MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

 

BICYCLES OF CANADA

 

  

THE CANADIAN MADE PEUGEOT

Peugeot bicycles were of French origin, however, many would be manufactured in countries, other than France.  Peugeot manufacturing began in Canada, to help the Peugeot company cope with high import tariffs, placed on imported bicycles, by the Canadian government.  Those same tariffs, however, did not apply to imported bicycle parts, including frame and fork sets.  Driven buy this and profit goals, the Canadian Peugeot was born and that proved, for quite some time, to be a pretty good thing.

The early Canadian Peugeots seemed to be divided into two distinct groups, those with pressed steel drop-outs and those with forged.  Though there were considerably quality differences, both lines of bicycles appear to be well made, nicely finished and some models were capable of offering very nice rides.

Sometime, in the early eighties, there appeared to be a decrease in the quality of the Canadian Peugeot line-up.  The beautiful headbadge disappeared, to be replaced with a sticker.  The lovely Peugeot pantographed cranks sets were no more, being replaced with cranks offering far less visual appeal.  One can only assume that there had been Bean Counter decision made, that managed, as they usually do, to reach the customer.  What a shame that the aesthetic appeal had to fall by the wayside, in the quest to improve profit margin, or what ever business calls giving the customer, less for more.

One can only guess, today, at how many of these old bikes were made, during the late seventies and early eighties, but best guess would suggest a lot.  I hunt for bikes in Canada, and many of the bikes I find are Canadian Peugeots.

PEUGEOT CLUB UO5

The Canadian Peugeot line begins, with the lowly Club UO5.  Like all of its siblings, the Club's frame tubing is Carbolite 103, a high tensile steel set, that offers good strength and flexibility, but at the cost of additional weight.  Pressed steel drops, and relaxed geometry, are the other common design characteristics.

Components included entry level Simplex transmissions, steel crank rings, attached to alloy cranks, steel handlebars, fitted with dual position Weinmann levers.  The levers activated entry level Weinmann center pull callipers.  Steel hubs laced, with cadmium plated spokes, to steel rims, made up the running gear.  Plastic saddles were mounted on seat post and clamp assemblies, once again adding to the weight factor, while keeping manufacturing costs to a minimum.

Though the Club frame set was very similar to others, in the line-up, the assortment of entry level components did nothing to improve ride quality or "user friendliness".  The 27" steel wheel set is, probably, the greatest ride quality robber.  And Peugeot Canada knew this, opting to offer alloy rims on more sophisticated models.

 

PEUGEOT SPORT UO6

The Peugeot UO6, second from the bottom in the entry level line-up, was about as impressive as the UO5.  The Six sported a near identical component grouppo found on the Club.  The lovely headbadge still leads the way on this not so different frame and fork set.

Perhaps there is some geometry differences, perhaps not.  The Sport, did, however offer a nice ride.  Nothing spectacular, of course, but great for city commuting, should the need present itself.  Aimed at the economy buyer, the Sport delivered about what it was asked to.  A relaxed, recreational ride and little more.

 

The UO6 component grouppo was, for the most part, entry level and nearly identical to that of the Club model.

 

PEUGEOT SUPER SPORT UO9

The Canadian Peugeot Super Sport approaches the top of the entry level model line.  The bicycle still sports the Carbolite 103 frame set, with pressed drops.  But the SS does offer one major change to the frame set, as a whole.  Tange forks replaced the less sophisticated fork sets featured on lesser models.  The first thing one would notice on the Super Sport model is the chrome plated fork blade ends. Other than that, and a slightly different set of art, the frame is no different from the "Club" and "Sport" frames.

The components take a small, and certainly incomplete, jump to improved quality.  Gone are the steel crank rings.  The nutted low flange hubs have been replaced with quick release, high flange units.  Saddles were a touch better and, though I have noticed an inconsistency, the derailleurs have be upgraded also.

