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Restoring my 71' Orange Tall Frame Gran Sport Deluxe 
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 2:01 pm Reply with quote
js303
Joined: 02 Dec 2014
Posts: 13
I got this Gran Sport Deluxe the other day knowing nothing about Gitane for $150. It's supposedly worth $250 in the spring, but I'm not concerned with the price. I really dug the retro look of the bike which is why I got it.

According to other posts on here I believe mine is a 72' - 74' because it has a blue decal not foil. Anyone care to take a stab at the actual year it is? I can post more pictures of certain parts if anyone asks. Any opinions welcome.

This is like a starter project for me so I'm going to fix this guy up a bit and possibly go with light blue for the tires, seat and grip tape.

The decals have some wear and tear and a couple chips in the paint so I'll want to repaint and replace the decals at some point. I currently haven't seen another blue decal only the red kind online

Any good info, tips or references for restoring bikes would also be appreciated.








Jake - Boulder, Colorado


Last edited by js303 on Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:13 am; edited 7 times in total
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decals, parts, refinishing 
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:00 pm Reply with quote
gman309905
Joined: 23 Dec 2012
Posts: 63
Location: Pittsburgh PA.
decals are available from Greg Softly at Cyclomondo, http://cyclomondo.net/page35.htm or velocals, https://www.velocals.com
French thread sealed bearing bottom brackets are available from velo orange, http://www.velo-orange.com and Harris cyclery carries parts for vintage french bikes. http://harriscyclery.net/. As for refinishing the frame I prefer powder coating, available in all colors including metal flakes and pearls and much more durable than paint. you should be able to find someone local that will give you a reasonable price. You can check out what it looks like in the owner gallery under the title " Resurrection"
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Gran Sport Deluxe not Tour de France 
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 12:12 am Reply with quote
verktyg
Joined: 14 Jan 2007
Posts: 2814
Location: SF Bay Area
Jake,

Greetings and welcome to the forum.

Hate to be the bearer of bad news but your bike is a Gran Sport Deluxe not a Tour de France.

The Gran Sport models were Gitane's entry level bikes during the Bike Boom in the early 1970s. The Tour de France was the next to the top model Gitane in the US market.

It's a common mistake because the seat tube sticker says Tour de France but it's a list of famous races won on Gitane bikes.



Gitane used the Mylar foil decals like on your bike from ~1968 until the end of 1973.

The standard models had blue or red seat tube decals:







Gitane's performance or competition models had silver foil seat tube decals and a "Service Corse" decal on the top tube.





This is a 1971 Tour de France.



The Gitanes from that era had the model name on a sticker on the down tube.





The Gran Sport bikes weighed about 28 Lbs. while the Tour de France bikes were ~22 Lbs.

But... The Gran Sports are great riding bikes. I'd like to find an orange one in my size in nice condition - nostalgia! Wink


My first European 10 speed was an orange 1972 Gitane Gran Sport Deluxe identical yours except mine had Weinmann brakes not MAFACs.

I walked into the bike shop looked around the showroom, saw about 100 bikes and said "I want that one". It was exciting... love at first sight. Cool


Your bike is a size 60cm. It's all original including the factory installed plastic handle bar tape (except for the tires).

The chrome plated sheet metal cap on the fork crown would date it to about 1970 or 71.

You can look at the inside of the pulley cage on the rear derailleur. Sometimes Simplex stamped the date of manufacturer on them.




First question, does the bike fit you? You should be able to stand over the bike and have at least 1" of space between your "personal space" and the top tube. Any less and you risk damage to "the jewels" if you have to make a quick stop! Shocked

The top tube is going to have a "standover" height of about 33" to 33.5" from the top of the bar to the ground.


Here's where I get obnoxious... Ignore any advise that doesn't initially include the following for starters:

1. Make sure the bike fits. Too big, FA-GET-ABOUT-IT! A frame size 1" to 3" too small on a large bike is usually OK.

2. Make sure everything is properly tightened on the bike - wheels brakes, handle bars and stem and most importantly, that the brakes work correctly. The handle bar stem needs to be inserted at least 3" into the fork so don't raise it too high!!! Same thing with the seat post. Be careful with those Simplex quick releases on the wheels. It's easy to tighten them backwards and they WILL come loose!

3. Before spending a lot of money on the bike, except to service any critical parts, make sure that you like the way that it rides and handles.

