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Interclub (ebay) with lots of pics, tubing? 
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:30 am Reply with quote
Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 242
Location: Florida
I noticed what I think from the catalogs is an interclub, maybe 1977. The listing has lots of detailed, clear photos. I downloaded all the pictures.

I was reading some old posts that said some Interclubs were built with Durifort, and the '77 catalog says "Durifort lightweight seamless tubing."

Anybody know anything more detailed about Durifort, or comparisons of weight or ride with 531 bikes? This is my size, but I think I'll wait and watch for a TdF. How do you guys get your wives to put up with so many bikes?
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 12:17 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 14 Jan 2007
Posts: 2814
Location: SF Bay Area
In the late 1960s to early 1970s many European bike makers offered "amateur" or club racing models. Sewup or tubular tires, frames with racing geometry and close ratio gearing was what differentiated these bikes from standard low end models. The Interclub was Gitane's version of this kind of bike designed for starting racers.

Racing geometry from that era was usually a frame with 72 to 73 seat and head tube angles, a 40+" (100cm to 103cm) wheelbase with 1 3/4" - 2 1/4" (45mm -55mm) fork rake. These pro models were generally nice riding and handling bikes designed for all day comfort and stability on the rough road surfaces encountered on the European racing circuit.

Contrast this to the frame geometry of European bikes from the US Bike Boom period of the early 70s. Standard model 10 speeds were designed like racing bikes built up through the mid 1960s: 71 - 72 angles, long chainstays and fork rakes resulting in a 41" to 44" (106cm to 110cm) wheel base and so on. This made for smooth rides over rough roads but many of these bikes handled like wheelbarrows!

I had several early 70s Interclub frames that I built up as trainer/beater bikes.

As you mentioned, some Gitane Interclubs were built with Durifort tubing and in general they all used lighter wall thickness tubing than most standard 10 speeds from that time.

Durifort was a butted tubing made by the French company Ateliers de la Rive. They also made Vitus and Super Vitus tubing plus they manufactured the Aluminum Vitus frames that many bike makers used under their own brand.

Here's a link to the history of Ateliers de la Rive. It pretty accurate with only a few technical errors:

A lot of production bikes made with Reynolds and Columbus used heavier gage versions of these tubes. The thicker tubing allowed the frames to be built faster using less skilled workers since there was less of a chance of damaging the tubing from overheating.

The brazing alloy used on these frames had a high melting temperature. It only takes a few seconds with an acetylene torch to get thin wall tubing white hot and damage the steel alloy.

Durifort was made from a lower alloy steel than Reynolds 531 or Columbus but was less sensitive to over heating than either of those brands. The wall thickness of butted Durifort tubing was slightly thicker than Columbus SP or the heavy gage Reynolds 531 used on many production frames. The after brazing strength of Durifort was probably close to the after brazing strength of the 2 premium brands.

One of my all time favorite bikes was a 1975 Andre Bertin C34 amateur racing model that I originally got as a trainer. It was made of Durifort tubing and I put more miles on it than any of my other bikes. It was a 54cm and I got rid of it after I stopped racing and switched to larger frames.

The bike on eBay looks like it's in pretty nice shape and would probably make a nice rider, but....

With all of the lower end components on it, the starting price is near the maximum value of a bike like this. I wouldn't throw a lot of money at this one, maybe $200 max. You can buy better bikes for not much more.

Good luck

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 1:01 pm Reply with quote
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Joined: 27 Feb 2006
Posts: 2701
Location: Southern California
Nice post. Thank you, Chas.

Stephan Andranian
Costa Mesa, CA
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 12:27 am Reply with quote
Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 242
Location: Florida
Thanks Chas for the two informative posts. The geometry is what got me interested in older racing bikes, and Gitanes in particular. When I Google various late 60's to mid 70's bikes, comments on Gitane's ride seem to be the closest to universally positive, They seem to have achieved a remarkable combination or balance of comfort and stability with stiffness and control. The only exception was a guy who said they were't good out of the saddle.

I think I'll pass on the Interclub. As you say, the price isn't a bargain, and I would want to put my 27" wheels with Record hubs and close-ratio 5-speed freewheel, and 175 mm cranks on whatever I buy. I might be best off with a frame, as long as it has the bottom bracket and headset. Sounds like a Durifort frame might be OK. Florida is flat, so a few extra ounces aren't too important.
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