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Gitane Professional Tour De France

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Gitane Professional Tour De France

Old 03-22-07, 11:13 AM
  #1  
8bitevolution
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Gitane Professional Tour De France

I picked this up last Sunday. Just finally getting around to sharing some pictures.







I'm guessing it's early 70s but I haven't had much of a chance to read up on dating Gitanes. I haven't even flipped it over to see if there's any kind of stampings on the bottom bracket shell.

I'm thinking of running it as single-speed for a bit while I consider my options. I'd like to restore it. I know some parts will have to be replaced but I think a lot of the stuff there is still intact and could probably be re-used.

Any suggestions for places that are good at re-spraying/chroming these older french frames? How about decals?

Also, this is a dumb question, but I want to clean the bike up some. What's the best way to do that? Just soap and water or is there a better way?
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Old 03-22-07, 11:23 AM
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Hmmm...I'd be a little conservative here about rushing into a SS conversion too quick. This has a lot of the original components (except for those wheels) and might be worth leaving "unrestored" for a Gitane collector (those Competition brakes are valued). Check out the gitaneusa.com website and maybe contact Stephen (the Gitane expert there) for more info. For now, WD40 on a rag is a good all-purpose cleaner and won't hurt the paint or chrome, might go easy on the stickers and decals though.
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Old 03-22-07, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1
Hmmm...I'd be a little conservative here about rushing into a SS conversion too quick. This has a lot of the original components (except for those wheels) and might be worth leaving "unrestored" for a Gitane collector (those Competition brakes are valued). Check out the gitaneusa.com website and maybe contact Stephen (the Gitane expert there) for more info. For now, WD40 on a rag is a good all-purpose cleaner and won't hurt the paint or chrome, might go easy on the stickers and decals though.
A SS conversion would basically be me removing the shifters and derailuers and sticking them in a box somewhere safe and swapping the wheels. Like I said, it's just an idea I'm kicking around. As for Gitane collector...er, this bike is staying with me. I love the color, the chromed forks and chain/seat stays. And it fits me.

The guy I bought it from has the original wheels. He held onto them because I wasn't interested in tubulars but nothing says I couldn't go back and pick them up. At this point, I'm just considering my options. The only thing I've done to the bike is stick it somewhere safe in my house and drool over it. Haven't had much time during my move to ride.
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Old 03-22-07, 11:38 AM
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Nice. I picked one of these up last year. Mine is the same color as yours but your bike looks to be in better shape. IMHO, it looks to be in extremely nice shape. It doesn't look like it needs to be restored at all. The decals seem to have held up really well. In general, these old Gitanes had pretty lousy paint and the decals didn't hold up too well.

Mine is far from original. The derailleurs, crankset, brake calipers and levers had been replaced on my bike. The guy I bought it from had used it for time trials and had replaced the front wheel with a newer Mavic. The rear is what looks to be a period correct Mavic with a Campy Gran Sport hub. He also gave me a matching front wheel. Mine is too small for me and I might give it to my dad.

Hot, soapy water does a fine job for cleaning the bike. There are numerous chrome cleaners/polishers on the market. A search here in the CV forum will turn up a lot on how to best clean chrome.

Joe C
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Old 03-22-07, 11:45 AM
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I would use just a mild soap and water.

Originally Posted by 8bitevolution
I picked this up last Sunday. Just finally getting around to sharing some pictures.







I'm guessing it's early 70s but I haven't had much of a chance to read up on dating Gitanes. I haven't even flipped it over to see if there's any kind of stampings on the bottom bracket shell.

I'm thinking of running it as single-speed for a bit while I consider my options. I'd like to restore it. I know some parts will have to be replaced but I think a lot of the stuff there is still intact and could probably be re-used.

Any suggestions for places that are good at re-spraying/chroming these older french frames? How about decals?

Also, this is a dumb question, but I want to clean the bike up some. What's the best way to do that? Just soap and water or is there a better way?
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Old 03-22-07, 11:46 AM
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Good on ya, I'd advise you to keep all the options open so go back and get those wheels! The Gitane guy is
Stephan Andranian
Email: general@gitaneusa.com
he can probably answer any questions about this bike. if you were looking to make it a "period correct" rider you'd probably want a Brooks or Ideale saddle, the Stronglight 99 crankset and then be prepared to replace the plastic Simplex stuff as it breaks. Better yet, put that stuff in a box and stick some metal derailleurs and shifters on this. That Sugino Mighty crank is probably a replacement, but a nice crank and about the same era as the bike. Maybe a SS conversion while saving the parts really IS the best approach to take...Nice Bike! One question: does the nondrive Simplex dropout have that little "finger" on the bottom edge?
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Old 03-22-07, 11:51 AM
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if you were looking to make it a "period correct" rider you'd probably want a Brooks or Ideale saddle, the Stronglight 99 crankset
Some Gitanes were shipped from the factory with the Sugino crank set. I worked in a LBS that sold them and can recall several TdF's that came that way.