4. Replace the brake pads plus the brake and derailleur cables and housings with modern parts. They work so much better.

5. Ditch the "safety levers" "turkey levers" "brake extension levers" or whatever anyone wants to call them. They are unsafe for a multitude of reasons! Trust me, I assembled hundreds of these bike back in the day. I had them on my 1972 bike when I first got it and after coasting through several stop signs without being able to stop, I removed them!!!! Evil or Very Mad



6. If everything above is a go, the first thing that I'd do is get rid of that "ass hatchet" plastic saddle. They're painful to ride for 99% of cyclists!

7. Ditch the kick stand too, it's just a half pound of unnecessary weight. The slightest gust of wind or bump can knock the bike over!


Now back to the less important things.

It's your bike so you can do whatever you want with it.... But consider this, you have a classic 40+ year old bike in nice original condition. The majority bikes from that era became Datsuns (Nissans), Toyotas, Hyundais or Kias long ago.




My attitude about old bikes is that if I get a bare or partial frame or a bike that doesn't have the original components, then I'll build it up with whatever parts I like.

When I get a classic all or almost all original bike then I'll keep it that way except for comfort and safety issues like seat, cables and so on (I save the original parts if it's an expensive bike).

Tires, most European and Japanese imported bikes back then had gum wall (tan sidewall) tires. All black tires were usually a sign junk quality and came on cheap junk bikes!

Your bike has 27" wheels. Over 30 years ago the unofficial US standard switched from 27" tires to 700c metric diameter tires. The 700c wheels are 8mm smaller in diameter.

Today there isn't a great selection of 27" tires available versus 700c tires. Your chance of finding "hipster" blue 27" tires are pretty slim. The tires on you bike look to be so-so quality.

Panaracer Pasela Tourgard tires are available in 27" x 1 1/4" to fit your bike. They have tan sidewalls plus a puncture resistant strip under the tread. They'll ride 200% better than the tires you now have plus they'll look correct on your bike.

Scroll down to Pasela TG

http://www.panaracer.com/urban.php


Recommended order of improvements:

1. Brake blocks and cables (cable housing and derailleur cables too).

2. Seat. Note, soft cushy seats are comfortable for the first 5 or 10 miles then as you sink into to the foam and or gel and they start applying pressure in places you don't want! Rolling Eyes

3. Tires, as I mentioned above, wheels and tires are what will make the biggest difference in ride and performance. Alloy rims will take at least 2 lbs. off of the bike in the most important area to save weight.

But... most alloy wheels and rims these days are 700c. Your MAFAC brakes may not have enough reach to drop down and properly match the brake blocks to 700s rims.

You may be able to find a set of wheels with 27" alloy rims on eBay or find a bike with them at a charity outlet like the Salvation Army etc. Also you can find some 27" alloy rims and have them laced up to your hubs but that will be WAY expensive!

A BIG difference between alloy rims and chrome plated steel rims is that the alloy rims will stop much better, especially when wet! The little indentations in the sides of the steel rims hold water and act as lubricant when you try to stop! Confused

Gitane Gran Sport bikes came with Simplex (like yours) Huret and Suntour derailleurs. The Suntour derailleurs worked the best and you can find period correct ones for not too much money.

Beyond those suggestions, there are other people in the group who can also answer your questions. In addition, Google Sheldon Brown (RIP), there's lots of good info on his website and Park Tool has some great stuff for working on your bike:

http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help

Good luck and enjoy your "new" treasure.

BTW, I'm getting old and crotchety and have NO RESPECT for hipsters and Fixie Fools. I was riding bikes before most of their daddies got "happy" for the first time!

Also, I don't drink coffee so I have no use for coffee shops either! ARGH! Twisted Evil

_________________
Chas.
SF Bay Area, CA USA
==============
1984 Criterium
1969 TdF
1971 TdF
1974 TdF
1984 TdF x 2 Bikes
1970 SC
1971 SC
1972 SC
1984 SC
1984 Team Pro
1985 Professional
1990s Team Replica
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 4:21 am Reply with quote
js303
Joined: 02 Dec 2014
Posts: 13
Wow, thanks for the very informative reply. I'm not heartbroken that it isn't a Tour De France. When I saw how similar it looked to yours that you posted I just firgured it was one. Also couldnt find it on the catalogue. So your guess is that its a 70 or 71?

