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71/72 Motobecane Le Champion

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71/72 Motobecane Le Champion

Old 11-15-21, 06:46 PM
  #1  
Slowride79
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71/72 Motobecane Le Champion

Hello everyone!
another one followed me home !
it looks like everything is present in terms of components according to Chas’ very nice summary (enclosed) except the following:

- Araya 27x 1-1/4 wo rims (straight and true)
-dia compe g calipers and dia compe levers

would the universal 61s not work with 27” rims?
These brakes look decent enough but I’d like to find a complete set of universal 61 if anyone willing to part with their spares.

Frame measures 22.5” c-t which I guess would be nominal 23”

Seat cluster ears look over compressed. Seat binder bolt is bent ☹️ What a Neanderthal! Anyone know make/model of replacement? Look like the one on my Jeunet 630 and Gitane TDF. I tried gently prying ears with screwdriver sheathed in shop rag but maybe not enough force as pillar is marring as I pull out from completely slammed state when i received.

Some things you may not see from pics. Atom 5v gear block present (nice sounding) as are huret cable clamps. Tipo kidney hole hubs and skewers present as are 3tt bars /stem. SL 93 looks un disturbed from likes of dust covers . SL v4 competition headset present.

I will be retiring this avocet saddle and replacing with brooks pro (brown or black) or ideale 80.

Definitely will go white or black with housing . Assuming it’s a man that owned this , it’s no wonder we get a bad rep for color coordination. Just cus it’s the same color doesn’t mean it goes!

maybe I’ll try to rear view mirror…






Last edited by Slowride79; 11-15-21 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 11-15-21, 07:06 PM
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More pics. Also did not mention lyotard 65 pedals also present







Last edited by Slowride79; 11-15-21 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 11-15-21, 07:17 PM
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Nice score. I could talk myself into buying one of these if it showed up locally.
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Old 11-15-21, 08:59 PM
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Excellent!

Nicely done! The hardest bits to find are already done - the stem and bars, the Lyotard 65s, and especially the hubs - those are very difficult if they don't come with the bike. Universal 61s are not hard to find, but it can be hard to locate the right rear hanger for them. As well, the hoods and especially the little black adjuster covers can be hard to find. I found a Simplex binder bolt that works well. It looks a little to me like your seat post might be undersized (not sure, hard to tell). Mine is a straight 26.4 with an Ideale clamp and Ideale 80. I really like that saddle a lot. You are absolutely right - white brake cable looks just right on this bike, along with white bar tape. This is a great find, and you will enjoy the build, I look forward to following it. At the end, I hope you will find this to be a spectacular ride, as I do!

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Old 11-15-21, 10:10 PM
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Another 71 Le Champion Scored Yesterday...

I swapped a local BF member my 54cm 1969 Gitane TdF for his 57.5cm 1971 Motobecane Le Champion yesterday. The Moto was a frame size too big for him and I haven't been riding my 54cm bikes for a log time. Both owners found

As I've mentioned before and in the spreadsheet posted by Slowride79 above these early 70's Le Champion bikes came in two similar color combos: Turquoise with cream accents (like pictured above) and French blue with white accents like my new acquisition.





I'm going to replace the Sugino cranks with the proper Stronglight 93 cranks, the Cinelli stem with a 3TTT record and probably put on a Brooks Pro saddle. I have a set of the correct wheels but they go on my 1972-73 Champion.

While I have no solid info on this, I suspect that the blue and white frames may have been a little earlier than the turquoise and cream frames??? This catalog page from 1970 shows blue and white... but the same literature was used throughout the Bike Boom Fad, 1970-1973. The 1973 version had a different spec sheet showing chrome plated fork and rear stay ends.




I have a black with red accents Le Champion that I've always considered a 1972 model but it could be a 1973? Besides the chrome socks on the forks and stays, the frame geometry is different from the older models. The head tube is 74° and the forks have a shorter rake - more Italian style. The older 23" frames have 73° head tubes and 72° seat tubes with long fork rakes.

Both my new LC and the black and red one have lighter gauge Reynolds 531 main tubes that take a 26.6mm seatpost vs. the standard 26.4mm used on most French production Reynolds 531 frames.

eBay photo...



