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Mystery 1970s French racer restoration

Bike tags: Road bike | 1970s | Araya | bar end shifters | barcons | more tags >>
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French tubing diameter and threading, campagnolo dropouts, EDA bottom bracket / 56.5 cm c-t, 57 cm top tube / 1970s

originally 3ttt Superleggiero/ 3ttt; now SR Sakae Custom Road Champion / SR 80 mm

Huret dropouts

1980 Shimano hub / alloy 27" / thorn-proof tube, Michelin 27 x 1

Suzue Sealed-Tech hub / 700c Araya rim / thorn-proof tube, Specialized Transition/A 700 x 20

First-generation Dura Ace 170 mm / TA cups, Campagnolo hollow spindle 112 mm

cheapo dept. store MTB / Simplex


Suntour ratchet barcons / Suntour V-GT Luxe rear / Shimano 600 Arabesque front

originally Universal; now Dia-Compe G / Dia-Compe Regular

53-42, 14-28 Shimano 6-speed freewheel

This bike has an interesting history. It was sitting in someone's front yard next to a gutted early 80s Centurion Elite-12. It hadn't been used for a while. I bought them both for $ 60. The Dura-Ace crankset and 3ttt bars and stem really stood out at first sight. The lugwork was also quite nice, especially the brazing on the rear brake bridge. It was a rare find. The owner said they bought it about 12 years ago at a yard sale in trashed condition. It had been in a collision with a car and the wheels were destroyed. After buying it, he replaced the wheels with other ones he had around. This is the only bike I've ever seen with mixed wheel sizes, 27" and 700c.

It's pretty light for a steel frame. The tubing seems probably double-butted, maybe Reynolds 531. The bare frame with headset cups and cable guides weighed 4.96 lb. Bare frameset w/cable guides was 6.94 lb, and the fork (with crown race) was 1.76 lb. The whole thing weighed 24.23 lb stock as I found it.

The original brakes and brake levers weren't so hot, and I sold them with the Centurion frame and parts. I sold the 3ttt stem on ebay and put the very nice handlebars on my Schwinn Circuit. I put the Centurion's bars, stem brakes and brake levers on this bike. The bars are whatever, but the brake levers look really nice all polished and drilled out and the stem is nice too. I had to change brake axles to fit them into the frame, but I managed to make it work. These brakes are quite nice, but also weird in that the clamp is on the left side on both of them. I had to reverse the brake lever cable set-up, so the right hand controls the front brake.

I also replaced the pedals with the Centurion's, a considerable upgrade. I had to overhaul the bearings on one of them. They were some weird size I'd never seen before, and were too rusted to reuse, so I had to mix bearing sizes, using 1/8" on the inside race and 5/32' on the other. It took me three hours to figure out what was going on, try out combinations of bearings, find donor pedals in my scrap pile, and put everything together.

One of the Campagnolo cable guides was all rusted, so I had to cut it off. One was missing. I had to make do with string for two loops. The bar-end shifters were an enormous pain to set up. Changing handlebars made the cable length change, and I had to figure out how to route the cables and how long to cut the housing. It took several hours to set up the shifters and tape the bars. I ended up replacing all the cables and housing. I replaced the chain and took out a washer in the rear derailleur mount pivot so it would move. I was working pretty hard on the whole bike for about 5 days to finish it.

Anyway, here it is after a very laborious restoration. I'm not sure what make it is, aside from French. Any input would be welcome. Serial number is B 22068. The last photo shows the bike as it came, before restoration. I'd be curious as to any opinions of its value, even with the paint in the condition it's in (flaking off, but not too much rust).

People who friended this bike campystamp, Zephyrus, the fumingator

Gitane, maybe should offer up some useful info also.

Hello, You've put some work


You've put some work on that one. Nice bike! I am nearly sure that this one is a Louison Bobet. Sadly, at the moment, I have no proof to back my intution. As soon as I'll find a picture of the Louison Bobet I worked on several months ago, I'll send it to you for comparison. All I can say now is that it was quite an exact copy of yours. But I'll have to scan through an old HD full of pictures, and this is not exactly an exciting thing to do.
Your bike might well be a Liberia as well, but I am not sure if that brand made it to the US.

Louison Bobet

Wow - I would be really interested to see pictures. I'll PM you my email address. It seems like a lot of the parts on mine are probably not original; it would be interesting to see how many it has in common with yours. Was the Louison Bobet you worked on a former race bike? It seems like it might have been that caliber.


As it has a simplex seatpost, you'd think it may be an old peugeot from the early 70's. I'm not an expert, but I restored an old peugeot and I noticed the use of simplex products. Unfortunately you cannot learn anything from the serialnumber of a peugeot prior to 1979, according to this:

Good luck on finding out about its history!

Maybe this guy can help you:

He definitely looks like he knows more than he's supposed to.

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