Introducing the Motobecane Grand Touring

While wearily unpacking from our backpacking trip a couple of weeks ago, Ken told me he bought me a bike. I thought he was pulling my leg, and he had to pull up his winning Ebay bid before I believed him.


Despite what you might think from the fuzzy picture above, it’s marvelous. It’s blue! And French! It’s basically a level down from Ken’s 1970’s bike. I think mine’s a 1974 Grand Touring Motobecane. Ken was disappointed because he thought it had a better (lighter) frameset (all the years except ’74 and ’75 seem to), but I don’t think it’s a problem. For touring and riding for fun with Ken, me having two or three extra pounds won’t make a huge difference, and if it’s really significantly slower than Ken’s bike, I can always ride his in races. It’s steel, so it should be plenty stiff, and frankly if two pounds make that much of a difference I should probably just lay off of the cheese for a week.

The bike was missing about half the components needed to make it rideable, so I scoured Ebay, Amazon, Craigslist, and numerous bike stores until I got the best price on the best parts I could find. I think I had six or seven separate orders to get everything, so it’s been like Christmas every day with packages arriving.

I’m trying as hard as I can to avoid talking about the specifics of what I bought because I know it’s just not interesting to most people. But… I’m so excited about certain parts I just can’t keep it in. I promise to keep it short.

First: Wheels are hard to come by in the proper size (27″) and I didn’t want to convert to the conventional size (700cm). So I’m building wheels. So far I’ve gotten the materials and built one and I am ridiculously proud of how it’s turned out. I may take pictures of the process on the next three wheels I have to build (Ken’s bike is getting new rims and spokes), because I think it’s really interesting and think Dad might like to see too.

Second: Ebay has been great for this bike. I got a set of used mountain hubs for the wheels and it just so happened that that particular seller also had old SunTour derailleurs for sale, and he kindly combined shipping on everything for me. The derailleurs and hubs are in beautiful condition and I think they’re much nicer than anything on any of my other bikes. I also got used set of Shimano MTB pedals and shoes that fit me perfectly. The pedals are exactly what I wanted because they have a place to clip your shoe on (strangely enough called a clipless pedal system…) on one side and just platforms on the other. Perfect both for my short commute down to school and for longer rides if I want to be attached to my pedals.

Anyway, I’m loving it so far and can’t wait until it’s ready to ride. I’ll be sure to post a picture of it in all it’s 1970s glory when it’s done.


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September 2010
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