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How to identify my bike - read first 
PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 9:12 am Reply with quote
mountaindave
Joined: 22 Jun 2010
Posts: 74
Location: Flathead Valley, MT
Has anybody thought of throwing together a how to on this? My cursory search didn't turn a thread up, just a bunch of "help me identify X" threads. I know there are always exceptions to the rules, but it seems like there are enough generalities and enough experience to put some info together. We certainly have a good enough collection of bike photos to supplement.

Just a thought.

MD


Last edited by mountaindave on Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Sticky on "how to identify my bike"? 
PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 2:39 pm Reply with quote
verktyg
Joined: 14 Jan 2007
Posts: 2814
Location: SF Bay Area
mountaindave wrote:
Has anybody thought of throwing together a how to on this? My cursory search didn't turn a thread up, just a bunch of "help me identify X" threads. I know there are always exceptions to the rules, but it seems like there are enough generalities and enough experience to put some info together. We certainly have a good enough collection of bike photos to supplement.

For starters there is a very good "Catalogue" section. The link is on the Home Page.

While not complete, there are Gitane catalogs posted that range from the 1960s up through 2012.

Some of them are French catalogs with a few from the UK.

Note: the specs for Gitanes sold in different markets (France and continental Europe, the UK, the US and so on) can differ widely for the same or similar models so they are just a starting point.

There have NEVER been any bicycle specification police... Shocked

Spécifications sont sujettes à changement! (specifications subject to change) Wink


Last edited by verktyg on Sat Aug 27, 2016 4:59 am; edited 1 time in total

_________________
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: Sun Aug 04, 2013 5:42 pm Reply with quote
mountaindave
Joined: 22 Jun 2010
Posts: 74
Location: Flathead Valley, MT
OK, I'll be less subtle. You, verktyg, in particular seem to have a far deeper knowledge than most. There are others here who also know quite a bit. You have done some comparisons of "old vs. not-so-old" Gitanes. I was thinking of putting some of those words together with pictures to get a general "check here first" sticky going.

I have indeed perused through many of the catalogs. They are a good starting point, but some are missing and some are not US catalogs which, as you mentioned, can vary widely from the French ones. One misses the smaller details like the cable stops (brazed or not), the size of the lugs, the rear dropouts, etc.

I know it would be work, but I'm just trying to weigh the amount of time we could collectively put into a sticky vs. the weekly "help me identify my bike" threads. I'm not suggesting that we drop a bunch of work in somebody's lap... but clearly some people know more than others. Embarassed

Also we could let people know that Gitane serial numbers seem to be an elaborate, extended temporal aspect art nueveau.
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Gitane Tour de France Dating Guide 
PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 3:35 am Reply with quote
verktyg
Joined: 14 Jan 2007
Posts: 2814
Location: SF Bay Area
OK, for starters, when dating a Gitane TdF always treat her like a lady.... Laughing


Here's all you ever wanted to know and more...

The Definitive Gitane Tour de France: Late 1960s to 1974:

Gitane produced Tour de France model bikes from at least the early 1960s until about 1977 then again in the early 1980s.


In February of 1969 Mel Pinto Imports (MPI) introduced the Gitane bike we've come to identify as the classic Gitane Tour de France. This was the Mylar® foil decal era which lasted from 1968 until early 1974.




In the US market TdFs were positioned to compete against the similarly equipped Peugeot PX-10.

Side note:

From the early 1960s until about 1968 TdFs were listed as the Model 102.



In 1969 the TdF changed from Model 102 to Model 585. The new bikes were still coming in with "102" on the fork decals. Mel Pinto Imports (MPI) complained to Gitane and in a classic example of French frugality, instead of making new decals Gitane cut the "102" off of the fork decals with scissors! Rolling Eyes





List of original components found on 1969-74 Gitane Foil Decal US model Tour de France bikes.