That same inconsistency is apparent with brake lever choices also.  Some SS bikes are fitted with dual position levers, and others not.  This is, perhaps, a product of vintage or even component supply opportunities.  At any rate, attempting to figure out exactly what was originally specified can prove challenging.

All in all, the Super Sport is a considerably better bicycle than its lesser siblings.  But only because a few of the components fitted are of better quality, nicer looking and offer some weight savings, however slight they may be.  The result is a lighter feeling and more agile bicycle that is a pleasure to ride and view.  Again, not a high ender, but certainly a worthy around town commuter.

 

PEUGEOT TROPHY UO10

Perhaps the first real performance improvement over the Club, Sport and Super Sport models, the Trophy is fitted with quick release hubs, front and rear, laced to alloy rims.  The wheels are still 27" but lighter (marginally) and offer better braking results.  To that, add the aesthetic appeal of the alloy rim, and the bike becomes imminently more desirable.  However, an additional distinct advantage was noise reduction.

The patterned brake surface on the steel wheels, commonly fitted to lesser models was gone.  That patterned surface buzzes every time the brakes are applied.  The noise is annoying - horribly annoying, after a while.  It is one of those things that one just cannot get used to.  But the problem had been eliminated, with the introduction of the Trophy, the near top dog in the entry level line-up.

The second major improvement, offered by the Trophy, would have to be the side pull brake callipers.  Though the dual position brake levers remained, gone were the center pull callipers, having been replaced by, the more efficient, side pull Weinmann.  Though one would not think of it immediately, including the side pull design also tended to clean up the appearance of the bicycle.

With the side pull brake, the need to center locate the brake cables disappears.  There is no longer any need for the brake cable guide brackets common to center pull fitted Peugeots.  This is not a major issue, but cleaning up appearance, coupled (once again) with a minor weight savings did improve performance.  The Trophy was closing in on what a racing bicycle is supposed to be all about, but it still had a ways to go before it could be considered mid level, when compared to its competitors.

The Canadian made Peugeot Trophy was second the top dog in the entry level line-up.  Like its lesser siblings, the quality of the components fitted to the bicycle diminished with cost savings decisions made by those who sought company profits.  Soon, the lovely old headbadge would be no more.  The lugged construction would fall by the wayside.  Traditionally fitted components would experience change out, in favour of less costly items.  And a once nice old road bicycle would begin to loose its vintage appeal.

 

PEUGEOT SPRINT UO12?

The Peugeot Sprint, featuring the same frame as its lesser siblings, could be considered the top dog, of the entry level model line-up.  Though the frame set was pretty much unchanged, the Canadian made Peugeot Sprint best demonstrated the changes occurring in the Peugeot line-up.  The first Sprints featured pantographed cranks, ornate head badges and alloy brake levers.  As the "Sprint" evolved, all of these quality features would be dumped in favour of, what I consider to be, lesser items.

Pantographed cranks were now laser etched.  The ornate headbadge turned into an ugly plastic cut-out and then a sticker.  And some fool decided to install plastic brake levers that, in my opinion once again, are about the ugliest levers, I have ever seen.  The Canadian made Peugeot Sprint, of the late seventies and early eighties, best demonstrates the quality slide of the bikes, in my humble opinion.

However, there were performance improving features that found their way onto the Peugeot Sprint.  Though the wheels were still of 27" x 1 1/4" design, later issue rims were considerably narrowed, easily allowing 27"x 1" tires, to be fitted.  With their higher pressures and narrower profiles, this one improvement, alone, significantly changed the feel and appearance of the bicycle.

The dual-position Safety Lever and the steel drop handlebars were also dropped from the bicycle's specification list.  In their place, Peugeot first installed the lovely Weinmann drilled brake levers with gum rubber hoods and mounted them on Philippe Franco Italia alloy bars.  These levers are quality items, well made, attractive, and very comfortable, for my personal reach.  But, those lovely old brake levers would, later, be dropped, from the components specified, for the model.  In their place, the buyer would find ugly, bulky looking cheapish appearing, hoodless plastic levers.  Ug!

