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1972 Gitane Tour De France Value?(6 posts)

1972 Gitane Tour De France Value?treeman
Nov 1, 2002 6:57 AM
Hi everyone,

I was in a NW Indiana, former Scwhinn bicycle shop last week admiring his collection of vintage Paramounts. It got me wondering about my beloved Gitane I rode in the early 70's.

IF I had kept that bike (excellent condition), what might it be worth today?

Because there was a shortage of parts during the gigantic bike boom of that period, this bike came with a hodge-podge of components: Sun Tour Crank (spec'ed for Strong LIght?), Campy hubs (lower end).

This bike was the equivalent (?) of the Peugeot PX - 10, if I am correct.

Also....... How would this bike compare to the quality/value of one of today's bikes.......maybe something in the Trek or Lemond brand? Would it be equal or better than the lowest end of either of these brands?

Thanks for the comments.
re: 1972 Gitane Tour De France Value?Dave Hickey
Nov 1, 2002 9:08 AM
The Gitane TDF was a great bike. You are correct, it could be compared to the PX-10. As for value, French bikes are a little strange. They don't have the following of Italian bikes so their value tends to be less(although a early PX-10 went for $8900 on Ebay last year). The TDF model was their high end model so I would consider it better than Trek or Lemond lower end. here is some more info on Gitane

http://www.classicrendezvous.com/France/Gitane.htm
re: 1972 Gitane Tour De France Value?mapei boy
Nov 4, 2002 12:20 PM
The Tour de France was not the highest end Gitane model in the early Seventies. That position went to the Super Corsa, which had Campy Nuovo Record, rather than the Stronglight, Simplex componentry of the TdF. At that time, the TdF was situated below the Super Corsa and above the Interclub in the Gitane line. Thus, me and my friends always referred to the TdF as the "Inter Corsa."
Lurking on e-bay is the best way to find out ...Humma Hah
Nov 1, 2002 3:16 PM
Paramounts of that vintage in original condition draw a lot of interest on e-bay. I got my '74 frame for $450, with a collector nipping at my heels at the close of bidding. Prices of complete bikes of some of the collector's edition later bikes can go even higher.

At that time, Paramounts were built in "the cage", a portion of Schwinn's Chicago factory, by a crew of about 4 people. They were hand-built by select craftsmen, and one of the most sought-after bikes in the US, as good as anything in the world. Later, additional production was added in another state, but still always a very select crew, and limited production. Their original scarcity is part of the reason for their present value.

The Gitane's were nice enough bikes, but I believe there were a lot more made. By '72, good roadbikes were becoming common in the US, as a cycling boom was going on, so there's not a great scarcity. Your bike today, on e-bay, I'd guess would maybe get a couple of hundred dollars.

Collector interest goes up sharply as you move back in time. 60's Schwinns start getting interesting. 50's cruisers are really hot properties - maybe $2500 for a decent Black Phantom. Anything pre-WWII is gold -- I believe I saw a nice '39 Paramount track bike for around $4000. Get back to 1900 or earlier and they're approaching priceless -- $6000 for a rusty clunker with mostly original parts and paint.
Thanks so much....and a follow up question.treeman
Nov 2, 2002 8:52 AM
My Gitane was what I considered a "poor man's sports car" - an entry level race bike. There was certainly better frames and components out there.

But, how did a bike of this level (or the PX 10) compare to today's bikes in terms of build quality, component quality/technology, ride quality, etc.? In other words, has technology improved over the past 30 years so that today's entry level road bike ($500, Shimano Sora group) is as good or better than the mid/better level PX 10's/Gitane TDF's?

Just curious.
That will probably start an argument, but I'll give my $.02 ...Humma Hah
Nov 2, 2002 12:56 PM
... worth.

In my opinion, bicycles have not improved dramatically in a little over 100 years. Of course, I'm a curmudgeon and I don't regard the derailleur as an improvement. But 100 years ago, there were roadbikes with designs very much like many bikes of the '70's, and even like the Herons that are running banner ads on this forum: lugged steel bikes with double-diamond frames and two wheels the same size, equipped with drop bars, with composite wheel rims (well, wood IS a cellulose/lignin composite), weighing around 18 lbs. At that time they did not make bikes from aircraft tubing, but there WERE two guys working on an airplane made with bicycle tubing.

Shimano got NO respect back then, Campy was the marque of choice for a gruppo but nobody could afford it, and Suntour was a good compromise.

The one component that IS dramatically superior today is brakes. And Shimano has dramatically improved their acceptability in their top-of-the-line equipment (although their entry stuff is still crap -- I know, I own a bike equipped with Acera parts).

I've done some calculations and performance tests of speed, efficiency, etc. In terms of getting down the road, my old '71 cruiser is 70% as good as the bikes Lance Armstrong rode in the TDF. Any good roadbike from the '70's is probably about 98% as good as a modern bike in terms of ability to scoot down the road efficiently. That 2% difference would be unacceptable to most serious racers, although a beginner would have more important differences to worry about, mainly legs and lungs.

Many of the older bikes had a more relaxed and stable geometry, and were very comfortable to ride. Then, as now, fit was everything. The ride of steel frames has essentially not changed other than having more emphasis today on quick steering, and a proliferation of specialized styles (TT, crit, climbing bikes, tri-bikes, etc.). Aluminum bikes that appeared around that time were as flexy as wet noodles, due to having tubing about the same diameter as steel tubes. Today's aluminum bike have a reputation for excessive stiffness. Composite bikes were a fantasy.

What NO modern bike can possibly match is the attachment many riders feel to their old rides. The ONLY reason I insist on riding a 31-year-old 40+ lb single-speed cruiser is that I ADORE the bike. Not just that type, but THAT bike. I bought it new with my own money, my first major purchase. Its the only bike I've ever ridden a century on. We've been thru a lot together, and I feel like it is a personal friend. This CANNOT be bought at a store.