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Barn Find - Gitane Professional Tour de France 1971?

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Barn Find - Gitane Professional Tour de France 1971?

Old 05-08-19, 04:32 PM
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CriticalThought
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Barn Find - Gitane Professional Tour de France 1971?

Calling all Gitane experts...

I came into possession of this early 1970s Gitane Professional Tour de France today. Single owner, mostly original, and stored in a shed for decades. I would appreciate any opinions on it.

I'd actually like to ride it, but I'm wary of the original Simplex mech. Both derailleurs are made with a fair amount of plastic. Is it durable enough to ride? Or should I replace with vintage appropriate Campagnolo?

Also, I had to look up the wheels & hubs. Samir Saminox made in France wheels... on New Star (Atom?) hubs with Cyclo 64 Made in France cluster. Any thoughts? Original? Thrown on by the bike shop before sale?

I'm pretty excited that the owner replaced the saddle with an Ideale... one of the Ideale 90s with alloy rails, in near perfect (but very dusty) condition.

From what I've gleaned the ornate chrome Nervex Professional fork crown dates this to around 1971? I also read there is a date typically on the steering tube, so maybe I'll find that when I take it all apart.

It also has the brazed on brake cable bridge / stay.



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Old 05-08-19, 04:52 PM
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-----

Wheels not original.

Originals would have been tubulars.

The New Star hubs are produced by Etablissements Perrin, makers of Pelissier brand hubs.

Ideal 90-I saddle quite valuable. If a 90-IR then even more so...

If bike a 1971 its Stronglight 93 chainset will be the early type ("G1") which is somewhat prone to failures at the pedal hole.

For specific dating the back side of the Simplex Criterium rear derailleur will show a date code -



Wheels and saddle appear to be the cycle's only non-original bits.

-----

Last edited by juvela; 05-09-19 at 05:47 AM. Reason: addition
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Old 05-08-19, 05:08 PM
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The Simplex dérailleurs work well, actually, and the Criterium model used on higher end bikes had more metal than the Prestige used on the low end models.
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Old 05-08-19, 05:18 PM
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This thread will link you to some very good information.......specifically post no. 10

https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...rance-tdf.html
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Old 05-08-19, 05:32 PM
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If that bike came out of a dusty barn all those years, I want to store my bikes there. Looks nice out of the starting line!

Great find for you.
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Old 05-08-19, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----

Wheels not original.

Originals would have been tubulars.

The New Star hubs are produced by Etablissements Perrin, makers of Pelissier brand hubs.

Ideal 90-I saddle quite valuable. If a 90-IR then even more so...

If bike a 1971 its Stronglight 93 chainset will be the early type ("G1") which is somewhat prone to failures at the pedal hole.

For specific dating the back side of the Simplex Criterium rear derailleur will show a date code -



-----
90 I, 90 IR? Elaborate please.
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Old 05-08-19, 07:02 PM
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Thanks for the quick and informative response, Juvela.

Date code on the simplex is 7/71, so looks more and more like a 71.

Interestingly, the lower idler wheel (if that's what they're called) seems to say Shimano. lol... any thoughts on if the other toothless one is original Simplex?

Ah, and I think the Ideale is a 90-I as I don't think it has the spring. I'll see if I can get some pics to confirm.

Thanks again.

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Old 05-08-19, 07:18 PM
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Great find and beautiful bike. You can't just run a campy derailleur on a simplex drop out at least without permanently modifying the drop out.

Here is some good info on the drop out of your new old bike:

Derailleur Hangers Demystified - Red Clover Components

You will want to completely overhaul your bike. The bottom bracket and headset are quite high quality. You will need the right tool for the crank as the regular puller won't work. This is what you will need:

https://www.steintool.com/portfolio-...nk-extractors/

French bikes are cool and different as you will find out. This is a beautiful bike; enjoy it.
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Old 05-08-19, 08:51 PM
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Excellent score. That should ride great once it's refurbished.
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Old 05-08-19, 10:08 PM
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I think Huret had some "toothless" RD jockey wheels. Nice find OP
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Old 05-08-19, 11:36 PM
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Difinitive Guide To Gitane TdFs

An ounce of knowledge is worth a pound of guesses!

