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Mystery Frame - 54cm

Old 02-26-20, 05:26 PM
  #1  
smontanaro 
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Mystery Frame - 54cm

I bought this frame several years ago and built it up for my lovely wife, but she didn't like it, so over time it shed parts for one project or another. I'm never going to use it, so am moving it along. I found this frame on eBay and built it up for my wife as a five-speed around-town bike. She didn't like it, so it's been hanging in the basement for probably two or three years. Parts slowly disappear from it for other projects.
  • I have no idea of the builder.
  • The bottom bracket is French threaded, while the steerer is British threaded.
  • Campy 1060 dropouts, don't recall the fork ends, eyelets front and rear
  • Plated head tube lugs, fork crown and fork socks (doesn't look like chrome to me, but perhaps)
  • Dimensions (CTC, where meaningful):
    • seat tube - 54.5cm
    • top tube - 56cm
    • chainstay - 41cm
    • wheelbase - 101cm
    • bottom bracket drop - 6.5cm
    • standover - 82.5cm/32.5in with 27mm Veloflex Vlaaderen tubulars.
Here's a Flickr album which documents the frame's various stages of my stewardship. It comes with:
  • Pletscher rack (note the extra bridge above the brake bridge)
  • Tange Levin CD headset
  • Shimano downtube cable guide
  • Anpi seatpost (Spanish Campy clone)
How about $80 + shipping? PayPal f/f to skip.montanaro@gmail.com.

Here's its current state:

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Old 02-26-20, 05:54 PM
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I love a mystery frame. I am pondering this as something I can build up and leave at my in-laws' place for visits to Chicago. Not calling dibs, I need to think about it...

EDIT: I'm out -- I need to focus on the projects I have for now. Very cool frame, though...

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Old 02-26-20, 05:55 PM
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That is a truly eclectic frame. Sort of vertical Campy DOs, wrap around top stays, Dura Ace sticker, silver plate lugs, no real braze-ons. I'd love to see what T-Mar, Maurice Moss or Juvela would come up with...
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Old 03-01-20, 01:38 PM
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Stay end treatment and the fork blade terminations don't match, as the threading does not either...
Fork may be a replacement.
I like the rack bridge.
6cm of drop is kind of cyclocross territory.

If I was not buried in projects and had money to bank, I would be very interested.
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Old 03-01-20, 01:40 PM
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And I like the Condorino bar set up
that is what my sonís bike needs.

I would pay no attention to the Dura-Ace sticker
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Old 03-01-20, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
Fork may be a replacement.
....
6cm of drop is kind of cyclocross territory.
I figured the fork was original mostly because the color of the plating on the fork crown and socks matches that on the head tube lugs (doesn't really look like "chrome" - maybe some yellowing clear coat?). That said, I have no proof it's original either.

I'll go back and measure the drop more carefully. I seem to recall making an approximate measurement without wheels on the frame when I last updated the Flickr album.

I have the condorino bars still if someone wants them (small upcharge ). I measured them on the bench the other day. Tip-to-tip they are 42cm, so fairly narrow. Given the slight back sweep I estimate the effective stem reach at about 9cm.
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Old 03-01-20, 05:11 PM
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------

Dropouts made me think of Stella.

Sugino Mighty chainset seen in flickr images made me think of a MICMO product.

Doubt rack bridge OEM.

Builder finished shell very nicely.

Joinery of stays to dropouts rules out a number of French marques. Stella might be a possibility. Fork crown is Vagner DL.

Have never seen Stella employ this lug pattern however...

-----
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Old 03-01-20, 05:51 PM
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Let me add a few more things.
  • I bought this as a bare frame on eBay several years ago and built it up for Ellen with parts I had on hand. The parts you see in the Flickr album mean nothing wrt identification of the framebuilder.
  • Like I said in my previous response, the plating "color" seems to match between the fork and the head lugs. I rather suspect the fork goes with the frame.
  • The top tube seems relatively long compared to the seat tube.
  • I have no idea about the Dura-Ace sticker. It came with the frame (the only sticker/decal on the frame).
Given these various unusual features (and the extra Pletscher bridge) my working hypothesis has been that the frame was a one-off, perhaps constructed by a hobbyist builder. I obviously have no proof of that though.
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Old 03-02-20, 07:02 AM
  #9  
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I don't think I saw a seat post diameter? Does the seat post come out?
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Old 03-02-20, 08:21 AM
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Sorry, didn't mention the seat tube diameter since the frame comes with the Anpi seatpost. I think Ellen ride the bike once around the block. It's been hanging in my basement every since (three years maybe), so while I haven't checked, I'm pretty sure it will come out.

