Greetings, My name is Bryan Walton. I am a new list subscriber living in Madison, WI (USA). I don't have a large bicycle collection, and save one, the others are probably not worth mentioning. But I will anyway. I have a run-down Specialized Rockhopper mountain bike that I have converted into a single speed with studded tires. This beast is my winter commuter here in Wisconsin once the snow and ice hit. I also own an old Viner road frame that I have converted to a fixed wheel. This is my commuting bicycle the remainder of the year. Up here in Wisconsin, that usually means I get about 9 months on the Viner and the other three on the Rockhopper. I purchased the Viner from a friend/mechanic about three years ago. It has had its better days and is suffering from a large amount of surface rust which came with the frame when I purchased it. This brings me to my most recent purchase. Recently (about three weeks ago) I picked up what I believe to be a late 60s or early 70s Gitane track frame at a local bike swap here in Madison, WI. There are no decals on it. The guy selling it said it was a Gitane. There are some pictures of it at the following address: http://www.decentralized.org/bikes/gitane/ I'm not the best photographer, especially on those closeups, sorry.
My questions about this frame: 1) Is there a way to determine whether it really is a Gitane? I have its serial number, which is on the frame's left rear dropout. I first posted this question to the Old Skool Track mailing list. Several folks said that it indeed looked like a Gitane. Is there any way to get confirmation? Also, any guesses on whether it was made in the 1960s or 70s?
2) I haven't verified this yet, but I assume that the frame has French measurements. I have verified that the bottom bracket width is 68mm. So, unless I get lucky, I will assume it is French threaded. Any recommendations for how to build up the bottom bracket, chain wheel, and crank? Harris Cyclery has some T.A. bb spindles and axles with track dimensions. Is that a good way to go, or should I try to rethread to make it Italian? This is my biggest hurdle, as I think I can make the stem, handlebar, and saddle work without too much effort.
3) Finally, there are a few nicks on it, but there isn't any rust. Any ideas regarding whether the frame is valuable enough to mess with repainting it, or should I simply go with something like Le Tour Clear coat ( http://www.branfordbike.com/bikecare/bcare1.html )?
Any other pointers that people can give me and I will be most appreciative.