MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"  

GRAND JUBILEÉ - INTRO

FINDING THE MOTOBÉCANE

BUILDING THE MOTOBÉCANE

RIDING THE MOTOBÉCANE

THE DRESSED UP MOTOBÉ

 

BICYCLES OF FRANCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BUILDING THE GRAND JUBILEÉ

As found, the Motobécane had neither wheels nor saddle, although virtually everything else was there, when it presented itself at the Dump.  But everything was not tickety-boo, to say the least.

The Suntour Cyclone GT rear derailleur had definitely seen better days.  Though not all scratched up, it had been damaged and damaged by a back yard mechanic.  A mechanic who had managed to loose a piece or two just before trying to figure out why the darn thing didn't work at all.  At least it had sorta worked before he fixed took it apart.

At any rate, the missing parts were scrounged up in The Old Shed and installed, only to discover that the jockey wheels, one of them at least, were pooched.  Worn completely out and very sloppy at the bushing fit.  Hardly the sort of thing that would be capable of delivering Suntour's legendary shifts.

As luck would have it, there were several Suntour derailleurs kicking around, several with jockey wheels identical to those fitted to the Cyclone.  The wheels were pirated, cleaned, lubricated and installed in short order.

The next issue presented by the rear derailleur was the missing stop pin, the one that allows the spring in the cage pivot to develop the pressure needed to maintain chain tautness.  A banged up Suntour Vx GT supplied the pin and the derailleur was, with a bit of lubrication, once again whole and working just fine.

Needless to say, without a freewheel or freehub, any rear derailleur is of little or no value.  Thought the as issued Grand Jubileé would have sported a six speed 14/32 friction unit, the best one on hand was a six speed 14/28 indexed freewheel.  With nothing else to work with, that freewheel became the one to use.  However, should the correct one present itself, the swap out should prove to be next to a non-issue.

The freewheel was fitted to the rebuilt Campy/Fiamme wheel set that had already been refurbished.  The only thing that needed doing was to swap out axles and re-dish the rear wheel.  The Grand Jubileé sported a 125mm drop space, demanding a six cog freewheel.  But the as found Campy wheels had been built for a 120mm drop space.  The wheels, incidentally were scored at the Dump, along with a near mint set of Shimano hubs laced to tubular rims.  The Shimano hubs were freehub compatible and complete with a six cog freehub.  Back to the Motobécane...

Back to the Motobé indeed.  As the bike was coming together, and rapidly at that, it became known that the Grand Jubileé would have been issued with Normandy high flange quick release hubs laced to Rigida 27" alloy rims which would have, in turn been fitted with 27" x 1" tires.  This presented a dilemma.  Stay with the Campy set, hoping that some Grand Jubileés were issued with them, or invest the time to build up a proper set.

Once again, the simple desire to try the bike out took over and the decision was made to ride the bike with the Campy wheels and, should the opportunity present itself, build and switch to a proper set later.  Good plan since that would get the MGJ on the road that much sooner.

With new wheels installed, the rear derailleur was cleaned up, greased up and installed.  The front derailleur needed only cleaning and lubrication but the shifters presented a problem.  Actually problem would not be the correct word.  Choice would be a better one.

As issued, the Motobécane would have been fitted with Suntour Power Shifters, fitted to the down tube of the bicycle.  But the bike all but begged for a set of Suntour bar end shifters, or as they are better known, Barcons.  And Barcons won the toss. 

Though the quick release Weinmann brake levers, shown in both open and closed positions, were pretty much un-scuffed, the left lever was in peril.  For some reason, the bolt that holds the lever body to the handlebar clamp had stripped, but not enough to notice it right away.  Once that bolt and nut assembly had been replaced, the levers were positioned, in preparation for handlebar tape.  The only question remaining would be what to do with the time challenged brake hoods.

There was a time, about eight years or so ago that Weinmann hoods could be had on Ebay, three pair at a time, for twenty dollars plus shipping.  Six pairs found their way into The Old Shed, but only one pair remained, eight years later.  And that pair had been fitted to a mid seventies CCM Tour du Canada.  But the hoods were still supple and in good condition.  However...

Changing the hoods would mean cutting cables, again, and that was just not in the works, at the time.  Found just two days earlier, the Motobécane streaked to the top of the to do list and was immediately subjected to the rebuild procedure.  A procedure that is usually driven by safety first, cost second, ride quality third and aesthetics last.  And why did the build demand immediate attention?  Because the Motobécane Grand Jubileé is simply a neat old bicycle that absolutely looks the vintage part, that being an opinion, of course.

The brake callipers, though a bit dirty, were in good shape but the pads were not.  Simply put, there was no way to salvage the pads, nor the pad holders, which were seriously oxidized.  A search through boxes of this and that produced a decent set of pads, which were refaced, cleaned and subsequently installed.

Though the Weinmann center pull brake calliper is a simple enough unit, getting the most out of it requires understanding and sound maintenance practice.  With that in mind, the immediate effort was invested in getting the brakes working perfectly.  A proper cleaning would come later.

Once the brake issues were addressed, attention turned to what to mount the levers on.  Since efforts were being made to keep the bicycle as original as one could, with-in reason, it was decided that the original PIVO handlebars and nondescript steering stem.  That choice was simple enough but what bar tape should one use on a late seventies road bicycle.

User friendliness demanded today's cushion handlebar tape, engineered to help absorb road shocks while adding to ease of grip.  But today's offerings would look completely out of place.  That left two simple choices, thin plastic or Old School cloth.  Old School won the toss and two rolls of Ciclolinea Telato-Super black tape entered the build.  The aesthetic results speak for themselves, however; the cloth tape is not as comfortable, on one's hands, as is the newer handlebar ribbon offers, on the shelves these days.

Neither the bottom bracket nor the head set were opened up for inspection and rebuild.  Unloaded, both felt buttery smooth, offering little, if any slop.  And both showed clear signs of fresh grease seepage.  If the bicycle proved to be a worthy rider, the next rebuild to follow in short order would include a full mechanical refurbishment.  But, for the time being and test riding purpose, neither warranted either inspection or rebuilt.

The SR Apex crank set appeared to have seen minimal use but the alloy chain guard had been damaged, and likely when the bike was discarded at the Dump.  The guard was bent, presenting, at the very least, a cosmetic eyesore.  With that in mind, the chain guard was removed and pitched into the scrap aluminum pile.

The crank set, itself, proved to be in very good condition, showing what could well be considered minimal wear.  Surprisingly, both the rings presented similar amounts of wear, suggesting that the previous owner might have used the bicycle as it was intended to be used.  Chances are all that shifting lead to the demise of the as found broken rear derailleur.

Like the bottom bracket and head set bearings, the pedals spun freely and without play, radial or longitudinal.  That was an really academic consideration, since the bicycle would be fitted with a set of mountain bike clip-in pedals, similar to the ones on all collection bicycles.

The last thing to consider would be the choice of saddle.  The original issue would have been GP racing type with a suede cover, which in turn would be mounted on an SR alloy seat post.  Since there was no original saddle to be found, a mid seventies Brooks B17 Narrow, sporting a beautiful patina, was fitted until a more appropriate butt perch could be found.

And that was about all there was to the refurbishment of the late seventies Motobécane Grand Jubileé.  A beautiful bicycle to behold, to say the very least, but how would it feel to ride?

NEXT - RIDING THE GRAND JUBILEÉ

 

 

 

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