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Working on a 72 Gitane

Old 04-29-10, 07:35 AM
  #1  
ironchefchris
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Working on a 72 Gitane

i'm new to bikes, but just acquired my dad's 1972 gitane grand sport deluxe. it's been garage kept for 30 years after he wrecked it pretty bad in a race, but hasn't been ridden since. it's in amazing shape for the year and has some ok parts on it i think:
mafac racers w/ new kool stop pads (just added the pads to stop the squeeling)
normandy hubs
wrights saddle (looks great for the age, lexoled and cleaned it for days)
pivo stem
rigida serrated rims (cool sound when braking)
huret front der., had a simplex rear but had to be replaced at the shop for a sunrace
and abunch of other stuff i know nothing about

the bike rides great, but could use some more speed, especially when coasting with my buddie's on their bikes (an old rebuilt raleigh super course mk ii, and an 80s peugeot). any quick fix things i could do? i haven't really looked into it, but should i try to grease the hubs or anything? and if so, how do you do that? any suggestions would be much appreciated, thanks.
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Old 04-29-10, 09:20 AM
  #2  
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If you haven't regreased the hubs then you're most likely already tearing them up inside. Stop riding until you check. It's pretty basic maintenance, but you may need some cone wrenches to get started. Park Tool can get you on the way.

Properly set hubs can help your speed, and proper tire inflation as well. You probably do not have high pressure tires on those old rims.

And the bike does look good for its age. Those foil decals are usually in bad shape by now. Have you put a nice coat of protective wax over everything?

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Old 04-29-10, 09:42 AM
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If you replace the wheels with wheels that have aluminum rims, it will improve the ride. Even better, get some better tires. They make more of a difference than anything else. I happen to love Panaracer Pasela tires, the non-TourGuard version. Amazing tires at an amazing price.

Also, you'll get more power out of the motor (your body) if you put on toe clips or switch to clipless (snap-in) pedals. With the latter, you'll need special shoes with cleats.

Inflate the tires to 100 psi. That will help, too.
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Old 05-01-10, 08:18 AM
  #4  
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thanks for advice...well i went ahead and greased and checked the hubs. they look ok, but i think one of the cones is a bit scuffed so i didn't tighten them to tight to give it a bit more play...a barely noticeable wobble on the front wheel is the result, but it should be fine. i know setting hubs and whatnot is a bit of a "feel" kind of thing. but after really kicking the rust and dust off and waxing the bike, i've developed a pretty bad squeek when i pedal...i'm assuming it's from the pedals themselves so i'll try to adjust and work on that today. and even with new koolstop pads, my brakes still squeel a bit when firmly appiled...could this be the result of polishing my steel serated rims? i would imagine that a really clean surface could lead to some noise. and one more item, the 100psi? i know the guy at my bike shop and the tires themselves say 90psi, could i go for 100 anyway? thanks
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Old 05-01-10, 08:44 AM
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I've got one the same color.
Nice to see another old Gitane!
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Old 05-01-10, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by ironchefchris View Post
... so i didn't tighten them to tight to give it a bit more play...a barely noticeable wobble on the front wheel is the result, but it should be fine.
You are right there is a "feel" but there should be no play or wobble in the hub at all.....I think you should look at those again and set the cones so that when you spin the wheel in your hand (or twist the axle) you feel nothing but smooth motion, but there should be no ability to move the axle in/out or up/down at all....BTW - the real "feel" part of it is that its easy to get them set up nicely, until you tighten the locknut....then everything starts to bind....the "feel" comes from knowing how much play to leave *before* tightening the locknut so that when you are done things are perfect....

Originally Posted by ironchefchris View Post
i've developed a pretty bad squeek when i pedal...i'm assuming it's from the pedals themselves so i'll try to adjust and work on that today
Could also be saddle or bars - most likely saddle.....

Originally Posted by ironchefchris View Post
and even with new koolstop pads, my brakes still squeel a bit when firmly appiled...could this be the result of polishing my steel serated rims?
Mafacs are famous for squeaking if they are not set up right - polishing the rims probably didn't do anything bad....make sure you have set up the pads with "toe-in" (you can look it up for more detail but you need the front edge of the brake pad to touch the rim just slightly before the rest of the pad to stop the squeal....and you do this be CAREFULLY twisting the arm that holds the pad with a crescent wrench....again, look up the procedure here or on the net.

Originally Posted by ironchefchris View Post
and one more item, the 100psi? i know the guy at my bike shop and the tires themselves say 90psi, could i go for 100 anyway? thanks
I think Tom meant "get new tires that can be inflated to 100psi then do so"

Your bike looks fantastic, so go slow on fixing it up and don't do anything irrevesible or unsafe....and post more photos!!

