Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

18 August 2013

You Never Know Where You'll Find One

Here's another example of a bike that, as I rode by it, caught my eye for a reason I couldn't discern until I stopped to look:

It's a Motobecane mixte from the early 1980's--the "Nobly" model, I believe.  I assembled and sold a few of them back in the day. This one is a basic model, made from carbon steel tubing and with stamped dropouts that don't have a threaded "ear" to mount a derailleur.  If I recall correctly, it came with a Huret Eco derailleur, mounted with a "claw", as derailleurs often were on low- to mid-level ten- and twelve-speeds.

One thing I know, though, is that it didn't come with this component:

By the time this Motobecane was made, very few (if any) off-the-shelf bikes came equipped with the Specialtes TA Vis-5 (commonly called the "Cyclotouriste") crankset.  By the 1980's, even European touring bikes were coming with more modern triple cranksets from Stronglight, Sugino and Shimano, which didn't require as many mounting bolts--and, by which time, offered just about the same range of gears--as the TA. 

It's also incongruous to see the crank on this particular model because it was intended as a "sport" or "ville" bike.  While a few Rene Herse city bikes were equipped with TA Cyclotouriste cranksets (particularly if the owner lived in a hilly city), a bike like the one in the photo was more likely to have a double or single chainwheel in front.  

(For the record, I'm almost entirely sure that the bike in the photo originally had a Japanese-made Sakae Ringyo (SR) crankset.)

What I find really incongruous, though, is the fact that the TA crankset, which is intended for triple and wide-range double chainwheels, used as a single-speed.  It's a bit like using a Swiss Army knife to open a candy bar wrapper.

I wonder whether the bike's owner, or whoever installed the crankset (the same person?), realizes that he or she could sell the crankset on eBay for more than what he or she could get for the rest of the bike.