Wednesday, October 16, 2013

In the work-stand: 1969 Peugeot AO-8

About a month ago I spent part of a Saturday morning helping Bicycles for Humanity pack a shipping container that would eventually go to Africa.  My job was mostly prepping bikes to go into the container which meant; removing wheels, loosening and turning stems and handlebars to give the bikes a narrow profile and removing the pedals for the same purpose.  Old 10 speeds aren't considered very good candidates for rough African roads so not many of them make the trip, as a result I got to take one home (with a promise of a donation to the local non profit bike works) as a thank you for my volunteering since the director knows I am an old 10 speed geek.  I took a long look through the small stack of 10 speeds and picked out this little French beauty. Instead of going to West Africa it came home to West Seattle.

Now you may wonder how I know the year and type of Peugeot, their serial numbers are pretty arcane and they don't always have a model number printed on them.  Based on the excellent site Retro Peugeot  I know the decals on this bike correspond to the period of 1964-1970 and looking at the one brochure of the time period I can find -1970- I know in that year they didn't have a yellow model so I am going with 1969.  As for the model, every UO-8 I have come across has chrome fork tips, the entry level AO-8s cut a few dollars in cost by having painted forks.  I have worked on a few UO-8s but this is my first AO-8.

1970 USA brochure

I didn't think alot about this bike until I pulled it out of the queue and started looking it over.  The first thing that struck me is that under the grime and dust this bike appears to have pretty good paint and decals considering its age.  One major coup is that it has its original french leather saddle in good shape which is a rare find, the saddle is probably worth more than the bike!  I don't think this Peugeot got left out in the rain much.
It also has my old friend the cottered crank which means I get to use the most expensive bike tool in my arsenal -the cotter press.
And then there is the derlin plastic simplex drive train, I kind of like that the front derailleur works with a piston rather than a spring.

And some additional funky French-ness in the form of the patterned rims (rear only the front must be a replacement) that buzzes like a bee when you brake - I think the theory is you get better grip than on a smooth rim....
Also contributing to the funkiness is the Huret wing nut on one side of the rear axle, the Mavic "half hood" brake lever rubber and the very cool "Mafac Racer" brakes which require a special brake pad/shoe which I happen to have laying around waiting on a different Peugeot project.  The Mafac Racers are so retro cool that Paul components has a updated (and expensive) version that you can check out here. I am not sure what keeps drawing me back to old French bikes but I think funkiness is a major factor.

Next comes the actual work so the AO-8 is in the stand and a pile of goodies awaits a (to be) refurbished steed.  The rear tire appears to be an original spec Hutchinson and it even looks decent -no cracking or visible rot, should I ....nah, new Kenda K-36s all the way.I even have a NOS imitation leather saddle bag that I am going to use on this build.
Until next time Ride.Smile.Repeat.


  1. Wow, memories! My high school/college bike was a uo-8. Green. it was stolen. Wish I still had it. I now remember that I had those funky textured rims. but not the huret wing nuts. Those are complete retro-cool! And nice find with that leather seat in that condition. This must have been taken care of, thinking that this bike is 40 plus years old and the leather is not just rotted away to dust!
    If I ever come across a large frame UO-8, I will get it to do a complete rebuild. Although the cottered cranks freak me out! Ultimate nostalgia for me. I rode that bike daily plus took it on two tours when I was in high school when nobody toured on bikes back in those days.
    I'm looking forward to how your take on this turns out!

  2. Hey Jim glad I could rekindle some memories for you. I run into UO-8's quite often at my local bike co-op and it seems like it goes in waves I see lots of 25 inch frames, like what you want, and then lots of 21 inch frames (small) and very rarely see the 23 inch frame that suits me -the last one I saw was a Peugeot Course that I snapped up and will someday grace these pages. Don't be to afraid of cotters you have lots of options - Hugh did an article on them, there is a very nice tool you can by or you can go to your local bike shop and have them deal with that part and these days its easier to find replacement parts for French sizing than it used to be. Hope you find one to restore.


  3. Just discovered your blog through Hugh's Bicycle Blog. I'm fascinated with the old steel bikes and have a few of my own. My recent acquisition is a 1983 Peugeot UO 14. I'm adding your blog to my blog roll.

    1. Annie- thanks for stopping by, I returned the favor and added your blog on my roll as well. Hope you will be showing off that UO-14 on your blog. BTW the foliage shots from your posts are gorgeous!

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  5. Looking back at the Peugot in your article I see they were very streamlined bikes, they had some nicer derailleurs and brakes, compared to other bikes from that era. Also they add one or two cosmetic design that remind me of carved french furniture.

    Never got the chance to ride or own one but they were definitely a better class of bike compared to my Azuki.