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Dirtiest barn find Motobecane ever

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Dirtiest barn find Motobecane ever

Old 03-13-23, 03:18 PM
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Dirtiest barn find Motobecane ever

I promised 'no more bikes' until I sold everything rideable that I don't ride at least weekly. But we all know how that goes. I did well until this weekend.

"Barn find" post popped up on local Craigslist. "Dad paid $750 for this bike he rode some and hung in the barn 40 years ago". The look fit the story, the price a few cents less than a C-note. I emailed only to say, "Hey, that's a great bike! I just sold my identical '81 model (pic) a couple years back. Cool find, but lots of work! It almost reminds me of another filthy bike (pic) I restored for a friend many moons ago!"

I offered some brochures to help sell, told him if he had any questions he could email, but the price was too rich for me that far gone. Then he asked if I want to come see it. Of course we all know I caved, or this thread wouldn't exist.

Brought a 5mm, 4mm T-handle to test for frozen bits. Seat post free. Stem stuck. One Campy pedal stuck. Fork crown rusted to hell. Paint nasty but looks savable. Missing FD and its shift lever. Stem is probably 22.2 and not 22.0 and that's why it's stuck, sadly. He clearly saw the frozen stem issue, rusty bits, I kicked an offer, he accepted.

What a freaking mess! No clue when I'll get around to cleaning it up. It'll never be as nice as my previous one, and I doubt I'll keep it, but I do intend to clean it up. This truly was one of Motobecane's best framesets in the early '80s IMHO.

One of these days I need to turn off my Craigslist alerts. Pic is worth a 1,000 words, so without further adieu... Pics as-was, and with a targeted soapy rubout. Stem, pedals, and front tubular were add-ons. 1st pic is totally potato quality, sorry.










And after a quick wipe of polish over the TT logo, and a wet cloth down the ST ....


THERE MAY BE HOPE YET...
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Old 03-13-23, 03:30 PM
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Vitus 172 is good stuff. Love the way it rides.

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Old 03-13-23, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by 52telecaster
Virus 172 is good stuff.
It's infecting, though.
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Old 03-13-23, 04:16 PM
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I have a Peugeot PFN-10 made with Vitus 172 that I found in a similar state to your bike---dirty as heck, with a rack clamped to the seat stays. I cleaned it, put a set of tubular wheels on it, and it has become my absolute favorite rider by far.

Vitus 172 is sneaky good.
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Old 03-13-23, 04:48 PM
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Great to see youíve got another GR to bring back to life! I remember in a thread I started a couple of years ago, you and I were comparing bike stand clamp damage in the Vitus 172 tubes of youíre old GR and the too small Motobecane GR I found. I parted mine since it didnít fit me but Iíve held onto the frame despite the dents. Hopefully this time around there wonít be any dents for you. Canít wait to see it all cleaned up. Those frames are so light!
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Old 03-13-23, 04:58 PM
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Vintage road bikes that I've been gifted from people's rat-infested basements look at least that bad after perhaps just a few years of such exposure.

Very hard to remove the fine surface layer, and the corrosive effects speeds up the decay of any chromed bits.
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Old 03-13-23, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by 52telecaster
Virus 172 is good stuff. Love the way it rides.
Originally Posted by no67el
Vitus 172 is sneaky good.
Super underrated, I think Vitus 172 is one of those 'sleeper' frames that flies under the radar and I love it. This Moto GR frame is lighter than many 531 frames I've owned.. And no67el I had a PFN10, but can't recall if it was 172 or not. I feel like it was a different flavor. It was too small for me, this is a pic.

Originally Posted by dddd
Vintage road bikes that I've been gifted from people's rat-infested basements look at least that bad after perhaps just a few years of such exposure.

Very hard to remove the fine surface layer, and the corrosive effects speeds up the decay of any chromed bits.
Most of the chrome bits are definitely toast. All brake hardware is rusted to hell. Most of the alloy bits have at least minor pitting. I'm sure soap and water with terrycloth scrubbing will take 90% of the filth out of the paint, and a light compound will take care of the rest. Thing is ... trying to find time

I need to get it broken down this week. I've got plenty of project boxes to put the parts in after all the bikes I've sold since C19 started.
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Old 03-13-23, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa
It's infecting, though.
I think I see a Cordyceps invasion on that one.
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Old 03-13-23, 06:56 PM
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I love myself a good mess of a bike. It will keep you off the streets at least.
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Old 03-13-23, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie
I think I see a Cordyceps invasion on that one.
I've heard there's no cure for this.
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Old 03-13-23, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa
I've heard there's no cure for this.
Maybe Season 2?
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Old 03-13-23, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa
It's infecting, though.
Auto correct blows! Vitus.
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Old 03-13-23, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by francophile
What a freaking mess! No clue when I'll get around to cleaning it up.
If it were me, I'd sleep a lot better if it were at least sitting in a Mr Turtle pool full of Evapo-Rust. Remove the saddle first.

I agree a full 172 frame can feel pretty lively compared to an earlier 531 GR with hi-ten stays. The 600 group leaves less to be desired.
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Old 03-14-23, 06:12 AM
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that's fantastic patina.
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Old 03-14-23, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa
If it were me, I'd sleep a lot better if it were at least sitting in a Mr Turtle pool full of Evapo-Rust. Remove the saddle first.

I agree a full 172 frame can feel pretty lively compared to an earlier 531 GR with hi-ten stays. The 600 group leaves less to be desired.
Whoa! Which year(s) 531 GR had hi-ten stays? My 77?

I prefer the earlier MTB paint but really like the frame touches on the op’s new bike: seat stay caps, shift cable guides, shifter bosses. Does it still have a Swiss BB?

