Thanks for sharing your info on Motobecanes. I too own several of them
myself including a early 70's "Peacock Blue" and white Le Champion and a 75
Black and Red Grand Record. The Grand Record is not only my favorite in my
collection but it is the Crown Jewel of my collection. I received as a high
school graduation present in 76' and have kept it in immaculate condition
in Martinez, CA.
> I'm a new lister that hasn't introduced myself yet, so I thought I'd share
> some fun info I received from a former Motobecane sales rep - Mike Edgerton.
> I purchased a Nuovo Record headset for my 1973 Grand Record frame to replace
> the original Stronglite Competition, and he sent me the following note:
> I was the first Motobecane sales rep in the state of Oregon many years ago.
> I worked for a company called RH Brown that was the distributor for that
> bike. The guy that imported the bikes into the US was a guy named Ben Lawee
> that had a company in Long Beach, Ca. The original Grand Record (pronounced
> Reh-coord) had three tubes of Reynolds 531(the main tubes), the rest was
> chrome moly. It had a Stronglight cotterless crank set, Weinman center pull
> brakes, Campy NR deraileurs front and rear, and clincher 27 X 1 1/4 tires.
> The original model came in two colors, silver and black, and yellow and
> black. A few years later they added Black with red and dropped the yellow.
> The first Grand Champion ( the Luis Ocana bike, he won Le Tour that year)
> that came into the country came in as a special order for me. I was racing
> track primarily but trained on the road (as everyone else did). This little
> French guy that was the factory rep measured me like I was buying a suit and
> entered the order. That would have been an orange BIC colored bike. The next
> year I got the first purple one. I also owned every Le Champion model.
> Motobecane finally died in the US when they tried to eliminate the
> distributors and main importer and go directly to the bike shops, hoping to
> sell them mopeds as well. Becane is a slang word for bicycle in France and
> Motobecane is the name they gave their mopeds. That was their big business.
> I actually interviewed after I came to New jersey for a job with Motobecane
> USA. They were real A-holes. Now if you're really eager to find a treasure
> trove of vintage Motobecanes, an entire ocean container full (300 bikes)
> fell off a ship in the port of Le Harve in about 1975. I'm sure it's still
> And there you have more history than you ever wanted. I can't remember the
> name of the distributor that was in New England, I believe they were Boston
> based. I met the owner at a function once.
> I think if I couldn't get the right bearing races for your old headset I
> would simply use loose
> balls. Put in one less than fills the entire race and hold them in place
> with grease. Chances are your Stronglight would have come that way. By the
> way, if I can find the e-mail, there was a woman looking for a French
> headset. I don't think she was tied to Campy. I'll forward it to you if I
> still have it.
> I asked Mike if I could share this with the Classicrendezvous list, and he
> Dave Whitney
> Portland, Maine