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Gitane TDF - restoration project (tires, presta, relube, anything else that is added)

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Gitane TDF - restoration project (tires, presta, relube, anything else that is added)

Old 04-15-10, 08:10 PM
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pcfxer
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Gitane TDF - restoration project (tires, presta, relube, anything else that is added)

Hello all,

I have been pondering about restoring my Dad's already pristine Gitane TDF but I'm stumped by...wait for it...the tires. I never thought I'd be stumped about tires but all I've worked with are tubes and tires that go over the tubes . I have never really worked on "hardcore" bikes but I know my way around a shop.

The Gitane has Campy quick release hubs and Mavic wheels, but the tires are glued and that is the part that I"m unfamiliar with. I also noticed that the presta valve nut and thread is missing on the rear wheel. I'd like to prep the bike for a LONG journey but feel the need to see how the 40 year old components stand up to some short sprints prior to my 300+km 2-day event in August. (MS bike tour if you're wondering).

Thanks in advance!
Brodey
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Old 04-15-10, 09:32 PM
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Scroll down to "Tubular".

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_tp-z.html

Scroll down to "Clincher tire".

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_cl.html#clincher

I think you are going to want to change your rims to clincher rims.
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Old 04-15-10, 10:03 PM
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I think you are going to want to change your rims to clincher rims.
Blasphemer!

Had to say it. Gran Bois may be correct that you might want to change to clinchers, but only because that is what most people are familiar with. I think tubulars get a bad rap.
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Old 04-16-10, 04:12 AM
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You are facing the dilemma that many of us face - clincher vs sew-up. Rather than repeat my thoughts, have a look at this article. WHAT IS BETTER - RIMS AND TIRES?

In your case and considering your intended purpose, change the rims to clincher design and save yourself a ton of grief and expense. However, you will not have optimized ride quality, in my humble opinion. You might even just buy yourself a period and model correct spare wheel set with clincher rims. These come up for auction frequently on Ebay.
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Old 04-16-10, 05:04 AM
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^^^ Get an extra clincher wheelset and learn about tubulars as well. They both have their place.
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Old 04-16-10, 05:17 AM
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What are the derailers on the Gitane? I think it originally had plastic Simplex.

Not the most reliable for "a long journey". You've probably got Simplex dropouts, so your selection of rear derailers is limited.

Last edited by Grand Bois; 04-16-10 at 06:13 AM.
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Old 04-17-10, 11:44 AM
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1. I indeed have Simplex dropouts.

2. The Simplex are unfortunately plastic, but show extremely little weathering.

3. Sheldon Brown is the man. In fact, I came here because he mentioned these forums .

Part of the project goals is to "experience" the journey and the authenticity of the era/period. I am definitely considering getting a set of clinchers and more modern wheels/spokes. My father has given me the go-ahead but has recommended that the spokes be upgraded since they blew-out one-by-one on his way from Ottawa - Kingston (300km just about).

I will first repair the tires but save those for short trips and use the clinchers for the long trip . Then again, I am young and dumb so I get this opportunity to have tire blow-outs and other fun stuff - jk .

Thanks for the replies, as it turns out I have a lot to learn and have been reading as much as I can.

Cheers,
Brodey
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Old 04-17-10, 12:21 PM
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I had a friend in the mid 70's that flew to LAX and rode his bike from there to the northeast coast. This was loaded touring with camping gear. He stopped in Indiana and dropped off most of the gear and continued on to his sisters carrying only a blanket and other assorted clothing. This was done on sew-ups and he never did any complaining about unusual tire problems. His companion that rode from LA to Indiana never mentioned anything unusual either. It just depends on the tires and the attention you pay them during the ride. I would not suggest using 150g silks for touring but there used to be some good heavy 30+ mm tires intended for heavy duty use. ....What ever you choose, have a good ride
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Old 04-17-10, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
Scroll down to "Tubular".

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_tp-z.html

Scroll down to "Clincher tire".

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_cl.html#clincher

I think you are going to want to change your rims to clincher rims.
Your going to be better off if you actually learn to work with the stock tubular tyres. They ride better than clinchers, and once you're over the learning curve, are easier to change (if necessary) on the side of the road.
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Old 04-17-10, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
What are the derailers on the Gitane? I think it originally had plastic Simplex.

Not the most reliable for "a long journey". You've probably got Simplex dropouts, so your selection of rear derailers is limited.
Yes, but the 'plastic Simplex' on the Tour de France are the really good Criteriums, not the cheap Prestige. World of difference between the two. The Criteriums are worth keeping.
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Old 04-18-10, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by sykerocker View Post
Yes, but the 'plastic Simplex' on the Tour de France are the really good Criteriums, not the cheap Prestige. World of difference between the two. The Criteriums are worth keeping.
skyerocker, you seem to be in the know here. The Simplex are in VERY good shape and not deteriorated at all.