Here are some 27" blue tires I found on Ebay

http://www.ebay.com/itm/27-BLUE-BIKE-TIRE-ORIGIN-8-ELIMIN8ER-BLUE-FOLDING-27-TIRE-27-X-1-1-4-TIRE-/151495015115?pt=US_Tires&hash=item2345ce7acb

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-CST-27-x1-1-4-BLUE-Road-Bike-Tires-Track-Fixed-Gear-Bicycle-Pair-Tyre-27-Inch-/291239143533?pt=US_Tires&hash=item43cf34a86d

Not really going for the hipster look... I just have a thing for orange and blue...just casually biking for the cardio and scenery, but I know how you feel about those fixie hipsters

I also agree on the seat it looks very painful...and the first thing I get will be a replacement seat. The bike was made for people 6' - 6'3" I believe and I'm 6'1"

There is currently a half inch of standing space over the bar... I'll be sure to be careful and maybe tilt the bike slightly if i have to make any abrupt stops. The seller of the bike did tune it up before selling it to me and slowly rode it around the block. I'm going to take it out on an actual test run when it warms up a little. I also plan on replacing the tubing, brake pads etc over time. I think it will be a fun project and ill be updating my progress on it here.
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orange is a nice color 
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:51 am Reply with quote
Frenchbuilt
Joined: 18 Apr 2007
Posts: 441
Hi your paint looks pretty nice. Orange is easy to retouch.

Cleaning the bike and then waxing will give you 90% of the look you want.

A repaint gives you the last 10% unless of course the original paint is completely destroyed. Even chrome cleans up well. You would be surprised at how much of the rust spots on chrome can be removed with a soft wood stick and then 3 to 4 "0" steel wool

Once clean polished and waxed, you will never really mind the slight paint problems.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:25 am Reply with quote
js303
Joined: 02 Dec 2014
Posts: 13
The pulley cage on the rear derailleur says 4 then a 71 underneath so I will guess that the bike was made in '71? Don't know what the 4 would mean.

Frenchbuilt - The paint is only chipped in a couple spots so I'm sure it would be more feasible to touch up those spots vs getting a professional paint job which would also require stripping the good original decals off, I just hope I can get a paint that will match this orange. Will any wax work? The blue decals under the seat have a lot of chipping on it so I want to replace those then clear coat the whole frame when finally done with everything. Wondering if clear coating is an easy DIY project or something that should be done professionally.

Also wondering if CLR remover would be good for rusty gears and the wheels.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:22 am Reply with quote
verktyg
Joined: 14 Jan 2007
Posts: 2814
Location: SF Bay Area
js303 wrote:
The pulley cage on the rear derailleur says 4 then a 71 underneath so I will guess that the bike was made in '71? Don't know what the 4 would mean.

4th month of 1971 so it's probably a 1971 model

js303 wrote:
Frenchbuilt - The paint is only chipped in a couple spots so I'm sure it would be more feasible to touch up those spots vs getting a professional paint job which would also require stripping the good original decals off, I just hope I can get a paint that will match this orange. Will any wax work? The blue decals under the seat have a lot of chipping on it so I want to replace those then clear coat the whole frame when finally done with everything. Wondering if clear coating is an easy DIY project or something that should be done professionally.


A professional paint job is going to cost you $200 to $500 - silk stockings on a rooster! Twisted Evil

The Mylar foil decals are available from several sources: Velocals - you can buy a whole set or individual decals. They have them with blue seat tube decals:

http://www.velocals.com/servlet/the-895/GITANE-Grand-Sport-1970/Detail

A good quality car wax without and cleaner in it works great! If you use a wax with cleaner you can easily rub through the paint also the colors on the decals.


js303 wrote:
...so I want to replace those then clear coat the whole frame when finally done with everything. Wondering if clear coating is an easy DIY project or something that should be done professionally.


RIDE THE BIKE FOR A WHILE FIRST!

Professional clear coating will cost a lot. The problem with DYI is that it's easy to get runs with rattle can paint when spraying small round tubes.

I've never considered clear coating foil decals to be a good idea. They're usually thicker than standard decals and could react with some kinds of solvents in the clear coat.

Gitane used very grit to sandblast the brazing flux off of the tubing before painting on their lower priced models. This left a very pitted surface. They used a white primer with a lot of powder filler in it to fill the pits. The paint top coat layer can be very thin and easily rubbed through with a wax with abrasive cleaner in it.

