A Very Unusual Bicycle

Oscar Egg lugs - Mystery Mixte

Oscar Egg lugs – Mystery Mixte

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This vintage bicycle has challenged my research abilities.  I purchased it recently on eBay and had this basic info from the seller:  a post WWII Oscar Egg lugged mixte, no marquis, but probably French built, with top of the line components, including tubular Clement rims laced to F. B. hubs – plus a number of other interesting components that were new to me.

Immediately, I began to wonder about when this bike was made and why there is no marquis or headbadge to indicate the builder.  But, I’ll put aside that weighty question, and present these photos taken before disassembly:

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Favorit PWB cottered crankset – Prague Warsaw Berlin

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Simplex shifter with cable stop

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Gevov wingnuts

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Fratelli Brivio (F.B.) hubs

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Bluemels Lightweight Mudguards

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Oscar Egg Mixte lugs – note the very small diameter tubes

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Weinmann sidepulls – an 810 on the front and a 730 on the back

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Phillipe stem

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The bike shop in Kern Frankfurt, Germany where the bike was ordered.

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An extraordinary Titan seatpost

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Seatpost lug with gold paint to match the lug lining

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Frame paint detail

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An ornate pump peg, plus evidence of a front impact. The tubes appear straight and undamaged, however.

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Frayed cable housing, french headset.

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Clement 700c tubular rims.

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A 4 speed Simplex Tour de France rear derailleur mounted on the model-specific and quite robust Simplex dropout. A real contrast to the delicate downtubes and chainstays.

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Rare Scheeren alloy handlebars.

Oscar Egg head tube lugs.

Oscar Egg head tube lugs.

Curved seat stay presumably to allow the rea brake cable to lay flush against the frame

Curved seat stay, presumably to allow the rear brake cable to lay flush against the frame

Lugged chrome fork, way more clearance than needed by these narrow 20mm tubulars

Lugged chrome fork, way more clearance than needed by these narrow 20mm tubulars

Melas fork mount Dynamo. The front light is not original.

Melas fork mount dynamo. The front light is not original.

I am looking forward to having the time to undertake this fascinating restoration project!  I have been involved with restoring a number of late ’40s bicycles.  This one, I think, will add some depth to my knowledge base.

1970’s Peugeot Mixte Porteur

peugeot-mixte-531-porteur-1Here is a a 1970’s Peugeot Mixte frame made from Reynolds 531 tubing that I purchased from a French seller several years ago.  My goal in building the bike up was to recreate a Peugeot PR65, whose photo is shown below, and whose style is evocative not only of Peugeot’s legacy and its consistent focus on women riders, but also of that amazing decade known as the 70’s. 1978_11 The PR65 Mixte model seemed to exist only for year or two.  I love the porteur bars and the cable routing, not to mention the super nice components. 1978_10 This 1978 Dutch Peugeot catalogue reveals that the frame was built with Reynolds 531 7/10 butted tubing and Nervex lugs, brazed below 600 degrees using silver, with brazed on cable guides.  Components included a Stronglight 48/38 crankset weighing 650 grams, which is lighter than modern day Ultegra and Dura Ace cranksets.  The rear derailleur was a Simplex SX410T with a 30 tooth cog capacity, and the front was a Simplex LJA302. L1010522L1010523L1010536

I decided to go all out and use Simplex Super LJ derailleurs front and rear.

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This frame’s Reynolds 531 transfers were in excellent shape, and the bike shop sticker from the shop where this bike was first sold is up in the Pyrenees, on one of the Tour de France routes.  Drop-outs are by Simplex, and the fork is fully chromed underneath the paint.  No model number is indicated on the frame, and I am not aware of any other mixte frames that Peugeot built during this era with Reynolds tubing.

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I used vintage Mafac Racer brake calipers, and a Pivo stem mounted with new Velo-Orange porteur bars. I had to spread the clamp a bit.  The shifters are Suntour ratcheting bar ends, which are great to use with these bars because they are close at hand.  Believe it or not, I used Raleigh’s steel brake levers because they feel much more solid and sturdy than the flimsier Weinmann and Dia-Compe levers of this era.

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peugeot mixte 531 porteur 008The wheelset is an early 80’s Shimano 600 set, with Wolber Super Champion Gentlemen 81 rims, and I managed to find some NOS Bluemels fenders complete with front mudflap.  I don’t want to talk about the hours spent installing and adjusting the Velo Orange front porteur rack.  Let’s just say that a certain amount of pain was involved.  The tight clearances also made it necessary to carefully adjust the fenders to avoid rubbing.

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I ended up swapping out the Zeus crankset shown on the left post with this Stronglight, which has smaller chain rings and is better suited for the kind of riding I do.  I have had fun commuting and grocery shopping on this bike.

Small Ortlieb panniers fit fine on the Velo Orange front rack.

Peugeot PR65

After a rainy ride the bike stayed dry and clean thanks to the Bluemel’s fenders.

It takes a little while to get used to hauling a front load, but after a few rides, it starts to feel natural.  Now that the bike has been thoroughly test ridden and vetted, it’s time to put it up for sale.  It’s hard to properly price a bike like this.  Many hours went into creating it, and many dollars went into the parts, and most importantly, I hope is the value of the creative process.  But, the flood of low-priced Chinese-made bikes in the U.S. has created an expectation gap among bike consumers, and there is a real lack of understanding about why it is possible to buy a cheap bike from their LBS, and what the real cost of that cheap bike may be.  But, that rant is for another blog post.

More photos can be seen on this FB Album.