NOTE: US Models between 1969 and 1974 had some different components and different frames than the French/European 1968-1974 TdFs.

Stronglight 93 52/42T cranks - Sugino Mighty Competition 52/42T Cranks on some 1972-74 and later TdF bikes.

Stronglight 93


Sugino Mighty Competition


NOTE: During the Bike Boom from ~1970-1974 European component manufacturers were unable to meet the demands of the bike makers. This opened the door to the Japanese brands: Sugino, Suntour, Shimano, SR and others.

Peugeot and to a lesser degree, Motobecane had more pull with Stronglight than Gitane thus the switch to Sugino cranks ~1972.



Lyotard 460d alloy pedals.




Toeclips and toe-straps usually Cristophe S. M or L appropriate to frame size with usually white Cristophe toe-straps.



Stronglight P3 Headset.




Simplex Criterium dérailleurs with chrome plated or polished aluminum down tube shift levers.









Some European TdFs came with Huret dropouts for the Svelto and Allvit derailleurs (the French thought very highly of the Allvit rear derailleurs).

Svelto


Allvit




MAFAC Dural Forge, Racer or Competition brakes.







Usually white brake cable housing with Simplex or Huret top tube cable clamps.



Pivo alloy bar and stem - recessed Allen head expander bolt on some 1973-74 Pivo stems.







Thick factory wrapped plastic handlebar tape on earlier models. Later model TdFs had cloth tape, usually white sometimes light blue or black that had to be installed by the dealer.





Normandy Luxe Competition high flange QR hubs - Campagnolo Nuovo Tipo high flange QR hubs after 1971.





Delivery problems, same as with Stronglight cranks forced Gitane to switch to the lesser quality Campagnolo Nuovo Tipo hubs. Again Peugeot used the Normandy Luxe Competition hubs on their PX-10 bikes and had more pull than Gitane.



36H tubular rims - usually Mavic brand - quality level varied. Zinc plated straight gage spokes.




Cheap sewup tires with a tube of Tubasti rim cement or Jantex rim tape (which we immediately threw away).



14-24 or 14-26 Atom or Maillard-Normandy 5 speed freewheel.

Atom FW


Maillard-Normandy FW




Chrome plated steel tube seatpost with a standard style seat clamp.




Plastic Frescia D’oro saddle (Golden Arrow) - a real “ass hatchet”. Painfull just looking at it! Crying or Very sad Evil or Very Mad Twisted Evil




Some early TdFs came with down tube mounted pumps - quality varied.




Frames:

The US model TdFs imported by MPI between 1969 and early 1974 had all Reynolds 531 "butted" frame tubing (well not actually all Reynolds 531, the steerers where butted but made by Nervar, the head tubes were cheap seamed tubing and the rear brake bridges were a variety of things. Only the down tube and top tube were "double butted". the rest of the tubes were single butted or straight gage tubing).

All Reynolds 531 tubing decal 1974 and earlier


All Reynolds 531 decal after 1974



French and European models had different equipment and only the 3 main tubes were Reynolds 531 tubing thus the 3 TUBES RENFORCES decals. The forks and stays were made of???

Pre 1974 Reynolds 531 3 main tubes decals


Post 1974 Reynolds 531 3 main tubes decals




Prugnat Type S long point “Italian style” lugs - Bocama Professional medium point lugs after 1972.

Prugnat S4 lugs


Bocama Medium Point Professional lugs




Nervex Professional fork crowns with occasional flat top Wagner crowns before 1972 - Nervex DuBois fork crowns after 1972.

Wagner crown (various versions used mostly in the late 60s and early 70s)


Nervex Professional crown


Nervex DuBois crown




Simplex forged steel dropouts in at least 4 variations including 1 style without a derailleur hanger - rarely Campagnolo 1010 dropouts. They sometimes had Huret fork ends.

Late 60s early 70s Simplex dropouts with a "horn" on the left rear dropout. You could grip the "horn" with your left fingers, it helped guide and center the wheel in the dropouts.


