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Motobecane Champion Team

Old 04-13-12, 07:26 PM
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Let's see that again....[QUOTE=shnibop;14092318]










Man, that's nice.
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Old 04-14-12, 12:21 AM
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Wow! rootboy is loving this thing... not sure why as yours appears to be in near NOS condition!

verktyg thanks for all the info, you answered at least a half dozen questions i had about production dates and differences.

i'm a bit confused as well by what rootboy has pointed out... you list many of the details found on my bike as being 1973, but my DT logo as being 1974+. then on rootboy's CT, he has the earlier DT logo but later foil headbadge... i'm confused.


in any event, 72, 73, 74, 75, doesn't matter all that much to me in terms of riding enjoyment, i love the bike! having an accurate model date is just a plus.
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Old 04-14-12, 01:50 AM
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Originally Posted by rootboy
Ok Chas. So now you're confusing me So, is mine a 73 and Schnibop's with the block lettering 74?

Not that it matters much of course. They's all cool
Rootboy, both your bike and Schnibop's bike are 1973 models.

All of the Champion Team and Team Champions from the early through mid 70s were made by a special shop within Motobecane's plant.

There were no specification conformance police in the bike industry and these bikes were built at the height of the bike boom (in both the US and France). Makers used what they had in stock. There were lots of variations on bikes from that era.

The square block letters seem to have replaced the script lettering on the downtubes about 1974... but the bike still may have been a 1973 model.

The 1972 models had silver foil Motobecane decals on the seat and down tubes.

BTW, the Motobecanes that Luis Ocana rode when he was on the BIC/Motobecane team actually used frames made by Gemini rather than Motobecane.


Just so you know, all of those bikes were great. I've only seen 1 or 2 orange 56cm CTs come up for sale in the past 5 years of looking. 58cm bikes are more common (for rare bikes).

Chas. verktyg

Last edited by verktyg; 04-14-12 at 02:07 AM.
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Old 04-14-12, 06:13 AM
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Thanks Chas. All very interesting stuff. This date stuff is intriguing, though, like Schnibop says, not too important. makes me wonder though... this model doesn't seem to be listed in the early 70's catalogs. Until 1974, maybe?

I don't know Schnibop, yours looks like someone really babied it too. I'm kind of amazed that orange paint withstood the test of time so well, but, maybe it still had Cadmium in it back then. I had a tough time matching touch up paint for a couple of tiny spots on mine, but today there are more choices. Yeah... I love your bike Schnibop. I think the only French bike from that era that is more handsome may be the silver lilac Le Champion.
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Old 04-14-12, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by shnibop
Wow! rootboy is loving this thing... ...
He isn't alone.
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Old 04-14-12, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by rootboy
Thanks Chas. All very interesting stuff. This date stuff is intriguing, though, like Schnibop says, not too important. makes me wonder though... this model doesn't seem to be listed in the early 70's catalogs. Until 1974, maybe?
Rootboy,

Before 1974 the Moto team bikes were not catalog items, at least not in the US.

Back then, all derailleur bikes were called "10 speed racing bikes". During the bike boom most European bike makers produced a few all Campy bikes (except for the brakes) for display purposes in US shops to enhance the racing image. What was strange was that Bike racing in the US didn't take off for a number of years after the boom.

The 1974, 75 and 76 Moto catalogs all state on the Champion Team page:

1974 "Strictly a racing machine, limited production. Made for Motobecane racing team. Exported to the US whenever possible."

1975 "Strictly a racing machine, limited production. Built for the Motobecane/BIC racing team with it's distinctive orange color."

1976 "Strictly a racing machine, limited production. Built for the Motobecane/BIC racing team with it's distinctive orange color."

Raleigh's Ilkeston SBDU shop where they built all of the team frames and special order versions of those frames turned out hundreds of them every year. Motobecane's special build shop was probably much smaller and never turned out many of these bikes. Probably similar in size to Peugeot's special build shop.

Ben Lawee the Motobecane importer back then probably never imported more than a handful of Champion Team/Team Champions every year.

Several reasons, during the early 70s Campy components were always hard to come by, especially in French dimensions. Secondly, back then in the US bikes were still considered "kids toys" and most were purchased by or for high school or college students (or their parents).

I think that CTs probably sold for ~$700 back then??? You could buy a VW Beetle for $1900 USD, a cheap full sized Chevy for $2300!

Spending that kind of money on a French bike was limited to serious aficionados and racers or as vanity purchases buy flush buyers who wanted the "best" (many of those bikes were rarely ridden - that's why there are some beautiful examples still around).

Campy components didn't became readily available in the US until 1975 after the bike boom ended.

Also of the millions of bikes imported into the US during the 1970s probably far less than 2% of them were full Campy models. Because of their purchase prices, many have survived while their lesser brethren went to the dump or crusher long ago! This skews the view of many that these surviving Campy bikes were more common than they really were.

Anyone with an orange Champion Team bike has a rare treasure to be appreciated (and lusted after) no matter the year.

