Goeland 650b Date Mystery Solved

Goeland Mixte 650b

When I first purchased this Goeland in 2013, I was told by the seller that he thought it was all original.  Later, I discovered photos of this same bike on the web, but with a different, and apparently much nicer wheelset – Maxi car hubs on Rigida Chrolux rims – instead of the heavily corroded no-name set that was shipped with the bike.  The seller insisted that that wheelset was just an idea for a rebuild and that the bike he shipped was likely all original, but that he wasn’t sure of the manufacture date.

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I photographed the bike, then began disassembly in the summer of 2013.  I noted that there were a number of “41’s” stamped on the bike – on the rack tang, on the steerer tube, and on the bottom bracket.  But, since the seller was fairly sure that this was NOT a date code, I proceeded with my assumption that the bike was a late 40’s or early 50’s model.  And, there was also a 305 code stamped on the drive side drop-outs, front and rear.  In retrospect, it is interesting how one can ignore the obvious.

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When I purchased the bike I knew it needed a few small frame repairs.  Since I hadn’t yet made up my mind about how to proceed on that front, I set the project aside.  Then, the seasons passed.  Finally, the right moment came so I turned my attention first to the funky looking wheelset.  Right away I noticed some unusual features.  First of all, the rims are actually painted yellow, inside and out, with parallel black stripes running along the spoke bed.  When I removed the braided rim protector, I noticed a starburst pattern on the spoke nipples, and the use of washers.  I then noticed that the spoke heads bore the same pattern. Then, to my surprise, I noticed that the spokes were double-butted!  As I was handling the wheel I became aware of how light weight it was, even though made of steel – in fact, I had to use my magnet just to confirm this for myself. The unbranded hubs are very nicely machined, although the chrome plating is now rusted and pitted.  I started to work on removing the corrosion from the hub’s outer surfaces, and on trying to remove the crud and corrosion from the rims.

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I tried all kinds of products, and ended up using Menotomy’s oil with some super fine steel wool (Grade 00000).  As I was patiently (sort of) working away at the corrosion, I spotted what looked like some lettering, and started to feel a sense of excitement as I gradually rubbed away enough gunk to make out the writing:  Rigida DECO B Fabrication 1940-41!!!

I had to do some research on the web to confirm that DECO was indeed a Rigida model, and that it was Ridiga’s practice to put a date of manufacture on its rims – both things turned out to be true.  The rear wheel has what I think is a Cyclo model 3 speed freewheel, but I cannot make out the model name, nor the engraving on the spoke protector:

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Meanwhile, the work on the rims is coming along.  They will never look great, but they will have an interesting “patina” and the hub cones and axles are definitely salvageable.

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And, it was fun to bring the frame back out to look at it again and to appreciate its build quality.  I had forgotten about this nice finish work on the seat lug and mixte seat tube stays:

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I ended up concluding that the “305” code stamped on the drive side drop-outs is the serial number.  One idea is that they used a simple sequential numbering system, but I don’t have a way of knowing how many frames per year the Goeland company would build.  I haven’t been successful at finding any information about Goeland serial numbers.

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1941 Goeland 650b Mixte

But now that I know the date of manufacture, I really am impressed by how well this bike has survived, and now feel more motivated to bring this project to completion.

Peugeot 650b Mixte Restoration

1930's Peugeot Mixte

Spanning several years, my work on this restoration project is now complete.  This 1930’s (or possibly 1940’s) Peugeot came to me like this:

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The frame was pretty dirty, but seemed otherwise intact, with all the brazing in good shape and no serious dings or dents.  It is made with Vitus “Rubis” tubing, a type used on higher end bicycles in the 30’s and 40’s.  As many enthusiasts know, Peugeot serial numbers appeared to follow no rhyme or reason and cannot be used to successfully date older models.  So, the main clues to its provenance are the “H” in front of the serial number, the tubing type, the decals, and the components.  The drive side chain stay has a braze-on for a derailleur spring, but when I purchased the bike, it came with a Simplex Tour de France derailleur, a model which doesn’t use such a spring.  I think this was a later upgrade to the bike, as these derailleurs were first introduced in the late 40’s.

