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Unknown Completely.

Old 11-02-19, 10:59 AM
  #1  
HPL
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Unknown Completely.

This bike came up on CL a couple years ago and I originally got it to rebuild for a tall friend. Unfortunately, that didn't happen as he got something substantially newer. Paid $75 (asking $100), so not too much invested. Now I want to know what I ended up with. I'd like to clean it up with a better paint job (has at least one respray) and a bit more of a complete groupset; presently Camp NR FD (pre-'78 post '72, no lip), Sun Tour "V" RD, Weinmann brake set (500 or 600 calipers, levers and calipers with some custom drillings), Sugino Mighty crankset (75.7 date code), Lyotard pedals (standard thread, not French), Shimano 333 hubs, Nisi rims, Pivo bar and stem, unmarked (size and make) BB assy (68 mm shell), Stronglight Competition headset, Camp Record post (26.8 mm, 2 bolt). Campy dropouts front (with eyelets, one appears broken off) and rear (seems to have had eyelets cut off). Early style Nervex Pro lugs on head tube. Serial number (?) on left rear dropout 1or 4, then 817629. No braze-ons anywhere.

Previously owned by a British racer who moved Stateside, and gave it to his neighbor before moving back to the UK to die, as health was failing. Seller was so happy to see it go to his namesake (first name anyways) and another enthusiast. He thought it was from the '60s, but couldn't remember what the original owner had related to him regarding its history.
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Old 11-02-19, 11:12 AM
  #2  
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A lot of details make me think Motobecane Le Champion. Color, seat stay ends, lug pattern, Stronglight headset, French bars and stem, fork crown...

EDIT: I missed the detail that it’s been repainted, so color is not an indicator. I still think Motobecane, though. Also because of the location of the serial num.

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Old 11-02-19, 11:19 AM
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Looks like a parts bin build but if the threads are French then I would also second the motobecane thought. Of course I'm guessing but the threads at least would lend some idea to provenance.
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Old 11-02-19, 11:45 AM
  #4  
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Old 11-02-19, 11:48 AM
  #5  
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What's the tubing OD? 26.8 seatpost seems a bit big for metric (French) seat tube.
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Old 11-02-19, 12:14 PM
  #6  
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Both my '75 Grand Record and the '79 Le Champion that passed thru my hands have 26.6 seatposts.
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Old 11-02-19, 12:17 PM
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+3 for Motobecane (it's those headlugs!) and nearly certain to be metric DB tubing (531 most likely but COULD be Vitus or Columbus) so re-measure the seatpost. Almost certain to take a 26.4 or 26.6
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Old 11-02-19, 12:52 PM
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Moto experts -- did the different models use different lug sets? I ask because I am noticing that the lugset for my 72 Grand Record matches these exactly. As another data point, my seat post is a 26.4, but perhaps this one could have been reamed to use a specific post? Or maybe it's a mismatch? I see that the post is not installed, so it would be worth confirming whether it fits.
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Old 11-02-19, 12:53 PM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by Narhay View Post
Looks like a parts bin build but if the threads are French then I would also second the motobecane thought. Of course I'm guessing but the threads at least would lend some idea to provenance.
Originally Posted by noobinsf View Post
A lot of details make me think Motobecane Le Champion. Color, seat stay ends, lug pattern, Stronglight headset, French bars and stem, fork crown...