The seatpost is 25.8. It removes just fine from the frame, though I noticed a problem today... Note the void in the seatpost ear on the left.

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Old 03-05-20, 06:34 AM
  #11  
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-----

thank you for this additional information.

"void" on seat binder ear is a notch to accept the tooth of on a binder head. does not appear original to lug.

one check you have not as yet mentioned is head tube interior to see if there is any evidence of headplate fastener holes being filled in.

---

ends -

dropouts are Campag Racing Nr. 1060. left is Nr. 1061, right is Nr. 1062.

fork ends are from Campag Record set Nr. 1010 and are part Nr. 2.




---

lug pattern -

this is a custom proprietary design done by NERVEX for Motobecane as has been explained on the forum by member verktyg more than once. a pattern not shown in any NERVEX materials and not sold to others.

here it is seen on a 1973 model MB Grand Record frame -





seat lug and seat stay cap detail on same model -




-----

identification thoughts -

cannot recall seeing Campag verticals on a Motobecane but perhaps other readers will know of one...

possible frame may be a Motobecane model produced for a different market...

another way for this combination to occur is if frame was a hobbyist/low volume maker project using bits harvested from a dead MB frame.

-----
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Old 03-05-20, 10:22 AM
  #12  
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juvela Thanks for the further input. I will confess to being completely ignorant of lugs. If the name isn't stamped on it, I won't know what it is. And for lugs, they never are.
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Old 03-05-20, 11:12 AM
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thanks for the information. Those lug ears look like they were added after the fact, and that's not just because of the hacktastic notch. Very interesting frame
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Old 03-05-20, 12:09 PM
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Happy to take more detail pictures if folks want. I've offered it for sale mostly so I stop banging my head on it. If someone finds it interesting enough to either buy it or offer something in trade, I'm all ears (though ears without notches ).
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Old 03-13-20, 08:25 PM
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-----

since it may have begun life as a MB, albeit one for a market other than our own perchance...

...one member who might be able to shed some illumination is verktyg


-----
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Old 05-14-20, 11:01 AM
  #16  
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I'm back home after a couple months in Portland, so giving this frame a :bump:. If you're interested, ping me.

I've got my eye on something, but *really* can't justify the purchase without clearing some space and building up the slush fund a bit.
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Old 05-14-20, 05:58 PM
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Do you know what sort of tire clearance it has?
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Old 05-14-20, 06:53 PM
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I don't, but can mess around a bit tomorrow and make an educated guess.
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Old 05-17-20, 09:29 AM
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Sorry for the delay gaucho777 . I mounted some wheels and made some measurements this morning. I added images to the Flickr album, but briefly, with 27mm Veloflex Vlaaderen tires mounted (measuring a true 27mm wide at 80psi), the tightest clearance was 5mm to the inside dimples on the chainstays. I doubt you could fit wider than 30mm tires, perhaps no more than 28mm with fenders.
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Old 05-17-20, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----
one check you have not as yet mentioned is head tube interior to see if there is any evidence of headplate fastener holes being filled in.
I pulled the fork this morning and peeked in the head tube. It appears the head tube is seamed, there is a small vent hole to the top tube and none to the down tube. I saw nothing which looked like filled in holes for headbadge rivets. There was no vent hole in the seat tube for the top tube (not too surprising). Do any of those details sound to you like a Motobecane with those lugs?