I have read a lot about tubulars and seeing as I'm not a n00b here, I'm just not well versed with the "old" stuff, I have no real issue with Tubulars. The only time people seem to have issues is if they don't know what they're doing or they try to save a few bucks.

Right now, I'm having an issue sourcing a new tubular tire. Most are 26" or 27". I measured the overall diameter and it is about 26.75" so I doubt it is a "700" because that converts to 27.5" and this wheel is clearly not even 27".

Brodey
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Old 04-18-10, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by pcfxer View Post
skyerocker, you seem to be in the know here. The Simplex are in VERY good shape and not deteriorated at all.

I have read a lot about tubulars and seeing as I'm not a n00b here, I'm just not well versed with the "old" stuff, I have no real issue with Tubulars. The only time people seem to have issues is if they don't know what they're doing or they try to save a few bucks.

Right now, I'm having an issue sourcing a new tubular tire. Most are 26" or 27". I measured the overall diameter and it is about 26.75" so I doubt it is a "700" because that converts to 27.5" and this wheel is clearly not even 27".

Brodey
Brodey,

Virtually all tubulars are 700c. Back in 'the day' (38 years ago, when I started riding them), you had two wheel choices: 27x 1-1/4" clinchers and 700c tubulars. The clinchers have converted over to the (European standard) 700c sometime during the late 80's.

Something to keep in mind: No doubt you've heard all sorts of horror stories about tubulars. Difficulties in repairing, tyres rolling off the rims from improper gluing, glue in your hair, etc., etc., etc. They're the exact same horror stories I was getting in 1972 when I first starting riding tubulars! Some things never change, and the detractors are as wrong today as they were back then.

Oh yeah my introduction to the art was courtesy of a Gitane Professional Super Corsa - I now ride a Tour de France and am always looking for another PSC frameset to build.

There's a couple of quick tricks to tubulars:

1. You need a third rim. Beaten and bent is OK, as you're going to use it to stretch your spare tyre (the main tyres are stretching, unglued, on your wheels) for about a week at full pressure. Then you glue. Stretched, the tyre mounts and dismounts reasonably easy. I normally buy about a half dozen new tyres at the beginning of the year, and they're stored on spare rims, inflated, year round.

2. Tyre pressures are critical. I've been riding Vittoria Rally 700-23's with good service at 100lbs. Checked before EVERY ride.

3. Gluing. A thin layer of glue on the rim. A thin layer on the casing strip that covers the stitching. Wait a couple of minutes, then mount the tubular. Pressurize. I normally mount new tyres the day before a planned ride, although I've done replacements on the roadside where the time between pumping the tyre and riding is however long it takes me to clean up and repack. Of course, in those situations, I ride carefully for the first few minutes, but in 38 years I've yet to have a tyre roll off on me. And my roadside gluing is nowhere near as careful as back at the shop - usually only one layer of glue on the rim.

The (supposedly) inevitable hell of patching a tyre. I say 'supposedly' because I haven't patched all that many tyres. I normally average one puncture a year, and usually it's on a tyre that is so worn down and at the end of it's life that I just throw it away rather than patch it. I'm cheap, I ride tyres until the kevlar is starting to show. The ones I have had to do, I inflate the tyre (20-30 pounds does fine) and dunk in a bucket of water to get the stream of bubbles that tells me where the leak is. Rip away the covering over the stitching (try to keep it an intact loop), rip the stitching (a seamstresses' seam ripper is a huge help - how I wish I had known about them in 1972) and pull out the damaged section of tube. Patch like you would any tube, sprinkle with talcum powder, put back in the casing. The, using a simple overhand stitch (I use dental floss as my thread and a large upholsterer's needle) restitch reusing the holes already punched in the tyre casing. Start 3-4 holes before the ripped stitching, and go 3-4 past. A simple overhand knot or two will finish the stitching. Then spread contact cement over the stitching, ditto on the inside of the casing cover. Let set for a minute, then press the casing back on. Done. The first time, it'll probably take you an hour. The second time 40 minutes, the third 20, after which you'll get it down to about 15 minutes per flat.

