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.
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
steel rims, made up the running gear. Plastic saddles
were mounted on seat post and clamp assemblies, once again adding to the
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
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
SUPER SPORT UO9
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
The Canadian Peugeot Course,
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
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,
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.