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Touring on a vintage bike

Old 09-26-10, 10:28 AM
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Touring on a vintage bike

Looking for some opinions on outfitting this bike for touring.


Its a 70's era Gitane. Its the most comfortable riding bike I have. Big 27 x 1 1/4 tires, large clearances and plenty of fork rake. I've changed out the saddle for a Brooks Pro, and alloy wheels as well.

I have a vintage Karrimor rack for the back and a Claud Butler rack for the front. With panniers front and back, and maybe a handlebar bag, I'd be set.

Anyone tour on vintage bikes?

I'm thinking week long camping/touring.

Last edited by big chainring; 09-26-10 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 09-26-10, 11:10 AM
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Bring a spare tire , as 27/1.25 has been relegated to few, some bike shops may have a replacement.. May..

Stock gearing is pretty tall, Lower gears are useful on big long hills

and French standard stuff like the BB I'd get a new sealed bearing one before starting
as spares are rare as hens teeth these days in French thread
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Old 09-26-10, 12:26 PM
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In the mid-west 27" tires are still readily available and thats where I am planning to ride. But then again I'm 30 yrs behind the times. I just cant imagine not being able to find 27" tires.

I have a freewheel with a 30 or 32 th. sprocket available. Good idea to go low gearing. The old GT derailleur should be able to handle it.

BB is new old stock. But yeah french thread and other french size stuff is hard to find.

I think I'll get it outfitted with racks and see where I stand.
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Old 09-26-10, 12:33 PM
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As for 27-inch tires, there aren't a ton of options but there are 2 very good ones -- Pasela TourGuards, and Continental Gatorskins. Both in 27-inch sizes; both good tires for touring.

One thing to consider if putting a load on an old frame -- a modern rear rack (like a Tubus) is a ton stiffer than some of old noodly rear racks we used to use. In my experience, if you put panniers on an old rack on a not-very-stiff vintage frame you can end up with a bike that wiggles around a fair amount.

If you have the budget, consider investing in a really stiff modern rear rack - like a Tubus. It will help stiffen up the rear of the bike with a load on the bike.
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Old 09-26-10, 12:35 PM
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Which bike should I ride?
 
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Don't know how much weight you're planning to carry, but I'd be a little worried about bending the rear axle with a freewheel setup.
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Old 09-26-10, 03:50 PM
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Also, Wal-Mart usually carries a 27" tire. It's not great, but it'll keep you rolling.
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Old 09-26-10, 03:57 PM
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Couldn't be a bigger difference than Schwalbe and Wally~world in quality..
OK buy top quality tires mount them at home.. and in a pinch go down to the mundane, ..

converting the rear QR to a solid axle will make it stronger for cheap.. 10X1mm

Complete overhaul if you cannot remember when it was done last..
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Old 09-26-10, 04:59 PM
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Hard to tell from the photo, but the chainstays look a bit short.

For a week, I'd say tires are a minor concern. If you want to prepare for the worst, use fairly new tires and learn how to boot a tire.

Gearing could also be an issue, if you're carrying lots of luggage up hills.
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Old 09-26-10, 06:07 PM
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I should have qualified, clarified, whatever - I have been a lifelong cyclist, but never toured. Bought this bike last year and tore it down, repainted, put new BB and vintage Sugino cranks on it. I plan on new Pasela Tour Guards. Mechanically it will be the best it can be. Just concerned with fitting it with racks, and the weight issue of old steel, (30 pound bike I would imagine) and carrying a lot of weight. Its a big, long wheelbase bike. 62cm frame, long top tube. This is a french bike boom classic.

Most if not all bikes I see on the forum are newer. Was interested if someone was touring on a classic, maybe a Jack Taylor or similiar.
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Old 09-26-10, 06:25 PM
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beautiful bike. How about fenders? 700C SKS plastic fenders fit my 27" bike fine - there are also some very nice metal fenders out as well. I had very good experience with Scwalbe HS 159 27" tires - wear well and grip wet or dry.
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Old 09-26-10, 07:06 PM
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Touring on a Gitane - great idea. I've been keeping my eye out for a 1984 Gitane Gran Tour to go with my other 1984 Gitane's.