No indication of headbadge rivets


Vent Hole, Seamed head tube
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Old 05-17-20, 11:06 AM
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Dang it!
I have never had any interest EVER in an upright style bicycle. Never...
Those handlebars are one of the most elegant looking objects I have ever seen. I was a punk, not a hipster. I used to laugh at those "affected idiots" (I wasn't?) on their 3 or rarely 5 speeds back in the late 70s early 80s. Now, the only bike I keep at the family homestead on Cape Cod for myself, is a Lemond Zurich, covered in WD-40.
Gaaugh, I don't know if I can manage without a bike like that to toodle around town on. ( Planning multibolt TA cranks or something and shrieking with anguish and maybe the Rally RD I don't know what to do with. 5 speed with single shift lever, and the Weinemann concave rims I've never had any use for....No, NO.... not another project......I'm sinking... All because I saw a set of stinking handlebars.
At least the frame is too small. `GLWS with renewed interest.
Cheers, Eric
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Old 05-18-20, 12:01 PM
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I measured the bottom bracket drop a bit more precisely, and came up with 6.5cm. With Veloflex Vlaaderen tubulars mounted I measured standover height at 32.5 inches/82.5cm.
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Old 05-18-20, 02:41 PM
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Missed this mention....

Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----since it may have begun life as a MB, albeit one for a market other than our own perchance...

...one member who might be able to shed some illumination is verktyg

-----
juvela smontanaro thanks for the mention...

Frame screams Moto: lugs and seat stay caps... but, 25.8mm seatpost screams "gaspipe" tubing?

Why the mixed threads on the fork and BB? Is the fork a replacement?

BTW, Cheap seamed head tubes were de rigueur for even top quality bikes back in that era. Same thing with steerers made of straight gauge pipe sleeved at the bottom. (e.g. my PX-10s, my 1972 Moto Le Champion and so on)

Judging from the clean brazing at the dropouts and fork ends, the nicely mitered tubes in the BB plus the seat stay bridges, it looks to be a well made frame.

My bumblebee Moto Grand Record pictured above is a 1970-71 with 3 main tubes Reynolds 531 and gaspipe forks and rear stays - the same as used on lower priced models. I got it as a bare frame and assembled it mostly to catalog spec.

The cheap forks and stays give the same ride and handling as entry level bike boom tuyau de gaz French bikes which is a little disappointing. I like a little more agresive handling.

I was expecting it to ride like my 1974Grand Jubile which has Reynolds main tubes with light gauge "Motobecane forks and stays". The "bee" is the only bike that I own that I feel comfortable riding no hands!



So what is it?

Definitely a Moto connection or at least an influence. Moto didn't start using chrome until after about 1971-72 but they didn't do chrome lugs.

Two guesses: it was a special built Motobecane cyclotouriste frame for some influential customer??? Or someone modified a lower priced Moto frame with Campy vertical dropouts and chrome plating plus the rack mount in the rear.

Before juvela mentioned the proprietary Moto Nervex lugs, my first thought was the frame looked a lot like an Alpine frame that I had. It was built in the UK by Tom Board???



I sold it for $75 a few years back for the same reason smontanaro is selling his frame. It should make someone a nice project and the price is right. BUY IT!

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Old 05-19-20, 09:36 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
juvela smontanaro thanks for the mention...

Frame screams Moto: lugs and seat stay caps... but, 25.8mm seatpost screams "gaspipe" tubing?

Why the mixed threads on the fork and BB? Is the fork a replacement?
Thanks for the response. The frame is spoken for.

In packing it up, I noticed one other distinctive bit I should have noticed before. The steerer tube has neither a flat (French) nor a slot (pretty much the rest of the world). This suggests replacement fork to me. (Would a purchased replacement fork have had a slot or a flat? What about just a steerer tube?) Still, there's the bit about the plating on the head tube lugs and the fork socks being a match. If this started out life as a Motobecane, it would seem it was extensively reworked at some point.

We will have to rely on the buyer's investigative prowess (and probably some paint stripping) to shine any more light on the possible origins of the frame.
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Old 05-19-20, 02:41 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by smontanaro View Post
Sorry for the delay gaucho777 . I mounted some wheels and made some measurements this morning. I added images to the Flickr album, but briefly, with 27mm Veloflex Vlaaderen tires mounted (measuring a true 27mm wide at 80psi), the tightest clearance was 5mm to the inside dimples on the chainstays. I doubt you could fit wider than 30mm tires, perhaps no more than 28mm with fenders.
A belated thanks for checking. I've been off the forum the past few days. I was sitting on the fence too long. Glad you found a buyer, and hope it finds a happy home.
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