If money's burning a hole in your pocket send it to me... (I'm being a TROLL) Twisted Evil

Here's what I'm getting at, clean the bike up and ride it. For 5-10 mile rides plus the occasional 20 miler, a bike like yours is perfect

If you find that you're doing a lot of longer distance rides (20 miles +) then look for a better bike with a light weight alloy steel frame made of Reynolds, Super Vitus or Columbus tubing plus all alloy components.

You can find them on eBay for $300 and up. That's why I'm suggesting not to invest too much money in this bike.

That's what happened to me. I'm not being a bike snob... I started doing a lot of longer rides. It was a world of difference when I got my first "pro" bike. Wink


js303 wrote:
Also wondering if CLR remover would be good for rusty gears and the wheels.


Don't know what "CLR" is??? Just try some steel wool first, it's VERY cheap for a lifetime supply. Clean all of the grease and crud off first.

Some people swear by brass or bronze wool but that's for woodworking because any little pieces of steel wool that get embedded in the wood will cause discoloring. Steel wool is harder and more aggressive and works better on rusted chrome plating.


BTW, there's a good chance that your bike came out of the box with the chips and dings in the paint and decals. During the bike boom many of the European bike manufactures used very little (some times none) protective packaging in the shipping boxes.

We frequently received Gitanes with the wheels rolling around loose in the boxes. It was so bad the they sent us a touch up paint kit that had all of colors plus stacks of decals!

_________________
Chas.
SF Bay Area, CA USA
==============
1984 Criterium
1969 TdF
1971 TdF
1974 TdF
1984 TdF x 2 Bikes
1970 SC
1971 SC
1972 SC
1984 SC
1984 Team Pro
1985 Professional
1990s Team Replica
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Carnauba! 
PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:23 am Reply with quote
Frenchbuilt
Joined: 18 Apr 2007
Posts: 441
The polish I mean for the aluminum parts.

The paint just needs waxing.

Any wax that has no abrasive in it is fine. If you see lots of orange in the wax cloth, then its probably too rough on the paint.

For my cars and bikes I use Meguiar's "Deep Crystal Carnauba Wax"

It is yellow in color.

They actually have this in France and its great! Also is good for final clean up of chrome.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 1:16 pm Reply with quote
js303
Joined: 02 Dec 2014
Posts: 13
Quote:
For 5-10 mile rides plus the occasional 20 miler, a bike like yours is perfect

If you find that you're doing a lot of longer distance rides (20 miles +) then look for a better bike with a light weight alloy steel frame made of Reynolds, Super Vitus or Columbus tubing plus all alloy components.

You can find them on eBay for $300 and up. That's why I'm suggesting not to invest too much money in this bike.


I'm a very casual biker and wont be doing much long distance or marathon style cycling... ill mainly be using it for the cardio/scenery. I probably will end up just touching the paint up and not clear coating anything. I do plan on spending a little (i stress little) money to touch up and restore this bike , but on a realistic budget over time. Not dumping hundreds into a paint job. If I end up biking hardcore I'll still keep this one around as a first love sort of thing.

CLR is calcium , lime, rust remover... you can submerge or polish off metal with it and makes things look nice and shiny again. I might just replace the back gear with a newer one if it will look better



Shame about that little ding on the simplex logo... maybe it will rub off


Last edited by js303 on Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:18 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:29 pm Reply with quote
verktyg
Joined: 14 Jan 2007
Posts: 2814
Location: SF Bay Area
js303 wrote:
CLR is calcium , lime, rust remover... you can submerge or polish off metal with it and makes things look nice and shiny again. I might just replace the back gear with a newer one if it will look better


Na! Don't turn a simple backyard job into brain surgery! Rolling Eyes

You can get some pump bottle spray bike cleaner at a LBS (Local Bike Shop) to remove the crud off of the freewheel. Spray in on, let it soak in and hose it off.

Do a Google search for "citrus bike degreaser".

You don't want to get anything but clean oil into the freewheel body.

I take rags and wrap them around the back side of the freewheel then I wrap rubber bands around the hub on the outside. You can also use various solvents (NOT GASOLINE) to do the same thing.

Remember, that grease and crud has been on there for over 40 years so it will take a while to soften up. You may need to use a screwdriver to scrape off some of the hardened stuff.

