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Show your French bikes!

Old 08-12-17, 02:04 PM
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Rummage Sale Motobecane

In the pile in the corner of a Rummage sale in New Jersey (marked with the sign "Junk or Parts") I saw this bike, covered with blue and flat black spray paint. I was instantly curious. A Motobecane Champion, it turns out. "How much?" I asked. "5 bucks" said the bike guy, who added, "if you buy it, I will tell you a story".
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Old 08-12-17, 02:21 PM
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So where is the story?
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Old 08-12-17, 02:31 PM
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If you tell us there's a story, you need to tell it.
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Old 08-12-17, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by capitancardoza
I saw them around, but this one Complete Groupset was cheaper than most (almost every) front derailleur only I found

ANyway, it works brilliantly!
Putting one of these as the cable guide will allow you to use the front derailleur without a housing stop, if your brazeons will play nicely.

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Old 08-13-17, 02:15 AM
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Sunns please.
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Old 08-13-17, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Narhay
Putting one of these as the cable guide will allow you to use the front derailleur without a housing stop, if your brazeons will play nicely.

Uhhhh I like that! I'll look for one around, thanks!
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Old 08-14-17, 09:05 AM
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So what's the story... don't leave us hanging!
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Old 08-14-17, 09:36 AM
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Charrel coming along

Little by little. Rear DR still not quite right. And the lighting system, generator and wiring still to be sorted out. Beautiful ride, soft yet strong.
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Old 08-14-17, 04:49 PM
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Wow, nice Charrel! Need more closeups!
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Old 08-14-17, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by LouB
Little by little. Rear DR still not quite right. And the lighting system, generator and wiring still to be sorted out. Beautiful ride, soft yet strong.
What a beautiful rare bird, I've been looking for a larger one for years. Enjoy!!
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Old 08-15-17, 04:22 AM
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Finally threw enough parts at this PX10 to test ride it.
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Old 08-15-17, 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by LouB
Little by little. Rear DR still not quite right. And the lighting system, generator and wiring still to be sorted out. Beautiful ride, soft yet strong.


Nice bike. More photos are needed. As for sorting out the lighting, that can take on a life of its own. I think the general rule of thumb is to take the amount of time that it takes to build a racing bike-including the wheelbuilding and double it. That is the amount of time it takes to build a randonneuse or campeur. The extra time all being spent on getting the fenders, racks, bags and lighting sorted.
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Old 08-15-17, 06:24 AM
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This past weekend I recommissioned my Peugeot Orient Express single-speed as a 6-speed. She was too limited with only one cog, and she really comes alive with this gearing. I've posted images of her as a winter bike with fenders and studded tires, but those were on Pee-bucket, and as such no longer available.

Besides, she is too nice to be a winter bike. Here is what she looks like now:



Dirt trails, gravel, or pavement, she handles all with a certain
Savoir-faire.



Making little changes like this allows me to fall in love with my bikes all over again.



I would like to see more vintage French mountain bikes here, if anyone has them.



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Old 08-15-17, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by El Chaba
Nice bike. More photos are needed. As for sorting out the lighting, that can take on a life of its own. I think the general rule of thumb is to take the amount of time that it takes to build a racing bike-including the wheelbuilding and double it. That is the amount of time it takes to build a randonneuse or campeur. The extra time all being spent on getting the fenders, racks, bags and lighting sorted.
This may be one of the most accurate comments (of many) that I have gleaned from Bike Forums. You are spot on, I have spent hours fashioning odd connectors for the custom built fender stays brazed onto the drop outs, only to discard and start over again. The Charrel brakes are very cool, but a nightmare--between crafting the cables (soldering the wire wrapped barbell shapped ends) and replacing the break pads (that I swear Mr. Charrel mixed in a barrel using old carpet pad!) The front rack really doesnt fit right--its stays should go back to attach to the brake acorn nuts--currently considering bending and welding a connector onto the current French rack I have. and the list goes on. Still its a joy to ride and the craftsmanship (and innovation) shine through the frustration...mostly! Thanks
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Old 08-26-17, 10:24 AM
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Astra Tour de Belgique

Picked this up for basically nothing or pocket change. Cleaned and installed new cables, tubes, rubber and bar tape. All original components except maybe wheels, front wheel is Schurmann and rear wheel Rigida. Ideale 42 leather saddle, prime shape which I removed ASAP... It's a project, so far happy...


PHOTO_20170816_110713 by Rick Santiago, on Flickr


PHOTO_20170825_144943 by Rick Santiago, on Flickr


PHOTO_20170825_141103 by Rick Santiago, on Flickr

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Old 08-26-17, 11:14 PM
  #2491  
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Wow, she cleaned up nicely!
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Old 08-27-17, 07:33 PM
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Jeunet Franche Comte

My Jeunet Franche Comte. Found the frame/fork in a local Bike Coop and built it up with new/old parts for Touring. Just did its first 100Km ride of on and off road trails, and it did great!
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Old 08-28-17, 05:00 PM
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I recently purchased this US Express for my wife; with help from the experts on here, we determined that it's a 1990, euro-market. The fenders, rack and lights are all from the factory. I got it for $80, and all it needed was some cleanup, cable adjustment and air in the tires. The thing is an absolute beast.