I always liked the look of the TdF with the Sugino. I really like the red dust caps, too.
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Old 03-22-07, 12:08 PM
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E-mailed Stephen all of 30 minutes ago. Here's his response...

"That bike is in really nice shape. New wheels, and I would replace that saddle, but otherwise, it appears all original.

The year is circa 1973-74. It appears to be a "newer" old Gitane. In 1975, they abandoned the foil decals, but that doesn't mean that the foil decals weren't still around and available in 1975 models. Gitanes are notoriously difficult to date because the parts and decals were used in such a haphazard manner...it seemed that whatever was available, they would put on the bike! In addition, the serial numbers have yet to be decoded and appear not to mean anything, until you get into the 1980's, where for a few years they stamped the year and size of the frame in the bottom bracket shell. Thank you, Pierre (or insert any other French name)!

Yours seems to be in spectacular condition, considering the age and fragility of the decals and paint finish. If you have any more questions, please let me know.

Stephan Andranian
Costa Mesa, CA
www.GitaneUSA.com"

Thanks for the suggestion, unworthy1!
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Old 03-22-07, 12:21 PM
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Oooh -- stay away from WD-40 as a cleaner if you want to keep those decals. It will do a nice job of loosening up the adheasive and removing them for you. Go with the soap and water idea.
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Old 03-22-07, 12:24 PM
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I've got a December 1970 Bicycling magazine with a Gitane TDF test. The seat is listed as a "Nitor plastic" model. It looks quite similar to the one on your bike. I realize your bike is a few years newer so it is a good chance it had a different seat than the the 1970 model.
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Old 03-22-07, 12:35 PM
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Sweet! And my size, too (drool)...

OK, now kill me: How much did you pay for it?
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Old 03-22-07, 12:36 PM
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If anyone wants to correct me on this than go for it, but isn't the front tire on backwards. It seems to me that the channels would route water and such toward the apex of the tire upsetting its grip on the road.
This is something I noticed on one of my bikes and "corrected". Pardon me if off base or if it just doesn't matter.
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Old 03-22-07, 12:50 PM
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They may have shipped some with Sugino cranks, but every early '70s TdF I've ever seen has had a Stronglight 93---including mine.

Notice how the fork decal looks like the bottom is cut off? They're all like that. Old Gitanes are very quirky and that's why I like them.

Mike Swantak may be able to supply decals for it, but I better get mine first.
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Old 03-22-07, 01:06 PM
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Should I use a toothbrush on the frame or just a rag? I've been hesitant to clean it up because I don't want to tear up the decals or paint.

Dirtdrop - I was bummed when I saw it on mine but someone else posted their Gitane and I saw it was done the same so I figured it must have come from the factory that way.

Blue Order - Brace yourself. $60 as she sits. I'll probably go back and pick up the wheelset, too.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm kicking around the idea of going single-speed for a bit. Someone else on the forum mentioned that the rear derailuer looked a bit weird (He had a much more technical description then me ) so I want to take the shifting system off and just kind of think things over BUT at the same time, get some time in the saddle. I'm thinking about getting a set of high-flange hubs laced to some mavic rims a friend has for the wheelset. Like I said, at this point, it's all just talk.
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Old 03-22-07, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by 8bitevolution
Blue Order - Brace yourself. $60 as she sits. I'll probably go back and pick up the wheelset, too.
I KNEW you'd kill me! Congratulations!
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Old 03-22-07, 01:23 PM
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8bit,

I wouldn't touch the paint. As others have mentioned, I would use WD-40 on a rag but use care near decals.

More importantly, I must, must, must get this bike's geometry documented for the Bike Geometry Project. Wow, that front end looks stretched out by today's racer-bike standards!!

Sadly, very few of the bike-boom era bikes have geometries that are documented. We're trying to collect as many of them as possible with special interest in bikes in the 56 - 58 cm range.