Later style Simplex dropouts without the horn.


Simplex forged dropouts without a derailleur hanger (several styles used)


These looked well... really cheap and ugly. They required the use of a detachable "claw" style derailleur hanger.


Simplex Prestige with "claw" hanger


Campagnolo 1010 dropouts. Campy dropouts DID NOT make the frame a Super Corsa!!! The were most likely used because Gitane ran out of Simplex dropouts! Evil or Very Mad


Proprietary Huret dropouts used on French/European TdFs with Huret derailleurs.



Most TdFs during the foil decal era came with Simplex fork ends. A few had Huret fork ends that looked identical to Campy ends. Even fewer had Campagnolo fork ends. that DID NOT make the TdF frame a Super Corsa Frame!!!

ADDENDUM: We imported Andre Bertin bikes from France during the 1970s and early 80s. Around 1976 I approached Bertin about supplying their mid range models with Campy dropouts - up til then, they came with stamped steel dropouts with out a derailleur hanger.

They came back to us and said Campagnolo dropouts would cost us an additional $15.00 USD per bike. That was a lot of money back then.

Bertin suggested that they supply bikes with their Milremo brand dropouts which were identical to Campy dropouts and made by the same company that made the Campy dropouts. Our cost was $6.00 USD per bike.

The fact that Gitane had to pay a significant extra price for Campy dropouts would have been enough to deter them from using those on any frame other than their top of the line models (Super Corsa, Olympic, Gran Tourisme)

Simplex dropouts probably cost Gitane about $3.00 - $4.00 a set. They most likely used Campy dropouts on US TdFs when they were in a jam and couldn't get Simplex dropouts. They may have even used Super Corsa frames on occasion but probably not the SC forks.

It wasn't just a matter of cutting 8mm-10mm off the top of the Super Corsa steerer to use on a TdF; steerers were trimmed at the bottom of the tube to insure enough threads at the top. I don't recall ever seeing a "virgin" TdF steerer that was cut off from the top!

There were probably a few (very few) TdFs that left the factory with SC frames but there was a significant price difference between the 2 models and a centime saved is a centime earned!


Simplex Fork Ends with domed non Reynolds 531 fork blades.


Huret Fork End with "fish mouthed" Reynolds 531 fork blade.


Campagnolo Fork End with "fish mouthed" Reynolds 531 fork blade.



1/2 chrome plated rear stays, fork blades and fork crown - European versions had chrome only on the forks.

US TdF Rear Dropouts


US TdF Forks


French/European Rear Dropouts - no chrome.


French/European forks


NOTE: The forks and stays on the US all Reynolds 531 frames had "fish mouth" cutouts at the dropouts and fork ends. The "3 TUBES RENFORCES" French/European TdFs had domed tubing ends.

Reynolds vs. non Reynolds fork blades


Also see Fork End and Dropout pictures above.


Willow leaf shaped brazed on seat stay caps - swagged seat stay tops after 1971.

Brazed-on Willow Leaf shaped seat stay cap.


Swagged Seat Stay Top - post 1971



Brazed on bridge for brake cable stop near top of seat stays - before 1972.


Both the willow leaf seat stay caps and the brazed on rear brake cable bridge were discontinued by 1971-72. They probably added 15-20 minutes time to brazing the TdF, Super Corsa and Olympic frames. During the US Bike Boom, Gitane and the other European bike makers were shoving bikes out the door as fast as they could box them up. Confused

There were several other variances. For example in the late 60s some of the TdF and Super Corsas had Mylar® foil on the head tubes. that had to be a PIA to install!



Also, some of the French/European TdF frames had no chrome - the forks and stays were painted.



(for those of you with sharp eyes, for what ever reason, yes that's a Campy head set but don't get carried away... It's a European model from the late 60s.)

