Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Motobecane Nomade Restoration Part 2

Hello and Welcome,
First I would like to say Thanks to the folks who have been using the blogs face-book page. If you have not checked it out yet, Please do. The link is located in the column on the right. (just click on the logo) I look forward to seeing more of your projects and favorite rides.

Left Click on Images to Enlarge, Click on Back(<)Button to Return

Above: While taping the handlebars on the MotoBecane I had an idea. Why not just roll the tape out to the end of the roll. Then tape the end into place with a small piece of tape. Then I can do the end wrap (elictrical tape) where I choose, then cut off the excess with a razor blade. I think it might be easier for some "like myself" who struggle with making the final cut then taping it into place.
The tape I used was slightly adhesive(Avenir) So there was no need for a small piece of tape on the end to secure it while I did the end wrap.
Above: Here I am cutting off the excess tape after getting the finish electrical tape in place. All you need to do is use the tape edge as your guide. Of course you will want to measure the other side to match before applying the finish tape. In this case I decided 4-1/2 cm looked about right. UPDATE: Anonymous said...
Be aware that if you score the handlebars when you trim, you run the risk of weakening the bars there. This is more likely with alloy, rather than steel bars.

Above: I think this method makes it easier for almost anyone to get a nice clean finish cut on the tape ends. You will need to be very careful cutting with a razor blade. I used a single edge blade. To ensure the best cut, I would recommend using a fresh blade each time. You can still use the blades for something else so your not really being wasteful. If you are not confident using a sharp razor blade, then Please get someone experienced to help you.
Above: I always thought of Jenson USA as a high-end supplier. I was pleasantly surprised to find this very affordable saddle on their site. And the delivery was extremely fast. So check them out next time your shopping online for components. You may be pleasantly surprised too! I picked this Avenir 100 Series saddle for style and price. If your building a road bike for resale you might want to consider this. A saddle is a very "personal preference" kind of thing. To me it does not make sense to invest too much into a saddle that is likely to be replaced anyway. Of course if your building a bike "to order" that is a whole different ball of wax.

Above: This is the best part of the build, getting some pics of the finished project out in the light of day. And this is my favorite angle to photograph a bike from, shooting slightly downward from the front drive side.
Above: Shooting the bike from down low close-up will make it look larger than life.
Susan from Segar Studio taught me that. I was able to scrounge up the corresponding front wheel reflector and the matching rear reflector as well. I hit the screw heads on the wheel reflectors with the brass wire wheel brush. And I cleaned them up with Armor All Cleaning Wipes. It really makes them pop!

Above: A nice shot from the port side. Looking at this pic I notice I did not put a dust cap on the left side of the crank. Opps! The dust cap on the left pedal is not correct. I crimped a larger MKS cap and popped it on there just for these pics.
Above: This is where taking the brake calipers apart and polishing them with Mother`s really pays off. The bolt head on the cable hanger was cleaned-up with the brass wheel brush. And the hanger itself and straddle cable were cleaned-up with Mother`s. I really love that stuff!

Above: Everything I said about the brake caliper holds true for the crank as well.
Looking at this crank makes me want to wrap the whole thing up and keep it clean.
But they are made to ride.
Above: A nice shot of the non original Araya front wheel. The correct reflector gives it a more authentic look. I do have a (sort of) set of Motobecane wheels. Front 1972 Rear 1976. I made this choice deliberately. I`m not a huge fan of the dimpled braking surface on the original wheels. Or the "electric motor sound" they make while braking. I did the same thing on my MotoBecane Special Sport. That`s how I ended-up with two usable Motobecane wheels. I know they will be put to good use somewhere down the road.

Above: The rear wheel and the beautiful Suntour Superbe derailleur. It is a thing of beauty. I also opted to remove the pie-plate while servicing the hub and free-wheel. I have in the past changed the free-wheel from a five to a six after removing the pie-plate. I did not do it in this case, I just thought I would throw that out there FYI.
Well I think that about covers it. Right now I am building a fixed gear bike. (trying to anyway) I did not have much to choose from in the frame department so I chose a tall blue Schwinn Sprint (Taiwan lugged frame)that has been hanging on the wall forever. I think I need to pick-up a single-speed chain as the ten speed chain is not quite wide enough. I should have something to report on that soon.

Above: There it is in the top left corner. Actually the blue Schwinn might be a Schwinn World not a Sprint. I`ll get back to you on that.
Till Next Time, RIDE SAFE and Remember to Always, RESCUE,RESTORE & RECYCLE!
Cheers, Hugh


  1. The Nomade looks beautiful Hugh- as expected. I love the drive side shot, you have the reflectors, stems lined up and took the time to place the PSI labeling on the tires just above the stem- nice attention to detail. I broke down and took apart the rear (no name) center-pull brake on the old Tiger 10 speed I am working on and I have to say it does make cleaning it up much easier and more thorough- good tip. The razor work on you did on the bar tape also looks very precise. As usual I don't expect you will have to list that beauty on CL for too long someone is in for a sweet smooth ride. Love those Motobecanes.


