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French Find...Reynolds 531 Velosolex

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French Find...Reynolds 531 Velosolex

Old 03-31-10, 07:57 PM
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French Find...Reynolds 531 Velosolex

I was hoping someone could tell me more about this (like if it is the 531 frame that I think it is)...besides that it has the weirdest parts group I've seen...

I picked this up tonight...it looks to me like a Reynolds 531 frame. Model is etoile according to the seller...make is Velosolex (which I've never heard of). It looks and sounds French to me. A good bit of paint scraping...I haven't decided whether to repaint it or not. Heck...I haven't even decided whether to keep it or not. I don't have any French bikes (intentionally), and this certainly seems to fit the bill.

It has an extremely odd component mix, apparently chosen by a local racer who built from the frame up....mostly Suntour Superbe with a Shimano Crane rear derailleur, Atom Pedals, campy gran sport FD and shifters and Shimano hubs laced to Araya clincher rims. The headset is Racelight...which I've never heard of. Cinelli bars with an SR stem.

Please excuse the crappy photos...there was no light outside and the only working camera I have right now is attached to a cell phone:




















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Old 03-31-10, 07:58 PM
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Old 03-31-10, 08:11 PM
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It's a great find. A french 531 butted frame can be a thing of beauty. Looks like a 70's frame that was well ridden and updated as time went by. The lugwork look very nice even thru the low res pics. Velo Solex made many mopeds of course and I've seen their bikes here and there over the years but never a 531 model. Atom pedals are great...CLB brakes maybe? A lot of value in those old school parts.
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Old 03-31-10, 08:14 PM
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The brakes are superbes...levers and calipers. I really like the long lugs...and the fork looks fantastic. The chrome is in great condition where the paint peeled away.

Drop outs are Huret...the seat post binder is some extremely odd size and nothing I have in the house seems to fit it. I'm hoping like heck that I don't have a stuck seat post. Serial number is stamped on the chain side rear drop out...62147F

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Old 03-31-10, 10:55 PM
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looks like you found one of Velosolex's best: this etoile (star) was the top dog with BCM (Bocama) Pro long-point lugs, brown was a popular color...they also made the frame with a mix of Reynolds and Durifort, and many low-end bikes with all Durifort (or worse). It's an old French company with a long history, but now defunct. The JP parts are all somewhat later upgrades, but are nice vintage pieces, if from the wrong vineyard, but will probably add to the enjoyment and reliability of the bike.
Enjoy it!
try a 7mm Allen in the seatpost bolt.
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Old 03-31-10, 11:11 PM
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Thanks for the info unworthy...just to clarify, are you saying this might be a mix of Reynolds and lower end tubing, or that other Velosolex frames had a mix of tubings? Any advice/clues on the date? Just from the look and feel, I'd guess mid-70s.

I'll say this...the frame is extremely light...much lighter than my Raleigh Professional. Now I get the "same old" question...what to do with it. It fits well enough to keep, though a bit small, but I'm already knee deep in wheels.

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Old 03-31-10, 11:30 PM
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just distilling what I read in the CR archives: somebody had one of this model (at least he called it an etoile and said it was brown) and said it was a mix of Reynolds and Durifort tubing. To know that there must have been decals on his that said so, maybe a 531 frame with durifort decals on the forkblades (but I don't know for sure cause he didn't specify). other posts on the subject line of Velosolex are very few and some are just slagging off the cheap (lower than a UO-8) models...clearly they made some cheap ones but some champs like yours, too.
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Old 03-31-10, 11:36 PM
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here's the quotation (better than me interpreting it):
"...and a late-60's (I think) VeloSolex
road bike. The VeloSolex is a bit of mystery to me...I have never seen one
like it. It has a Reynolds & Durifort frame w/ BCM lugs, and has a Campy
Gran Sport drive train (all chrome-plated, not alloy) w/ T.A.
Cyclotouriste double crankset (40/52), Brooks B15
saddle on a Simplex post, and Universal sidepull brakes. It came w/
Gnutti Professional hubs on Weinmann tubular rims. It is a very pretty,
very French bike- chrome fork, nice paint & lugwork. If anyone out there
can tell me anything about it's history, I would be in their debt!"
from a guy in Portland, Larry Myers....might even be a C&V member
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Old 04-01-10, 07:53 AM
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Interesting...I'm not sure how to tell what the different tubes are made of...I thought the sticker indicated all 531 (what was left of it anyway). I think a 7mm might work...apparently I don't have one, so that tracks.

