MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

SITE INDEX   FINDING   BICYCLES   WORK SHOP   TRADING   WHAT'S NEW?

MY "TEN SPEEDS"  

197? JEUNET MIXTE - INTRO

FINDING THE JEUNET MIXTE

BUILD & RIDE THE JEUNET

 

BICYCLES OF FRANCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BUILDING/RIDING THE JEUNET MIXTE

To suggest that I built and rode the Jeunet Mixte would be misleading.  I did clean the bicycle up carefully after which, I went through the tuning process.  All things taken into consideration, about the biggest issues with this gorgeous old French bicycle was the patina of dust that clung lightly to the bicycle and the rotting tires that had succumbed to the ravages of time and the environment.  Once the dust had been cleaned off and the tires proven to hold air, the bicycle was pretty much ready for the road although I did take the time to thoroughly inspect the machine to ensure that it was safe to ride and working properly.

Mechanically, speaking, the Mixte was near perfect, remembering, of course, that the tires had had it.  Too bad since the old Hutchinson 27" x 1 1/4" tires would have been a treat to keep on the old French beauty.  The wheels offered no wobble or hop and proved to be reasonably true when mounted into my old homemade truing stand.  That said, the one thing about this old bicycle that I really dislike is the patterned brake surface rims, common on most French bicycles of the day.

The pattern is not distracting to the eye but it certainly is to the ears!  The moment the Mafac Racer brake pads touch the patterned surface, the buzzing starts and it is pretty loud.  Annoyingly loud, but you do slow so down and quite rapidly for an Old School brake calliper set.  I must admit that of all the Old School center pull brake systems, the Racer is one of my favourites.  Not only do the brakes work well but they have, what some would consider to be, a very vintage appearance.  To that add the fact that the callipers are quite adjustable, when tuning is the issue, and you have a near perfect Old School set of stoppers.

I can honestly say that I have never run up against a Simplex transmission that did not shift well.  In fact, some of the nicest sifting bicycles I have ever owned was fitted with Simplex's Dupont Delrin plastic derailleurs and shifters that were found on most French road bicycles of the seventies.  It should also be noted that the Simplex plastic front derailleurs were prone to failure.  It was not uncommon for these old derailleurs to break in half, often times early in their life with a bicycle.

Though the bicycle was too small for me to ride with any degree of comfort, I did take it out for a spin around the city one beautiful Sunday afternoon.  No attempt was made to push the bicycle through its paces, if it did indeed have any paces to be pushed through.  The ride was somewhat relaxed, perhaps even slow would be a better description.  I covered several of the bike trail paths that snake their way through the city and back again.  The entire experience proved to be rewarding from a relaxation point of view rather than exciting from a sophisticated technology consideration.

In all fairness, the Jeunet was built to be ridden as a city bike.  My guess is that the buyer had no intention of wringing that last gram of performance out of the bicycle.  In fact, I can almost see a grandmother riding the Jeunet along side her daughter as the younger woman pushes a baby stroller.  The narrow and upright handlebars encourage a gentle cruise as opposed to a flat out sprint or long run high cadence ride.

Even though no effort was made to challenge the bicycle's performance limits, it did prove to be remarkably responsive for a bicycle of the Jeunet's design.  Acceleration was never even considered as I rode the bicycle but I was impressed with the nimble or quick nature of the bicycle's ride quality.  Perhaps the high sitting position would account for the near twitchy feel but my best guess would be that the upright bars simple change the center of gravity as the bicycle is being ridden.  A higher center of gravity would translate into a less stable feel, which could easily be mistaken for nimbleness.

But the Jeunet Mixte was neither my size nor was it the style of vintage road bicycle that I seek for my personal collection of vintage light weights.  With that in mind, the Mixte was put up for Ebay auction shortly after entering The Old Shed.  I was completely surprised at the attention that the bicycle drew and stunned at the final value the bicycle fetched.  Selling this old French bicycle taught me a thing or two about the vintage bicycle scene and what is becoming increasingly popular.

 

 

 

SITE INDEX   FINDING   BICYCLES   WORK SHOP   TRADING   WHAT'S NEW?

mail@mytenspeeds.com

COPYRIGHT(2008): mytenspeeds.com