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Show your French bikes!

Old 03-01-15, 04:21 PM
  #1751  
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Originally Posted by 70Hugger View Post
Hello All,

Posted a vintage Reynolds 531 decal and was asked to post some picks of the bike.

I am honored to be among so many beautiful French machines.

Here you go...




















It is really nice to see one of these fine specimens. Thanks for sharing the photos.
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Old 03-02-15, 12:40 AM
  #1752  
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1982 Motobecane Team Champion

Finished this 1982 Motobecane Team Champion 2 weeks ago...



I bought the frame on eBay in 2007 and did a local pickup. When i waled up to the seller and he handed me the frame, the fork didn't look right. I looked at the fork end and it said Tange... The first thing that I did was to feel under the top and down tubes at the head tube. There were slight ripples. It was in a header.

I took the frame to a friend's shop and put it on his layout table to check the alignment. It was straight but I was sorely disappointed (read sick) because the rest of the frame was in beautiful condition.

I started assembling it but found the Tange replacement fork was too long. The front of the top tube sat over 1/2" higher than at the seat post. This threw the head tube geometry off. It sat half assembled for a number of years.



Luckily I bought a Gitane that came with 2 forks. The spare fork was the same geometry as the original Moto fork and looked the same. I finished assembling it after that.



The components are either same as the bike was originally with or period correct. I used a Stronglight 104 crankset because I could use a 37T chainring - the original Stronglight 106 or 107 cranks use the same 144 BCD chainrings as Campy NR/SR and are limited to a 42T small chain ring (OK, or uber rare 41T).

Stronglight 104 bis



I installed Weinmann Carrera 400 brakes which are an upgrade from the Carrera 600 ones that originally came on the bike.



I have a set of NOS wheels with Mavic SSC rims and low flange Maillard 700 hubs that these these bikes came with but their are sort of wall hangers....

The bike rides very smoothly and handles between responsive and twitchy but after a few miles it feels great. I can dive into hard corners and not feel any lack of control.

verktyg

Chas.
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Old 03-02-15, 06:20 AM
  #1753  
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Chas, that is one fine build. You've chosen a beautiful selection of components, too.

The seat cluster is quite impressive for a production machine. I was also surprised by the braze-on setup for the FD. I presume that Simplex triple handles the big jump up from the 37 well enough?

What dropouts are those? Simplex?

All in all, a very sweet machine.
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1959 Hilton Wrigley Connoisseur (still my favorite!)
1963 Hetchins Mountain King (the gravel grinder)
1971 Gitane Tour de France (The War Horse)
1971 Gitane Super Corsa (The Garage Queen)
1980 Ritchey Touring (The Grail Bike)
1984 Tom Ritchey Team Competition (NOS show bike)
(replacing the stolen 1981 Tom Ritchey Everest custom)
1985 ALAN Record (Glued & Screwed. A gift.)
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Old 03-02-15, 08:49 AM
  #1754  
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Nice job Chas. I do like the look of that year's TCs.
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Old 03-02-15, 09:28 AM
  #1755  
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Originally Posted by LeicaLad View Post
The seat cluster is quite impressive for a production machine.
I don't know whether things changed by '82 but when the TC (or CT if you prefer) came out in '74 it was a special-order-only bike. Most likely they weren't production at all, but made by a few gnarled old men over in an isolated corner. That color, Night Blue, was introduced in '82 if I remember right from browsing the catalogs year or so ago. Finally, one more interesting bit of confusion trivia for which I must thank @rootboy for his explanation. The early-days US catalogs always called it the Team Champion but the original TT graphics said Champion Team. Go figure.
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Old 03-02-15, 09:48 AM
  #1756  
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Originally Posted by LeicaLad View Post
The seat cluster is quite impressive for a production machine. I was also surprised by the braze-on setup for the FD. I presume that Simplex triple handles the big jump up from the 37 well enough?

What dropouts are those? Simplex?
Thanks LL and CV-6...

The lug work and details are very good (especially for a French bike ). The lugs show some handwork.



The FD is a double. I thing it's an optical illusion that it looks like a triple. It handles the 50-37T chainrings like silk. It's a mid-range model but when I got the frame back in 2007, the proprietary Simplex braze-on derailleurs were pretty rare.



Yes, those are Simplex dropouts.



The tires are skinny sewups. The ride would probably improve a lot with bigger tires.


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Old 03-02-15, 03:46 PM
  #1757  
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My two french bikes

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Old 03-03-15, 10:28 PM
  #1758  
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
I don't know whether things changed by '82 but when the TC (or CT if you prefer) came out in '74 it was a special-order-only bike. Most likely they weren't production at all, but made by a few gnarled old men over in an isolated corner. That color, Night Blue, was introduced in '82 if I remember right from browsing the catalogs year or so ago. Finally, one more interesting bit of confusion trivia for which I must thank @rootboy for his explanation. The early-days US catalogs always called it the Team Champion but the original TT graphics said Champion Team. Go figure.
Back in the early 70s there was a Schwinn/Motobecane dealer about a mile from our shop. It was owned by identical twins. They had a red paramount and an orange 1974 Motobecane Team Champion which they only brought out for special rides.

