MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"  

FRENCH PROBLEMS - INTRO

SIMPLEX PLASTIC

FRENCH TUBING SIZE

STEM & HEAD SETS

BOTTOM BRACKETS

FRENCH CRANKS

WHEEL HUBS

PROBLEMS - SUMMARY

 

BICYCLES OF FRANCE

 

FRENCH BICYCLE PROBLEMS - INTRODUCTION

The information presented in this article is, in no way, a criticism of the vintage French made road bicycle.  Rather, the hope is to help people, who wish to understand the challenges associated with restoring, refurbishing or simply maintaining an older French made bicycle.

There is a stigma attached to the repair, refurbishment and/or restoration of older French made bicycles, particularly those of the vintage lightweight design - road bicycles.  There are a host of names, that come to mind, when considering these bicycles, Peugeot, Motobecane, Mercier, Jeunet, and many others.  But one thread runs common with almost all of these Old School Velo wonders.  Ride quality.

For the most part, vintage road bicycles of French origin, managed to offer some pretty outstanding ride qualities, even in some of their more entry level, utilitarian offerings, the Peugeot UO8 being the one that most stands out in this unusual crowd.

In pre-standardization days, anyone anywhere could, and did, make anything they wanted anyway they wanted to.  This lack of standardization meant that different fasteners (nuts, bolts and screw threads, in general) could be made to any dimension, with any thread count and pitch desired.  Sadly, this meant that parts from one somewhere would not fit with parts from another somewhere.  Put another way...

French threaded components, often times, have a different fit (diameter plus thread count) than do Italian, English or Japanese ones.  This can, and for the inexperienced will, create restoration or refurbishment problems.  In some instances the fits are very close - close enough to create confusion during use.  Sometimes, such confusion can lead to damage to the bike or components, cost in dollars and cents and all coupled with great frustration.

A French threaded pedal will fit into an Italian or English or Japanese threaded crank.  But the fit will be sloppy.  An inexperienced mechanic might miss the slop and, thinking everything to be OK, leave the pedal installed.  Guaranteed, the pedal will come loose and eventually fall off.  And, for what it is worth, "eventually" will not be long after that first pedal stroke.

With this problem of fastener difference in mind, and that applies to threaded components also, taking on a the restoration/refurbishment of a vintage French made bicycle can prove to be a daunting task, without a bit of guidance.  Not only must one consider the differences in diameter and thread counts, but the builder/restorer must also consider different approaches to solving problems.  Derailleur hangers are different, as are spokes, as are cotter pins, and even the tools required, for some maintenance tasks, need to be special for French made components.

There is a more than excellent web resource to help with the figuring out of what will and will not create French bicycle restoration problems.  Google Sheldon Brown, and go to his Articles by Sheldon Brown and Others page.  Most information contained in the following pages can be added to by visiting Sheldon's pages of highly valued information.  Anyway...

Once again, the purpose of what is to follow is not an attack on the vintage French made bicycle.  Hardly.  The purpose is to help  people avoid misunderstandings that people, wishing to fix up an old French bike, might experience.  The hope is to help them avoid making costly, time consuming and frustration elevating mistakes.  So, let's begin...

In addition to sizing issues, some French bicycle material choices proved, with the passing of time, to be miserably inappropriate for used on the humble bicycle.  This first concern is well know, in most vintage bicycle circles and needs to lead the list of restoration concerns, when it comes to the made in France Velo steeds of days gone bye.

NEXT - DUPONT DELRIN PLASTIC

 

 

 

 

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