    PS Do you find the Avenir tape breaks if you pull tight while wrapping? I have had that happen twice and don't recall that issue with other tapes - I am certainly not muscle bound.

  2. Hey Ryan,
    Thanks, I really enjoyed working on this bike.
    I`m always talking about how much I love Raleigh bikes. However this bike has reminded me that I like the old Motobecanes every bit as much. I have never had a problem with the Avenir tape breaking. But honestly, I think this is only the first or second time I have ever used it. I normally use Fizik or Cinelli. The Fizik is really durable but a little pricey. But if you figure in how long it lasts the Fizik might actually be the same cost or even cheaper. But I prefer the feel of the cork infused tape for myself. Thanks again for the kind words. Cheers

  3. I've had the Cinelli tape break on me. Doesn't everyone line up the tire labels with the stems? What amazes me is that Hugh even sticks those dopey wheel reflectors back on. If he starts repainting the wheel reflector screws, we will all know one of his own screws has come loose!

  4. Hey Chris,
    Sorry, No comments posted with advertising links. Cheers

  5. Hey Steve,
    Those are "vintage" spoke reflectors :) Red in the back & Yellow in the front, That's cool man. lol
    I think what you meant to say is "We`ll know one more of his screws has come loose"
    Seriously, for personal use I can do without spoke mounted reflectors. But for re-sale, I think for liability reasons alone they should be included. But I still think the old style reflectors look very "Euro-Cool"
    Cheers, Hugh

  6. My compliments on another beautiful road bike restoration, Hugh. It might be my personal bias, but I believe the old, French road bikes display a 'lightness' in design to the eye that is shared by French architecture, also. It is just another attribute that makes the French what they are. The refinements you added seem to enhance that 'lightness', and I can envision the Motobecane Nomade 'floating' off the roadway, appearing to have no weight at all.

    If any of your buyers are somewhat elderly, but still yearn for a vintage road bike, despite being impaired by bodily ailments, they can make their ride much more comfortable by adding a longer quill stem for the handlebars. I replaced the original quill stem on my 1988 Fuji Pulsar with a Technomic quill stem, 225mm in overall length, with a 50mm extension. The more upright riding position provided by the Technomic stem makes an amazing difference. Tired back muscles and stiff neck are gone now. Also, there is less weight loading on the front wheel, which makes steering more stable when debris is encountered on the roadway. Unfortunately, the beautifully-made Technomic's are not cheap. I paid $57 for mine, shipping not included.

    To fit vintage, French road bikes, the 22.2mm Technomics must be sanded down to 22mm in diameter, and the handlebar clamp will not fit French handlebars. The Technomic's are only available to fit 26.0mm bars; this means that a shim must be used for 25.4mm bars. Shims can be purchased, but they are outrageously priced -- as much as $14. The do-it-yourself solution for a shim is to use aviation snips and material from a beer or pop can, which is very close to 0.3mm in thickness. In my case, my preference is for steel over aluminum, so I used material from a one-quart paint thinner container. Wrapped completely around the bars, the home-made shim works fine. The center of my handlebars are now exactly even with the height of my saddle. The brake levers are easily reached, and I can go down in the drops, if the mood strikes me, without prohibitive back discomfort.

    I should mention that, if a Technomic quill stem seems too over-priced, a lower cost alternative is available. It is sold under the Sunlite label, and is 250mm in overall length. It is heavy, department-store quality, and is not as pretty as the Technomic. It also has a swan-neck design, which is most commonly seen on English three-speeds. But it can be shortened in length, if needed, by anyone who can use a hacksaw, and it will do the job -- giving a rider a more upright riding position. It also does not need a shim; it fits 24.5mm bars.

    One other comment I can make about the Motobecane Nomade project is that any buyer who wants to add fenders to it should have no problems. The Motobecanes fitted with Weinmann center-pull brakes have ample clearance designed into them, and 45mm-wide fenders should be compatible with 27 x 1 1/4 tires. I had SKS fenders mounted on my 1972 Motobecane Grand Jubile, running on 27 x 1 1/4 tires. There is a fender-tire clearance problem with my 1988 Fuji Pulsar, however. It has Dia-Compe G sidepull brakes which necessitate that the fenders be mounted too close to the tires (27 x 1 1/4 Panaracer Pasela TourGuard). Only smaller diameter wheels and smaller cross-section tires will solve that clearance problem.

    On the subject of handlebar tape, I first tried Tressostar cloth tape on the Fuji Pulsar; didn't like it, discarded it. The bars are now taped with Deda Perforated Tape, and I'm very satisfied with it. It is made in Italy, has a nice cushioned feel to it, and stretches just enough to give a tight wrap around the curves.