BTW Slowride79, I have a nice set of Universal 61 calipers and maybe some extra levers. I'll PM you with the details.

verktyg
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Old 11-15-21, 10:46 PM
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Seat Lug & Seatpost Fit

Originally Posted by Slowride79 View Post
Slowride79,

Forgot to mention... There's probably a burr or some burrs inside the seat tube that are tearing up the seatpost.

I picked up a 1971 Raleigh Competition with that problem:



Worst I've ever seen!



Check out my post from last week: https://www.bikeforums.net/22303501-post2.html



Most French production bikes made with butted Reynolds 531 main tubes had 1.0mm x 0.7mm wall thicknesses and used 26.4mm seatposts. My 1970-72?, 1972-73? and 1974 Le Champions all have lighter gauge 0.9mm x 0.6mm wall thickness seat tubes and take 26.6mm seatposts (after the seat tubes were properly dressed).

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Last edited by verktyg; 11-15-21 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 11-16-21, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
I swapped a local BF member my 54cm 1969 Gitane TdF for his 57.5cm 1971 Motobecane Le Champion yesterday. The Moto was a frame size too big for him and I haven't been riding my 54cm bikes for a log time. Both owners found

As I've mentioned before and in the spreadsheet posted by Slowride79 above these early 70's Le Champion bikes came in two similar color combos: Turquoise with cream accents (like pictured above) and French blue with white accents like my new acquisition.





I'm going to replace the Sugino cranks with the proper Stronglight 93 cranks, the Cinelli stem with a 3TTT record and probably put on a Brooks Pro saddle. I have a set of the correct wheels but they go on my 1972-73 Champion.

While I have no solid info on this, I suspect that the blue and white frames may have been a little earlier than the turquoise and cream frames??? This catalog page from 1970 shows blue and white... but the same literature was used throughout the Bike Boom Fad, 1970-1973. The 1973 version had a different spec sheet showing chrome plated fork and rear stay ends.




I have a black with red accents Le Champion that I've always considered a 1972 model but it could be a 1973? Besides the chrome socks on the forks and stays, the frame geometry is different from the older models. The head tube is 74° and the forks have a shorter rake - more Italian style. The older 23" frames have 73° head tubes and 72° seat tubes with long fork rakes.

Both my new LC and the black and red one have lighter gauge Reynolds 531 main tubes that take a 26.6mm seatpost vs. the standard 26.4mm used on most French production Reynolds 531 frames.

eBay photo...



BTW Slowride79, I have a nice set of Universal 61 calipers and maybe some extra levers. I'll PM you with the details.

verktyg
looks like mine… only mine takes a 26.8 seatpost.
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Old 11-16-21, 10:37 AM
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If I could find a 24" in that condition, I would grab it. I still have all the original parts mine came with but the rims.
I did find the stem to creak a lot and it is worn down as a result. The freewheel was/is a Cyclo Competition
Cyclo-Competition 14-15-17-19-21 on Flickr
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Old 11-16-21, 11:18 AM
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Atom 5v

I recognized the script as being Atom but had to make sure so checked and this one is…
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Old 11-16-21, 12:05 PM
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Looks like mine is too. When I found the bike it was threaded on a suntour hub that probably wasn’t French threaded. Since I’m using a replacement wheelset, it got a fresh winner pro.
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Old 11-16-21, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Flatforkcrown View Post

Looks like mine is too. When I found the bike it was threaded on a suntour hub that probably wasn’t French threaded. Since I’m using a replacement wheelset, it got a fresh winner pro.
What remover tool does this one take?
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Old 11-16-21, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Slowride79 View Post
What remover tool does this one take?
it uses the park fr-4
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Old 11-16-21, 02:59 PM
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I remember the old French 14-15-17-19-21 freewheels, which were stock on early 1970s Peugeot PA, PR, and PX-10s, with 52-45 ringsets up front. A little too stiff a bottom gear for my tastes, even back when I was young and strong. Almost every P-series Peugeot we sold received a 14-26 or 14-28 replacement freewheel to handle the local hills of Hollywood, Bel-Air, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, and Malibu (you Angelinos know which roads I am talking about), although a few hardy souls kept the 21s.
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Old 11-16-21, 06:08 PM
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75lechamp maybe your inspired more than just me ?

