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Russ' c.1972 TdF, decidedly non-standard 
PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 8:35 am Reply with quote
rustystrings61
Joined: 15 May 2013
Posts: 9
Location: Greenwood SC
Howdy, all! I thought I'd post this, a circa 1972 TdF that I recently acquired as a frameset with BB and headset. I'd been stalking this one for a couple of years, waiting for planets to align correctly and all. The decals were in terrible shape, but removing them left lots of opportunities to blend up some Testor's lime metallic and medium blue to touch up the scars. It's kinda wabi-sabi, but that's fine. Besides, the varied amounts of fading on the different frame tubes makes for a cool organic look.

It's club green, just like the two others I owned years ago, or every other TdF I've ever handled in the Southeast. Add this one to the two Super Corsas I had (both incomplete and in terrible shape) and the Interclubs that were either too large or too small that came and went c. 1998, and you have a serious fondness for Gitanes.

I need to measure the frame angles and send them to Dave Mann's bicycle frame geometry project. His data lists numerous TdFs and SCs in this size (60cm to top, approx. 58cm c-c), but all of his are described as 72 degree parallel. This one, which shows no signs of a crash, has a head tube that looks like it's around 73 or maybe a whisker steeper combined with a 72 degree seat tube. I read a post by Chas on another forum where he mentioned different fork rake curvature patterns, and this one has the bend starting very late. Not as extreme as, say, a contemporary PX-10 or Raleigh Competition, but it handles in a kinda low-trail way.

The Nitto mod. 185 bars and Technomic Deluxe stem fit in nicely with no modification necessary, the SR Laprade seatpost came out of some parts bin or another, and this particular Brooks B17 has been my beater fixed-gear saddle of choice for a dozen years. Brakes are the classic Weinmann 500 operated by old Dia Compe aero levers. The bottom bracket combines the stock French-threaded Stronglight cups with a Stronglight 113 mm spindle, yielding a perfect 42 mm chainline with the ring mounted on the outside. The mod. 93 cranks came to me already opened out to 9/16 and electro-pencil engraved with somebody's social security number; I shaved down the inside ledge and countersunk the chainring bolt holes. 45x17 works nicely on the rollers in this part of South Carolina, btw.

Wheels are mismatched tubulars - a Mavic GEL 280 up front laced to an unlabeled but deliciously smooth sealed bearing hub, while the rear is an IRO/Formula 120mm flip-flop fixed/free laced with re-used Wheelsmith spokes to an older Campagnolo sewup rim. The jury is still out on whether I'll stay with tubulars on this bike or not - larger tires would create a touch more "pneumatic trail" and make it a bit less twitchy. If I retain these wheels, I'll replace the rear axle with a hollow one and a q/r skewer so I can leave the peanut butter wrench at home.

I know, I know - it should be set up as a derailleur bike in the eyes of many. But no permanent changes have been or will be made to the frameset, so it can always be converted, should I acquire the correct parts down the road. Considering that it spent a decade or more as a dust-covered frame hanging in a guy's basement on the West Coast, it's at least out and on the road and being appreciated for what it is.

And besides - it rides GREAT!


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Russ Fitzgerald
Greenwood, SC, USA
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 10:42 am Reply with quote
vanhelmont
Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 242
Location: Florida
I like the wabi-sabi frame. And I think we'll forgive you for running it single speed (at least I will) since you aren't grinding stuff off the frame!

Dave
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 12:26 pm Reply with quote
rustystrings61
Joined: 15 May 2013
Posts: 9
Location: Greenwood SC
Close-up of touch-ups; extreme wabi-sabi? Still, way cooler than rattle-can can ever hope to be ... I spent too many years cleaning up vintage bikes and trying to retain originality to go cutting off things that might prove useful later!

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Russ Fitzgerald
Greenwood, SC, USA
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:00 pm Reply with quote
rustystrings61
Joined: 15 May 2013
Posts: 9
Location: Greenwood SC
Howdy! This is an updated photo of this bike, now featuring Mavic MA3 rims laced to sealed-bearing fixed/fixed Kogswell hubs and with a set of Panaracer Pasela 28mm blackwall tires. In the years since I first posted this old TdF, it has become my go-to bike for whenever I have some time to go ride. It's my first choice for early morning "Dawn Patrol" runs and it travels with me on most vacations. There is something indescribably, indecipherably RIGHT about how this bike feels on the road.

[img]

[/img]

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Russ Fitzgerald
Greenwood, SC, USA
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:42 pm Reply with quote
scozim
Joined: 26 Sep 2008
Posts: 625
Location: Ellensburg, WA
Nice. Either one of my 3 Gitanes is what I grab first. I prefer my 84 Sprint first.

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1984 Gitane Sprint
1984 Gitane Tour de France
mid-1970's Gitane Olympic
Plus many more
http://eburgcycling.blogspot.com
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:43 am Reply with quote
rustystrings61
Joined: 15 May 2013
Posts: 9
Location: Greenwood SC
Today's front quartering shot added to test the site's functionality -



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Russ Fitzgerald
Greenwood, SC, USA
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Russ' c.1972 TdF, decidedly non-standard 
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