Re: [CR] Help date a Gitane Track frame?

(Example: Framebuilders:Tony Beek)

From: "Bob Hanson" <>
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2006 09:53:06 -0600
To: (sandranian)
Subject: Re: [CR] Help date a Gitane Track frame?
In-Reply-To: <>

Thanks Stephan,

NOTHING at all would surprise me about this frame. It was actually bought off of an old man who stopped by a bike shop with his very young grandson hoping to sell the bike. It had a 70s Shimano ROAD wheelset, complete with a 120 mm freewheel hub squeezed into the rear fork. The man had bought the bike at a recent yardsale and hoped to easily fix it up to rideable condition for a nephew, but couldn't figure out how the heck to even put a derailleur on the weird (track) dropouts so he wanted to unload the bike - and just buy some pegs for the 8 year old's BMX bike. One kid in the bike shop offered to buy the wheels, so I said I'd take the rest of what was there (I already have beaucoup French bikes and parts, anyway).

It had a Sugino French thread track BB, a Stronglight mod.93 double crankset, but set up with just a single 3/32 chainring. An Atax road stem and generic 25 mm bars. Generic (pseudo-Stronglight) chrome headset. Was also drilled for brakes front and rear - the rear looking like it was done by hand, and long after the the chrome was applied. Also included Weinmann 730 side-pull calipers and Weinmann levers. Seatpost was a Zeus copy of a 1st generation Super Record post (fluted, but still the two bolt style), and marked 26 mm,... but the lower half was actually filed or ground down to fit the seat tube which was smaller. The geometry and BB height makes me think that the frame was indeed originally a Track frame - not a re-brazed road frame. However, as soon as I sat down to disassemble it all to check out the internal condition, I immediately noticed the fork was odd. It turned out to be a Tange chrome replacement ROAD fork, complete with eyelets and with longer arms than would be correct for the frame (so it also gave the bike an upward tilt toward the front when I set wheels on it)... and here's the best part: the top of the steering tube had actually been cut off and then a French threaded top of a different fork had been very cleanly welded on and finely finished all around the weld. I have certainly never seen anything like THAT done before! Like I said, the frame is not at all elegant, the lugs are not familiar to me, but somewhat similar to plain short point Bocama Professional lugs. It does, at least however happen to be dead-on straight and solid and the tubing is undamaged un-rusted and with clean 35 x 1 BB threads. The decal is a plain water-slide type, so I would not be at all surprised to find it was placed on at some later time - and that the frame may not even be a Gitane at all! Just as you said, the only designation of "S.C." that I too have ever seen before was for ROAD bikes [Thanks for confirming that]. I was rather hoping that by posting the serial number, someone would at least be able to either: 1.) approximate a date... or else 2.) to tell me that the 6-digit serial number is actually something totally unlike any which might be found on any Gitane.

I'll try to get some photos up for you soon so you can take a look at this oddity of a frame.

Strangely, I've had several people in town interested in buying it - even after I have told them all of what I just related to you... including my own doubts about it's Gitane heritage! Must be the current frenzy over track bikes... or just the flashy finish attracting them (like magpies) to shiny objects.

Thanks again!

Bob Hanson, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA


Stephan Andranian Wrote:

I would be interested in seeing pictures of the frame. I am unaware of any Gitane that was ever built by the factory which came with a full chrome finish, but that doesn't mean it didn't exist. If that is a Gitane, it was, most probably, refinished. I also think that the headtube decal is a cropped decal from another Gitane or a stickerset which was obtained after it was refinished. Based on your description, it sounds like part of the emblem which was placed on the top tube of early 1970's Gitanes, the "S C" standing for "Service Course", or roughly translated into "Road Race". No reason that would be put on a track bike and not placed on the head tube by the Factory.

That being never know, with Gitane! I would love to see some pictures....

Stephan Andranian Costa Mesa, CA


Bob Hanson wrote:

I picked up this frameset just by chance a couple years ago. Curious if anyone can help me narrow down a possible date of manufacture.

Frame is Full Chrome. So, not surprisingly, the only remaining decal is the head tube emblem. That decal consists of a black & white checkered flag with a blue globe peeking out behind the flag. On the center of the flag is "GITANE" in blue with the letters "S" above the name and "C" below it, both of those letters in yellow.

Serial number is: 536011

Lugs are very simple, short point. Tubing unknown. Simple rear track fork ends with no makers mark. I'm guessing the seat post size is maybe 25.4mm? but really, I'm not sure. All French threads of course.

115 mm rear spacing.

Frame is nothing fancy, really... well, except for the fact that it does still look pretty dazzling - being completely chrome plated and with thechrome still in bright and perfect condition.

Can anyone please offer suggestions as to the general age of this frame? I have no clue, and would not know where to look for info.


Bob Hanson
Albuquerque, New Mexico