers need to be figured out, make sure they were not modified to fit a larger diameter bar or maybe cracked.

I would substitute some proper fitting ones in the meantime, lest it goes wrong on the road, don't take any chances with the brakes.

Last edited by merziac; 07-01-24 at 01:58 PM.
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Old 07-01-24, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac
Plenty of longer seatposts, just not those, make sure you get the right one 26.6, don't compromise the seatlug.
Do you have a suggestion for a 1970s or 1980s seat post manufacturer? From my initial scans on eBay it seems Campagnolo does not have a longer one.
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Old 07-01-24, 06:40 PM
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I'd just buy whatever modern seatpost doesn't look out of place on that bike. You have a lot of seatpost showing; you may need a modern 350 mm seatpost.


The grip area size is a bit narrower on French handlebars but that may not explain why the brake levers aren't tightening properly. Here is Sheldon Brown's crib sheet on stem and handlebar dimensions:

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/cribsheet-handlebars.html
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Old 07-01-24, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig
I'd just buy whatever modern seatpost doesn't look out of place on that bike. You have a lot of seatpost showing; you may need a modern 350 mm seatpost.


The grip area size is a bit narrower on French handlebars but that may not explain why the brake levers aren't tightening properly. Here is Sheldon Brown's crib sheet on stem and handlebar dimensions:

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/cribsheet-handlebars.html
I have the Campagnolo seat post out to it’s maximum extension indicated on the post with a ‘stop’ line. I have a second Motobecane from 1975, a Grand Record. It has an Avocet touring saddle vs the Selle racing saddle on the Le Champion. I notice that the Avocet sits up higher over the seat post by almost 2cm compared to the Selle. So it looks like I either change the seat post or the saddle on the Le Champion to get the extra height I need.

I measured the diameter of the bars on the Le Champion. They are French made Belleri and seem to be standard ISO 25.4mm and 23.8mm. So maybe something’s off with the Campagnolo levers I bought on eBay…..
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Old 07-01-24, 08:30 PM
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Right, there's no suitable seatpost that's longer and period-correct, that I can recall. You just need a larger frame, sorry!

Bob Freeman in North Bend WA makes titanium posts with Campy heads grafted to the top (or most any brand of head you want, I imagine). I haven't held one in my hands, but he has a number of happy customers, never heard a bad word about them. They look great in web pics, if you don't mind the color of Ti. But he starts with tubing, and I sorta doubt he has 26.6 mm Ti tube stock. You could ask him though. I don't give out other people's emails or phone numbers, but joining Classic Rendezvous would be one way to get his contact info.

The same grafting method could be used with an alu tube that starts out thicker, lathe-turned down to 26.6, and then with the head grafted in the same way (press-fit + strong Loctite, super reliable). Bob doesn't have a lathe though.

Anyone else out there making these?

Beautiful bike BTW. I had an older LC, '71 maybe, in teal and white, sadly too small or I'd still have it, a sentimental favorite. The Lilac ones are also super sanitary, outstanding workmanship.
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Old 07-01-24, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by bulgie
Right, there's no suitable seatpost that's longer and period-correct, that I can recall. You just need a larger frame, sorry!

Bob Freeman in North Bend WA makes titanium posts with Campy heads grafted to the top (or most any brand of head you want, I imagine). I haven't held one in my hands, but he has a number of happy customers, never heard a bad word about them. They look great in web pics, if you don't mind the color of Ti. But he starts with tubing, and I sorta doubt he has 26.6 mm Ti tube stock. You could ask him though. I don't give out other people's emails or phone numbers, but joining Classic Rendezvous would be one way to get his contact info.

The same grafting method could be used with an alu tube that starts out thicker, lathe-turned down to 26.6, and then with the head grafted in the same way (press-fit + strong Loctite, super reliable). Bob doesn't have a lathe though.

Anyone else out there making these?

Beautiful bike BTW. I had an older LC, '71 maybe, in teal and white, sadly too small or I'd still have it, a sentimental favorite. The Lilac ones are also super sanitary, outstanding workmanship.
I talked to Bob recently, he doesn't do them right now, no machinist atmo and not sure when he will find another.

I'm going to take him some heads in hoping he winds them back up, sounds like you could help out, maybe?

He also said only 27.2 were being done, I should have followed through when he did them last.
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Old 07-01-24, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker Pete
Do you have a suggestion for a 1970s or 1980s seat post manufacturer? From my initial scans on eBay it seems Campagnolo does not have a longer one.
Just a modern replacement that maybe, kinda looks the part, UNO, Kalloy, maybe VO, efbay is your friend.

Find a place holder and call it good for now.
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Old 07-01-24, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac
I talked to Bob recently, he doesn't do them right now, no machinist atmo and not sure when he will find another.

I'm going to take him some heads in hoping he winds them back up, sounds like you could help out, maybe?

He also said only 27.2 were being done, I should have followed through when he did them last.
Yep 27.2 tubing is one of the available sizes, not too many others suitable for seatposts. Other than 25.4, 31.8 etc.
26.6 and other sizes will need to be made from alu I'm afraid.

Bob really should get a lathe. No one should be without one! I have one, but I'm not interested in going into the seatpost biz myself. Maybe after the next few years of backlogged projects get cleared from my queue...
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Old 07-01-24, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by bulgie
Yep 27.2 tubing is one of the available sizes, not too many others suitable for seatposts. Other than 25.4, 31.8 etc.
26.6 and other sizes will need to be made from alu I'm afraid.