Unlike 40 years ago, tubular choices are more limited today, but 700-23's are pretty much the standard. I've been riding Vittoria Rallye's for the past five years with very satisfactory results. Other riders have had lousy results. On the other hand, I've had bad luck with Clement's, other riders have had good luck. I ride Rallye's because the local Performance Bike always keeps them in stock, normally about $26.00, often on sale for about $5-6.00 cheaper. I'll pick up other brands at swap meets, but the Vittoria's seem to be my standard.

Why tubulars? 40 years ago, a 27" clincher was probably only 75% as good in performance as a tubular. Today, a modern 700c clincher has that up to 98%. A tubular still rides slightly better (in general, I'm not going to try and split hairs between different brands), is lighter, handles better, and is usually easier to change along the roadside than a clincher. You carry a spare tyre strapped under the seat, rim cement a CO2 inflator and a pressure gauge in your jersey pocket and you shouldn't be off the road more than 5-10 minutes from initial flat to cleanup. In fact, I've only found one modern clincher (a Hutchinson Saunier Duval branded tyre that I can't find anymore) that'll change as quickly as a tubular - most modern clinchers fit so tight on the rim I find myself missing the old 27x1-1/4's. And they've taught me to hate plastic tyre irons.

No, they're not the only answer. Right now, of my ten road bikes, two are clinchers full time (both 27" - one's a bagged touring bike running what are almost cyclocross tyres, the other is an urban single speed), three others switch back and forth between clincher and tubular wheels, and the remaining five are tubular full time. And there are moments when I'll prefer a clicher. Prime example: I'm going to Maine for a week in July to visit my mother-in-law. Taking a bike, with clincher wheels - because - if I do have a bad run of punctures (note, plural - it's does happen) I won't have all the stuff with me to patch tyres in the evening. But there is a college bike shop about a mile away from mom's house. This is one of the few situations when a tubular is out of the running, and that's because I don't want to have to carry the necessary stuff.

A Tour de France with the optional Campagnolo Tipo hubs and Super Champion tubular rims (this combination was a cataloged option for the bike) are a joy to ride. It says something that back in the first half of the 70's, any non-touring road bike in the Gitane line above the basic Gran Sport de Luxe came equipped with tubulars. And that went as far down as the Interclub which sold for $150.00 in 1972, and was essentially a GS Deluxe with tubular wheels. That's how I currently riding my UO-8, and I built up a lot of wheels back in the day for riding buddies who's budget limited them to bikes like a Raleigh Super Course.

One other suggestion regarding your TdF. While I love the Simplex Criterium (more steel in it than the Prestige), I could never understand why the American bikes got the crappy Prestige shift levers. The pulley diameter on the lever is too bloody small. Try to find a set of Criterium levers, which take up more cable as they move, and you'll find the derailleur shifts as well as a Nuevo Record of the same vintage. That's how the Europeans got them, so I understand, and I think it says a bit about the French attitude towards the new American cyclists back then.
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Last edited by sykerocker; 04-18-10 at 05:42 PM. Reason: grammer and spelling
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Old 04-18-10, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by sykerocker View Post
Yes, but the 'plastic Simplex' on the Tour de France are the really good Criteriums, not the cheap Prestige. World of difference between the two. The Criteriums are worth keeping.
A Criterium on a PX10 left me stranded miles from home when a pulley split in half.
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Old 04-19-10, 08:23 AM
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Wow, I'm going to read things over especially the tutorial on tubulars .

Thanks!
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Old 04-19-10, 08:30 AM
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Don't be too scared of the tubulars. My dad rode them for 15 yrs and has now passed all his wheelsets to me. I rode my Gitane TdF and Peugeot PX10 the past two days and will have a hard time when I go to grab a bike today not picking one of those two. The ride is so much nicer than my clincher equipped bikes.
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Old 04-19-10, 08:49 AM
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I too rode tubulars back in the late 60's and early 70's. My first serious bike was a UO-8. At the time I couldn't afford the PX10. I had both clinchers and sew ups for it . Since it was my only bike, I used the clinchers for riding to work and used the tubulars for more serious rides on week end. The difference was large.

My next bike was a Motobecane Le Champion. I bought it used and it already had clinchers on it from the PO. I was disappointed even though they were Rigida's. Soon after, Specialized came out with the turbo clincher at 1". I converted thinking it was much lighter and more tubular like.

Today I am back to tubulars as a result of buying a bike with them. Prices have changed a lot since the 70's, but I am sticking to the tubulars. I do have an extra set of HF Campy Record hubs that will probably get clinchers as a back up.