The Sprint transmission remained consistent, Simplex throughout.  The Simplex 810 derailleur was the same as those fitted to both the Super Sport and Trophy models.

As the Peugeot Sprint matured, so did the fabrication specifications.  The tubing material, for frame sets, was changed.  The long employed Carbolite 103, high tensile steel frame, was replaced with a partial Reynolds 501 chrome moly set.  Later Sprints would sport the lesser Reynolds 453 butted substitutes.  Reynolds 501 or 453 - yes, but not necessarily a better bicycle, because of the tube sets now employed.  The new tubing 453 decal makes no mention of alloy type, even though the tubes are described as being "butted".  But, at least, Peugeot could claim the bicycle to be Reynolds based.  And, with the new tubing, Peugeot could up the UO number on the bicycle.  The most recent Sprints were deemed to be UO12s.

In all fairness, the top Peugeot dog in the entry level line, did offer a sporty, almost competitive capable feel.  The bicycle looked lighter (except for the plastic brake levers), was physically lighter (marginally) and offered comparatively lively handling.  This would be the bike that many people would choose, to launch an amateur racing career on.

 

 

PEUGEOT COURSE

The Canadian Peugeot Course, was the entry level model, for the mid to high end bicycles, offered by Peugeot Canada.  A new frame would be the most notable improvement.  Though the tubes set was still Carbolite 103, the pressed steel drops were finally gone.  In their place, the Course boasted Simplex forged drops, with axle positioning adjusters.  Once again, the front forks were, Tange, with chrome plated fork blade ends.

In addition to the frame set improvements, Peugeot Canada decide to dress their bikes up a bit, in the color and art department.  Though the art was still much the same, as lower end models, the pastel paint colors proved to be a great asset, in distinguishing the Course, as well as the Sprint, from the less sophisticated Peugeot offerings of the day.

In addition to an improved frame set, the components also saw a bit of upgrading.  The component quality increases are small, for the most part, when compared to the Sprint but gigantic when standing along side a Club or Record.

The most important change to the Peugeot Course, when compared to all other lesser Peugeots offered, was the move from 27" wheels to the 700c units, most commonly found on better road bicycles.  Rim choice included the Rigida 700c alloy unit with eyelets.  The Rigida was certainly not the best rim available, at the time, but it was a definite improvement over the 27"x 1 1/4" of entry level offerings, or even the 27" x 1" favoured for the Sprint model.

Weinmann brakes, still handled the stopping chores.  The graceful drilled Weinmann lever, with gum hoods, actuated an upgraded calliper set.  The lesser, side pull brake callipers, fitted to the Sprint had been replaced with Weinmann 605 units.  Though similar in appearance, the 605 came with a somewhat shorter reach.  Though the 605s sported the same "quick release" system, as is lesser sibling, wheel guides were standard issue.  This, once again, supported the intended racy appearance the Peugeot Canada sought at the time.

The transmission selected for the Course was another slight, but important, upgrade.  The Simplex LJ1000 was fitted, replacing the 810.  Opinions might vary, as to whether or not, this was an improvement.  However, the real value lay in the front chain jumper.

The Course was one of the first Canadian made Peugeots to be fitted with a non-Delrin plastic front derailleur.  Previous Simplex front derailleurs, made with Dupont Delrin plastic, had a very high failure rate.  Many, and I emphasize many, vintage Simplex front derailleurs failed utterly and, often times, not long after being put into use.  The problem would become immediately apparent - the derailleur would crack and slide down into the crank rings, often times signalling the end of the bicycle's useable life.

Once again, as was the case with the Sprint, there was variation between model years.  Some of the changes were good, while others had little impact on appearance or ride quality.  And, when those differences are taken into consideration, Peugeot Canada came pretty close to getting it right with the Peugeot Course PB12.