Here's a link to my definitive guide to Gitane Tour de France bikes from the late 60's until 1974 on the GitaneUSA.com website. The links to the pictures are broken but please read through all the messages posted by me for details: verktyg

gitaneusa.com :: View topic - How to identify my bike - read first

Someday I'll have to re-do this treatise.

It's probably a 1971 TdF and.... I've NEVER seen any kind of date stamped into the steerer on the hundreds of Gitanes that I've worked on.

Supposed serial numbers mean nothing either. After a year or so of trying to figure this out on the GitaneUSA.com website we came to the conclusion that numbers stamped into Gitanes were at best lot, order or process numbers. Any records were lost in the 1990's.

Unlike Peugeot and Motobecane who used a piece of straight gauge seamed thin wall pipe with a split sleeve brazed into the bottom, Gitane used butted steerers made by Nervor (not Nervex or Nervar). They were probably made of seamed carbon steel but the drawing and butting removed any possible issues with a seam.



Below are before and after pictures of my 1969 Gitane TdF "barn bike". I bought it from Denis Stone, Stone's Cyclery in Alameda, CA in 2007. He originally sold the bike and did the all the service and modifications over the years.

It had been in storage for 15-20 years and the first pictures show what it looked like after I vacuumed about a millimeter of dust and crud off of it. I think the previous owner may have been riding it off road before it went into storage.





After a major overhaul, cleanup and touch-up.






@bikemig wash your mouth out! The thought of switching to Campy derailleurs! The Red Clover link suggests switching to a claw hanger or even worse "drewing" the Simplex hanger.

I HATE! HATE! HATE! claw hangers for real reasons like when you have to fix a flat out in the cold and wind and rain and the derailleur falls out of the dropout and spins around the freewheel and you're trying to to untangle the wet greasy mess!

The Simplex Criterium derailleurs worked better than a Campy NR on wider range gearing with good cables and lubrication.

There's a simple solution to get away from the Delrin derailleurs. Later direct mount Simplex derailleurs like the SX410 and SX610 will bolt right onto the drop outs with no problems at all. The metal Simplex front derailleurs worked well too.

Another simple solution requires tapping the 9mm hole with a 10mm x 1mm tap and mounting a Shimano or Campy rear derailleur with a travel stop tab like Simplex used. You can still go back to a Simplex derailleur because the diameter of the mounting hole is 9mm.

@CriticalThought and @ryansu those Simplex Criterium RDs had nice adjustable ball bearing pulleys. The problem is that in time the teeth would strip clean off of them. The standard sleeve bearing pulleys didn't have that problem very often. Shimano 10mm wide 5 speed pulleys are still available and inexpensive.

Clean it up overhaul the bearings and get rid of those CHEAP bike boom steel rim clinchers and replace them with some alloy rim wheels with good hubs and it should be a great riding bike. Pelissier 3 piece hubs were, are and forever will be crap, junk, garbage!

Word of caution, the black dye used on the Ideale 90 saddles NEVER rubs off and will stain light colored togs.

Hope this helps.

verktyg

Last edited by verktyg; 05-09-19 at 01:58 AM.
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Old 05-09-19, 12:30 AM
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Those Simplex derailleurs will be plenty durable up to the point where they break. No worries.

(Actually, I've never broken one, but they do have a reputation; specifically the clamp on the FD.)
@CriticalThought, as mentioned above, that saddle is kind of a big deal. If it does't personally suit your heinie, sell it for big bucks online.
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Old 05-09-19, 07:11 AM
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I'm with verktyg on swapping out those junky wheels. Once you have cleaned and serviced and repacked everything and fitted this bike with some good wheels you will be rewarded by an amazing ride quality. Your bike appears to be a 60 cm to top, which is how they were measured when they were new, and I can tell you from experience that a 60 cm Gitane TdF is a magic bike, period. I've owned three through the years, and I still kick myself for selling the first one, regret selling the second and will never part with the third one. For me, anyway, something about the geometry of this size TdF is perfection.