Gitane TdFs and Super Corsas came with at least 2 different types of Reynold 531 fork blades: long and thin with a curve at the bottom and thicker with less curve. The difference was probably an availability issue with Reynolds. The curved blades are a little smaller diameter at the bottom and offer a little smoother ride.

The actual fork rake or trail is the same for both styles.





There were also variances in brake reach/fender clearance. I measured all of the forks on my foil decal TdFs and Super Corsas. They all differ no matter what the fork bend is - there is no rhyme or reason - just manufacturing variances (after a bottle of wine for lunch, who cares).


During the foil decal era Gitane measured frame sizes from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the seat tube.

TdFs were available in the following frame sizes C to T (Center to Top): 50cm, 54cm, 57cm, 60cm, 62cm and 64cm “nominal”.

This worked out to approximately 19 1/2", 21 1/2", 22 1/2", 23 1/2", 24 1/2" & 25 1/2" (very nominal)

There were occasional odd ball sized frames, for example I had a 1974 Foil Decal bike with about a 61cm frame - 24"


As mentioned above, in 1974 the US model TdFs were pretty much the same as the French/European versions. They were 3 TUBES RENFORCES came with new plastic film decals and had the new Huret honeycomb rear dropouts (but almost all of them had Simplex fork ends).

The original Huret dropouts were proprietary and only Huret derailleurs fit on them. The Simplex dropouts were proprietary too but could be easily modified to fit other makes of derailleurs. Campy style dropouts became the de facto industry standard.

Huret honeycomb dropouts were so "unique"??? that even bike buyers with no prior experience commented on how weird they looked. They were a hard sell BITD. Today that uniqueness has developed into a special charm.



One advantage of those Huret dropouts is that you can mount just about any derailleur on them: Huret, Simplex, Campy or most Japanese derailleurs.

Huret Challenger - the Huret Svelto, Allvit, Success, Jubilee, and Duopar also fit.



Simplex Criterium


Campagnolo Nuovo Record


Enough of the post foil decal TdFs, that's for another thread. Rolling Eyes


The above info are guesstimates based on my experiences selling Gitanes during the 70s plus my research in recent years. Catalog specifications were subject to change on a whim or due to availability and shortage issues during the US Bike Boom era.

Spécifications sont sujettes à changement! (specifications subject to change) Wink


Here’s links to my almost all original 1969 and 1971 Gitane TdFs:

1969 TdF

http://www.flickr.com/photos/28267220@N05/4457922085/in/set-72157623681212186/

My 1971 TdF, all original including the bar tape except for the Brooks Pro saddle

http://www.flickr.com/photos/28267220@N05/5438324332/in/set-72157625904415599/

That's all folks! Wink



Last edited by verktyg on Sun Aug 11, 2013 9:20 pm; edited 3 times in total

_________________
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: Sat Aug 10, 2013 7:59 pm Reply with quote
lofter
Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 1162
i need these references as i add to my collection from 1980 back . i admit im lost when i go back in time on the older gitanes. so only tdf from 68 to 74 ? no super corsas? when did super's come in play?
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:14 pm Reply with quote
smilingroadrunner
Joined: 10 Aug 2007
Posts: 278
Location: Salina, Ks.
Thanks Chas----as always a great resource.

P.S. Don, I really enjoyed your parade pictures !!!

You guys are the best---thanks always Stephan for this great site to share our interest in our bikes!!

I Like Steel !!!
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C.A.
Salina KS
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Super Corsas 
PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:45 pm Reply with quote
verktyg
Joined: 14 Jan 2007
Posts: 2814
Location: SF Bay Area
lofter wrote:
i need these references as i add to my collection from 1980 back . i admit im lost when i go back in time on the older gitanes. so only tdf from 68 to 74 ? no super corsas? when did super's come in play?


The Super Corsa was a US only model. As far as I can tell, the foil decal era Super Corsas were imported primarily by Mel Pinto from 1968 until early 1974 (there were several other outfits that imported or distributed Gitanes during that era).