  7. Hey FujiPulsar88,
    Thanks for the kind words. And thanks for all the information. I am sure that anyone looking to convert their road bike will find it helpful.
    About the tape, you made a very good point. If someone has a tendency to tear or break the tape they are using now. Going with a Deda or Fizik perforated tape will certainly solve that problem. Thanks again, Hugh

  8. Be aware that if you score the handlebars when you trim, you run the risk of weakening the bars there. This is more likely with alloy, rather than steel bars.

  9. Sorry for this late post but I wanted to thank you for the bar tape insight. I use old inner-tubes and started on the flats, finishing on the hooks with sloppy looking tape and a real struggle to get the end caps in. Oh well, live and learn.

  10. Hey John,
    That sounds like it would be bugger trying to cut the inner-tubes into even strips. I can only imagine what a pain in the a55 it would be trying to get the end-plugs to work. I mean it seems to me the rubber would stick to the plug on the way in. Oh Well.. nothing ventured, nothing gained! Cheers

  11. Hi Hugh -

    Noticed the unicycle.

    As a representative of the Unicycle Police, I am glad to see that you are in compliance. All bike shops must have at least one uni kicking around somewhere, but usually no one knows how to ride it.

    Do you ride? If so, you should check out the Redford Township Unicycle Club (RTUC.org), of which I am a member. I know that Redford is part of your old stomping grounds.

  12. Hey Jay,
    I still can ride a unicycle but not as well as I could 40+ years ago. That one on the wall is a Landis, pretty fair quality for a beginner I guess. It does have a small frame, so it is difficult for me to ride. The summer before last I had two unicycles a 20 in and a 24 (wheel size). Both with adult size frames. I should have kept the 24 it was really cool. Learning to ride a unicycle is a great thing for a young person to do. Talk about learning to be persistent! Not to mention developing coordination. I went to my friends house every day "for what seemed like a full summer" to practice. When I finally "got it' he sold it to me. He is the same friend who taught me how to work on my bike. I mention him (Mike A) in the "A little about me" section. I think learning to ride a unicycle was the first time I felt a real sense of accomplishment. Actually hockey and boxing came before that I guess. But none the less, it felt great to finally master it! I`ll check out the site as soon as I finish here. I never hung around Redford, but I did work for a guy from there many years ago. I think the farthest south I ever lived was at 8 mile and Schaeffer road in the D. But I spent most of my youth about 1 mile east and 4 blocks north of the Detroit Zoo. Those were good days growing up in the old neighborhood.

  13. Hey Hugh! My name is Taylor and I'm college student currently trying to upgrade my 1972 Motobecane Nomade into a single-speed. I realize it might damage some of the old-school integrity of the bike but it was a hand-me-down from my dad and I love the bike, I would just like to upgrade it a little! I was wondering if you could give me some tips on some of the things that I am struggling with? 1. I was hoping to replace the factory u-bars with bullhorn handlebars but, it seems like the stem is just made for adjusting the handlebars. It's basically the same stem as on your Moto. Are there any tips that you could give me to help me figure out a way to swap handlebars?? 2. I am having trouble removing the cottered cranks. I can unbolt the cotters but they refuse to come out of the crankset..? These are the only issues I seem to be having but any help that you could offer would be much appreciated!! I just wanted I love reading your blog and seeing all the bike restorations! One day, I hope to do similar things with all kinds of bikes!!


    1. Hey Taylor, Cotter crank removal can be a real challenge. Here is the URL to a post I did about removing a cotter crank
      Also at the bottom of the right column is the "Search This Blog widget" you can use it to find more related posts.
      To remove the handlebars, first you have to remove the tape (if any) and the brake levers and any ad-ons like a bell or cyclometer. Once you have done that loosen the clamp bolt which is in the center on the "front" of the stem (often on the underside) Once you have loosened the clamp you should be able to work the bars loose. If not you may need to pry open the gap. You will want to use a large slotted (normal) screw driver for this. I normally place the end in the gap and turn the driver to pry open the clamp more. You need to be careful doing this, you don`t want to damage the stem. It might be easier to have an extra set of hands. Have someone twist the bars while you pry the clamp open. It may not look open when you pry it but that is ok . You are just reducing the pressure so the bars can be twisted loose then worked through the clamp. When you get to the curved part of the handlebar you might need to back up a few times and try a different angle. Once you have removed the handlebars you may want to consider cutting them into bullhorn bars. This process is called "flop and chop " search "flop and chop handlebars" in the same widget and some relevant posts should come up.
      Be careful removing the cotter pins it can be tricky. You might even want to get them removed at a shop as it can be challenging. There is also a cotter pin removal tool available but they are a little pricey. There is a link to that in the "Bicycle Related Links" section also in the left column on the blog.
      I hope this information is helpful. If you get stuck or have more questions, You might want to jump over to the blogs face book page. (Link to the Face Book page is in the left column near the top) Post your question there. And if I am not around Ryan or one of the other regulars might be able to answer your question. Or you can wait for my reply. If this is your first project , You picked a beauty. Good Luck and keep me posted. Cheers, Hugh


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