verktyg congratulations on your new le champion! Does the headbadge help in dating the French racing blue like yours (plastic ?) vs teal (decal)? Any other components we can look at to help date? I know the SL 93 on this is the gen 1 without the pedal hole robustness improvements but I think Juvela said this maybe happened in ‘72. Is the French racing blue also a flamboyant/candy paint job? This one reminds me of some of the Gitane paints as it looks very fragile. Interesting that frame geometry different than later ones. I measured wheelbase at 40”
thank you for offer of digging in your stash for brakes and the link for cleaning the seat tube of burrs,etc. I am assuming everything is French threaded? You’ll have to tell us what you find on yours.
SJX426 I have seen the posts of your beautiful bike and your accident and hope you are well. I will let you know if I see a 24”. It’s interesting you mention about creaking of the stem and wear ; I noticed on this one it feels like there is slop with stem in head tube as you can wiggle it a bit back and forth before it’s tightened. More so than I have encountered in my limited experience. Can you share pics of the wear on yours you speak of? I will measure the od of my stem.
Flatforkcrown that is a beautiful bike you have . I read your threads when you were considering buying it. Glad they still make the fr-4 . I will get one , remove, clean, and keep this Atom running.
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Old 11-17-21, 05:24 AM
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70-71? 72?

Originally Posted by Slowride79 View Post

verktyg congratulations on your new le champion! Does the headbadge help in dating the French racing blue like yours (plastic ?) vs teal (decal)?
That's a good point, never though of that.

In checking through photos of upper end Motobecanes there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to the choice of head tube badges. I suspect that during the bike boom era they used whatever was closet on the shelf?



These plastic head tube badges had to be a lot more expensive to purchase and install with rivets than slapping on a foil sticker so they are probably on earlier models.




Originally Posted by Slowride79 View Post
Any other components we can look at to help date? I know the SL 93 on this is the gen 1 without the pedal hole robustness improvements but I think Juvela said this maybe happened in ‘72.
Never heard of that change. I have a bunch of SL 93 cranks, mounted and unmounted. I'll have to check them out.

Originally Posted by Slowride79 View Post
Is the French racing blue also a flamboyant/candy paint job? This one reminds me of some of the Gitane paints as it looks very fragile.
Yes but Motobecane did a better job and their flamboyant/candy paint was better quality and didn't tend to fade.

Originally Posted by Slowride79 View Post
Interesting that frame geometry different than later ones. I measured wheelbase at 40”
The French and others were obsessed with 40" - 100cm wheelbases regardless of the frame size. It's not as if they used jigs or anything like that. They controlled the wheel base by top tube length and head tube, seat tube angles.

Originally Posted by Slowride79 View Post
I am assuming everything is French threaded? You’ll have to tell us what you find on yours.
Everything on those bikes would have originally been French threaded except for the occasional Swiss BB with a LH fixed cup. Over almost 50 years time, lots of things might have been changed so don't assume anything!

Originally Posted by Slowride79 View Post
SJX426 It’s interesting you mention about creaking of the stem and wear ; I noticed on this one it feels like there is slop with stem in head tube as you can wiggle it a bit back and forth before it’s tightened. More so than I have encountered in my limited experience. Can you share pics of the wear on yours you speak of? I will measure the of of my stem.
The steerer tube on my 1972? Le Champion is actually a piece of 1" pipe with about a 22.1mm ID. It's threaded to 25mm x1mm and there's a sleeve brazed into the bottom of the tube in the fork crown area. The 22.0mm 3TTT Record stem has a little bit of a sloppy fit.

Slowride79 I'll PM you on the brakes

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Last edited by verktyg; 11-17-21 at 05:46 AM.
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Old 11-17-21, 07:57 AM
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Regarding the SL 93 pedal hole robustness improvement, I checked my notes and Juvela said this happened around 71 or early 72 due to repeated failures around the pedal hole area.

https://velobase.com/CompImages/Crank...CF3249485.jpeg
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Old 11-22-21, 03:58 PM
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Can someone tell me which is correct rear derailleur cable housing ? I think 622? This is from Disraeli gears…’68 catalogue Francais….
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