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"Le Champion de Hamtramck" (...the tale of a '75 Motobecane...)

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"Le Champion de Hamtramck" (...the tale of a '75 Motobecane...)

Old 02-24-12, 03:45 PM
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expres/rootboy/roypercy/753proguy/dbakl -
Thanks all.
- And hurry up and source the bits you need to finish yours dbakl! We ALWAYS need more Motobecanes around this place.
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Old 02-24-12, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow
And hurry up and source the bits you need to finish yours dbakl!
I just need to find or build a rear wheel. I may have one since I found a front, but need to check a stash of wheels up under the house!

But first, clean the frame and touch up some paint chips. Probably won't start until next week sometime.

I do find the wraparound seatstay ends nicely done.
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Old 02-24-12, 05:54 PM
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I'm a little green. You guys with your Le Champions.
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Old 04-22-12, 10:41 AM
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'nuther look zombie thread revival;
Originally Posted by auchencrow








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Old 04-22-12, 01:39 PM
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Thanks for bumping it, I missed the first time around.

Wonderful story, well written, and a great bike.

A college friend had one like it (raced it, actually) and I always loved the color. Very elegant and understated.
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Old 11-18-13, 03:02 PM
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In an effort to bring this thread back, here's my 1975 (Thanks, Rootboy) Le Champion....
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Old 11-18-13, 05:36 PM
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And another. Again….
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Old 11-18-13, 06:42 PM
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New here, and I love this thread! Mostly because I just acquired this Le Champion, all original less the rims which are Araya clinchers. Not sure about the seat - an Ideale 2001. All components are Campagnolo Nuovo Record less the stem and bars (Phillippe) and the brakes (Universal Super 68's). I bought this bike from the neighbor of the original owner who added new tires and brake hoods. I currently have the bike blown apart in my den. The components are all in great shape, they just need cleaning and the original grease was dried up. Unbelievably I don't yet have any pictures of the derailleurs.
Gary
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Old 11-18-13, 07:03 PM
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Where did auchencrow go??
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Old 11-18-13, 07:17 PM
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He's around, just laying low.
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Old 11-19-13, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by redscampi
New here, and I love this thread! Mostly because I just acquired this Le Champion, all original less the rims which are Araya clinchers. Not sure about the seat - an Ideale 2001. All components are Campagnolo Nuovo Record less the stem and bars (Phillippe) and the brakes (Universal Super 68's). I bought this bike from the neighbor of the original owner who added new tires and brake hoods. I currently have the bike blown apart in my den. The components are all in great shape, they just need cleaning and the original grease was dried up. Unbelievably I don't yet have any pictures of the derailleurs.
Gary
Hi Gary

It's a beauty! And yes, the saddle is original. It came on mine when I purchased the bike from its original owner. I just find the Body Geometry saddle I put on it to be more comfortable.

fred
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Old 11-19-13, 08:00 AM
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BTW...just last week I placed mine For Sale on Craigslist. After reading this article again and posting some shots, I took it off.

Whew!! That was a close one...
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Old 11-19-13, 08:12 AM
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WOW. Another one. And another tall one. Don't think I've ever seen a pic of a "short" one of these bikes. Must've been the propensity of the bike shops in the mid 70's to sell the "French fit". That's a real beauty, Redscampi. Looks to be in very nice condition. BTW, I also found mine with the original hubs but laced to clincher rims as well. Super Champion Gentleman. And yes, that Ideale 2001 saddle is a real butt hatchet, IMO. I had a Cinelli #3 on it in that pic, but found I didn't like that saddle much better. I have a Brooks Pro on mine right now. Gorgeous bike. One of the prettiest colors ever put on a 70's bike, in my view. It's called Silver Lilac, BTW. Can you add a full bike picture of the drive side?
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Old 11-19-13, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by oldbikenewbike
BTW...just last week I placed mine For Sale on Craigslist. After reading this article again and posting some shots, I took it off.