The big question is still what to do with it.
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Old 04-01-10, 10:35 AM
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Since yours has the decal that claims "ALL 531" I would tend to believe that it's all 531...until something proves it false. It wouldn't be the first time a French bike with that decal turned out to have seamed tubing, but a lot of them were true to their decals, too.
If it's your size: I say fix it up and ride it, you may really like it.
A real 7mm Allen is hard to find, but they DO make 'em. When I had to I've made my own to fit by filing down an SAE Allen that was pretty close to 7mm: 5/16" I believe. (Old Cinelli stems are another bear that used 7mm Allen bolts, just FYI)

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Old 04-01-10, 01:49 PM
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I was considering buying one off CL here a month ago. Just the frame - crayon green, 531. Just couldn't justify the purchase. Love the brown!
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Old 04-01-10, 01:50 PM
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The paint is in pretty rough shape...if I do keep it, I'll probably take it to Bilenky for a repaint/restore. Jeben---what was the asking price if you don't mind me asking?

I'll take some better photos tonight. It needs a lot of polishing, but the parts should clean up nicely.

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Old 04-01-10, 02:18 PM
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IIRC (and I could be wrong, it's a hazy memory now), I believe that VeloSolex were linked with Motobecane sometime in the early 70's and later with Gitane. L'etoile, or "Star" was top of their range in its day and the only ones I've ever seen were brown and had Campagnolo Gran Sport gears with Stronglight or TA cranks. This bike is brilliant, like a partly upgraded time capsule. Really unusual find. I'd keep it for curiosity value alone. I'm guessing it probably is all 531 if it feels as light as a Raleigh Pro.

I'm more familiar with the VeloSolex moped - a heavy black all steel bicycle with a tiny petrol engine perched in front of the head tube driving the front wheel by a rotating head rubbing against the tyre wall - like a bottle dynamo in reverse! These were cheap to buy and good fun for a teenager to tinker with. Horrendously under-powered but many are still in daily use in the towns of Northern France.
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Old 04-01-10, 02:27 PM
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It's almost the exact same size as the Raleigh and it feels a LOT lighter (and that's with heavier wheels). Part of that might be that the Raleigh has a Brooks pro and brooks tape.

Assuming I do keep it, would you restore it to campy GS or leave it? My gut says leave it...I like what's on it probably more than the original parts. The paint is rough, but there's no rust that I see...is this repaint material?

The guy who raced it removed some of the decals so that the model would read toil.
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Old 04-01-10, 02:28 PM
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my brain is broken, I read the thread title as velosex the first time
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Old 04-01-10, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by bane View Post
my brain is broken, I read the thread title as velosex the first time
:

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Old 04-01-10, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
It's almost the exact same size as the Raleigh and it feels a LOT lighter (and that's with heavier wheels). Part of that might be that the Raleigh has a Brooks pro and brooks tape.

Assuming I do keep it, would you restore it to campy GS or leave it? My gut says leave it...I like what's on it probably more than the original parts. The paint is rough, but there's no rust that I see...is this repaint material?

The guy who raced it removed some of the decals so that the model would read toil.
About the only thing I'd do would be (maybe) to change the rear derailleur to a chromed Camagnolo Gran Sport - it probably wouldn't change quite as well but the gear train would all match. However, from my experiences with Gran Sport mechs back in the 1960's I'd definitely keep the Crane to hand for when the cast in tab that stops the Gran Sport top mounting from swinging forward -snaps off - like all of mine eventually did!

Great find!
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Old 04-01-10, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by bane View Post
my brain is broken, I read the thread title as velosex the first time
If I do have this restored...it might just read velosex!

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Old 04-01-10, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Oldpeddaller View Post
IIRC (and I could be wrong, it's a hazy memory now), I believe that VeloSolex were linked with Motobecane sometime in the early 70's and later with Gitane...
I was going to say, that frame has a lot of visual similarities to my Grand Jubilé's frame, especially the seat stays & fork. The Sakae crankset is the same as what was originally on my Moto also.
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Old 04-01-10, 09:36 PM
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That is certainly a classy bike KonAaron - Complete with slanted 531 decal and really good stuff.

Please take some better photos' though, and post them here.
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Old 04-01-10, 10:08 PM
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Solex sold off the Velosolex part of their business to Motobecane sometime in the 70s. I believe that Motobecane retained rights to the brand name into the 1990s when they more or less sold everything they still had to various manufacturers.

The Velosolex moped, BTW is actually the second most popular "motorcycle" of all time, overall sales of units only having been surpassed by the Honda Cub.
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Old 04-02-10, 05:25 AM
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I actually don't think this bicycle and I were meant to be together. It's a little small for me and I just found out that I can't swap the pedals out for SPDs...I REALLY hate traps. Better photos tonight or tomorrow.
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Old 04-02-10, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
I actually don't think this bicycle and I were meant to be together. It's a little small for me and I just found out that I can't swap the pedals out for SPDs...I REALLY hate traps. Better photos tonight or tomorrow.
I think you're right - send it to me straight away!
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Old 04-02-10, 08:02 AM
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KA-S: it was just the frame, initial asking was $150, then $100, then offered to me at $75. Green and 531 and I said no. Some regret, but I can only fit so much on my plate.
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Old 04-02-10, 08:20 AM
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Thanks Jeben. I know exactly what you mean...there are just so many cool bikes out there and you can only ride so many.
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