Probably the last ones were ordered and imported by Mel Pinto in late 1973. After that Gitane Pacific took over the Gitane line.

The folks at Gitane Pacific didn't have a clue. I suspect that they were some Southern California wannabe entrepreneurs out to make a fast buck in the bike business. They focused on the entry level Gitane models plus brought in some ersatz Japanese and Taiwanese made Gitanes.

This was in 1974 just as the US bike boom FAD market for $100 10 speeds was collapsing. At that point there was still a market for mid range and better quality bikes. Many riders were moving up to a better quality bike.

In 1975 Gitane Pacific offered some upscaled Interclubs and dumbed down TdFs with only the 3 main tubes Reynolds 531 and the Huret honeycomb rear dropouts.

They were priced WAAAAY out of the market! The 1974 TdFs carried a list price of ~$471 USD at a time when you could buy a Peugeot PX-10 for ~$300 USD.

I think that we had to sell the 74-75 Interclubs and TdFs at our costs just to get rid of them! Rolling Eyes

The Olympic and Super Olympic (Campy Brakes) were the French/European versions of the Super Corsa. Gitane continued making those models throughout most of the 1970s and into the early 80s.

A few of them trickled into the US, probably imported by someone other than Gitane Pacific.

The 1976 Tour de France was restored to it's mid range status with a full Reynolds 531 frame, Campy dropouts and decent quality components. It was also priced at a reasonable $375 USD (too little, too late)!

In 1977 Gitane Pacific went keel up and bow down! Twisted Evil

After that there was no strong Gitane presence in the US until the early 1980s.

Gitane reintroduced the Super Corsa and Tour de France models for 1983 and 84. They offered the TdF again in 1987.

BTW, Mel Pinto still still had a few old stock foil decal Super Corsas in 50cm, 62mm and 64cm sizes until ~1976.

_________________
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: Sun Aug 11, 2013 4:45 am Reply with quote
lofter
Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 1162
so what made a super corsa ? a sticker?
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 10:36 am Reply with quote
verktyg
Joined: 14 Jan 2007
Posts: 2814
Location: SF Bay Area
lofter wrote:
so what made a super corsa ? a sticker?

No, ALL Super Corsas had Campagnolo rear dropouts plus a longer steering tube to fit a Campy headset with a 41mm stack height.

Some Super Corsas came with Huret fork ends which looked identical to Campys.





Also, Super Corsas NEVER had Simplex dropouts or fork ends!!!


TdF forks had a shorter steerer to fit the 33mm stack height of the Stronglight P3 headsets. Almost All TdFs had P3 headsets from the factory (I've never seen one that didn't but...)!




Just because some TdF steerers are slightly longer and someone can fit a Campagnolo headset onto it doesn't make the frame a Super Corsa. "If wishin' made it so" - The Subdudes

In most instances, TdF steerers had enough length to fit a MAFAC front brake cable hanger plus a lock washer or spacer above and below the hanger to keep it from turning when the headset was tightened.



Without those you can get an extra 3-4 mm of steerer length but... you'll only get about 3 threads of "purchase" with the Campy top lock nut. You should have at least 5 turns of thread - that's why the headsets were made that way!!! Evil or Very Mad

The French bicycle manufacturers were frugal minimalists. If they could save a few centimes by leaving out spacers and so on, they would!

But, these were "hand made" frames so if a steerer was a little to long, during final assembly they might also have added a spacer or two.

NOTE: 7 threads of purchase (or 7 turns) gives the maximum connection strength in a threaded fastener system. Beyond 7 turns there is no added strength.

NEXT CHAPTER - SUPER CORSAS


_________________
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: Sun Aug 11, 2013 11:25 am Reply with quote
lofter
Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 1162
keep it up professor im seriously learning here, and luvin it Wink
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Specifications subject to change without notice 
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 12:04 pm Reply with quote
vanhelmont
Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 242
Location: Florida
Chas, great post.