EDIT: I missed the detail that itís been repainted, so color is not an indicator. I still think Motobecane, though. Also because of the location of the serial num.
Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Both my '75 Grand Record and the '79 Le Champion that passed thru my hands have 26.6 seatposts.
Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
+3 for Motobecane (it's those headlugs!) and nearly certain to be metric DB tubing (531 most likely but COULD be Vitus or Columbus) so re-measure the seatpost. Almost certain to take a 26.4 or 26.6
Thanks so much! I only suspected a French make due to the cockpit, but not sure what were OE parts. Only Pivo set up I have is on a French '66 Cazenave, but not as nice a frame. Never had a Motobecane, and seems the ones I've seen did not have that early style lug work. Does this seem like an earlier frame than the '70s parts it has? I have never seen those lugs on anything except in photos and those were all '50s era bikes. I guess the serial number might help depending on when Motobecane started serializing their frames (if that make). I hope it has a French BB, I need one for another build. Will know next week when it's removed. The whole bike is functionally in great condition, all bearings smooth, chain well maintained.
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Old 11-02-19, 01:15 PM
  #10  
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+1 - Motobecane, with my leading candidate being a circa 1973 Grand Record.
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Old 11-02-19, 03:20 PM
  #11  
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I only came here to say this had to be French, and when I saw the lugs, I immediate went to Motobecane.

And as for the seat tube diameter, even if it's 26.8 someone either may've used a honer to smooth out the seat tube, or sanded and polished the seat post.
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Old 11-02-19, 07:41 PM
  #12  
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-----

the machine's bottom bracket assembly must be quite the dog's breakfast if one goes by the four or five threads showing on the adjustable cup

Chas. (verktyg) hath writ that this lug design be proprietary with MB - not found in any lug maker's catalogue

for 1973 the headplate would have been this plastic one - only year it was employed:



-----
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Old 11-04-19, 02:36 AM
  #13  
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I now see that the seat stay ends are partially wrapped around the front of the seat tube. Is this a fairly normal feature for Motobecane frames, and was it used on a specific model(s) within a limited time frame. It would seem that combined with the lug work it would help in dating this frame. I guess I'll have to "bone up" on that marque. Would this be considered a better frame by Motobecane? I don't know the tubing nor weight. I have checked the seat tube for any apparent honing, reaming, and/or any other means of enlarging the bore; none are discernable. The Campy seat post is in an unaltered condition, it clearly shows the stamp for 26.8 mm size. I will say that I have not physically mic'd the ID or OD of the seat tube, or the post OD. Curious to see what the BB threads are.
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Old 11-04-19, 03:52 AM
  #14  
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1973-74 Motobecane Grand Record frame

This is a 1973-74 Motobecane Grand Record frame. Here's the tells:

Standard Nervex Professional Lug.



Proprietary Motobecane Nervex lugs. This is my 1971-72 Grand Record.

Motobecane used these plastic head tube badges on some bikes from 1971-73. Note the Stronglight Competition V4 headset.



Vagner DP+ chevron top fork crown.



Semi wrap around seat stay tops.



The OP's frame has a poor quality rattle can paint job.

The Pivo stem was used on 1973-74 Grand Records.

The tubing on pre-1977 Grand Record frames was butted Reynolds 531 throughout. After that it was butted Vitus 172 tubing.

The seatpost should be 26.4mm but possibility 26.6mm on a few Reynolds 531 frames. 26.8mm doesn't sound right.

For a lot of reasons seat tubes get out of round and so people use undersized seat posts. (but not oversize)

Measuring the top tube diameter is the quickest way to determine metric or "imperial" inch size tubing. A metric top tube is going to be slightly larger than 26mm while inch size is slightly larger than 25.4mm. (slightly larger because of the paint thickness).

So, I think that it is a 1973-74 Motobecane Grand Record frame with almost no original components.

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Last edited by verktyg; 11-04-19 at 04:12 AM.
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Old 11-04-19, 08:11 AM
  #15  
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Just as a question to those knowledgeable here, did Motobecanes come with Campy dropouts or high end models did?

Also, I'm convinced that it is a Motobecane based on Verktyg's proof.
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Old 11-04-19, 09:45 AM
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Yes Campagnolo dropouts on the Grand Record and above frames. I would not question Chas' detailed analysis: if hes says this is a 73-74 GR then that it is, and a great frame you got there! Worth re-painting it and outfitting with some better brakes (cause even tho many are non-original the remaining stuff is not bad but go over everything). Congrats on joining the Moto GR gang (I have one in black/red with nearly all original kit).
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Old 11-04-19, 10:23 AM
  #17  
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Not sure how you would discern between a Le Champion and GR frame set. My 1972 has different head lugs but still has the semi wrap SS's. Don't know the diameter of the seat post but it is a 531 DB frame set. IIRC it is a metric version of the frame set for Moto.

