Help-advice needed for 70s French Roadie

The Hollander01

New Member
I have seen Manufrance Hirondelle mid 70s road bike and very interested in getting it, however a few people have said it is hard to get parts for it and can only get them online and are expensive.
I only want it for a commute to work as I have my lovely Dutch cruiser which is too heavy to use for commuting so really don't want to spend too much money on it.

Any advice?

Many thanks
 

Scilly Suffolk

Über Member
It will have a French threaded bottom bracket and headset, which aren't readily available; although I'd have thought eBay France would be a good place to start.

Other parts should be to a common standard; even if you wanted to keep it original the parts will be relatively easy to source: French component manufacturers were big players until the Mid-Eighties.

Are the bottom bracket and headset likely to need replacement?
 

tyred

Legendary Member
Location
Ireland
You can get a French threaded headset here - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/200650061768?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649 - I bought one for my old Peugeot touring bike. Seems to be decent quality for the money.

I'd imagine you should also be able to source French (or it could be Swiss!) BB cups from France as well. If it's cottered cranks, you will need 9mm cotter pins (everybody else used 3/8"). If it's square tapered or you want to convert to square taper, probably the easiest thing is to buy a Prestine threadless BB from Parkers of Bolton. It will fit.

Also be aware that the French stem is 22m whereas everything else is 7/8" In reality, the difference is minute so a standard stem will possibly fit anyway or it will fit with a little sandpapering.

My biggest concern assuming the wheels are serviceable is that the French freewheel thread is different from the norm so if you want to use the original back wheel but change the gearing, you may have a bit of difficulty tracking down a freewheel. Your choice would certainly be limited. However, a budget wheel with a Quando hub will work perfectly well and these are better hubs than people make out, the secret being to grease and adjust the bearing properly before use.

Also, make sure you have the original seatpost as the French used some odd sizes.
 
OP
T

The Hollander01

New Member
Thank you so much, that's a huge help.

The bike is actually in a beautiful condition but with commuting 12 miles everyday it will surely need new parts at some point so wanted to check how difficult it is to locate.

I do have the original seatpost.

I did call Bikefix in London which said it shouldn't be a problem in ordering in but they couldn't be sure in pricing.

Thanks again
 

Scilly Suffolk

Über Member
+1 for Tyred, I learned something there.

I didn't realise the odd seatpost sizing was a French thing, I thought it was just Peugeot so didn't mention it.

I had no idea about stems, cotter pins and freewheel threads though...
 

raindog

er.....
Location
France
The bike is actually in a beautiful condition but with commuting 12 miles everyday it will surely need new parts at some point so wanted to check how difficult it is to locate.
As long as the bearings are decent quality and you keep them greased and adjusted they could last for years and years.
 

tyred

Legendary Member
Location
Ireland
It's not so much that French bikes use odd sized components but that they were built to French dimensions, which weren't adapted by the world as a whole so became obsolete over time. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with French sized components.

Who knows, if the French sizes had been adapted by everyone else, we could be reading posts from people cursing the difficulty of finding 1 3/8" x 24tpi bottom bracket cup.
 

biggs682

Smile a mile bike provider
Location
Northamptonshire
PS This thread needs photos!
scilly you are soooooooooooo write we need pics and lots of them
 
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