Chas. verktyg

Last edited by verktyg; 04-14-12 at 04:10 PM.
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Old 04-14-12, 04:25 PM
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Do I spy a certain, derailleur ferrule???
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Old 04-14-12, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by verktyg
Campy components didn't became readily available in the US until 1975 after the bike boom ended.
Wha? Just about everyone I was riding with in circa 1972 was pretty much on a mostly or all Campagnolo bike. My stepfather's 50s Allegro was Campagnolo with a Stronglight crank. The guys I knew from LA had the real fancy Colnagos and Masis, most of us had the high end production Raleighs, Italvegas, Motobecanes, Paramounts, PX10s. My best friend had a Cinelli, my roommate a Mondia. One friend from LA had a Galmozzi, I never knew at the time how cool that was. On a big ride you might see a Hetchins or a Titan. One local racer had 2 Pogliagis stolen...

I'd guess a Team Champion was $500. or less in the early 70s. I vaguely remember seeing only one in the tiny pro shop in my small college town, San Luis Obispo. But I agree, they seem rare.
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Old 04-14-12, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Angelo


Do I spy a certain, derailleur ferrule???
Actually, Mike...that's Alex's bike ! HEE...
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Old 04-15-12, 02:29 AM
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Originally Posted by dbakl
Wha? Just about everyone I was riding with in circa 1972 was pretty much on a mostly or all Campagnolo bike. My stepfather's 50s Allegro was Campagnolo with a Stronglight crank. The guys I knew from LA had the real fancy Colnagos and Masis, most of us had the high end production Raleighs, Italvegas, Motobecanes, Paramounts, PX10s. My best friend had a Cinelli, my roommate a Mondia. One friend from LA had a Galmozzi, I never knew at the time how cool that was. On a big ride you might see a Hetchins or a Titan. One local racer had 2 Pogliagis stolen...

I'd guess a Team Champion was $500. or less in the early 70s. I vaguely remember seeing only one in the tiny pro shop in my small college town, San Luis Obispo. But I agree, they seem rare.
Long answer...

LA/SoCal and NYC were long time hot beds of sport cycling. In SoCal you could ride almost 12 months a year. In NYC had a long history of shops importing top quality Italian and other European bikes.

San Francisco, Chicago and a few other large cities plus areas around some of the larger colleges and universities also had a sporting bike tradition in the late 60s and early 70s.

In the hinterland, better quality bikes plus Campy components were hard to find. Campy gruppos were selling for as much as $300 wholesale - minus brakes!

We were the pro shop in New Mexico during the 70s. We focused on French bikes for our entry level to mid range bikes. There were up to 50 bikes in our showroom, half of them were better quality Italian, British and French models. We also sold a few Teledyne, Graftek, Klein and a few early Trek frames. There were always 5-10 top quality European bare frames hanging on the walls.

We had 4-5 sources for Campy components depending on price and availability. Gruppos were going for ~$300 wholesale before 1975. A number of shops figured out that we could buy full Campy (sans brakes) Atala, Bottecchia and Gitane Super Corsa bikes for around $300 wholesale. Motor freight was regulated at the time so shipping was about $8.00 a bike.

So for about the cost of a Campy gruppo we got a complete bike with built up wheels that we could part out plus a cheap frame we could sell as replacements for ~$100.

Now back to Campy... Northern Italy was heavily bombed during WWII wiping out much of the industry there.

After the war the European bicycle industries were involved in providing basic transportation to the masses. There was no money for investment in new manufacturing machinery so much of the equipment was what survived the war, some of it dating back to pre WWI.

As prosperity returned to Europe people bought mopeds then scooters, motorcycles and eventually cars. The bicycle industry remained the poor sister.

In 1975 our shop owner took a trip to France and Italy visiting many of the larger or better known bike and component manufactures including the Cinelli and Campy facilities.

He took pictures everywhere he visited. When I saw the pictures of Campy and Cinelli my first response was "These are blacksmith shops!".

The bike boom so overwhelmed the European component manufactures that it opened the door to the Japanese makers.

It wasn't until the end of the bike boom that these European companies were able to catch up and modernize their operations.

Concerning the $700 price that I mentioned, Motobecanes were sold by a local Schwinn dealer. When I inquired about a Champion Team bike, that was the price they told me but... they also said that the bikes were not readily available plus that shop never gave anything away!

Chas. verktyg

Last edited by verktyg; 04-15-12 at 02:33 AM.
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Old 04-15-12, 04:28 AM
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Silly me.....
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Old 04-15-12, 05:16 AM
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An easy mistake to make. They look like sisters ...separated at birth.
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Old 04-15-12, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by dbakl
I vaguely remember seeing only one in the tiny pro shop in my small college town, San Luis Obispo. But I agree, they seem rare.
dbakl - I'm going to send you a PM re: SLO in the 70's

This thread has been great! The photos alone are priceless, and the info shared... well, it's the best kind of C&V thread, IMHO. Schnibop, rootboy - bravo! These are such beautiful bikes!

Quite unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago I discovered a 1974 silver Moto Le Champion in my size for sale about a half mile from my house. Needless to say it is now mine. I think the Team Champion is from another planet by comparison. Long live the factory "custom shop."