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Old 11-04-19, 10:29 AM
  #18  
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What's the bottom bracket threading? Should be stamped into the outside faces of the cups. If 1.370 x 24, it's English, if 35 x 1 it's either rFrench or Swiss.
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Old 11-04-19, 11:17 AM
  #19  
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Le Champion vs. Grand Record Lugs

Originally Posted by SJX426 View Post
Not sure how you would discern between a Le Champion and GR frame set. My 1972 has different head lugs but still has the semi wrap SS's. Don't know the diameter of the seat post but it is a 531 DB frame set. IIRC it is a metric version of the frame set for Moto.

2008-06-07 15.42.52, on Flickr
From the beginning to the mid 70's Le Champion frames used long point Prugnat Type S lugs like the ones pictured above.

My 1974-75 Le Champion with those same Prugnat lugs. In 1974, Motobecane seriously upgraded the Le Champion frames. They are the same as the BIC orange 1974-76 Team Champion/Champion Team frames including Fischer? fork crowns.



In 1977 they lowered the frame quality in a lot of ways. They continued the trend until the early 80's. My 1977 Le Champion with Bocama long point lugs.



Grand Records came with proprietary Nervex lugs until the late 70's. The early 70's bikes came in silver and black or yellow and black. They were only 3 main tubes butted Reynolds 531 (3 TUBES RENFORCES); the forks and stays were Motobecane gaspipe tubing. They came with Campy dropouts and fork ends.

Repop sticker from Cyclomondo.



In 1973 Moto did a major upgrade to the Grand Record bikes. The frames became all Reynolds 531 with 1/2 chrome plated "socks" on the forks (the Le Champions had chrome socks on the rear stays in 1972-73). They also introduced the elegant black with red trim color combination but silver and black was still available.

1974 Grand Record catalog page.



Here's a rare early 70's brown and black Grand Record, probably a European model??? Someone has upgraded the components with Campy cranks and DuraAce brakes and hubs.



Here's another rare Grand Record with long point Prugnat lugs instead of Nervex. Probably a 1973 or 74 model. It may have been a Le Champion frame labeled Grand Record at the factory just to fill out an order???



@unworthy1 thanks for the kudos...

BITD, especially during the bike boom fad, there were so many variations because of component availability issues and other things that it's hard to say for certain about any French bike. They were pushing them out the door as quickly as they could box them up!

Add to that, makers like Motobecane, Peugeot, Gitane, Raleigh and Bianchi made models for specific markets like France, Germany, Holland, the "East Bloc", the UK, the US, and Canada plus OZ, Japan and other places.

Is it wrong... or just French!

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Old 11-04-19, 11:34 AM
  #20  
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I noticed eyelets on fork ends, but not on dropouts. Just an observation. Could it be a replacement fork?
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Old 11-04-19, 12:25 PM
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Fender Eyelets

Originally Posted by satbuilder View Post
I noticed eyelets on fork ends, but not on dropouts. Just an observation. Could it be a replacement fork?
Fender eyelets were standard on most non competition production bikes into the 1980's. Unless someone cut them off of the dropouts, this frame should have them.

but.... 1972-73 was the peak of the bike boom and maybe Campy was out the 1010 dropouts with fender eyelets???

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Old 11-04-19, 01:19 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
Fender eyelets were standard on most non competition production bikes into the 1980's. Unless someone cut them off of the dropouts, this frame should have them.

but.... 1972-73 was the peak of the bike boom and maybe Campy was out the 1010 dropouts with fender eyelets???

verktyg
Originally Posted by satbuilder View Post
I noticed eyelets on fork ends, but not on dropouts. Just an observation. Could it be a replacement fork?
The missing front eyelet had either been broken off or roughly cut off. Both rear dropouts appear to have been cut off. All done prior to paint "job".