I use one of these Park Tool GearClean brushes.



http://www.parktool.com/product/gearclean-r-brush-gsc-1

Also, your freewheel is probably just fine. After you clean ALL of the crud off of the outside, apply some light oil and let it soak in. Spin the freewheel by hand to distribute the oil. Lean the wheel over so the oil runs to the inside bearings and don't use too much.



Your freewheel has French metric threads. They have been out of production for 20 years of so. You may have to pay an arm and a leg to get a used one that may be worn out!

A sign of a worn freewheel and chain is that the chain skips on the worn cogs. You can't tell until you ride on it.

_________________
Chas.
SF Bay Area, CA USA
==============
1984 Criterium
1969 TdF
1971 TdF
1974 TdF
1984 TdF x 2 Bikes
1970 SC
1971 SC
1972 SC
1984 SC
1984 Team Pro
1985 Professional
1990s Team Replica
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:17 pm Reply with quote
js303
Joined: 02 Dec 2014
Posts: 13
verktyg - thanks for all the great advice! I'll certainly be keeping you in mind when working on it. Any concerns I have will be posted here. My goal is to have this thing looking sharp by spring.


Last edited by js303 on Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:38 pm Reply with quote
js303
Joined: 02 Dec 2014
Posts: 13
Didn't have much time to work on anything today but I made a couple baby steps.

Before getting crazy with replacing parts I went out to get some cleaning product first.



After cleaning the bike, getting the gunk off and paint touched up, Ill give it a good polishing and waxing.

I was able to get the seat removed and there is quite a bit of grease and gunk on the seat post and pinch bolt (?..the piece connecting the seat post and saddle)



Which now raises the question... Do I bother cleaning this or go ahead and get a lighter alloy seat post in a blue or possibly orange? Which raises the next question on should I get an adjustment clamp? If a clamp isn't ideal for my bike I won't get one but I do like the convenience of one.

pondering any of these combinations...



The grip tape will certainly have to go as it has been worn to the limit and is falling off in some spots.



I'll most likely be going with Lizard Skin 2.5 Tape in cobalt color. I'm just in love with this tape and I think it will be a nice modern twist on the bike. I'm planning on replacing the grip tape and seat in the next 2-3 weeks.



Last edited by js303 on Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:58 pm; edited 2 times in total
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seat post 
PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 6:40 am Reply with quote
gman309905
Joined: 23 Dec 2012
Posts: 63
Location: Pittsburgh PA.
A little grease on the seat post keeps it from freezing up with the frame. As long as the seat post you wish to use is the right diameter the color is entirely up to you. The seat post clamps you have pictured will not work on your frame but if you wish to have the option of adjusting your seat often you can use a seat post binder bolt with a cam lock such as the one pictured, available on ebay for a few dollars also available in blue. One other thing you should note, If your going to put a high end saddle or one that is a favorite of yours on the bike, a quick release seat post bolt also gives thieves an easy opportunity to make off with your saddle. Sad, but it happens.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:31 pm Reply with quote
js303
Joined: 02 Dec 2014
Posts: 13
After looking at dozens of saddles I decided to go with is this blue All City Gonzo... I think it's perfect for what I'm going for.

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Brake concerns 
PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:58 pm Reply with quote
js303
Joined: 02 Dec 2014
Posts: 13
When examining the brakes I'm noticing on the front and back that I'm only getting action or movement on one side of each brake instead of both pinching. Is this normal? The tuning of the cables appear to be fine... just not sure if one side is supposed to stay more in place or if they're stuck or not tuned tightly enough. New braking / gear cables are top priority at the moment. Luckily I have a friend or 2 who can help me with those.

I plan on removing the suicide levers soon but will there be a gap left on the bolt connecting it to the regular levers? One person tells me (not knowing my specific bike) I might have to replace the levers altogether if I want to remove the suicide lever.

Also the back wheel cassette... there are plenty of 10 speed nice and shiny new cassettes on ebay... would it be easy and worth replacing the cassette on this particular bike, and wheel... or do I need the rare metric kind?



And about the apparently infamous plastic "dork disk" on the back wheel cassette. The consensus is that you don't really need it...but maybe for this bike I do? I either want to just remove it or replace with a newer maybe blue one... but don't want to be seen as a roob either.
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Restoring my 71' Orange Tall Frame Gran Sport Deluxe 
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