EDIT: Checked the catalogs and see that my 77 is full 531. But now I need to replace my 23" 78 G.J. with a full 172 77 G.J. just because.
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Old 03-14-23, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Classtime
Whoa! Which year(s) 531 GR had hi-ten stays? My 77?

I prefer the earlier MTB paint but really like the frame touches on the opís new bike: seat stay caps, shift cable guides, shifter bosses. Does it still have a Swiss BB?
I have a 72 with hi ten stays and fork. And about a 75 with hi ten stays and 531 fork. The 75 is really nice. Also have a le champion with full 531. Personally I don't feel much difference on the last two.
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Old 03-14-23, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa
If it were me, I'd sleep a lot better if it were at least sitting in a Mr Turtle pool full of Evapo-Rust. Remove the saddle first.
....
The 600 group leaves less to be desired.
Yup, 600 Arabesque group is ass. And you know I love me some Evaporust, I keep the 3gal tub in the shop. But surprisingly, shining a light in the seat tube, up into the fork steerer, there's shockingly no internal rust I can see. I had some concerns about a couple of spots on the paint, but a quick wip of cutting compound and .. 99.9% of this is purely surface buildup. The fork crown is not in great shape, so I thought the worst. It's not too, too bad.

Originally Posted by Classtime
I prefer the earlier MTB paint but really like the frame touches on the opís new bike: seat stay caps, shift cable guides, shifter bosses. Does it still have a Swiss BB?
IIRC, my previous one was Swiss BB. I can come back and update you later if it's interesting.
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Old 03-14-23, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Classtime
my 77 is full 531.
You have the best one! I think '76 might be full 531 as well.

francophile , congrats on the rust non-issue.
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Old 03-14-23, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by francophile
Yup, 600 Arabesque group is ass.
I wouldn't go that far. Just don't think the Arabesque group looks/feels right on any nice Moto. But on a mid-level Univega, Shogun, Lotus, etc., it can look great and perform well

One big thing that made Moto and Ben Lawee successful was using Japanese components when Peugeot was hunkered down in Simplex. But Lawee mostly used Suntour in those early years, which still feels right and fits my eye better on these bikes than early 600.

my previous one was Swiss BB. I can come back and update you later if it's interesting.
Yes, do.
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Old 03-14-23, 12:42 PM
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Maybe I'm wrong, but it looks like you have those quirky b-type Shimano shifter bosses. If you keep it and decide not to use downtube shifters, here is some advice (not mine) on converting cable stops: https://simplicityvintagecycles.com/...aga-continues/
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Old 03-14-23, 12:54 PM
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I think that bike is going to clean up nicely and I am a big fan of vitus. I have a vitus 980 bike. Love the seat stays and the (original) color. Again, I believe yours will clean up nicely.
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Old 03-14-23, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa
I wouldn't go that far. Just don't think the Arabesque group looks/feels right on any nice Moto. But on a mid-level Univega, Shogun, Lotus, etc., it can look great and perform well
I'm really not a fan. When I compare the Arabesque offerings to Eagle stuff, or even the slightly later 'light action' 525 stuff, it's janky in comparison, a bit of a "fashion over form". It sucks because I love the look, but it's nowhere near as tight as the 600 stuff that followed not long after. Purely my opinion, though.

Originally Posted by noobinsf
Maybe I'm wrong, but it looks like you have those quirky b-type Shimano shifter bosses. If you keep it and decide not to use downtube shifters, here is some advice (not mine) on converting cable stops: https://simplicityvintagecycles.com/...aga-continues/
Yup, looks that way based on the one that's missing. It's an interesting way to handle it. I hadn't even thought about how to build it back up, but I do have a 525 light action FD/RD/SL sitting in a box in the shop that'd fit this thing nicely. I'd just need to do something creative to the fork crown. I'll probably end up hitting it w/brass wool, then naval jelly it, maybe polish the metal, then clearcoat.

(When time permits. Why doesn't time ever permit?!!?)
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Old 03-14-23, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by francophile
I love the look, but it's nowhere near as tight as the 600 stuff that followed.
I'm just the opposite: no problem with the function (except with the early BB-300 brakeset); but it hurts to see the Arabesque crank's poor finish on certain bikes.

Shimano seemed to make different variations of the 600 group at the same time. Some appeal more than others. They really scored by the time it morphed into Ultegra/tri-color.
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Old 03-14-23, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa
I'm just the opposite: no problem with the function (except with the early BB-300 brakeset); but it hurts to see the Arabesque crank's poor finish on certain bikes.

Shimano seemed to make different variations of the 600 group at the same time. Some appeal more than others. They really scored by the time it morphed into Ultegra/tri-color.
I'd rather Golden Arrow on this application, it's more modern and era-appropriate, but I feel like Golden arrow has a budget bike appearance. Arabesque looks too old-timey ornate, Golden Arrow looks like the z-series crap you found on budget bikes during the mid-80s. I have beef with a lot of 1980s Shimano product! But they totally hit a winner with tricolor, and after a couple iterations of 105, though I guess Golden Arrow is technically early 105, eh?

I have similar gripes to Arabesque as I do almost all 62xx mechs ala 6200 - 6208, with the 6208 being the worst out back, 6200 not far behind, and the 6207 tolerable. So awkward. I felt the A350/A450 series were simpler, more efficient.

I guess the 1980s just kinda sucked for everyone, as growth and changes galore were happening. I feel like everyone had things hashed out by the turn of the decade, rolling into the 90s.

Well, here I go rambling again, getting OT. Sorry!
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Old 03-14-23, 03:46 PM
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