Mark

Last edited by markk900; 05-01-10 at 09:45 AM. Reason: add one point
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Old 05-01-10, 03:40 PM
  #7  
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I love old Gitanes, I assembled many just like the OP's when I worked in the LBS.

Be careful when inflating tires, those steel rims haven't got hook beads on them, 100 PSI will likely blow the tire off the rim.
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Old 05-01-10, 04:25 PM
  #8  
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just went for a 2 hour ride just to get a feel of it and see if anything else needs to be done...
-the brakes are still really noisy and the rear one doesn't want to snap back into position. it's got an odd feel to it. can i make that better and also widen the at-rest brake width? the front brakes great but noisy still.
-the gears don't change well at all but i think the huret front der is the culprit...i just need to figure out how to make it move wider out to change to the larger gear
-the squeaking is still pretty prominate when i pedal...i greased everything and tightened the saddle...maybe i just need to take a wrench to that crank/pedal area of the bike
-front hub has too much play i think, but rides ok...maybe i need a new cone in the hub as the one of them looks to have a nick in it and when i tightened the hub assembly, it barely turned 2 rotations before stopping and had a "hiccup" in it when spun

sorry if these are rookie questions, but like i said, i'm new to bikes (boats and cars i can fix anything on...but simple bikes? i'm clueless). any help would be much appreciated.

and as for new rims...i think maybe that's direction i may go. i think it might fix both the brake noise and the hub issues. i figure if i can find some nice alum. rims it may be worth it since i'm riding the heck outta this thing. my buddie's weinmanns with camp hubs ride amazing, so maybe i'll check into those. i have no clue about the sizing, but i'm sure thats printed somewhere. any suggestions on new rims and hubs? again, i don't even know how you spoke and assemble the things so a complete package would be cool...just pop em on and go, but i'm sure piecing em together isn't too hard either.
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Old 05-01-10, 04:54 PM
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http://cgi.ebay.com/Rigida-Maillard-...item255a3618cd

would these be worth a try?
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Old 05-01-10, 05:30 PM
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To get rid of brake squeal you need to "toe-in" the brakes. You literally bend the brakes so that the front of the brake pad hits the rim first.

With the Mafac brakes you have I think you can toe-in the pads. What you want is the front part of the pad to hit the rim first as you apply the brakes.

Try going to mytenspeeds.com for more info on fixing bikes.

http://www.mytenspeeds.com/My_TenSpe...yTenSpeeds.htm
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Old 05-01-10, 06:01 PM
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The bike could stand to use a tune up/overhaul. At a minimum:
replace cables and housing
replace brake pads (already done)
new tires
flush out grease and repack w new grease all bearings: front and rear hub, headset, bottom bracket

New wheels with or replacing the steel rims for alloy would be a significant upgrade. Finding something period appropriate or NOS ranges from easy to insanely dificult depending on how much you want to get into it.

Brake squeal could be from improper toe in, or the bushings degraded on the mafac brakes.
 
Old 05-01-10, 06:32 PM
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just had a tuneup and they did everything but the bearings. i did that the best i could last night though. they replaced tires, new cables, etc...so i dunno. i'll work on the brakes and toe-in though. the guy that did it was local and i basically told him to get "rideable"...i should have said "check everything". maybe i'll take it back to him.
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Old 05-01-10, 06:57 PM
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What do you mean by 'local'? Local guy around the block working in his backyard, or local bike shop?
Repacking bearings takes more time and a higher skill level than a routine cable replacement, and more often additional specialized tools. if the hub cones are not adjusted right, ie too loose or too tight, they will quickly deteriorate the bearings and races. same goes with the bottom bracket and headset. As long as the hub axles and bb spindle are unbent, the cones and races are unpitted and the bearings unrusted they don't really need to be replaced.

What you had done to make it ridable had the most significant impact on the performance. Everything else will be an upgrade.
Alloy rims would be the first place to start.
 
