Vintage French Redux
Here is a bike tinkerer's parlour game for you: Assemble a complete bicycle using whatever wayward frame and spare parts happen to be in your possession at the moment. You can't go out and buy anything - not even cables or bolts. And you have exactly one evening. What would you come up with? The Co-Habitant ended up with something kind of neat. And mostly French. And both of us could ride it!
We have this Motobecane Grand Touring frame that we considered selling, but in the end decided to keep. The frame is too small for him and too large for me, but we were curious about the Vitus tubing and wanted to compare it to other Motobecane models we'd ridden. Maybe some day we'd build it up just for the heck of it, we thought - though not really expecting this to happen. But sometimes, things fall into place. Say you're cleaning, and you notice a box full of stuff you'd forgotten about. And then remember another box, with more stuff. Then out comes the frame and in a matter of hours a bike is born. Vintage touring wheels, Suntour derailleurs and original Belleri Porteur bars were mixed with a modern Sugino Alpina crankset, VO city brake levers, Tektro sidepulls, and Shimano bar-end shifters. We found a sanded-down stem from another French bike, a seatpost that happened to fit, and an old saddle. It was getting too late in the night to mess with fenders and handlebar tape, but we do have some.
The result so far is unexpectedly lightweight - especially compared to the Super Mirage the Co-Habitant had earlier. We took turns riding the bicycle around the empty neighbourhood in the middle of the night and marveled at how nice it felt. I've ridden lower end Motobecane bikes and have also tried a couple of higher end ones - but this one feels different from either. No toe overlap on the 58cm square frame.
Not sure what we will do with this bicycle, but he may keep it as his fast city bike - especially since he is infamously nervous about leaving his Pashley locked up on the street. I will post daylight pictures once it's fitted with fenders and handlebar tape. Not bad for a neglected frame and a box of spare parts!