The PB12 was a cut above all but one other Canadian made Peugeot, I have come across to date.  That does not mean that the bike is a top of the line offering. Best guess, however, would suggest that it is getting pretty close.

 

NEWER MODELS - MARKETING DECISIONS? - END OF DAYS...

Sometime after the beginning of the 1980's, Canadian Peugeots took a turn for the better, and worse, in my opinion.  Some of the aesthetic features, such as the headbadge and lovely pantographed crank sets disappeared.  The badge was replaced with a cheaper and less aesthetically pleasing one, finally to become the ever common sticker.  This is hardly a big deal but a deal none-the-less.

The specially pantographed cranks were replaced with generic ones, once again, diminishing the aesthetic appeal of the bicycle.  This is not to say that there was a decrease in the actual quality, of the cranks set, just another reduction in the vintage appeal, that comes with each pantograph, associated with a bicycle.  And, that is not to say that there wasn't a drop in the actual quality, either.  Some crank sets, were far inferior to those originally included up to the early eighties.  To that, add the fact that there was no longer consistency in what would be installed on a bicycle.  Cranks, for example, changed frequently for the next few years, with little attention to continuity.  Identical bicycle models, from the same year, were often times fitted with different crank sets.  One can only assume that, what ever happened to be cheap and available, was selected for installation.  Too bad.

Also on the end of line list, was the Peugeot pantographed steering stem.  As with the crank arms, the pantograph disappeared, this time being replaced with nothing identifying stem manufacture.  Another few cents saved, to help dress up the corporate bottom line, and just one more small loss of quality in this writer's humble opinion.  Additionally, the Phillipe handlebars, fitted to better Peugeots, were now a thing of the past, being replaced with lesser units.

Though incredible it may seem, Peugeot Canada decided to experiment with plastic components once again.  It would appear that the company decision makers had failed to recall the Dupont Delrin misery created with the plastic based Simplex derailleurs.  And, once again aesthetic beauty slipped a notch and, perhaps, dependability slipped as well.

The tried and true Carbolite 103 tube set was swapped out, for a this or that chrome moly something or other.  The final tubing of choice, for better Canadian made Peugeots, would be Ishwata EX Triple Butted with forged drops, front and back.  Not a bad basis for a good road bicycle built in the mid eighties.

It was bound to happen, sooner or later, but the external lugged construction disappeared.  The Peugeot Challenger was one of the first to offer this frame construction style.  Though pretty enough, the Challenger lacked the Peugeot vintage appeal that its predecessors had offered.  It also lacked the sophistication of the better road bicycles that Peugeot had been offering, in my opinion.

The Challenger lacked the external lugs and was made of Carbolite 103 tubing.  The drops were pressed steel but did include the integral derailleur hanger.  Weaker drops with an integral hanger.  What was Peugeot thinking?  Like so many of its predecessors, the Challenger was fitted with 27" wheels but of narrower configuration.  27" x 1 1/8" or 1" were fitted to the bicycle, and as one might expect, the ride quality did benefit.  The Challenger had a somewhat lighter ride feel than it actually offered.

About the best Canadian made Peugeot to enter The Old Shed was a model PS28, a full chrome moly triple butted bicycle that arrived in cosmetically challenged condition.  To that, add the poor state of mechanical repair and the bike pretty much represented a major project.  The PS28 would remain in The Old Shed for several years before being built up as a "Junk Bike".  That "Junk Bike" offered a very nice ride, quick handling to say the least, and was soon snatched away from me bay a fellow living on the East Canadian Coast.

Other attempts, to dress up different models, came and went, for the next few years, as nearly, as I can tell.  Nothing, really interesting or impressive ,has since come my way, though I do seek a, top of the line, Canadian made Peugeot, to add to my humble collection of Canadian made vintage racing bicycles.

 

 

 

 

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