Bob really should get a lathe. No one should be without one! I have one, but I'm not interested in going into the seatpost biz myself. Maybe after the next few years of backlogged projects get cleared from my queue...
So you couldn't be talked into turning down a few head/stubs?
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Old 07-02-24, 02:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Biker Pete
... The Campagnolo Super Record brake levers….one is tightened down all the way on the bar and it is just barely tight enough. The other one was a bit loose when tightened down all the way, I fashioned a shim from a piece of sheet metal to go between the clamp and the bar and now it is like the other one, just barely tight enough. I wish I could tighten them both a bit more. Did Campagnolo make different size brake lever clamps? Any other ‘tricks’ to allow for more tighening?
You may first have to re-shape the brake lever clamp bands a bit, to best fit the diameter of the handlebar you're using. You may then (likely) need to put a washer on the threaded shaft of the brake lever clamp, under the mounting (tightening) nut (part number 2037), to take up some slack.

Per Campy catalog 18b, page 48, the washer is part number 7300071. The part is shown here: https://www.euroasiaimports.com/prod...2596p22304.htm
The washer is grooved on the outer face, which helps keep the mounting nut tight. I suspect that any washer which has an ID bit enough to barely fit along the clamp threads, and similarly a just big enough OD to match the diameter of the mounting (clamp) nut, will probably do. I recall (a long time ago) that the washer was probably 1/3rd of a mm thick.

BITD, I had to use the 7300071 washer to adequately tighten the brake levers when installing them on 3ttt handlebars, which had a smaller OD than Cinelli handlebars.

Maybe a visit to your local hardware store, or a look thru McMaster-Car,r might be in order.
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Old 07-02-24, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by bulgie
Yep 27.2 tubing is one of the available sizes, not too many others suitable for seatposts. Other than 25.4, 31.8 etc.
26.6 and other sizes will need to be made from alu I'm afraid.

Bob really should get a lathe. No one should be without one! I have one, but I'm not interested in going into the seatpost biz myself. Maybe after the next few years of backlogged projects get cleared from my queue...
I’m not sure I ever remember seeing you post one of your own projects! Haha.
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Old 07-02-24, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew_G
You may first have to re-shape the brake lever clamp bands a bit, to best fit the diameter of the handlebar you're using. You may then (likely) need to put a washer on the threaded shaft of the brake lever clamp, under the mounting (tightening) nut (part number 2037), to take up some slack.

Per Campy catalog 18b, page 48, the washer is part number 7300071. The part is shown here: https://www.euroasiaimports.com/prod...2596p22304.htm
The washer is grooved on the outer face, which helps keep the mounting nut tight. I suspect that any washer which has an ID bit enough to barely fit along the clamp threads, and similarly a just big enough OD to match the diameter of the mounting (clamp) nut, will probably do. I recall (a long time ago) that the washer was probably 1/3rd of a mm thick.

BITD, I had to use the 7300071 washer to adequately tighten the brake levers when installing them on 3ttt handlebars, which had a smaller OD than Cinelli handlebars.

Maybe a visit to your local hardware store, or a look thru McMaster-Car,r might be in order.
Thanks, great idea and info!
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Old 07-02-24, 09:34 AM
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Lots of companies made copies of the Campy Record seatpost. I have a Spanish-made ANPI (26.4, very short), and Zeus also made one. Sakae Ringyo had a Campy copy too, and I think there are other Italian and Japanese models around. But finding an extra-long one probably won't be easy. What you really need is a larger frame.
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Old 07-02-24, 12:04 PM
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Seatposts with diameter 26.6mm and 350mm length are easy to find, but not with the quality of 2-bolt adjustments.
eBay Kalloy 26.6 post
Beautiful bike, but others are likely correct - you may be better off searching for a larger frame.
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Old 07-04-24, 11:37 AM
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Very nice Grand Champion! I got a thing for those 1975 Moto's...



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Old 07-04-24, 12:36 PM
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I have two solutions to the saddle height issue. 1. Use the Avocet Touring I saddle on my other bike, it is approx 2cm taller than the Selle racing saddle. Just the right height with the Campagnolo seat post at its maximum extension. 2. Longer seat post on order which will allow approx 2cm additional extension for use with the Selle racing saddle.

In the meanwhile, I finished the bike off with black bar tape with purple swirls.





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Old 07-04-24, 01:48 PM
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Nice! I love the purple swirl bar tape!
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Old 07-04-24, 06:07 PM
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Wow! That turned out super sweet - great job.
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Old 07-09-24, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker Pete
I have two solutions to the saddle height issue. 1. Use the Avocet Touring I saddle on my other bike, it is approx 2cm taller than the Selle racing saddle. Just the right height with the Campagnolo seat post at its maximum extension. 2. Longer seat post on order which will allow approx 2cm additional extension for use with the Selle racing saddle.

In the meanwhile, I finished the bike off with black bar tape with purple swirls.



So the saddle height issue is solved. I got a brand new GORGEOUS Nitto seat post that is 30mm longer than the original Campagnolo seat post, thus enabling use of the Selle racing saddle for my desired saddle height and still being below the maximum extension point of the Nitto. And bonus…..the Nitto is a whopping 72g more lightweight than the Campagnolo, woo-hoo!
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