The Moto TC was love at first site....

As was explained to me back then, the few bikes imported into the US by Ben Lawee the Moto importer/ distributor, were labeled Team Champion like in the 1974, 1975 and 1976 US catalogs.

A few came in with Champion Team but they were meant for the French market. These bikes were so scarce that the name didn't matter...

The 1974 catalog states: "Strictly a racing machine, limited production. Made for Motobecane racing team. Exported to the U.S. whenever possible".

Team Champion pages from the 1974, 1975 and 1976 Motobecane US catalog:



Notice the chrome socks on the bike pictured in the 1974 catalog. I have a 1974 and a 1975 Le Champion and the frames are identical to 1974-1976 Team Champions (Champion Teams) except for the chrome socks on the forks. Now that Team Champion repop decals are available, I'm tempted to have the lilac 1974 Le Champion repainted orange.

BTW, these were called Team Champion in all of the US catalogs that I've seen. Also, all the bikes from 1978 on were Team Champions.

There are a few pre 1974 Moto TCs floating around... The seat stay caps, fork crowns and the end treatment on the fork blades and rear stay ends are different from the 1974-76 bikes.

I was short of funds when an uber rare 1977 Reynolds 753 Champion Team came up for sale last year... kick,kick,kick

I have 1978, 1980 and 1982 Team Champions. A 1974-76 TC is still on my bucket list.

verktyg

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Old 03-03-15, 11:32 PM
  #1759  
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
As was explained to me back then, the few bikes imported into the US by Ben Lawee the Moto importer/ distributor, were labeled Team Champion like in the 1974, 1975 and 1976 US catalogs.

A few came in with Champion Team but they were meant for the French market. These bikes were so scarce that the name didn't matter...

Chas.
My '74 is labeled Champion Team and I haven't seen any photos of the early ones with other decals. Have you seen any marked Team Champion?
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Old 03-04-15, 02:52 AM
  #1760  
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Originally Posted by Kactus View Post
My '74 is labeled Champion Team and I haven't seen any photos of the early ones with other decals. Have you seen any marked Team Champion?
Next sentence up from your quote cut...

"They had a red paramount and an orange 1974 Motobecane Team Champion which they only brought out for special rides."

I've only seen a few 1974-76 Motobecane Team Champion/Champion Team bikes in the flesh (maybe 5 at most).

Most of them were at events during the mid 70s like the Iron Horse Race in Durango, Colorado and others in the Southwest plus several centurys. I think that only one was marked Champion Team, that's how I found out about the US vs. French versions. I was a "bike freak" so I looked for those kinds of things.

Those bikes were extremely rare. I'd guess that there were probably less than a hundred or so a year of them brought into the US between 1974 and 1976.

Because they stand out (and are survivors), some folks have the misimpression that bikes like these were falling out of trees!

Sites like Bike Forums and Classic Rendezvous are place where people interested in olde bikes congregate and their pictures skew the reality of how many rare bikes are left out there.

Consider the economics back then... You could get a VW for $1900 USD and a cheap Chevy for $2300!

Bike racing and the interest in expensive bikes were centered around a few large cities and college towns around the US. Bikes were still considered toys by many!

Most of the millions of bikes sold during the Bike Boom era were ~$100 entry level models bought by or for people under 25 years old - probably average age 18. Not many could afford an all Campy bike.

$600 FER A BIKE! YOU GOTTA BE OUTTA YER TREE!

I suspect that many of the 1974-76 Motobecane Champion Team bikes that show up in the US have been brought over from Europe during the past 10 years. I have no proof of this but "all Campy" bikes represented far less than a few percent of all the bikes sold in the US during the 1970s.

Of course, les spécifications sont sujettes à modification sans préavis - specifcations subject to change, yada,yada,yada...

The bike boom was over by mid 1974. Perhaps by 1975 there was not enough demand for Motobecane to make frames marked Team Champion for the US market, who knows.

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and I have seen orange Team Champion Motos.

You can trust me because I never lie and I'm always right!

verktyg

Chas.
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Old 03-04-15, 03:17 AM
  #1761  
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this is my gf's re-built Peugeot (age unknown, guessing mid 90ies?)
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Old 03-04-15, 05:55 AM
  #1762  
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
$600 FER A BIKE!
Indeed. Back in the early 80's I built up a bike for my sweetie starting with an unusual, built-as-a-showpiece frame I found at a LBS. By the time I was done it cost about $600. When I described it to an insurance agent she was astounded.

Re CT's or TC's, I believe my Moto is a '74 CT. It carries details of the '74 but also details that shouldn't be there. It appears to have been crashed (but not head-on) and repainted, probably around '82 because it has the '82 color and DT lettering that is not quite right. It rides like a dream.
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Old 03-04-15, 06:00 AM
  #1763  
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Chas said:
"There are a few pre 1974 Moto TCs floating around... The seat stay caps, fork crowns and the end treatment on the fork blades and rear stay ends are different from the 1974-76 bikes."

