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Winter project - Questions for a French bike whiz

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Winter project - Questions for a French bike whiz

Old 11-16-14, 07:52 PM
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Winter project - Questions for a French bike whiz

Bought Gitane Tour de France as a winter project. Been used as a commuter its current iteration. Flat bars, steel wheels. Owner had most of the original bits (tubulars, toe clips, straps &c) but not the stem & handlebars and brakes. Said if he finds them, he'd give a call.

I've printed out the Sheldon Brown French bike dimensional differences page for reference.

I have on hand a 22mm stem with a 25mm clamp. Also already have on hand Mavic Racers, the brake clamps are 23.5mm. So, did the French make a bar that manages both dimensions? Can I pop in 25mm brake clamps out of a different brand. Just find a 22mm stem with 23.5 bars?
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Old 11-16-14, 08:07 PM
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Many bars are swaged or bigger at the clamp. What you have on your stem is probably 25.4 mm or 1". Below is an example.

Vintage Ava 390 mm Alloy Drop Handlebar 25 4 mm Binder Road France Used | eBay
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Old 11-16-14, 08:21 PM
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I don't have a handlebar, just the stem and the brake levers. I'm trying to figure out how to get the 2 together.
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Old 11-16-14, 08:32 PM
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Just checked your link, thanks, its the answer to my post.
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Old 11-16-14, 08:41 PM
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I think you're asking about whether or not your MAFAC brake levers will fit standard handlebars? Yes, no problem. The way the expanding clamp works, they'll fit a wide variety of bars. The swagged (or bulged) center section on handlebars is about 1.5mm or so greater in diameter greater than the rest of the bar.

French stems and handlebars do in fact measure 25.0 mm in the clamp area, not 25.4 (1"). So probably best to use a French dimensioned handlebar to match.
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Old 11-16-14, 09:00 PM
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It's true. I learned the hard way that a 25.4 handlebars WILL NOT fit in a 25mm clamp, no matter how hard you try. It's best to replace the stem if you can't find French diameter bars you like. You will have to sand down the new stem to reduce it from 22.2mm to 22.0. It's only taking .1mm off the total diameter of the stem though, so it's easily done. I think Sheldon has a how-to on this procedure somewhere.

i did read in an old thread about someone filing out the clamp area of the old French stem to fit the larger diameter bars, but that seems like a disaster waiting to happen.
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Old 11-16-14, 09:06 PM
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If you want flexibility AFA stem and bar, there are adapters that allow you to use more modern stems which will also give you a wide choice of bars.
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Old 11-16-14, 09:17 PM
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Many Philippe bars measure 25.2mm in the center, designed to work with either 25.0 (French) or 25.4 (1") stems. Smart!

Last edited by SuperLJ; 11-16-14 at 09:21 PM.
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