Ideas on how to measure are listed on the page.
http://home.comcast.net/~pinnah/dirt...y-project.html

Dirtdrop, same goes for your Peugeot and Raliegh!!
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Old 03-22-07, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Blue Order
I KNEW you'd kill me! Congratulations!

Yup, kills me too.

I bought this same bike(same size, color, & vintage) but in not as nice condition at a swap a few years ago. I paid $150 and was happy about it. The bike is now one of my favorite riders. I love the feel of these bikes, and I don't worry too much about scratching it.

Another vote here for the Sugino cranks being original. I have two of these now, and both came with these Sugino Mighty Competition cranks. My first one(same bike in about the same condition, but in a blue/teal) color like Dirtdrop's bike) I bought from the original owner who claimed it was as he bought it new in 1971. I have since replaced the cranks on both bikes with Stronglight 93's because it just seems right. The Suginos are nice looking cranks, but they are after all, knockoffs of Campy Nouvo Record. I also have to admit that I replaced the brakes on both bikes. The Mafac Competitions worked superbly, but I couldn't get the squeal out of them. One bike now has Campy Nouvo Record brakes, the other Campy Victory.

Congrats on your most excellent find. Let us know what you think after you get a chance to put a few miles on the bike.
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Old 03-22-07, 01:45 PM
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It's a good candidate for a single speed or fixed gear because it has no braze-ons at all. Some of them had no integral derailer hangers, either. I'm looking for one of those.

I paid twice what you paid and yours is in much better condition. The only original parts left on mine are the frame, fork and seatpost bolt.
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Old 03-22-07, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Sierra
Yup, kills me too.

I bought this same bike(same size, color, & vintage) but in not as nice condition at a swap a few years ago. I paid $150 and was happy about it.
Originally Posted by Dirtdrop
I paid twice what you paid and yours is in much better condition. The only original parts left on mine are the frame, fork and seatpost bolt.
I'd be happy with the prices you guys paid too. I'd be even happier with 8bit's price.

I see them now and then on eBay for crazy money. A few weeks ago, there was a Gitane in Craigslist for $75. I emailed the guy, asked what model, he said "Tour de France." OK, that was all I needed to know, I definitely wanted that bike. Then he sent the pics-- it was a Grand Sport deLuxe. A really clapped out GSD at that. I passed.
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Old 03-22-07, 03:08 PM
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I got mine on Ebay for $180, in deteriorated original condition.

[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 03-22-07, 04:29 PM
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Come to think of it, mine came with a T.A. Cyclotouriste crank and I changed it to a proper Stronglight 93. I replaced the MAFAC Competitions with some '73 Dura Ace sidepulls. It also came with a Brooks Colt that is like sitting on a brick.

There's definitely something special about the way they ride!
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Old 03-22-07, 04:49 PM
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Here is a picture of my TDF. This is the picture that was on Craigslist. As I previously mentioned, the PO used it for time trials way back when and it had just sat in his garage ever since. It has a Biopace crankset, 105 brakes, and Suntour Cyclone derailleurs on it. The pouch above the rear brake with the white tubing is a hydration system that I've also removed. Unfortunately the PO didn't have the original parts from it. I paid 50 bucks for the bike and found a 10 dollar bill in the seat bag a few weeks after I bought the bike. I've taken off the Scott aero bars (anybody interested in them?) and both wheels are now on my Raleigh as they're much lighter than what were on it. I'm also using the Look pedals on my Raleigh.

I just wish it was my size......

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Old 03-22-07, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by jcrouse
...I paid 50 bucks for the bike and found a 10 dollar bill in the seat bag a few weeks after I bought the bike...


Some people have all the luck!
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Old 03-22-07, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by cmdr
If anyone wants to correct me on this than go for it, but isn't the front tire on backwards. It seems to me that the channels would route water and such toward the apex of the tire upsetting its grip on the road.
This is something I noticed on one of my bikes and "corrected". Pardon me if off base or if it just doesn't matter.
Yes it is backwards but it doesn't matter on a bike as you will never go fast enough to hydroplane. On the other hand I just mounted a set of the same tires on a bike the other day and managed to put the front one on 'backwards' too. I'll be fixing it shortly just because it doesn't look right and it's bugging me.
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Old 03-22-07, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Blue Order


Some people have all the luck!
The guy was asking 80 bucks for it but my wife had let me know that I didn't really need another bike so I hesitated and he asked "how about 50 bucks?" I couldn't pass that up!
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