How so, mon ami?
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Old 03-04-15, 06:05 AM
  #1764  
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BTW, regarding the name on le bikes L'orange.

I find the connotations of the two different names kind of interesting.

"CHAMPION TEAM"

"TEAM CHAMPION"

One seems to indicate the team. A championship team. The latter seems to refer to an individual. The champion on the team.
Like, say, Luis Ocana.
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Old 03-04-15, 07:49 AM
  #1765  
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Originally Posted by Kactus View Post
My '74 is labeled Champion Team and I haven't seen any photos of the early ones with other decals. Have you seen any marked Team Champion?
Same here, different year. I know I called it TC based on the catalog and did not know about CT until I bought the CT I own. Either way, we know what bike to which we are referring.
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Old 03-04-15, 07:55 AM
  #1766  
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Originally Posted by non-fixie View Post
I think that must be Jim Muller. Nice goggles, Jim.
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Old 03-04-15, 08:20 AM
  #1767  
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Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
Chas said:
"There are a few pre 1974 Moto TCs floating around...
How so, mon ami?
Perhaps they started building them immediately after the TDF win but before the next year's catalogs were printed.

Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
I think that must be Jim Muller. Nice goggles, Jim.
Noop. 'Tain't me. Nice beard but I wouldn't wear those goggles. I am far far far too serious to do that, now aren't I?
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Old 03-04-15, 09:29 AM
  #1768  
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Been working on this one. The frame was a $30 purchase and all the parts I already had. Haven't had a chance to really ride it because of the snow and ice, but it feels very nice. Not really into the color so I'm considering painting it if I can find the right shade of orange.



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Old 03-04-15, 09:36 PM
  #1769  
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
Next sentence up from your quote cut...

"They had a red paramount and an orange 1974 Motobecane Team Champion which they only brought out for special rides."

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and I have seen orange Team Champion Motos.
Other than mine, I've only seen photos of others and they were all Champion Teams. I'd always chalked up the difference of the catalog to mine and others bikes to some New York ad man using his school boy French and mis-interpreting the French ad copy.
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Old 03-05-15, 12:13 AM
  #1770  
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Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
Chas said:
"There are a few pre 1974 Moto TCs floating around... The seat stay caps, fork crowns and the end treatment on the fork blades and rear stay ends are different from the 1974-76 bikes."

How so, mon ami?
The first picture is supposed to be a real 1972 BIC Team Bike but it has a late 1973 early 1974 Reynolds 531 decal on the seat tube plus the same fork crown used on the 1974-76 TC/CT frames.



Several versions of 1973 bikes. Notice the short black painted seat stay eyes on the first bike. The later ones had the longer eyes. In 1974 they stopped painting them black.



The 1973 and earlier bikes used these Milremo style fork crowns maybe made by Wagner. The 1974-76 bikes had these elegant crowns that were maybe made by George Fischer in Switzerland. Masi and De Rosa used them too.



The last difference was in the way the ends of the fork blades and rear stays were finished. So,e of the early bikes had "fish mouthed" cuts or a combination with angle cut ends. All of the 1974-76 bikes had the graceful angle cuts.



Since these were custom made or almost custom built, it's normal to find some variances.


BTW, Luis Ocana rode on Motobecane badged Gemini frames when he won the 1973 TdF.




"Riding With The King"!
____NUMERO UNO!




DISCLAIMER: NONE OF THESE BIKES PICTURED HERE ARE MINE...

One of the 1974-76 bikes belongs to CR member Peter Kohler, the early models belong to other CR members and I pulled a few pictures off of eBay and the internet.

verktyg

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Old 03-05-15, 01:58 AM
  #1771  
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just picked this up- its sort of vintage: not sure the cutoff date for that!
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Old 03-05-15, 02:09 AM
  #1772  
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Jetboy, put some links in that chain! I hope that's how you found it. Otherwise, I am local and would be glad to help you get that fit dialed in. First order of business: Saddle needs to be leveled and bars tilted downward. And the front quick release, and the bar tape, and...well, that's good for starters. Nice look!
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Old 03-05-15, 06:29 AM
  #1773  
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
One of the 1974-76 bikes belongs to CR member Peter Kohler, the early models belong to other CR members and I pulled a few pictures off of eBay and the internet.

verktyg

Chas.
Thanks Chas. Just wanted to put you through your paces and read yet another concise and well-thought-out post by the Verktyg Man!

BTW, one of those pictured bikes belongs to me. The one with the incorrect and temporary Brooks large rivet Pro on it. A few other clues to age given the original components but the frame details remain most interesting.
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Old 03-05-15, 08:18 AM
  #1774  
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Well done Chas. I was not aware of the painted seat stay cap difference. I see rootboy's is the earlier of the painted version.

And as a contrast to rootboy's bike, go here for a series of photos of a later iteration of the orange CT.

Example below

P8032119 by CV6Enterprises, on Flickr
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Old 03-05-15, 08:33 AM
  #1775  
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@rootboy , @CV-6 , your orange whatchamacallits are hurting my eyes!

My ophthalmologist says these can cause permanent damage to my optic nerves (- that is, until I snag my own orange CT ).
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