Whew!! That was a close one...
Good for you, OldBike. As for French bikes from the 70's, it just doesn't get much better than one of these.
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Old 11-19-13, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by rootboy
WOW. Another one. And another tall one. Don't think I've ever seen a pic of a "short" one of these bikes. Must've been the propensity of the bike shops in the mid 70's to sell the "French fit". That's a real beauty, Redscampi. Looks to be in very nice condition. BTW, I also found mine with the original hubs but laced to clincher rims as well. Super Champion Gentleman. And yes, that Ideale 2001 saddle is a real butt hatchet, IMO. I had a Cinelli #3 on it in that pic, but found I didn't like that saddle much better. I have a Brooks Pro on mine right now. Gorgeous bike. One of the prettiest colors ever put on a 70's bike, in my view. It's called Silver Lilac, BTW. Can you add a full bike picture of the drive side?
Thanks for the compliment, I think this bike's a real looker too. It doesn't need near as much work as the one that started this thread! Unfortunately I had a brain fart the day I took those pictures and forgot to take drive side shots. And I've since taken the bike down to the frame. What I can do is take some off the bike pics for you though. I love the color too, and it seems to respond well to polishing. I have searched high and low for a suitable touch up paint, even gone through the craft store looking at acrylics. So far I've come up empty, and my attempts at mixing have not been quite satisfactory, so I've gone out on a limb and ordered touch up paint for a 1962 Chrysler Imperial in Silver Lilac. I'll let you all know how well it matches. I have also purchased a Brooks B17 and some leather handlebar wrap in the Honey Brown color which I think will set off the paint nicely. While the frame is big, happily, I'm 6-02" so it fits me pretty well. I read somewhere that people used to think that bigger bikes were faster...yeah.
Butt hatchet! LOL! Here's some component pics. I'll start a thread on the rebuild as it progresses.
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Old 11-19-13, 05:16 PM
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What a great save for a fine old bike auchencrow. I really enjoyed the story too!
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Old 11-19-13, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by oldbikenewbike
Hi Gary

It's a beauty! And yes, the saddle is original. It came on mine when I purchased the bike from its original owner. I just find the Body Geometry saddle I put on it to be more comfortable.

fred
Thank you for the complement Fred! I will be changing out the saddle for a Brooks B-17 for the time being. The old Ideale looks a tad narrow for me.
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Old 11-19-13, 05:23 PM
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The touch up paint is a tricky beast on these. I ended up custom mixing some Testor's for the few small spots that needed it but it was a challenge. I'll have to look up the Imperial for that year. I've seen an old Acura in the neighborhood with a color that is very close. Been meaning to stop by his house and get the paint number off the car.

Mine is a tad tall for me, but I like the French fit. I'm used to it. Even though I've shrunk over the years, my old Px-10 in '72 was a 25 incher and I'm still comfortable on a tall bike. Maybe not faster but I think more smooth and stable. I like the way a large frame rides.

We ought to start a lilac Le Champion owner's club. Where's my pal Auchencrow!?
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Old 11-19-13, 05:24 PM
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My mother in law was born in Hamtramck and my wife was born in Wyandotte and raised in Woodhaven / Trenton... they know this place well.
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Old 11-19-13, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver
My mother in law was born in Hamtramck and my wife was born in Wyandotte and raised in Woodhaven / Trenton... they know this place well.
With 30 years in Southeastern Michigan, I just set foot in Hamtramck for the first time tonight to pick up a Trek 7200 FX, being sold by a former Joisey guy. Of course, the streetlights and traffic lights were all out of order between I-94 and Hamtramck, a Detroit tradition.

I always thought Hamtramck was the Polish capital of the midwest, but was surprised to see that it appears middle easterners are replacing the Polish merchants.
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Old 11-19-13, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by oddjob2
With 30 years in Southeastern Michigan, I just set foot in Hamtramck for the first time tonight to pick up a Trek 7200 FX, being sold by a former Joisey guy. Of course, the streetlights and traffic lights were all out of order between I-94 and Hamtramck, a Detroit tradition.

I always thought Hamtramck was the Polish capital of the midwest, but was surprised to see that it appears middle easterners are replacing the Polish merchants.
It was... my wife said her grandparents went there for her mom's birth because this is simply where Polish people went to have their babies.

