Attached please find two photographs of the newest addition to my bike stable...an early 1970's French/Belgian Astra. I salvaged a complete bike (minus wheels) from a friend who sells refurbished bikes. This one was in his junk pile, and I was immediately attracted to its "blowfly green" paint job and horizontal dropouts. The carcass, as it were, came with some vintage Huret and Nervar components, which I promptly stripped off. In fact, the only original bits are the frame, headset, the Weinmann brake arms and the beautiful "GW" French stainless steel fenders -- that ain't chrome, baby! Six hours of polishing with Flitz paste returned the fenders to their glittery glory (the longest part of this rebuild)!

The rest of the components are salvage or "nothing special" new purchases. The wheelset is an Ebay special -- Formula flip-flop hubs laced to Weinmann LP18 rims. I got a cheapie Bulletproof crankset and MCS Racing 44T chainring off Ebay. It is linked to an 18T fixed cog on one side and a 20T "bailout" freewheel on the other...cheapie nickel-plated 1/8" BMX chain ties it together. Nothing else is remarkable save the ancient Waveflo titanium saddle -- filled with a non-hardening gel/paste that captured the unique shape of my "sit" bones, and the ultra-boss braided stainless steel brake cable casings.

The no-name moustache handlebars bear witness to my first attempt at a "harlequin" wrapping job -- black Tressostar underwrap for additional cushioning and blue/grey diamond wrapping over that. It ain't perfect but I am quite pleased nevertheless. I finished the bars in the classic French style (Velox rubber plugs and hemp wrapping...I am debating whether to shellac or not).

I have only found two other photographs of Astras on the Web...one in the Classic Rendezvous photo database, one on the Bikecult.com gallery (belonging to legendary bicycle artist Taliah Lempert). I don't really know anything about this marque, but I have heard it was a subsidiary of Motobecane. I'd sure love to learn more, so if any viewers have additional info, shoot me an email!

Jack Sweeney
Tampa, Florida

silverstardesigngroup (at) verizon (dot) net


Astra - side view
Astra - front quarter view




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