Re: [CR]Mystery Gitane

(Example: Production Builders:Tonard)

Date: Tue, 01 Jan 2002 14:10:13 +0000
Subject: Re: [CR]Mystery Gitane
From: "Tim Fricker" <fricker61@earthlink.net>
To: Jack McFarren <jmcfarr@softcom.net>, classicrendezvous@bikelist.org


Well, I'm hardly the Gitane expert, but I've looked at a few of these over the last year or so at the non-profit shop where I work part time. I also asked a similar question on the IBOB a while back, and here's what I can tell you based on looking at them and a handful of IBOB responses.

The Interclub was Gitane's entry level racing model in the 70s. The tubing is straight gauge, and I'm not sure of the material, whether it's CrMo or not. It is a reasonably light frame. All the ones I have seen so far have been a kind of metallic green...I'm not sure I would call it "forest", but that's a subjective thing, and besides all the ones I've seen have been pretty abused and faded (we get them as donations, after all). I haven't ridden one yet, as I haven't personally been involved in the repair of one.

The components on yours are almost certainly not original. I've seen all manner of odd combinations on these bikes (again, they're old and donated), but as near as I can tell, they were originally set up as all-French bikes. Mafac brakes seem to be standard, as well as a cottered crank, either Nervar or Stronglight (I think the latter, but wouldn't swear to it). Derailleurs were either Simplex Prestige, or one of the Huret models just above the Allvit.

It's a decent bike for what we used to call a "club racer". Reasonably light, and they seem pretty rugged. It's more or less Gitane's equivalent to Raleigh's Super Course of the same era... a good first racing bike, but hardly a world beater. And as near as I can tell, not really particularly collectible. If you want a good fun bike to zoom around on and not lose sleep over theft of damage, it's a good bet, especially with the various component upgrades it sounds like this one has had. If you are looking for something with collector value, probably not, especially with fact that it probably has no original parts. And I doubt it would be worth the time and money to "restore" it to it's original state.

I've actually been tempted to buy one of these from our shop "as is" and fix it up as either a knockaround bike or fixie... it looks like a fun ride... just not a collector's item.

As I said, I'm not a Gitane expert. Maybe my guesses are wrong, but I feel pretty confident based on seeing quite a few of these lately. Probably someone else on the list can provide better info.

Tim

Tim Fricker Portland, OR

----------

>From: Jack McFarren <jmcfarr@softcom.net>

>To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>

>Subject: [CR]Mystery Gitane

>Date: Tue, Jan 1, 2002, 3:40 AM

>


>Another thrift shop mystery. I recently picked up a 70's era Gitane for $25

>at Purple Heart. I'd like to know more about it. It's a well-worn forest

>green with chromed crown and fork ends. It's lugged and appears quite light.

>The decals are silver and barely readable. I can make out the words

>"Interclub" and "Service" on the downtube. Also on the downtube decal, it

>says "Champion" and I believe "Course." I can also make out the word

>"Course" on the the top tube. It has Dura-Ace brakes, bottom bracket, hubs

>and freewheel, plus

>Suntour Superbe Derailleurs. The Suntour components are almost certainly

>aftermarket. I don't know about the Dura-Ace stuff. The frame and components

>are in good shape. I need help in deciding whether I keep it as is or strip

>the frame for the components. Thanks.