Old 05-01-10, 07:16 PM
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My first "good" bike was a Gitane like that one. It was a maroon color. Maybe one of these days I'll find one like it.
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Old 05-02-10, 09:48 AM
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it was a local shop. and i went ahead and took the hub assebly apart and greased the bearings and whatnot...not too difficult. but like i said, i did find that one of the cones has a bit of a chip in it. this keeps me from really locking the assembly in place. can those be sanded down at all? and i may take the brakes apart today and clean and reassemble them. i'm sure there's an article on the internet here for getting mafac racers in proper working order. i did ge those new koolstop dual compound pads put it and i need to set those correclty too...my buddie's have weinmann brakes and those seem to work flawlessly, but what i've read is that old ,afac racers are great brakes so maybe i just need to tweak them today...and i'm still watching that wheelset posted above on ebay, that might be worht doing (and the wheels have been trued, hubs packed, and new tires already put on em...just need to make sure the size is right
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Old 05-02-10, 09:58 AM
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if there's a cheip on the bearing surface of the hub cone, that's also called a pit, or scoring. The cones should be replaced. Wheels Manufacturing should have what you need, available at your local bike shop or bike tools etc online. Sheldon brown and park tool has articles on how to properly adjust hub bearings with quick releases. And soon there will be a flamewar on just this subject in the mechanics section...

MAFAC Racers are great brakes. We sell adjustable toe-in pads which makes setting up brakes without that feature a little easier. Otherwise you need to slightly bend the caliper arms so the front of the brake pad hits the rim first. There's plenty of online documentation on how to adjust these as well. If you still get a lot of chirping after toe in, it is either the steel rim or the pivot bushings. I don't know where to find replacement pivot bushings. Anyone else have suggestions?
 
Old 05-02-10, 01:25 PM
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brakes were ust completely disassebled and thoroughly cleaned and greased where needed. what are the pivt bushings exactly? everything looks like new on the brakes now except the springs (a bit rusted). the action of the brakes feels 100% better now. the rear brakes issue may have been that where the brake pad stud slides in...that piece was broken and cracked pretty pad. i moved that set to the front brake (which i consider less important in times of serious trouble) and moved then adjusted the front to compensate more. this worked out pretty well...i'll give it a test run later today, but i think that may have taken care of the brakes. i also went back and tightened my hub assembly and theres virtually no play left and it's spinning very well. the cone is pitted, but as long as i don't have it super tight, it's ok. so everything seems much better now minus the pedal and crank squeak which is just annoying and not a riding issue. i'll save that for another day. but the bike now rides great, is thoroughly cleaned and waxed twice over. decals were trimmed where frayed and all thats left cosmetically are the mafac hoods (cracked beyong repair) and finding a descent looking water bottle cage and under the seat saddle bag.
thanks for the help
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Old 05-02-10, 01:25 PM
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i'll post pics in a week or so when it's all done
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Old 05-02-10, 01:43 PM
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Check out my Gitane TDF Resto-Project thread (now with pics!). I just ordered some Amsoil Bar & Chain Oil, Synthetic Multi-Purpose Grease #2 (for the hubs), and I already have their MP and MP-HD for various other parts. I also JUST ordered some Vittoria Rallys, Vittoria Rim Tape and some Kool-Stop Eagle Claw II brake pads .

Gitanes are some really neat machines and have inspired me to spend a lot of money .
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Old 05-02-10, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by velo-orange View Post
I don't know where to find replacement pivot bushings. Anyone else have suggestions?
My LBS seems to have piles of old ones taken off bikes....so I just buy new/old calipers and strip them for parts!

To ironchefchris: glad you got the wheel worked out - I was worried about you riding a wheel with a lot of play. Not good for stability!

Mark
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Old 05-02-10, 05:36 PM
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yeah its working much better and feels much better. brakes are working well, but after awhile of riding they just slipped back to their old ways a bit, soooo much noise! but hey, as long as the stop and the bike rides fine, i'm ok. and the thing cleaned up great, de-rusted, metal polished and waxed everything. the wheels may be the biggest issue with the bike as far as function, but those steel rims look awesome.
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Old 05-02-10, 10:25 PM
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the bikes feeling much better now, i'm thinking about a better set of tires than the ones the shop put on it. they are some $7 kendas i think. would putting the panaracers on it make a big enough differenece you think? keeping in mind, i'm gonna stick with the old steel rims for awhile
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Old 05-04-10, 07:00 PM
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and as a sidenote: my rims are rigida superchromix serrated 27 X 1 1/4 HP. does the "HP" stand or high pressure?, and does that mean i could put some 100psi tubes and tires on them? apparently this would help the ride quite a bit
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Old 05-04-10, 07:07 PM
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if there's another 4mm of brake slot left below your brake pads, you may want to think about converting to 700c. A much bigger range of rims and tires to choose from. High polished aluminum rims are out there, and the cheaper unanodized 'mill' finish rims can be polished up with some simichrome and elbow grease.
 
Old 05-05-10, 07:21 AM
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i checked ebay...didn't see anything worthwhile. rim finding is tough. i'd really like to keep the bike fully original, and if not, then get some age appropriate wheels in alum. any suggestions on what to look for or brands? i know mavic was used on the tour de france model...
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