Our LBS has a ready supply of 27" tires - mostely Bontrager and I've been really happy with them - so there are definitely options.

I'm somewhat in the same situation - cyclist since the early 1980's and am converting a vintage mountain bike for a touring rig. It'll also weigh a lot - but it's also very stable.

Are the Sugino cranks 144 bcd. If so you're pretty limited with the small chainring. You could always look for a Sugino or Stronglight triple crankset - if you're wanting to keep it somewhat period correct. Gitane used both in the 70's.
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Old 09-26-10, 07:34 PM
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What??? Only 2 wheels?
 
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Originally Posted by scozim
Touring on a Gitane - great idea.
In the old days I toured a bit on my UO-8 (both before and after upgrading the derailleurs, pedals, wheels, and crank). It's been a few years but if I was to do any touring again (and I ain't sayin' I won't) I'd consider using the UO-8 again. I'd say if you like the Gitane and are comfortable on it, then try it. It's part of the experience.

As for the weight issue, a newer frame might save 5 pounds but is that really significant? The difference in frame stiffness between an old frame and a newer design is probably more important. But what do I know?
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Old 09-26-10, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by scozim
Are the Sugino cranks 144 bcd. If so you're pretty limited with the small chainring. You could always look for a Sugino or Stronglight triple crankset - if you're wanting to keep it somewhat period correct. Gitane used both in the 70's.
I have a set of Stronglight 49d cranks that I could hook up to some TA chainrings. Then My gearing could go much lower. Maybe like a 30/46 chainring combo or something.
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Old 09-26-10, 07:45 PM
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I've toured once on my Shogun. I was really glad I'd mounted a generator light and a triple.
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Old 09-26-10, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
converting the rear QR to a solid axle will make it stronger for cheap.. 10X1mm
No. It won't. It will make changing tires a pain, though. That's always a bonus.
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Old 09-26-10, 08:46 PM
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A companion on a group tour , from Britain used a TA 50/28. and a 14-28 freewheel , so low was 1:1, 27" .

given 50/14 is about 95" thats a pretty decent ratio range.
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Old 09-26-10, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
converting the rear QR to a solid axle will make it stronger for cheap.. 10X1mm
I wouldn't recommend this. Had more trouble with solid axles breaking than with the QR ones. The strength with the same materials would be almost the same, but QR axles are usually higher quality than solid ones and that makes them more reliable.

Also when I had solid axles break, the tire rubbed against the frame and I had to fix the problem ASAP. With the QR axles that I broke the skewer held things together and I was able to continue riding - but with a few noises emanating from the hub. Kept going for well over a thousand miles once on a broken axle just held together with the skewer.

If the OP is concerned about the axle strength then switching to a freehub/cassette would be a stronger design. But many bike tourists crossed the country with freewheel hubs and fully-loaded bikes back in the '70s bike boom and very few encountered axle problems.
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Old 09-26-10, 09:00 PM
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Wheels of Boulder replacement Axles on my Campag freewheel hubs have held up fine on my sport bikes,
the temper on the Campag axles was too brittle hard I suspect,
the WoB ones have been fine for a long time..

>its the heat treatment that made the big difference , both were Steel of good Quality.

Toured for several years on a Phil Wood Freewheel Hub ..That is the way to go!
sealed bearings and an un bendable axle.
Free hubs are un Needed if the Axle is strong .. ask any Maxcar hub owner..

Last edited by fietsbob; 09-26-10 at 09:10 PM.
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Old 09-27-10, 02:03 AM
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Trailer, fenders, triple chainwheel.
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Old 09-27-10, 10:30 PM
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It should do fine. I put several thousand loaded touring miles on a Peugeot PX10, 64cm frame. It was a little "whippy", but still a pretty good tourer for a "competition" bike. I was a lot younger and tougher then and ran a 52/40 crank with a 12-28 freewheel. I did set up my son's Gitane Sport with a 12-32 freewheel. I had less problems with that bike than I have with a couple of newer touring specific bikes.
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