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Peugeot Serial Number

Vitus Rubis tubing

Vitus Rubis tubing

In two previous posts I documented the process used to create a rideable machine out of the original bike plus as many period-specific parts as I could source.  I added 650b wheels, hammered fenders, a Henri Gauthier leather saddle,  a polished aluminum stem, custom levers, and aluminum handlebar with wood grips.  My final quest was to set up the lighting.  I needed a full lighting system, and after going through a number of possible dynamos I finally found a Ducel fork mounted system that was NOS from the 50’s, that looked just about perfect.

 

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Ducel fork mount dynamo

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Ducel headlamp

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Ducel rear lamp

Riding this bike is really fun – it is very comfortable with its super long wheel base and the 650b tires.  It is quite the attention getter and conversation starter and was really rewarding to work on.  Here is the bike now, and it will be up for sale in my new on-line store – coming soon.

Aluvac pedals

Aluvac aluminum pedals

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Very light cottered crankset

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Simplex Tour de France rear Derailleur – working perfectly

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Through the frame cable routing to the Jeay brakes

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Henri Gauthier leather ladies saddle

 

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3 speed Cyclo freewheel

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Pivo stem – highly polished and very pretty

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Buy now!

1930’s/40’s Peugeot Mixte 650B – Part II

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I have just about finished my recreation of this 1930’s/40’s Peugeot Mixte.  The bike was incomplete, as shown above, so I set about locating the appropriate parts to bring this old bike back to life and to make it rideable.  Right now, the bike looks great, but there’s a little more work to do on making the braking system stop the bike effectively.

This particular model is built with Rubis tubing – a Vitus brand that was used on higher end bicycles beginning in the 1930’s.  Unfortunately, over a decade of Peugeot bicycle catalogs are not available – from 1937 to 1950 – so it is not possible to determine which model this is, or what year.  During the war years, the Peugeot factory was under German control for a time, and there is very little information available as to what was happening in the cycling industry during the German Occupation. The serial number at the left rear drop-out includes an “H” so it is likely this is an H model.

The frame was in remarkably good condition, with all the brazing intact.  Although I tentatively dated the frame to the late 1930’s, I believe that it was later upgraded with the 1940’s or 1950’s Simplex Tour de France derailleur that was included when I purchased it. The frame has braze-ons for an earlier style of derailleur, however.

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I wanted to use the 4 speed freewheel shown above, but the Simplex TDF derailleur did not have enough cage swing capacity to cover all 4 cogs.  In fact, it measured out as exactly equal to the 3 cog freewheel shown above right, meaning of course that it was built as a 3 speed derailleur.  In a separate post, I discuss the procedures and issues related to setting up a Simplex Tour de France rear derailleur – no small feat.

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Through the frame cable routing, Jeay brakes

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Simplex shifter

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Possibly the original pump

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Another view of the Jeay brake cable routed through the frame – a nice touch.

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Full chainguard with blue pinstriping. The crankset and pedals are very lightweight – pedals are aluminum but unbranded.

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Peugeot logo still very vibrant

 

Vitus Rubis tubing

Vitus Rubis tubing

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Pin striping still evident on the fork legs. The wheels are not original, nor are the fenders.

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Jeay Brakes

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Headtube badge in nice condition

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The aluminum bars with wood grips and custom aluminum levers were a perfect addition to bring this bike back to its glory.

I harvested the 650b fenders and wheels from another French rando bike.  The hubs are by Normandy laced to 650b Wolber Super Champion rims. The aluminum fenders are unbranded.  The frame has some nice features, including the braze-ons for the Jeay brakes and the thru-the-frame cable routing for the rear brake.  I still need to install the rear and head lamps on the fenders and mount the dynamo, and get the lighting wired up.  But that can happen after its first test ride, coming soon.