I've never found a Gitane of any description that is this clean. Score!
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Old 05-09-19, 10:01 AM
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Thanks all, especially @verktyg for the thoughtful and informative replies. I think I'll clean it up and assuming I don't find any problems after servicing the bearings and mech, will ride it. In the mean time I'll look for some better alloy wheels that are period appropriate.

I actually came across this beauty because I have recently started riding a Motobecane Grand Jubilé that I picked up of similar vintage. The Grand Jubilé has a Japanese crank (beautiful and works well, but I'm a bit of a purist and thought it'd be cool to have an "all French" bike, despite the crank being original to it). So I've been on the lookout for a Stronglight that I could pull. I might just leave it as is though, we shall see.

I had replaced the sad plastic saddle on the Grand Jubilé with an Ideale #42 (pretty cool as it has integrated grommets for a seat bag), but then found a beautiful Ideale #90 Diagonale / Rebour and put that on. In doing so I learned a bit about Ideale and the cult following... heh. But more significantly about how desirable the "light weight" alloy rail versions of the Ideale #90 are. I had never even seen one. So when I saw the grainy photos of this Gitane TdF the Stronglight crank caught my eye, but then I thought I saw flat alloy rails under the Ideale saddle. So there you are... I had to have it, all the more so as the seller valued the entire bike well below the market value of the saddle alone.

I've never really been a fan of the aesthetic of the be-foiled French bikes. But now, at least this one, is starting to grow on me. It'll be enjoyable to explore the ride quality in comparison with the Grand Jubilé this summer.

I'll post updates and thoughts (and I'm sure, many more questions) as I go. Thanks again all!

Ideale #42


Ideale #42


Ideale #90 Diagonale / Rebour


Ideale #90 Diagonale / Rebour
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Old 05-09-19, 10:35 AM
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Here are some pictures of the Ideale #90 as found... dirty but with the cool looking flat alloy rails. It does feel lighter, but what I read about it being less comfortable due to the rigidity of the alloy makes sense. I'm curious to see how well it cleans up (and how it feels to ride).













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Old 05-09-19, 10:52 AM
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I wouldn't feel like I had to rebuild this bike before riding it, to first see if it fits well and has the sort of riding dynamic that suits my riding style.

One can just check for an loose of tight bearings at the hubs, headset and bottombracket, with a few drops of light oil fed in by gravity with the bike laying one one side and then the other. Same for the freewheel, but it typically takes a good 15 drops of oil and some settling time to saturate the innards so it spins freely and has robust clicks.

If the bike fits and rides well, then some rebuilding as time allows will be worthwhile.

Cables and especially brakes should be checked for function and safety of course, but I cringe at the thought of tightening the front derailer clamp at all, which so often results in the derailer's plastic body splitting and then losing it's grip on the frame.

As Chas/Verktyg mentioned, the hubs are of modest quality and will not survive any riding time if the axle bearings are not adjusted borderline loose.
The axle bearings get tighter when the quick-release levers are closed since the axle compresses under the tremendous leverage and force/tension, so a slightly-loose axle adjustment will be somewhat corrected as each wheel is installed into the frame.

These bikes came with rather short handlebar stems from the factory, so may fit well even if the bike feels rather big when straddling it at a stop.
They handle fine with the short 8cm stem, so the only drawback to the short stem is when drafting a leading rider, since the following rider can't draft as closely without the risk of tires touching.

My '72(?) TDF is a rather small 54cm for my long-legged 5'9" frame, so it is seldom ridden and should find a new home. I used a 9cm stem raised as high as I dare, still it fits small for me.
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Old 05-09-19, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
I wouldn't feel like I had to rebuild this bike before riding it, to first see if it fits well and has the sort of riding dynamic that suits my riding style.