Her family came there like all the other Poles... to find better jobs in the auto industry after working in places like coal mines.
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Old 11-20-13, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
Where did auchencrow go??
Help!
I've been reditioned by Santa's elves in a forced-labor camp (way) up-north!

Originally Posted by oldbikenewbike
In an effort to bring this thread back, here's my 1975 (Thanks, Rootboy) Le Champion....
What a well-preserved specimen, oldbike - Just lovely!

Originally Posted by rootboy
And another. Again…
You bought ANOTHER one? AGAIN?!?
-It looks just like your other one, and if you don't mind me saying so Rootboy, I think you're getting a little bit greedy. You should save some leChamp's for the less-Le-Champ-fortunate, especially with Christmas approaching and all.

Originally Posted by redscampi
New here, and I love this thread! Mostly because I just acquired this Le Champion, all original less the rims which are Araya clinchers. Not sure about the seat - an Ideale 2001. All components are Campagnolo Nuovo Record less the stem and bars (Phillippe) and the brakes (Universal Super 68's). I bought this bike from the neighbor of the original owner who added new tires and brake hoods. I currently have the bike blown apart in my den. The components are all in great shape, they just need cleaning and the original grease was dried up. Unbelievably I don't yet have any pictures of the derailleurs.
Gary
Welcome to C&V and CONGRATS on your LeChampion snag, redscampi! You're a lucky guy.
I believe the saddle is original, though referencing Rootboy's "butt hatchet" comment, there are not too many extant. The Phillipe bars and Uni-Super68's were spec and thus likely are original too. Campy parts, and particularly calipers were in demand and short supply BITD.
BTW - Here is a link to the '75 Moto Catalog's with all the specs https://www.bulgier.net/pics/bike/Cat...Motobecane/75/

Originally Posted by rootboy
Good for you, OldBike. As for French bikes from the 70's, it just doesn't get much better than one of these.
+1. I have a lot of French, English, Japanese, American and Italian bikes, but IMO the French bikes are the most, how do you say, "veloish?".

I'm also a fan of the French fit - Though I don't think big bikes are any faster, they surely are more comfortable, especially for those aging sacreliliacs, or for those who ride mostly in their drops.

Originally Posted by Kactus
What a great save for a fine old bike auchencrow. I really enjoyed the story too!
Thank you Kactus. Maybe it's timely that this old thread came up with the Christmas season almost upon us.

Originally Posted by rootboy
The touch up paint is a tricky beast on these. I ended up custom mixing some Testor's for the few small spots that needed it but it was a challenge.
^ That's an understatement. After hours of mixing drops of red, blue and silver Testor's I ended up wearing most of it - like the Tin-man gone Celtic warrior.

Originally Posted by rootboy
We ought to start a lilac Le Champion owner's club. Where's my pal Auchencrow!?
It would be a pretty small club rootboy. There aren't a whole lot of them around it seems, and everyone who happens to own one ought to count themselves lucky.

Originally Posted by oddjob2
I always thought Hamtramck was the Polish capital of the Midwest, but was surprised to see that it appears middle easterners are replacing the Polish merchants.
Nothing remains static. Today as then, there are lots of places where new waves of immigrants bring language and customs - ultimately to be assimilated with all the rest of us.

Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver
... to find better jobs in the auto industry after working in places like coal mines.
- If you had seen Dodge Main while it was still up and running you'd have to wonder!

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Old 11-20-13, 07:56 AM
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I had originally bumped this thread the other day while doing some internet surfing. I was trying to see if I could find others like mine. I had NO IDEA I was to see the bikes posted here, looking for all the world brand new...and of course the tale of bringing one back from the depths of despair that started it all.

Beautiful job all!! I'm proud and humble to be in your company!!!!!!

fred
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Old 11-20-13, 08:17 AM
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BTW...what do you guys think is a reasonable price for the bikes in the conditions shown here? Granted, location/state is to be taken into account. The more I find out about the Le Champion's, the more I find out how rare a bike they really are, especially those with original Groupo.
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Old 11-20-13, 08:23 AM
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https://www.velo-pages.com/main.php?g2_itemId=33119

1975 Motobecane article you might like to read....
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