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Criterium Road bike? What did I buy?

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Criterium Road bike? What did I buy?

Old 08-30-14, 12:58 PM
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Criterium Road bike? What did I buy?

I picked this up today. 531 Reynolds frame. It is to dirty to find a serial number. Could it be a Carlton Criterium by chance? It has a city sticker dated 1975 so it is either a 75 or older. I do not think the derailleurs are original to the bike. Stronglight Cranks and headset. The head badge is faded. Any ideas?
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Old 08-30-14, 01:00 PM
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Old 08-30-14, 01:04 PM
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"Criterium" is a type of in town bike race , that's where the name came from, they put on it. who ever 'they' may be..

cottered crank is early 60's or before.. tear it down .. if the BB is French Thread that may be the Country of Origin
28.0 seat tube, rather than 28.6 [9/8"] it may be French , like wise 22.0 stem vs 22.2 [7/8"]

if the other.. then the fractional tube sizes was standard.

Stronglight is a French Company , its still going today ..

bodged on the band shifter .. other parts lost.. a braze on replacement & repaint may tidy that up
wing nut friction adjustment lost out to a bolt threaded into the boss , later.. standard.

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Old 08-30-14, 01:28 PM
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Looks like the French version of the '531' decal.
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Old 08-30-14, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Chicago Al View Post
Looks like the French version of the '531' decal.
Well that explains the rust. Should have known. I googled criterium and only found Carlton. It only has one shifter boss. Must have been a five speed at one time? I bought the bike from an 82 year old man that proudly rode it for the last forty five years. He said he purchased it from a friend.
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Old 08-30-14, 01:52 PM
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It looks like it's a well made bike.

My guess is that it's an early to mid 60s bike. The CRITERIUM name is hand lettered so it was probably built by a small shop in the UK or possibly a small French "constructeur" (custom frame builder). Back then a lot of serious riders had custom built bikes.

It may have had a single lever down tube shifter with either a "suicide" front shifter or it was built as a 5 speed. The original rear derailleur was probably a Simplex or Huret.

The "fish mouth" treatment of the rear stay ends was a French trait but other features scream British built.

An easy way to tell is to measure the stem - 21.9mm or 22mm would make it French (or Swiss or Spanish). 22.2mm would most likely make it a British bike.

The other thing would be to remove the stem and top lock nut on the headset. Measure the steerer - 25mm = French, 25.4mm = British.

The bottom bracket spindle is a Stronglight but the and crank arms are not.

Good luck...

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Old 08-30-14, 01:56 PM
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Cool details. I especially like the oddball pump peg and the little roller guide for the RD cable riding over the BB.

Nice find
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Old 08-30-14, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Chicago Al View Post
Looks like the French version of the '531' decal.
Nah, it's British...

French Reynolds 531 decals say "GUARANTI CONSTRUIT AVEC"



English language Reynolds 531 decal...



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Old 08-30-14, 02:05 PM
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Steve- Nice going! You'll have it ready to ride in no time. Keeper? Would make for a cool rider for the early Sat. group rides.

Might take some time to i.d. that badge but you have enough there to help. French, English.... wild guess but perhaps a special built Condor?? Frame has some interesting details. Cable guide on topside of the bottom bracket, pump mount, shifter boss. Obvious the derailleur and shifters were swapped out at one time. The rest of it is neat. I wouldn't touch the paint. Fork can carefully be straightened on a press.
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Old 08-30-14, 02:13 PM
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I think its French built.
this is what I am seeing???


Early 60's. Bikes of that era would come into the States as Criterium, Tour de France, Europe-Sport.

Stay ends look typical french. The pulley for the rear deraileur is of that era. The Campy cable guide leads me to think early Gran Sport derailleurs. The BB spindle is a quality Stronglight spindle. The cranks are not original. I would think it came with Stronglight crank and Simplex rings, probably 46-49 or 45-52. Someone wanted lower gears and swapped out the cranks.

I'd clean it up and try to find some period parts for it. It shows its age but could look pretty cool fixed up.

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Old 08-30-14, 02:19 PM
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Mon ami,

Far be it from me to argue with your expertise de velo, but the decal Steve shows looks to me like it reads in the upper left something very much like 'Garanti Construit Avec' and lower right, ' 3 Tubes Renforces.' So, all 531 but only the main triangle being butted...I think.

My Grand Record has another French 531 decal, typically sliding down the seat tube, with the 531 straight across, indicating the main triangle is butted 531, the stays...maybe not 531 at all?



Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
Nah, it's British...

French Reynolds 531 decals say "GUARANTI CONSTRUIT AVEC"



English language Reynolds 531 decal...



verktyg

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Old 08-30-14, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
I think its French built.
this is what I am seeing???
Originally Posted by Chicago Al View Post
Mon ami,

Far be it from me to argue with your expertise de velo, but the decal Steve shows looks to me like it reads in the upper left something very much like 'Garanti Construit Avec' and lower right, ' 3 Tubes Renforces.' So, all 531 but only the main triangle being butted...I think.
On closer examination, you're right! What was I thinking - DOH!

Old French Reynolds 531 stickers said 3 TUBES RENFORCES (butted main tubes) - BASSES (chain stays) et MONTANTS (seat stays)





Later French decals like in the top picture said butted main tubes, forks and rear stays made of Reynolds 531.

That pretty much rules out British made.

Most towns in France had at least one bike shop that made custom frames. It's likely that the bike came from one of those shops.

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Old 08-30-14, 02:42 PM
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Wow, Steve. Nice find!

If the clean line below the current FD band is from the original suicide shifter, I think it will have been a Huret. A Simplex has its band higher up on the seat tube.

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Old 08-30-14, 02:52 PM
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The funny thing about this purchase was I felt like it was a Seinfeld episode. I answered the ad on cl and spoke witb the old mans wife because he is hard of hearing. She told me when she married him she also married his bike. He rode it everyday. He cared for it. I asked if it had scratches or dents. She yelled my questions to her husband. I was expecting to find a pristine condition bike. When i arrived to see the bike, the old guy was standing there holding it , very proudly. He starts telling me how much he loved the bike and how great it wax. I had to buy the bike because I did not want to hurt his feelings. Not only is he hard of hearing, he must be blind as a bat. The bike is missing half its paint and looks like it never had a good cleaning. If it brought him so much joy, im sure it will bring me some as well. Looks kind of cool with all that patina. I will need to clean hrr up and see.
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Old 08-30-14, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
I think its French built.
this is what I am seeing???


Early 60's. Bikes of that era would come into the States as Criterium, Tour de France, Europe-Sport.

Stay ends look typical french. The pulley for the rear deraileur is of that era. The Campy cable guide leads me to think early Gran Sport derailleurs. The BB spindle is a quality Stronglight spindle. The cranks are not original. I would think it came with Stronglight crank and Simplex rings, probably 46-49 or 45-52. Someone wanted lower gears and swapped out the cranks.

I'd clean it up and try to find some period parts for it. It shows its age but could look pretty cool fixed up.
I have a set of Gran Sport I can put on the bike. I will need to find period correct wheels. It will be a fun project. It's my size. Its a keeper.
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Old 08-30-14, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Chicago Al View Post
My Grand Record has another French 531 decal, typically sliding down the seat tube, with the 531 straight across, indicating the main triangle is butted 531, the stays...maybe not 531 at all?

I've seen quite a few all Reynolds 531 Motobecane frames with Reynolds decals on the forks but CONSTRUIT AVEC 3 TUBES RENFORCES decals on the frames (indicating that only the 3 Main Tubes are Reynolds 531).

These were post 1974 through early 1980s bikes with the gold band at the bottom of the decal.



My 1977 Le Champion and my 1982 Grand Record are that way.

Le Champion



Grand Record



I suspect that either Motobecane ran out of all Reynolds decals or the were too frugal (cheap is such an ugly word) to get the correct French decals from Reynolds!

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Old 08-30-14, 04:40 PM
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Steve- Head badge hunt:
Perhaps try velobase or request in the CR list.
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Old 08-30-14, 05:04 PM
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My GR, which I believe to be a '74, has that '3 main tubes' decal, but also a 531 fork. However the MB catalogs in the early 70s list the GR frame as having 'Reynolds 531 tubing' that year, then in 1975 '531 tubing throughout' and so on, probably until the tubing changed to Vitus. The Le Champion of 1974 has that 'throughout' note as well. So it could be the decals are (more or less) right.

Anyway, back to Steve's velo-mystere, the 531 tubing indicates a high quality bike, and I bet someone is going to ID the headbadge. There's obviously a gear in the lower center--but I don't think it's a Miyata! Going through that vertically appears to be a caduceus. And I think I can make out a letter or two above it. I'll be back, as this gives me an idea.


Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
I've seen quite a few all Reynolds 531 Motobecane frames with Reynolds decals on the forks but CONSTRUIT AVEC 3 TUBES RENFORCES decals on the frames (indicating that only the 3 Main Tubes are Reynolds 531).

These were post 1974 through early 1980s bikes with the gold band at the bottom of the decal.



My 1977 Le Champion and my 1982 Grand Record are that way.

Le Champion



Grand Record



I suspect that either Motobecane ran out of all Reynolds decals or the were too frugal (cheap is such an ugly word) to get the correct French decals from Reynolds!

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Old 08-31-14, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Chicago Al View Post
My GR, which I believe to be a '74, has that '3 main tubes' decal, but also a 531 fork. However the MB catalogs in the early 70s list the GR frame as having 'Reynolds 531 tubing' that year, then in 1975 '531 tubing throughout' and so on, probably until the tubing changed to Vitus. The Le Champion of 1974 has that 'throughout' note as well. So it could be the decals are (more or less) right.
It doesn't make a lot of sense that a bike maker as large as Motobecane would make frames with only the 3 main tube and fork made of Reynolds 531 while the rear triangle was made of "gas pipe" tubing. But, a centime saved is a croissant earned!

In 1974 Reynolds changed the design of their decals - they added a gold bar at the top of the fork decals and at the bottom of the frame decals.





The old style decals appeared on some French bikes through 1975.

The 1970-72 Grand Record frames were only 3 main tubes Reynolds 531 - the forks and rear stays were "something else".



The 1973, 1974 and 1975 Motobecane catalog specs call out Reynolds 531 frame with Reynolds 531 fork for the GR. In 1974 they introduced the Grand Jubile which WAS only 3 main tubes Reynolds 531.

There is a a simple way to tell if the chain stays are Reynolds 531 or "something else".

Look inside the BB. If the chain stays are seamless then then they're probably Reynolds 531. If you see seams then they're "something else" tubing.



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Old 08-31-14, 07:57 AM
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"The 1973, 1974 and 1975 Motobecane catalog specs call out Reynolds 531 frame with Reynolds 531 fork for the GR. "

FWIW, Chas, here is the decal on my Grand Record frame. Bike dates to 1974 based on the component specs in the catalog. Same as Chicago Al's decal.
TA Professional 3 pin crank. Nitto bar and stem, Universal Super 68 brakes, Nuovo Record drive train, etc.

Fork has the Reynolds 531 decals.

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Old 08-31-14, 08:02 AM
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BTW Chas, that's a neat tip on checking the stays for a tubing seam. Going to check mine.
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Old 08-31-14, 08:05 AM
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Thank for all the great info so far. I measured the Seat Tube at 28.0 and the stem 22.0, so it`s French I would assume. The bike has 27 inch wheels. The front wheel is a newer alloy wheel that looks like it came off an 80's Schwinn or something. The rear wheel has a Rigida chrome rim with a Normandy hub. Would this bike have come with 27 inch wheels or 700 C wheels? I will want to replace them with a better set of wheels that would be more period correct.
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Old 08-31-14, 08:20 AM
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Looking at the rear brake tells me 27 inch wheels if the calipers are original because they are at the max reach adjustment setting. Were 27 inch wheels used for racing back in the day? Sorry, I was born in 1965.
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Old 08-31-14, 08:28 AM
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In the mid 1960s, the Schwinn Paramount came with 27 inch wheels.
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Old 08-31-14, 09:25 AM
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I am tempted to open up my Grand Record's BB to check for seams in the stay, Chas! But maybe I can hold off till next overhaul. I don't remember seeing any. BTW I thought there was some distinction between the straight '531' and diagonal, but it's not straight gauge vs butted as 'renforce' would mean butted.

Back to Steve's bike:
I think I see an 'R' in the headbadge. And maybe it's not a caduceus crossing the gear, but something else...kinda looks like a stylized figure of a woman/goddess holding arms/wings above head. Winged arms is a feature of the Egyptian goddess Isis. No idea what the symbolism would be there...if it was a caduceus (like in the medical symbol) that was an attribute of Hermes/Mercury, therefore symbolising speed.

BTW Steve, it doesn't look particularly rusty for a 50 year old bike that has been ridden hard, and may even have gotten some salt on it during its travels. I haven't found French bikes to be particularly prone to rusting, nor Japanese bikes to be immune to it, either. It is all down to the conditions they are ridden and kept in.
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