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  • It's a five speed with a Nervar crankset
  • The rear derailleur is a Huret Allivet
  • The single friction shifter lever is located on the downtube
  • Remnants of a "Made in France" sticker cling to life close to said shifter
  • It has a headbadge that is duplicated on the top tube of an illustration of a gentleman racing a bike with the words "Tour de France" hanging in the upper left corner. The illustration is cartoonish almost in an Archie style.

head badge/forks

frame(not factory bars/brakes)

I've sent emails, taken the bike to more shops than most will see in a lifetime and have strained my eyeballs to no end looking through google images in an attempt to give my daily a proper id. Here's what we know:

Has anyone ever seen one of these bikes? Does anyone know what company or manufacturer made this bike?

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    If you could provide a picture, that would help a lot. – Daniel R Hicks Jun 12 '16 at 23:09
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    Aside, while its great to know the provenance of a bike, its still your bike and will fit you no better or worse. Like a mutt-dog from the pound, if you go together well, and go far together, the name is academic. Just be happy that it was well made in the first place. – Criggie Jun 13 '16 at 0:28
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    I love the bike I just want to know its roots but not to exclaim from the bell tower rather add to my mental inventory – james Jun 13 '16 at 4:03
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    That's a loverly bike. Please get the chainring off the floor - hang it from hooks or some rope or something. – Criggie Jun 13 '16 at 8:36
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    I suspect the front brake is new(er), it looks suspiciously shiny and like a 1980's or later cheap caliper. – Móż Jun 14 '16 at 3:49
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The graphics looks similar to a '61 Dynamax TDF edition, made by Motobecane for the Canadian market. Could be a different model year maybe?

61 dynamax decals.. Look like a similar cartoon style. enter image description here

enter image description here

Either way its pretty awesome!

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    Can you get a photo of the top of the cartoon's head? I'm looking at the goggles to see if they're similar. Fantastic spotting though - they do look similar. – Criggie Jun 14 '16 at 21:40
  • The goggle, double handlebar bottles and yellow jersey all seem to match, I think it's a winner! – Móż Jun 14 '16 at 21:47
  • May not be the exact bike or model year, but the decal looks pretty darn close to me, i stumbled across it here : bikeforums.net/classic-vintage/… There are more pictures on that forum, but none of the decal, looks to be similar components as well, crank is different but there is no telling what has been changed on the OP's bike. Oddly enough the head badge on the green one is a dynamax head badge but the fork is obviously motobecane. Could be restickered after the loss of the head badge. – Nate W Jun 14 '16 at 22:43
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Answer: Its a 1970s french racing bike in steel. I see

  • cottered cranks (the wee bolts holding the cranks to the bottom bracket axle. so its pre 1980s
  • Lugged steel construction - there's an edge above your head badge sticker
  • Significant amounts of rake on the front fork (looks quite "bent")
  • Quill Stem
  • No rack or mudguard eyelets.

Observations:

  • the cranks appear unusually long. Could be the camera fooling me though.
  • cable holders are on the bottom/right quadrant of the top tube. I'd expect them to be along the very top of the top tube.
  • Head tube badge - its in poor condition, torn and colours faded. But the bike I see pictured is accurate enough. I'm unsure whether this is the original head badge or a sticker that someone has put on. It might ring a bell with someone else here.

Suggestions:

Ride it, clean it, lube it, service it, and care for it.

The only upgrade I might recommend is to fit modern brake pads, because the newer compounds work better than the old black blocks. If you're refurbishing it, throw away the old cable inner and outers and fit new ones for brakes and gears.

You're unlikely to find 27" wheels anymore, but a 700c wheel is close enough. The front brake I can see looks to have a lot of open slot below the nut, so you'll get the extra 4-6mm needed for a modern front wheel. Rear wheel is harder, because 5 speed cassettes are getting uncommon. You might end up rebuilding the existing rear hub into a new rim with new spokes. When 27" tyres become hard to find, this may be your only answer.

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    I think you're off by at least a quarter of a century! Notice the shape of the fork crown, and the chain ring. – andy256 Jun 13 '16 at 11:23
  • @andy256 okay "the latest it could be is a 1970s french steel racing bike......" I wish I had a maker's name to contribute. Possibly a clearer head tube badge unrolled in photoshop, lines cleaned up and completed might work in google image search? That'd be a lot of time though. – Criggie Jun 13 '16 at 11:33
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    27" wheels are still available in the US market, as are 5 speed cassettes. There is a US distributor that keeps them in stock for old rebuilds and whatnot. – Nate W Jun 14 '16 at 20:43
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100% sure this was made by Motobecane. It looks exactly like my 1974 M. Grand Touring -- the frame, fork, headset, and bottom bracket are identical; even the frame color is the same. And the pedals are the same, too.

Search for Motobecane Grand Touring on ebay for photos (I don't have mine any more). If I looked only at the second photo (except for the sprocket) I would have said it was the 10 speed Grand Touring...

One of the reasons I bought the Grand Touring was for the steel, cottered crankset (by Nervar). The aluminum ones back then were soft and not considered to be as rugged or reliable. It had what they called a 1040 or 1020 (or something like that) frame. It wasn't light, but was great on steep hills -- had just the perfect stiffness to transfer all your energy. Newer bikes seem like "wet noodles" when it comes to really steep hill climbing.

Per Criggie's post:

1) The front fork is not bent, the rake looks exactly right to me.

2) The crank arms are extra long. When I first got my M.G.T (first few days) I hit the ground with one of the pedals while turning a corner, fell and had to have the front wheel re-built. Be careful when riding yours.


https://www.reddit.com/r/bicycling/comments/1h9312/my_new_bike_1970s_motobecane_grand_touring/

From https://www.reddit.com/r/bicycling/comments/1h9312/my_new_bike_1970s_motobecane_grand_touring/

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    Rather than telling every single person who reads your answer to go off and search, it would be more useful if you did that, once, and copied some photos into your answer. – Móż Jun 17 '16 at 21:10
  • I've added one, noting the really long cranks in this photo. Also the lugs at the top of the fork are cut into an M shape for Motobecane - @james does your bike have that? Your second original photo is unclear. – Criggie Jun 18 '16 at 3:02
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1970's wanna-be-a-racer French bike. That looks like Huret's cheapest rear derailleur. To ride it, you'd want to replace the headset and fork. Why fix up a cheap bike? If you're really considering it, at least remove the cotters and open up the French threaded bottom bracket to see if the cups are pitted. Spindle also. If they're not smooth - if there's pitting - I think you should look for a period French bike in better condition.

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    Even if it's "a cheap bike", its survived since the 70's so its gotta be decent! – Nic Jun 14 '16 at 22:32
  • I have a weakness for nightmare bikes like that, so I just wanted to hint that he might be out a lot of time and money if he fixes it up. Cups for a French threaded bottom bracket could be the first thing to find. – user26530 Jun 15 '16 at 21:03

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