April Week 2 – Entry for ‘Bike of the Month’
This week’s contender for May’s ‘Bike of the Month’ is this very tidy Gitane from Dave Clark NSW Australia, and was restored there. Dave split’s his time between Queanbeyan, NSW, Australia, which is 20 minutes from the Capital Canberra, and his little chateaux in the Midi-Pyrenees in France, where he goes for five and a half months each year to renovate his house and of course for cycling. His house is on Col de Port which was in Stage 15 of last years TDF and also in the 2017 TDF, Dave had the privilege of seeing the the peloton from his front terrace on both occasions. Alas due to the virus this year is not looking good he doesn’t think he will make it. At least his bike is appearing on the OldVelos website which may be some consolation!
He says that since these photos were taken the post CSC brake calipers have been replaced with pre 1978 calipers without the black plastic on the wheel guides, so the bicycle looks correct now,. The photos were all taken at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra
Bicycle Make: Gitane
Bicycle model: Super Olympic
Date of Manufacture: 1974
I purchased this frame set for its ‘honeycomb’ rear dropouts, and the Super Olympic was the top of the range for Gitane at the time and hard to find.
I also just like French frames and components despite at times their questionable quality.
This frame set required a total restoration, with both chrome and paint work badly deteriorated.
Consequently the frame and forks were re-chromed, new paint and decals applied including a reproduction of the original shop decal on the seat tube, before the rebuild was undertaken.
The specifications of the Super Olympic was , Reynolds 531 all tubes, Fait Main (handmade), Chromed fork bottoms, Campagnolo 12 speed (Nuovo Record) and Ideale 2002 saddle, Cinelli stem and bars. This bicycle has been rebuilt close to those specs, but is fitted with a Suntour New Winner Oro 5 speed freewheel 14-26, Sachs GT7 Oro chain, and Mavic MA2 rims and Continental Classic clinchers for practical reasons.
Subsequent to these photos the calipers have been replaced with a pre CPSC set which better match the bikes age and the straight lever Record hubs.
Of course the frame is French threaded, so the Nuovo Record bottom bracket and headset required French threads. I am fortunate to live nearby to a guy with arguably the best collection of bike tools in the Southern Hemisphere, including those for vintage bicycles (and the knowledge), so access to French threaded cutters to chase the bottom bracket and steerer threads wasn’t a problem.
Otherwise the build was without problems.