I don't remember the French, but "specifications subject to change..." must apply to frames, too. Jay's TdF has the brazed on brake bridge, which should make it '72 or earlier, with Bocama medium point lugs, which should show up in '73.
Jay's TdF and my SC both have swaged seat stays and brake bridges, so the leaf style seat stays must have disappeared before the brake bridge.

Dave
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Re: Specifications subject to change without notice 
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 3:12 pm Reply with quote
verktyg
Joined: 14 Jan 2007
Posts: 2814
Location: SF Bay Area
vanhelmont wrote:
Chas, great post.
I don't remember the French, but "specifications subject to change..." must apply to frames, too. Jay's TdF has the brazed on brake bridge, which should make it '72 or earlier, with Bocama medium point lugs, which should show up in '73.
Jay's TdF and my SC both have swaged seat stays and brake bridges, so the leaf style seat stays must have disappeared before the brake bridge.
Dave


Thanks, Dave... Embarassed

You are correct. The leaf style seat stay caps were discontinued about 1971 - when the Bike Boom really took off.

Brazing on those seat stay caps could take up to 10 minutes which included cutting the seat stays to the proper length and angle, then attaching the caps either before or after brazing the tops of the stays to the seat lug.

Swagging is done by machine and takes only a matter of seconds.



The elimination of the brake cable bridge came a little later. Brazing on the bridge could have taken 2-3 minutes.

They were eliminated not because of some folks fantasies about the use of factory installed Campy brakes on Super Corsas but for a cost savings.

Besides, they were an anachronistic throw back to Brit bikes.

I use a lot of "weasel words" like perhaps, probably and so on because dating these bikes is just and educated guess.

When was the frame made? When was the bike assembled? How long did it sit in Gitane's warehouse, Mel Pinto's warehouse or one of the other Gitane distributor's warehouse? What about the bike shop where it was sold?

Bikes with 54cm, 57cm and 60cm frames were the most popular sizes. 50cm, 62cm and 64cm bikes didn't sell as fast. Mel Pinto had a few old stock Super Corsas in those slow moving sizes in his inventory up until early 1976??

Another factor was color. Some colors were more popular than others but plain vanilla white was the most common one.

So in essence, someone could have bought a TdF or SC in 1974 that was built in 1970 or 71! Confused

I bought my first "pro bike", a Gitane Super Corsa at the end of 1973 (for $150 on a year end closeout sale).

It had been hanging on the wall at the bike shop since 1971 and had both the leaf shaped seat stay caps and the brake cable bridge.

It was a 60cm and a little too big for me. I was lucky and traded the frame off for a 57cm gold Super Corsa frame that was probably a 1973 model without the braze-ons plus the newer style Nervex fork crown.

In the immortal words of Roseanne Roseannadanna (Gilda Radner- SNL): "You just don't know..." Laughing

BTW, it's "Spécifications sont sujettes à changement!"




Last edited by verktyg on Sun Aug 11, 2013 9:21 pm; edited 1 time in total

_________________
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: Sun Aug 11, 2013 6:44 pm Reply with quote
mountaindave
Joined: 22 Jun 2010
Posts: 74
Location: Flathead Valley, MT
Yes!!!! Now quick, mod-gods, make this a sticky!!!
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2013 10:43 am Reply with quote
Frenchbuilt
Joined: 18 Apr 2007
Posts: 441
Time is money and as products develop there is always an effort to build faster and reduce cost in mass production. The frames we are working on have several imposed constraints one being the number of welds and as a result, the number of tubes used.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 2:08 am Reply with quote
MiloFrance
Joined: 18 Aug 2014
Posts: 11
Location: France
Great thread! I've been looking in all sorts of places for details of my Gitane, but still no luck finding the right combo of parts and details. I'll post a new one soon with a link to the photos...
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How to identify my bike - read first 
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