MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

196? PEUGEOT PX10 - INTRO

FINDING THE PEUGEOT PX10

PX10 FRAME SET REPAIR

PX10 TEST BUILDING

PX10 TEST RIDING

RESTORING THE PX10

STREET RESTORED PX10

RESTORED PX10 - ALMOST

 

BICYCLES OF FRANCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1963 PEUGEOT PX10 - INTRODUCTION

Long has the Peugeot PX10 been considered somewhat of a legend in vintage road bicycle circles.  The PX10, and various forms of it, was Peugeot's top of the line mount for many years.  The bicycle was light, fitted with quality components and pretty to look at.  It performed well and was considered to be a more than acceptable and successful racing bicycle for its day.  It was also one of the most reasonably priced, top of the line European racing bicycles offered in the sixties and seventies.

Long has the Peugeot Lion represented the company, the lion itself adopted in 1858 and supposed to represent two things - the "durability, suppleness and quickness of steel" as well as the "speed and aggressiveness" of the Peugeot company, itself. 

Apparently Eddy Merxx began his pro career riding a Peugeot PX10 in the mid sixties.  To that add the fact that Peugeot's top dog was ridden to Tour de France victories several times, a couple of which were in the Bike Boom days, those being the very early seventies.  In other words, at the height of the vintage road bicycles selling/buying frenzy, the Peugeot PX10 was ridden to win the most prestigious bicycle racing title of the time.  The bicycle's fame all but exploded and from that sprang high sales.  The Peugeot Bicycle company became even more solidly entrenched in the public's eye.  Today, most older Peugeots have high collectible value, the PX10 and its derivatives being the most sought after.  However, care must be taken when seeking out an old Peugeot to purchase...

Though the Peugeot PX10 is of French origin, many Peugeot bicycles were built in Spain and Canada.  Though little can be said about the reasoning behind the Spain based Peugeot bicycle endeavour, the driving force to build Peugeots in Canada was economically driven, both on political and business levels.  Thanks to the lobbying power of some Canadian based companies, the Canadian government saw fit to impose huge tariffs on imported bicycles during the seventies.  This tariff issue could be circumvented by importing frame sets and components separately.  The tariffs applied to bicycles only and not to the parts that make up a bicycle.  Thus big companies, such as Raleigh and Peugeot set up shop in areas where large foreign markets presented themselves.

In 1978 Peugeot Canadian Peugeots began to make their presence known.  The earliest Canadian Peugeots were very nice, sporting quality components, clean finish and appealing art work.  It did not take long for the quality of the domestic Peugeot to decline.  Cost driven manufacturing factors, coupled with failing interest in the touring or road bicycle, forced profit minded business leaders to seek out ways to cut production costs.  Hence, the lovely pantographed crank sets were soon to become no more.  And that was just the beginning of the demise of the Canadian Peugeot.  But if you can get your hands on an early one...

However, and from a collectible point of view, the French Peugeot has the greatest value and following, with the PX10 being the most famous and sought after.   It is a bit difficult to nail down exactly when the PX10 came into being.  Some arguments suggest that the bicycle was first manufactured in 1963, while others suggest initial release as early as 1953, although the earlier models would not be pure PX10's.  1953 saw the Peugeot PHX-10 released and then, in 1956 the PLX-10 came into being.  A survey of catalogues suggests that the PX10, in its purest form and designation, came into being in 1963.  Then, of course, I have looked a pictures of a 1962 PX10 offered in a lovely lime green, offset with bright red Nervex Professional head tube lugs.  In other words, I hardly consider myself to be any kind of authority on the PX10 dynasty but there is a lot of information available on the internet, though some opinions tend to contradict others.

All that said, I suggest that my Peugeot PX10 is of 1963 vintage and do so for two main reasons.  First, the fellow who sold it to me said it was a sixty-three.  Second, the serial number stamped into the underside of the bottom bracket housing is six digits beginning with a "3".  The number of digits(6) indicate the decade and the first digit(3) indicates year.  Additionally, this 1963 PX10 featured here would have been identified as the PX10, with no additional letters or numbers defining the model, hence the PX10 purist's claim to this vintage being the genuine article.  In all honesty, I am not sure of the bicycle's exact vintage but I am quite happy to go with 1963 based both on the serial number and reported pedigree.

Apparently the X in the model number suggested the the frame set was made from inoxydable tubing.  The tube set was reputed to be somewhat rust-proof and perhaps of stainless steel quality.  Such was not really the case since no PX10 frame sets were ever made from stainless steel and all were certainly subject to oxidation.  In truth, the inoxydable tube set was really nothing more than tubing with a rust inhibitive coating on it and the Peugeot company guaranteed that rust would not occur for at least two years.

It was not until 1958 that Peugeot's top of the line offering began to boast a more sophisticated tube set.  Reynolds 531 made its appearance that year and, perhaps marked a new era in the X series of Peugeot offerings.  That said, the 1958 catalogue does not even refer to Peugeot's top dog offering as an P series bicycle.  The 1958 top of the line Peugeot, Reynolds tubing and all, was listed as an LX model.  This adds even more confusion to an already confused issue.  But it is safe to say that the X series Peugeot has been made from various materials including high carbon steel, moly steel, chrome moly steel and even aluminum.  Reynolds, Vitus and Columbus manufactures tube sets have all found their way into the top Peugeot's construction, once again making it difficult to determine a hierarchy of models.

Interestingly enough, the famous Peugeot checkerboard art appeared in 1963.  Even domestic Peugeots, those of early manufacture in Canada at least, proudly present the design that became almost inseparable from the Lion itself.

So how does one determine which is and which is not a true PX10?  I doubt that anyone can do so and opinions will have to be allowed to be maintained.  Know only that the PX series is considered to be Peugeot's best quality bicycle even if there is no X or P in the designation.  There is a fair bit of information pertaining to this controversy on the internet and about the best one can do is sort through it all and decide for themselves what does and does not make for a true Peugeot PX10.

NEXT - FINDING THE PEUGEOT PX10

 

 

 

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