I: [CR]Follis 172 wheels

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From: "The Maaslands" <TheMaaslands@comcast.net>
Subject: I: [CR]Follis 172 wheels
To: Classic Rendezvous <Classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Date: Sun, 22 Sep 2002 19:13:45 -0500

Jerry queried:

> Anyone know what size the original wheels were on the early 70's Follis
> 172's? For those not familiar, the 172 was a 531 DB main tube,
> French-equipped model, much like the Peugeot PR-10 or other French "club
> racer" models. I have a circa 1973 one with numerous little paint scratches
> and chips, but original decals, probably too good to repaint, but no
> showpiece, that I intend to use as a commuter. It came with 27" clinchers,
> the front, maybe original, on a Normandy Sport hub, the back, obviously
> nonoriginal, on a Japanese hub. I've fitted it with SKS mudguards and Conti
> 27 - 1 1/4 tires (actually 30 mm wide), but with these, rear wheel removal
> is very difficult, usually involving removing the QR skewer so the rear axle
> can clear the dropout and RD. I'm wondering if maybe this model originally
> came with 700C sewups, and though 27" works OK with narrow tires and no
> mudguards, wasn't really designed with 27" wheels in mind. Anyone ever buy
> one new or with what were certainly original wheels? I'm thinking I might
> be better off to fit 700C clinchers for commuting, to ease changing rear
> tires (inevitably in a driving rain). This suggests a broader question
> about late 60's/ early 70's French bikes in general. At that time, 700C
> clinchers were unknown in the US, and European and British lightweights were
> sold here with either 700C sewups or 27" clinchers, but I'm not at all sure
> the French bikes were ever designed for 27" wheels. They may rather have
> been designed for 700C wheels, and simply took advantage of the ample frame
> clearance of that era to slap on 27" wheels for the US market. Anyone know
> what wheels the Peugeot UO-8's sold in France in the early 70's had? Were
> 700C clinchers already in use there? I would think the UO-8 was too low-end
> for sewups, and that the 650B's used on French pure touring bikes and
> tandems were too small. Of course the UO-8 I bought in Cleveland in 1972
> (my first lightweight) had 27" wheels for the US market.

I was living in France in the early 70's and you had 2 basic wheel size to choose from at the time: either 650 B or 700 C. The equivalent of the UO-18 came with dimpled rigida rims built onto Normandy hubs. The 650 B was actually perhaps more common overall but all racing and pseudo racing bikes came with 700 C as this was the same size as the tubulars then used by all pros. When we then moved to Canada in 1973, the majority of new pseudo racers had 27", but it was not at all difficult to also find 700 C replacement tires for my French bought Peugeot. The 650 B tires on my parent's bikes were somewhat more difficult to find, requiring a visit to a true specialist. When I circumnavigated the US in 1980, I was surprised at how difficult difficult it was to find 700 C wheels in the US. Later in the 80's I was surprised to find that Miyata was building their touring bikes for Canada with 700 C tires and 27" for the US. When did the death knell for 27" tires on new bikes toll in the US?

Steven Maasland Moorestown, NJ