Of the mass produced French bike-boom era cycles, Motobecanes have always been my favorites. The design and quality was always, at least to my eye, a bit above equivalent Gitanes and Peugeots. Of course there were some excellent smaller brands like Urago, but they are hard to find. Motobecanes can be easily and cheaply bought at yard sales, swap meets, and on E-bay.
My favorite Motobecanes were the Grand Record and Jubilee. They have decent construction of Vitus or Reynolds 531 tubing with Nervex lugs. The handling is comfortable and stable, as a rando bike should be. In fact I currently use a Jubilee as my everyday city bike and have a Le Champion frame in reserve. The Grand Record and Jubilee make very good budget classic randonneuse and are probably the least expensive way to approach the feel of a constructeur bike. This Classic Rendezvous page explains the full Motobecane model line-up.
David Barnblatt obviously appreciates Motobecanes as he has transformed the two Mirages and the Grand Record shown into truly lovely machines. His Grand Record is probably a better rando bike than most any complete production bike available in the US today. Check out the gold Mafac competition brakes and levers, Honjo fenders, and Simplex seat post, not to mention Campy high flange hubs and Velo Orange racks. More photos of his bikes can be found here.
The last photo is of my own Jubilee city bike which is still waiting for the prototype large porteur rack and VO fenders. It may also get 650B wheels.
05 June, 2007
Posted by Velo Orange at 10:09:00 AM