Bike of the Month – March 2022
This months’ ‘Bike of the Month was restored by Stephen O’Halloran of County Cavan , Ireland.
Stephen, obviously, has a thing for Gitanes as you will see from the photo of his ‘Gitane Trio’. The build of the one we see here has an interesting and eclectic mix of components that, we are sure you will agree perfectly suits the build.
Bicycle Make: Gitane
Bicycle model: 1983 Gitane Pro replica
Date of Manufacture: 1986
This is a 1986 Gitane Reynolds 531Pro framset rebuilt as a 1983, Laurent Fignon TDF winning Gitane Pro replica bike.
The original bike was made with a Gitane Columbus SL frameset, Stronglight/Simplex group set and Modolo Pro brakes. This bike has a Stronglight crankset and headset like the original however I have opted for Campagnolo front and rear deraileurs as used on Fignon’s 1984 winning TDF bike, simply down to the fact that the Simplex version are almost impossible to source.
The brakes are Modolo Equipe with yellow coloured outer cable housing to mirror the original look.
The gear levers are Simplex just like the original version.
The wheels are Mavic GP4s with Mavic 500 hubs with tubular tyres.
The saddle is a reconditioned Selle Italia Turbo like the original.
The handle bars are Cinilli Giro d’Italia with Cinilli quill stem. The handle bar tape is NOS Benotto yellow bar tape like the original bike.
To finish off I’ve added a number 15 race number plate which Laurent Fignon had on the 1983 TDF. Fortunately the number plate hanger fitting has survived on this frameset to facilitate the race number.
This bike has a chrome Reynolds forkset from another Gitane bike. The original would have been painted blue like the frameset.
Laurent Fignon won the TDF in 1983 and 1984 with the mighty Gitane Renault Elf race team who were the power house bike racing team of the era. The 1983 groupset changed from Simplex to Campagnolo in 1984. Otherwise the bikes were almost identical. They also moved to internal brake cables within the handlebar set in 1984 but our bike has held true to it’s homage 1983 version.
This Reynolds 531 Professional frame was sourced online from France with the GP4 wheelset, Simplex gear leavers and original Selle Italia Turbo saddle which needed to be reconditioned by a company in Belgium. All other parts were sourced piece by piece over a 3 month period in 2021 during lockdown.
The rebuild itself was a welcome distraction from lockdown in 2021, it was also like a puzzle researching and sourcing parts for the build. Massive Kudos goes to the FB Gitane group who are an absolute wealth of knowledge and information when it comes to Gitane bikes. Lastly, fair play to Brendan from Oldvelo’s who steered me in the right direction when it came to a bottom bracket issue which needed the expertise of Jimmy Humphries of Humphries Cycles in Finglas to sort out. Chapeau folks..!