Jim
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Old 04-15-12, 06:56 AM
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Leaping Gnome,
A silver Le Champion !? Great. Can't wait to see it.
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Old 04-15-12, 10:46 AM
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Yeah, back in the day people were buying Winsor Pros for the Campagnolo components and selling the frames on. Cheapest way to get a group.

My bike started as a bare frame, but I had no problem buying individual Campagnolo components as I could afford them. I'll never forget 1974, when I finally got my brakes. $113.00.

In my memory of the early 70s, $500. would buy you the best bike you could find. But I was a poor college student, I never had 500 bucks.
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Old 04-15-12, 12:46 PM
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Lots of good info in this thread.

So now I have a question. My CT is a 74 and up frame. My Campagnolo group is PAT 72 on the RD, no date on the cranks, Brev Inter. on the brakes. All early stuff. We have evidence that Campag French stuff was hard to come by. So why does my group predate the frame by at least two years? The PO told me it was original. BTW there is a sticker for Broad Street Bikes on it and I got the bike from a seller in Arizona.
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Old 04-16-12, 12:44 AM
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Originally Posted by CV-6
So now I have a question. My CT is a 74 and up frame. My Campagnolo group is PAT 72 on the RD, no date on the cranks, Brev Inter. on the brakes. All early stuff. We have evidence that Campag French stuff was hard to come by. So why does my group predate the frame by at least two years?
Lynn,

Several possibilities...

Bike makers didn't seem to practice "FIFO" First In - First Out inventory control. For example MAFAC supposedly changed the name of Dural Forge brakes in 1969 to just Racer. I recall seeing a few new 1973 French bikes with MAFAC Dural Forge calipers.

Secondly. Motobecane only made a few models back then with Campy cranks, the Champion Team/Team Champion and the Le Champion.

Maybe they bought a bunch of Campy components and worked off of that inventory for a long time.

Third possibility (probably not your bike), the bike may have been parted out and later restored with different Campy components.

I have 3 Gitane Super Corsas, a 1969, and two 1972 bikes that had been parted out and then later restored with non-matching Campy components.

Is it wrong... or just French???

Chas. verktyg
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Old 04-16-12, 05:18 AM
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Your bike seems outfitted very similar to mine, Lynn. Though Chas dates the frame to 73. All pre 73 components, including the exposed clamp nut on the Cinelli stem, which has the patent date stamped on the underside. Pat 72 rear. Just one year difference, which isn't too much. And I know all the parts on the bike are as purchased, aside from the wheel set.
BTW, I have no evidence but my memory regarding prices in the early 70's mirrors Dbakl's. I seriously doubt a Team Champion cost $700 in 73. I agree that you could get a very top of the line bike for 5 to six hundred. The original owner told me he had his importer pals bring the Team Champion over on the boat because he simply could not afford a high end Italian bike. Same reason I bought a PX-10 back then. I would think a Moto TC might be $350-$400 back then, but ...I didn't work in the shops, like Chas did, so I'm merely speculating.
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Old 04-16-12, 05:26 PM
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verktyp, rootboy, CV-6, thanks for all the discussion going on about the TC/CT and Le Champions... i love to learn!

i'll have some updated pics and should be mostly done with the "resto" by the end of the week.


CV-6, did someone "add" bottle cage bosses to yours?
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Old 04-16-12, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by shnibop


CV-6, did someone "add" bottle cage bosses to yours?
Came that way.

Rootboy....the stem on mine is not original to the bike. It had a 120 on it and it was recessed. I had the wheels built for it. Came to me with LF Campag laced to Rigida 700c clinchers.
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Old 04-16-12, 07:09 PM
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Lynn,

I know I've seen your bike in these pages before, but perhaps it would add to this thread if we could see it posted again here. Can you add some pictures ...and we can keep this Motobecane love fest going .
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Old 04-16-12, 08:04 PM
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Oh oh...stop twisting my arm.

This is how it came to me

P6301972r by CV6Enterprises, on Flickr

Frame after polishing

P8032112 by CV6Enterprises, on Flickr


And after clean up, before I put a shorter stem on it.


PB122201_1 by CV6Enterprises, on Flickr


PB122204 by CV6Enterprises, on Flickr


PB122207 by CV6Enterprises, on Flickr
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Old 04-16-12, 08:58 PM
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Interesting information about the TC Moto (mine is labled Champion Team). I bought one brand new in 1974 with a matching orange Silca pump (still works). Mine has no chrome and a decal head badge. Now, after all these years, I am thinking of selling the bike but am having some difficulty establishing value. When cleaned and overhauled, it should be 9 out of 10. Any idea what such a bike would be worth?

John

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Old 04-16-12, 09:06 PM
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Mine cost $800 in 1974 from a Southern California bike shop, the only one they ever got.

John

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Old 04-16-12, 10:28 PM
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new rule for this thread... if you say you have a Team Champion, Champion Team or Le Champion... you must post pics. clean or dirty, restored or not
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