MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

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

MY "TEN SPEEDS"  

GRAND JUBILEÉ - INTRO

FINDING THE MOTOBÉCANE

BUILDING THE MOTOBÉCANE

RIDING THE MOTOBÉCANE

THE DRESSED UP MOTOBÉ

 

BICYCLES OF FRANCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1978 MOTOBÉCANE GRAND JUBILEÉ

Few vintage road bicycles manage the vintage look better than Motobécane, for some reason.  Credit must certainly go towards the very distinctive paint and art schemes that presented themselves on many of the seventies models, this black and red combination being amongst the most striking.

Though the Peugeot attained more fame and following, it was the Motobécane that offered the craftsmanship, but in an unusual way.  True, the paint and art were, more often than not, a cut above other makes, but that was not the greatest selling feature in the Jubileé's day.

And what, in fact, would be the Jubileé's day?  By looking at the numbers stamped on many of the original components, one would have to conclude that the bicycle is of 1978 vintage.  The earliest component date found was on the crank set, and that would be 77, suggesting 1977.  The brake callipers, however were dated 78, suggesting 1978 to be the best guess with 1979 being a distinct possibility.

The French made Motobécane, followed or led by Raleigh, was one of the first European bicycles to embrace the Land of the Rising Sun, and the wonderful bicycle components offered.  Suntour transmissions were showed their stuff and, even today, are considered to work better than many of their vintage competitors.  This proved to be a great advantage to Motobécane.

Not only did the Suntour derailleurs work very well, but they were also considerably cheaper to purchase.  That meant that Motobécane could offer better bicycles, at lower costs, and those savings could be passed on to customers.  A better mouse trap for less money?  Tough to beat that.

So too were the Japanese crank sets of superior quality.  Perhaps quality is not the right word, but the crank sets were cleaner looking, better machined and, generally, more durable than their European competitors.  Perhaps quality is the right word.  Again, the crank sets were cheaper to buy, lowering the cost to produce the bicycles, once again allowing for a competitive edge, in the market place.

Interestingly enough, it was not a domestic inspired idea for Motobécane to use the Asian products.  As the story goes, it was Benjamin Lawee, the US importer of Motobécanes, who suggested the idea to begin with.  And the rest of that story is history, the beautiful old Grand Jubileé, presented here, being proof of that pudding.

The Grand Jubileé would be considered a mid to high end machine.  Originally, Reynolds 531 formed the basis for the frame sets, however, that changed in the mid seventies.  1976 saw the switch from Reynolds to Vitus, both being of double butted structure.  Earlier Grand Jubileés would have been fitted with the more ornate Nervex Professional lugs, which became no more with the switch to the Vitus tube sets.

Known for good value and good looks, the Motobécane has survived, even until the time of this writing.  One look at this old Grand Jubileé leaves no doubt in anyone's mind that it is from another era and that it has survived the test of time and use very well - until its moment of the ultimate abuse...

NEXT - FINDING THE GRAND JUBILEE

 

 

 

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