Yes, paint is a poor spray job. From what I gather this should have socks on the fork; the fork is original to the frame as told to me. Would be nice if chrome is in decent shape (if there at all).

What was the original groupset; was it also sold frame only?

No marks on BB to denote thread type.
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Old 11-04-19, 04:36 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by verktyg
In 1973 Moto did a major upgrade to the Grand Record bikes. The frames became all Reynolds 531...


I don't think so. I believe the only full 531 GRs were in '76 and '77. The Bulgier catalogs also reflect this.

I have a '75, and I can tell the rear stays feel "heavier" than any of my other 531c bikes.
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Old 11-04-19, 06:53 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post

I don't think so. I believe the only full 531 GRs were in '76 and '77. The Bulgier catalogs also reflect this.
Nope: From 1973 on Motobecane Grand Records had all Reynolds 531 frames... well not all Reynolds tubes, the fork steerers, brake bridges and chain stay bridges were made of gas pipe carbon steel!

In 1977-78 they switched to French made Vitus 172 butted tubes on the Grand Records (the tubing cost was less than 1/3rd of 531 with about the same weight and strength).

1970-72 Catalog Spec Sheet


1973 Catalog Spec Sheet


1974 Catalog Spec Sheet



1975 Catalog Spec Sheet



1976 Catalog Spec Sheet



1977 Catalog Spec Sheet



Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
I have a '75, and I can tell the rear stays feel "heavier" than any of my other 531c bikes.
Having built frames and worked on many pro bikes over the past 45 years it's hard to tell what most frames are made of just by feel...

For example, most French, Italian, Dutch and so on PRODUCTION frames made with Reynolds 531 tubing had main tubes with 1.0mm wall thickness in the butted ends and 0.7mm thick in the thinner sections. Schwinn Paramounts were made with those tubes. Even a lot of Pro Team Bikes used that tubing up into the 1980's.

One reason was that the thicker tubes allowed for the use of lower skilled employees because over heating the tubes was less of an issue.

There were several reasons for Pro Team Bikes being made of the thicker tubes: crash survival, resistance to denting by rough handling by the support folks and more importantly, Team bikes were handed down to lesser riders after the end of the race season so the were used for multiple years.

Only the top riders got new bikes every year! After the early 80's, with the likes of high $$$ riders like Greg Lemond, things changed a little.

Used team bikes were also passed down to the young riders on the pro development teams (farm teams).

A lot of Brit frames were made with lighter gauge Reynolds tubing but that was different story.

Reynolds 531c (Competition) was a lighter tubing set. It wasn't introduced under that name until 1982. Prior to that it was called 531SL or 531 Special Light Weight (EXTRA LEGER in French/metric diameter tubes).

The seat and top tubes were butted 0.8mm x 0.5mm and the down tubes were 0.9mm x 0.6mm. The forks and stays were also thinner gauge.





1984 Reynolds Tubing Spec Sheet.

I used some 531SL tubing back in the mid 70's and it was noticeably lighter than the standard 1.0mm x 0.9mm tubing but then I was working with the stuff.

My 1972 Le Champion was made with the lighter gauge 531 main tubes but it was the top of the line model. It takes a 26.6mm seatpost rather than the standard 26.4mm posts used on the 1.0mm x .07mm metric tube production bikes.

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Last edited by verktyg; 11-04-19 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 11-17-19, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
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Chas. (verktyg) hath writ that this lug design be proprietary with MB - not found in any lug maker's catalogue
I missed this the first time. Probably important to remember, Astra - arguably a "Motobecane", they made them for Beacon, if I recall? - also had these. This Grand Luxe wasn't available when this thread started, so I couldn't link it and was too lazy to hunt for pics: https://www.ebay.com/itm/184039779862

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