Point is, don't let others overly influence your decision. Give them a try, say for a year, then decide. Let your experience be your guide and provide the data you need to make aa long term decision.
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Old 04-19-10, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by SJX426 View Post
I too rode tubulars back in the late 60's and early 70's. My first serious bike was a UO-8. At the time I couldn't afford the PX10. I had both clinchers and sew ups for it . Since it was my only bike, I used the clinchers for riding to work and used the tubulars for more serious rides on week end. The difference was large.

My next bike was a Motobecane Le Champion. I bought it used and it already had clinchers on it from the PO. I was disappointed even though they were Rigida's. Soon after, Specialized came out with the turbo clincher at 1". I converted thinking it was much lighter and more tubular like.

Today I am back to tubulars as a result of buying a bike with them. Prices have changed a lot since the 70's, but I am sticking to the tubulars. I do have an extra set of HF Campy Record hubs that will probably get clinchers as a back up.

Point is, don't let others overly influence your decision. Give them a try, say for a year, then decide. Let your experience be your guide and provide the data you need to make aa long term decision.
Now that I know what tires I'm looking for (700c thanks skyerocker) I can make a move on some purchases. I found a stamping on the Mavic wheels with Montlepy (I can only find Monthlery) but I guarantee you that Monthlery is NOT on the stamping. The currently mounted tires are Wolber Renforces and those have served very well for my Dad.

I'll see what my local shop has in-stock but Vittoria and Continentals (28" only) seem to be highly recommended. I remember Michelins being used by our local ride group years ago when I biked EVERY day, but it seems that their quality has diminished.

Thanks everyone!

PS, I should have some pictures up later today.
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Old 04-19-10, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
A Criterium on a PX10 left me stranded miles from home when a pulley split in half.
Never said they were perfect. I had a broken pulley on my bike once, too. On a Shimano Crane. Fortunately, I was on a three-day camping trip on my World Voyageur, and being the paranoid obsessive I am I actually had a couple of spare jockey wheels in my tool kit.

I've never considered the Criterium perfect, or, quite as good as the higher end SunTour's back then. But they were an effective, competent derailleur. And still are, as vintage goes.
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Old 05-01-10, 08:46 PM
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Alrighty, I am having my doubts about the wheel size. I am measuring 635mm from edge-to-edge of the wheel (28" wheel then?), the wheel base is 0.75" soo 20mm then?

I have tracked down the Campy hubs to Gran Tipos as per the site: http://images.andale.com/f2/115/106/...front_tipo.jpg

I am uploading pictures right now.
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Old 05-01-10, 09:11 PM
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Reccad'oro saddle











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Old 05-01-10, 09:26 PM
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Ah-ha! They are indeed 700c's "622"mm. Boy the French have definitely won this battle. This bike has redefined the meaning of "Man that is FRENCH!"

I am now in the marketplace for some 20-622s anyone want to recommend something? I have also been considering Tufo tape or an alternative to adhere the tubular to the rim. Suggestions comments?
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Old 05-01-10, 09:44 PM
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Here's mine, the only difference being I built a new set of wheels with the appropriate Tipo hubs and saved the originals, and mine uses a Stronglight crank set instead of the Sugino on yours. They came from the factory with one or the other. Mine still has the Simplex Criterium RD, it works just fine.



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Old 05-02-10, 05:30 AM
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Here's mine. It has Mavic 501 hubs and MA clincher rims. The rear derailer is a uper LJ. The shifters are Simplex Retrofriction. The Cinelli bars are an experiment. I'm still trying to decide if I like them. Even though the bike is a tad small for me, I like the way it rides better than anything I've ever ridden.

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Old 05-02-10, 08:35 AM
  #24  
Rabid Koala
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Bikes: 1971 Chrome Paramount P-13, 1973 Gitane Tour de France, 1974 Raleigh Professional

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Grand Bois, you are absolutely right. While I can't exactly describe what it is that is different, I definitely notice it.
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Old 05-02-10, 11:44 AM
  #25  
pcfxer
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Coooool! I love seeing old Gitanes now .

Update:

- Vittoria Rally x4
- Vittoria Rim Strip boxes (2strips) x2
- Kool-Stop Eagle Claw II (red) x4
- Amsoil Bar & Chain Oil (Semi-Synthetic one quart) x1
- Amsoil Multi-Purpose Grease #2 (one 14oz container)

I ordered the Vittoria and Kool-Stop parts from JensonUSA as per recommendation from this forum and the fact that they are 50% cheaper (including shipping) than my local shop (Orleans Cycles) without tax! Sheesh! I'll give them a go for some other things I want done before I take this beast on the road after a 13 year hiatus.

Last edited by pcfxer; 05-02-10 at 01:52 PM. Reason: Updated ordering
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