Mitch's 1976 Gitane Racing Team:

This Gitane was my first good bike. I saved up and bought it as a young teenager in 1977, but it was an earlier model, a 1976 Racing Team which was that year's version of the Tour de France model. It came with french "Reynolds 531 db tubes, forks, and stays" decals that I drooled over. I could barely straddle it at the time but planned to grow.

The Huret Jubilee front and rear derailleurs, and Huret top tube cable clips are original, but this bike spent years as my fixed gear hack (even with the vertical drops), and has been ridden in all weather and for all purposes since 1977. A couple years ago I decided to set it up more like it was back then, so I found some Mafac Racer centerpulls (which work well and surprisingly silently on canyon descents--Matthauser pads) to replace the 1978 Suntour Superbe sidepulls I put on it back then because I just had to have sidepulls. The photo still shows Superbe levers but since then I've found some drilled Mafac levers I can live with that are much like the Superbe, and somewhat like the levers that came originally with the Mafac centerpull brakes (I don't remember whether the originals were labeled as Mafac's Racer model or Competion).

The original Stronglight 93 double crank had a little crack so on went this Nervar with TA triple rings. The barend shifters are Simplex but sometimes I switch back to the original Huret downtube shifters because as a teenager I also had to have braze-on shifters so during a repaint had Huret compatible bosses put on. This Gitane came with a Brooks Pro but not this one which is only about 15 years old.

French thread Campy N.Record headset and BB replace the worn out Stronglight originals. TA chrome steel bottle cages. This photo shows Campy Record/Mavic MA-2 wheelset but since then I built up an MA-2 wheelset for it around Normandy Luxe Competition hubset which is what was originally on the bike (although with sew ups back then). Bar and stem are SR brand. Pedals are Gipiemme quill with Christophe clips and straps. Simplex QRs.

Far from a restoration with these parts, wrong paint, and wronger braze-ons, I ride this bike to work, around town, and take long canyon rides. The photo is taken at the top of one of my pass rides at 9000 feet in the mountains about 15 miles and 4000 ft elevation from my front door. --Mitch


1976 Gitane Racing Team - mountain backdrop





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