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For a limited time, Gitane's "City Link" single speed cross/commuter frameset will be available in select stores in the USA! This will be the first time in years any Gitane has been made available to customers in the USA. For only $399, you can own a French Legend!

Contact GitaneUSA for more details. Download the spec sheet here (pdf)


Time Trial

Gitane was one of the first companies to develop bicycles specifically for time trials. During the late 1970's, Gitane began developing a bicycle which would be more aerodynamic than the normal road bike. The bicycle that resulted was radically different from other road bikes of the time and paved the way to today’s “super aero” TT bicycles.

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Hinault aboard his 1st generation Gitane TT The 1981 TT's seatpost binder bolt 1984-1988 TT Bike - Modern & fast looking even today! 2001 Francaise des Jeux
Don Lofter's 1981 Gitane TT, in perfect condition! Gitane Time Trial Frame - 1990's Hinault, contemplating another TT victory  
TDFprologue84 The 1981 TT's front end. Note the backwards mounted brake Laurent Fignon, Tour Prologue 1986  

In 1981, Gitane manufactured the first TT specific bicycle. The bike was not made available to the public and was never featured in any company catalogue. Only made available to the racing team, Bernard Hinault powered the TT bicycle to great results throughout 1981 and beyond. It featured ovalized tubes made by Reynolds and featured internally routed cables throughout, a feature which was revolutionary for the time. It is unclear if the tubes were custom made by or for Gitane, although it is clear that the seatpost was made specially by the company. Also interesting is the crude seatpost binder bolt, which literally would be “screwed into” a shim slipped between the frame the custom “crushed” seatpost. Also of note is the front brake, which was mounted behind the fork for added aerodynamics and the bladed seat stays and head tube. Few examples of this bike exist today. The example pictured was used as a display at a New York City bicycle show in the early 1980's, and is in near mint condition.

While this bicycle was available to Hinault during his time trials, it is interesting to note that he did not use this frame in all of his time trials. Also, Laurent Fignon did not use one in his final time trial during the 1984 Giro d’Italia, where he lost to Francesco Moser on the last day’s time trial, thereby losing the Giro. It is unknown if the bicycle was even available to the team at the start of the 1984 season. Perhaps the team suspected that aerodynamics did not play an important role in time trials?

After the debacle of 1984 Giro, Gitane introduced the second generation of its TT bicycle in the Tour de France. Instead of redesigning the entire bicycle, Gitane modified their 1981 TT bicycle to accept the new and more aero “cowhorn” handlebars and a 650c front wheel. While most other companies came up with designs which featured standard round tubes with sloping top tubes and standard stems, Gitane used their 1981 aero design with a smaller front wheel and a bar which attached through a cutout in the head tube, attaching the handlebar directly to the steerer tube.

The result was a hammerhead-like design which was remarkably different than any other TT bicycle of the era and which was ahead of its time. Even today, Gitane’s 1984 TT bicycle does not seem that dated.

The essential design, under different color schemes and stickers, was used by Gitane teams from 1984 through 1988, with great successes along the way. There were versions which used the standard 700c front wheel. In the late 1980's, Gitane produced a “superbike” prototype, which was featured at a few bicycle shows, but never raced (to my knowledge).

In the 1990's and through 2003, Gitane made TT specific bicycles which were used by its professional teams. In the early 1990's, there was a different version made for triathletes, which used standard round tubes but was fashioned like an mid-1980's “funny bike.”