One can just check for an loose of tight bearings at the hubs, headset and bottombracket, with a few drops of light oil fed in by gravity with the bike laying one one side and then the other. Same for the freewheel, but it typically takes a good 15 drops of oil and some settling time to saturate the innards so it spins freely and has robust clicks.

If the bike fits and rides well, then some rebuilding as time allows will be worthwhile.

Cables and especially brakes should be checked for function and safety of course, but I cringe at the thought of tightening the front derailer clamp at all, which so often results in the derailer's plastic body splitting and then losing it's grip on the frame.

As Chas/Verktyg mentioned, the hubs are of modest quality and will not survive any riding time if the axle bearings are not adjusted borderline loose.
The axle bearings get tighter when the quick-release levers are closed since the axle compresses under the tremendous leverage and force/tension, so a slightly-loose axle adjustment will be somewhat corrected as each wheel is installed into the frame.

These bikes came with rather short handlebar stems from the factory, so may fit well even if the bike feels rather big when straddling it at a stop.
They handle fine with the short 8cm stem, so the only drawback to the short stem is when drafting a leading rider, since the following rider can't draft as closely without the risk of tires touching.

My '72(?) TDF is a rather small 54cm for my long-legged 5'9" frame, so it is seldom ridden and should find a new home. I used a 9cm stem raised as high as I dare, still it fits small for me.
That bike is beautiful. I imagine you've considered this but a nitto technomic would get the bars high enough.
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Old 05-09-19, 01:34 PM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
I wouldn't feel like I had to rebuild this bike before riding it, to first see if it fits well and has the sort of riding dynamic that suits my riding style....
Thanks @dddd. That picture of your bike is inspiring. I can't wait until mine is in similar shape. Fair point about riding it before rebuilding it. I will. I think I'll pull the wheels off my Motobecane and ride the Gitane a bit with them. They're Rigidas laced to Normandy hubs so should be more in line with what the TdF deserves.

I bought the Gitane from the daughter of the original owner. Tall as she is, her dad was taller, so she rode it a bit before selling it which is why the seat is slammed down to the frame in my pictures. I'm 6'2 so I suspect it will fit me well enough (and should look better with the seat up and the stem down... chuckle).

I'll probably take it apart to clean it, and will treat the derailleurs with kid gloves, the front clamp in particular. If I can get away with keeping them, then I'm all for it.

Thanks again.

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Old 05-09-19, 01:43 PM
  #19  
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Nice find. I look forward to seeing this one all cleaned up.
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Old 05-09-19, 04:38 PM
  #20  
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Brace of French Bikes

Originally Posted by CriticalThought View Post
Thanks @dddd. That picture of your bike is inspiring. I can't wait until mine is in similar shape. Fair point about riding it before rebuilding it. I will. I think I'll pull the wheels off my Motobecane and ride the Gitane a bit with them. They're Rigidas laced to Normandy hubs so should be more in line with what the TdF deserves.

I'm 6'2 so I suspect it will fit me well enough (and should look better with the seat up and the stem down... chuckle).

I'll probably take it apart to clean it, and will treat the derailleurs with kid gloves, the front clamp in particular. If I can get away with keeping them, then I'm all for it.

Thanks again.

Nice "brace" of Frenchies.

Here's a link to a 1972 or 73 TdF similar to yours. It has a metal Simplex RD with a Shimano 600 FD:

https://www.bikeforums.net/20873262-post1694.html

The Pivo stem and bars are adequate for casual rides but you should inspect them carefully. From the late 1940's through the mid 1970's millions of bikes world wide were produced with those kinds of bars and stems.

Pull the stem and look for any sign of cracks forming at the top of the expander split or splits. If you find any crack get rid of the stem!!!



Before re-installation, drill or file a small hole at the top of the split to prevent a stress riser from developing into a crack.



