[CR]Motobecane History

(Example: Framebuilding:Tubing)

From: <Dwhitney@sheridancorp.com>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2003 12:44:49 -0400
Subject: [CR]Motobecane History

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 there.

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 obliged.


Dave Whitney
Portland, Maine