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Old Gitane
#1
Hello,
I just got this old Cycles Gitane bike. I would like to restore it, but these old french bikes have a lot of specificities making it pretty complicated. If someone could tell me what model this is (or any model with same specs), it would be great!
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#2
No idea what year/model, other than likely from the 60's-70's. Not really necessary to know, as you can measure things such as stem diameter and there are several ways to determine whether the parts have French threading or British. If the freewheel is French threaded you will have a difficult time finding one in good condition, let alone new, without a lot of effort. You would need to check for any marks on the freewheel face or back, the BB cups, pedals and cranks.
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#3
When you say "restore"; what do you really mean? A full restoration (rust removal, re-plating, re-painting, decals, etc) is going to run you over $1000- In absolute mint condition, the current market place is maybe $200- is the SF Bay Area.

It is a low end Gitane, as evidenced by the rear derailleur mounting and steel rims. I agree with cny that is mid to late 60's thru mid 70's. It probably sold new retail for around $100- It appears to have Huret derailleurs.

As cny suggests;
* measure the BB shell threads ref: http://sheldonbrown.com/cribsheet-bottombrackets.html
* measure the stem diameter where it goes into the fork.
* etc.
If anything is not ISO standard, replacement is very expensive. Figure 5X to 10X what standard parts are.

There are quite a few French bike enthusiasts out there, they are a dedicated - some would say fanatical - bunch. You should try the C&V group on Bike Forums. Bike Forum people tend to be a little uppity.
Nigel
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#4
Had a bit more time to look at your pic. This is a poor candidate for any substantial effort. The chrome fork is not original and is rusted, and the fact it was replaced means the bike may have been crashed. It's subtle, but there may possibly be a small buckle where the top tube meets the head tube (from a head-on collision). As noted the all-steel components indicate a low end bike, which limits not only value but also utility, as steel rims have very poor braking when wet. The levers indicate that the brakes may be Mafac, which were famous for squealing, and they are also long-reach - again poor braking. Finally the rusty front wheel should be replaced, and the fact that the valve stems are both crooked may indicate it was ridden with low tire inflation - so you need to check for rim damage. I hope you got it off the curb or for very little.

The C&V (Classic and Vintage) forum on bikeforums.net is indeed a good resource. I don't know about uppity, but bikeforums.net has probably the greatest participation and level of bike expertise you are going to find anywhere on the Internet. There are currently over 200 people in the 2 C&V forums alone.
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#5
(02-11-2014, 05:26 PM)ocamp Wrote:  Hello,
I would like to restore it, but these old french bikes have a lot of specificities making it pretty complicated.
You should be able to inspect & service the bottom bracket, headset and wheel bearings. If they are OK, why not clean it up? You've got everything.

If the chain is stretched and/or the rear freewheel looks worn, well, you many have issues that would suggest a new rear wheel & cassette (why not change to cassette) or a new hub, spokes and cassette.
Seems like it would be worth the time to at least service the bearings if you think it's a nice bike.
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#6
I second the cleaning and greasing plus replacing brake pads and cables + housing. I would caution against sinking substantial amounts of money into it (e.g. new rear wheel... which opens another can of worms because of the different OLD). On the other hand: new wheels will greatly improve braking...
If you like how it rides, put the money in. I miss my old Peugeot, I love the handling and smooth ride of the old steel frame.
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#7
Thanks for the tips guys! Btw, i wasn't planning on replacing every single part. All i wanted was the replace the malfunctioning ones (BB, fork, wheels and chain). The only problem i have left is the BB. I've read a lot about those french bikes, and it seems like this bike should have a right threaded fixed side, though I can't seem to be able to take it off...
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#8
(02-14-2014, 06:26 PM)ocamp Wrote:  ..... only problem i have left is the BB..... I can't seem to be able to take it off...

I had that problem recently on a Taiwanese frame. Ended up having to cut it out. My procedure was:
* first but a slit in the cup to get better tool purchase - cup is scrap at this point. Did not work. Next get really aggressive.
* slice the end almost down to the treads in a + shape - two cuts 90° apart, using a fiber reinforced cut off wheel in a motor tool (aka Dremel - mine is a 160W Harbor Freight tool, better than what Dremel offers, at a fraction of the price). The ends of these cuts should be as close as practical to the threads without actually cutting into the threads. The + is on the face of the cup, perpendicular to the BB axle.
* widen one of the four slots so that you can get your smallest grinding bit in there.
* using your smallest grinding bit, with the spindle of the tool parallel to the BB axle (axle not installed!!); deepen the wide slot until you can see the thread form along the whole depth of the slot.
* using a sharp screw driver, push the remains of the cup inwards on each side of the wide slot. It will break, where you ground, and pop inwards.
* grab the cup with slip joint pliers or vice grips, crush it, and pull it out.

My situation had severe corrosion around a quarter of the out side of the cup.

The threads were damaged by the corrosion and my efforts, fortunately Wheel Away (Hamilton Ave, Campbell, CA) has the Park Tool to chase the threads and face the BB shell and has very reasonable rates.
Nigel
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#9
Easiest removal of fixed cup is by bike shop or with homemade toolhttp://sheldonbrown.com/tooltips/bbcups.html. Use destructive removal only if those don't work. Can use threadless BB in place of the French one. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en-US&ie=UTF-8&source=android-browser&q=threadless+bottom+bracket#hl=en-US&q=threadless+bottom+bracket&tbm=shop
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#10
(02-14-2014, 08:08 PM)cny-man Wrote:  Easiest removal of fixed cup is by bike shop or with homemade toolhttp://sheldonbrown.com/tooltips/bbcups.html. Use destructive removal only if those don't work. Can use threadless BB in place of the French one. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en-US&ie=UTF-8&source=android-browser&q=threadless+bottom+bracket#hl=en-US&q=threadless+bottom+bracket&tbm=shop

Sheldon's tool was much earlier in the trial to get the particular cup off than what I described above.
Nigel
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#11
(02-14-2014, 09:25 PM)nfmisso Wrote:  Sheldon's tool was much earlier in the trial to get the particular cup off than what I described above.

Yes, I assumed that, but we don't know what the OP has tried.
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