When you have the fork out to service the bearings, carefully inspect the threaded section at the top of the steerer for any cracks or bulges which can result from tightening the stem when it up too high - 75mm to 80mm is the minimum insertion.




Use loose grade 25 chrome steel ball bearings rather than retainers and the Stronglight P3 headset will last for years.

Keep an eye on the bars. If you see any sign of droop, change them. When they start to droop, they can fail catastrophically without any warning.



If you plan on any hard use, especially on rough surfaces, you should switch to modern bars and stem like Nitto. Those stems are marked 22.2mm but measure 22.1mm and fit in many French "22.0mm" steerers without any problems. You may have to file the inside of the top lock nut a little for a smooth fit.

Hone or sand the inside of the steerer just like the seat tube and apply some grease when reassembling. That will help avoid stuck stems and seatposts.

verktyg

Last edited by verktyg; 05-09-19 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 05-09-19, 06:34 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
My '72(?) TDF is a rather small 54cm for my long-legged 5'9" frame, so it is seldom ridden and should find a new home. I used a 9cm stem raised as high as I dare, still it fits small for me.
It would fit me perfectly. :-) hint hint
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Old 05-09-19, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by CriticalThought View Post
I've never really been a fan of the aesthetic of the be-foiled French bikes. But now, at least this one, is starting to grow on me. It'll be enjoyable to explore the ride quality in comparison with the Grand Jubilé this summer.
Out in the barn are a Grand Jubilee, a PX-10, and a Super Corsa. I haven't been able to decide which is the better ride.

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Old 05-10-19, 05:59 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
@bikemig wash your mouth out! The thought of switching to Campy derailleurs! The Red Clover link suggests switching to a claw hanger or even worse "drewing" the Simplex hanger.

Chas, I've often benefited from your deep reservoir of TdF knowledge. But I will observe mildly that the Red Clover Components site doesn't suggest or recommend modifying a Simplex derailleur hanger--it merely notes that it can be done. As you know, it was a common "fix" back in the day. Like you, I think it's a terrible idea. I believe it's clear to most readers that I favor the non-destructive alternatives that are also mentioned.
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Old 05-10-19, 06:51 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by jonwvara View Post
Chas, I've often benefited from your deep reservoir of TdF knowledge. But I will observe mildly that the Red Clover Components site doesn't suggest or recommend modifying a Simplex derailleur hanger--it merely notes that it can be done. As you know, it was a common "fix" back in the day. Like you, I think it's a terrible idea. I believe it's clear to most readers that I favor the non-destructive alternatives that are also mentioned.
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I linked to your website (and Chas was referring to that when he made that point about Red Clover). I too have learned a huge amount from Chas about Gitanes and a great many other things as well. There is no doubt he adds a huge level of knowledge to bike forums. I've learned a lot from your site as well. But yeah, your site doesn't say that modding the drop out should be done. I also don't think it's necessarily a terrible idea especially if you want to run a long cage rear derailleur (the price for long cage French derailleurs that work on simplex drop outs tends to be crazy high).
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Old 05-10-19, 06:59 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by CriticalThought View Post
I'm wary of the original Simplex mech. Both derailleurs are made with a fair amount of plastic. Is it durable enough to ride? Or should I replace with vintage appropriate Campagnolo?
Don't be in a hurry to replace the Simplex rear derailleur. As long as it is in reasonable condition, it will likely perform better than a Campagnolo Nuovo Record. And depending on the derailleur mount on the dropout, it may not be a straightforward switch. Older Simplex dropouts were unthreaded and lacked a stop tab that the Campagnolo derailleur requires. You can modify the dropout to accept a Campagnolo derailleur, but it takes a little effort and is considered to be blasphemous by Francophiles.

I'm not a big fan of the plastic push-rod front derailleur, but if it works, why bother replacing it? Be aware that metric (aka "French") diameter seat tubes are slight smaller diameter than standard, and may require a shim to mount a different front derailleur.
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