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Old 08-28-17, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by LouB
Little by little. Rear DR still not quite right. And the lighting system, generator and wiring still to be sorted out. Beautiful ride, soft yet strong.
Looks fascinating.

Look forward to additional reportage.

Is your heron preening now complete?

-----
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Old 08-28-17, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnPerry
... "How much?" I asked. "5 bucks" said the bike guy, who added, "if you buy it, I will tell you a story".
Are you going to tell the story? Don't leave us hanging!

Here's my Frenchie:
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Old 08-28-17, 08:38 PM
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Well, since someone is digging up these old threads....

My U-08....

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Old 08-28-17, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela
Looks fascinating.

Look forward to additional reportage.

Is your heron preening now complete?

-----
Yes, the Raleigh Lenton Grand Prix got blinged out down to the GB cable buffers. Fun bicycle for sure!
The Charrel is a different beast. Truly hand built and the builder didnt seem to ever make 2 bicycles the same so many parts are custom built with no or very limited sourcing. Had to either replicate or re-design and fabricate. But it rides like a dream. Once I get the drive train sorted out and that triple performing like it can, it will go anywhere with comfort and style.
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Old 08-28-17, 09:11 PM
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Whoa! I know this is a French thread but, I dig that English steel!
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Old 08-28-17, 10:03 PM
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The Rummage Sale Motobecane

Ah, sorry to take so long, but my MacBook battery decided to die suddenly. So, I bought the derelict Motobecane. And having done that, I asked the guy, as I handed over the money, "so, what's the story?". And this is what he said;

"I brought that bike in here, because I helped clean out the house where it was over in Long Valley. I like to work on bikes, and I knew it was a good bike, despite the way it looks now. I even used to race a bit, but I also happen to know the bike itself. The owner was an old guy who used to be a bike mechanic at a shop up near New York. He used to ride the bike around here, and it was beat up, but you could tell it had been a good bike.

20 years ago, it was still orange, and looked all original. The guy was not especially friendly, but I asked him if it was all original. He said, "no, not exactly, but sort of". Asked what that meant, he told me that in the early 70s, he had worked at a shop that started selling Motobecanes. The owner was of French descent, and loved the brand. He was also always looking for a way to boost his sales. When Motobecane and Luis Ocana won the Tour in '73, he decided he wanted a team racing bike for the window. He called the distributor, who basically told him that they were available but hard to get, and that there was a long wait list. Everyone wanted one, and they only made them in limited numbers, with the French shops first in line. They made a model labeled and branded for the American market, but these were even more limited, because demand in Europe had put the squeeze on availability.

The owner was not so easily discouraged, and he apparently went to the plant in France, and got the most similar frame painted in orange and with the European markings. He brought it home, and fitted it with more or less the same equipment as the team model, and put the bike in the window. Now, for the time, that was a pretty hot bike. The guys who worked in the shop, who had actually built the thing from the frame up, all wanted to ride it. Some of them were weekend racers, and the owner saw a marketing opportunity. He let them all take it to race, and would put up a sign saying "we're racing today. Want to know more about racing? Come inside." So the bike was raced all over the place. Of course, after a year or two, new models came out, and the bike began to look like what it had become, a hard-used racing bike. Eventually, in the 80s, the shop closed, and one of the mechanics, who had the bike at the time, just kept it. It was that guy who eventually moved to Long Valley. And that's how it got here."

"But why is it in such terrible condition? And who spray painted it with the black paint?"

"Yeah" he said, "that's kind of a sad story. They guy who owned the bike was away for a bit, and some kids broke into his house, which was up on Schooley's Mountain, way out in the woods. They didn't take much, but they took the bike. The guy was already a bit of a hermit, and after that, he really did not like to talk much. He made it known that he would beat the **** out of whoever stole it, and gave the cops photos, etc. Well, the kids who stole it must have been scared, so I guess they tried to disguise it, and took some of it apart. Supposedly, a couple of years later, the bike, or what was left of it, was found just sitting in the parking lot of the police station. Somebody had regrets, I suppose. But the cops gave the bike back, and after that, it just sat in his yard, with a pile of other junk".

"What happened to the guy? Is he still around?"

"Nah, passed away about two years ago. We cleared his house out when his relatives finally got title to the property. They just wanted it cleared out. I got a lot of bike tools and stuff, but I'm keeping those. Anyhow, that's a good bike, and it's got a history, and now you know what it is. I don't know if you can restore it, but if you do, now you know that it's had a pretty unusual path to your door. Most of us who like to fix up bikes never know where an old bike has been, or what has happened to it in it's life. Now you know. Sometimes it's fun to know this stuff".

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Old 08-29-17, 06:10 PM
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[QUOTE=LouB;19824909]Yes, the Raleigh Lenton Grand Prix got blinged out down to the GB cable buffers. Fun bicycle for sure!
The Charrel is a different beast. Truly hand built and the builder didnt seem to ever make 2 bicycles the same so many parts are custom built with no or very limited sourcing. Had to either replicate or re-design and fabricate. But it rides like a dream. Once I get the drive train sorted out and that triple performing like it can, it will go anywhere with comfort and style.
Lou[/QUOT]

-----

Hello Lou,

Thanks so much for this update & imagery of your wetlands wader. Very fine work there!

Announcer: "We now return you to our regular Francaise programming."

-----
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