Saturday, March 25, 2017

Gitane Tour De France - Finis

Frame + Parts

As I said back in July when I purchased this bike for $80 my plan all along was to part it out and see if I might profit from selling the bike that way.

I disassembled the bike right after I got it and paid $15 to have the cranks pulled since the Stonglight cranks require a special tool that I do not have so that brought my total investment in the bike to $95.  After that the bike sat, in pieces until I finally got going this month to start listing its Frame on Craigslist and the parts on eBay.

The first thing to go was the wheel-set.  I had someone inquire about the frame on CL and I mentioned that I also had a wheel-set which I had not listed yet.  While he wasn't interested in the frame he wanted the wheel-set at $20.  When he came and picked the wheels up he liked them so much he threw in some more $$ so I ended up with $24 for the wheel-set.  I should mention that I didn't do much with any of the parts before listing them, no scrubbing, polishing, rebuilding or lubing.  I was upfront in all my listings that the parts needed a good clean and lube but I was interested to see what I could get with a minimum amount of effort.

Mafac Competition

The next thing to go was the Frame but we'll leave that for later.  My first  ebay sale was the Mafac Competition brake set.  It had plenty of views and multiple bids.  I started the auction at $19.99 and it ended up selling for $29.28, so now I am up to $53.28.

Next up on eBay was the Huret Jubilee shifters and cable guides. This set also got a healthy number of views and multiple bids, again I started the auction at $19.99 and it went for $26.00.  That brought my total up to $79.28.

After the shifters was the Stonglight crankset, I had high hopes for this one as it even had the bolt caps which I have heard are hard to find.  I was somewhat disappointed to only get $26.00 as a final bid.  This is a listing that probably could have benefited from my doing some clean and polish and perhaps I should have started the bidding at 29.99.  Now I was up to 105.28 and was officially in the black on this deal, clearing $10.

This is where the story starts to get interesting, the next listing was the Huret Jubilee rear derailleur which I read good things about on the web.  This auction was going great, with about 30 minutes left I had 101 views, 16 watchers, 9 bids and the auction was up to $42 with about 30 minutes left! And then I noticed I had an unanswered question on the auction.   The question was "why are you falsely claiming this item is in good condition when the frame adjustment housing and screw are sheared off?"  What!

b screw

In the photo above you can see what the assembly should look like a screw to adjust the tension of the RD against the frame, known as the B-screw.  You can also see that in the illustration below (Credit Zinn and the art of Road Bike Maintenance)

I scramble to my derailleur to check it out and DAMN! he was right I can see where the housing should be there is a broken spot on the derailleur body - the photo below is a bit blurry sorry- look to the left of the big nut.  How did I miss that!!!

dude wheres my housing?
With the auction closing in on 20 minutes to go I was too late to cancel it but I added a note with the new info to the listing and reached out to the high bidder with the new info and telling them not to pay me.  After the auction was over I cancelled the order listing damaged item as a reason.  What a fiasco, I should have caught this on the day I bought the bike but didn't check carefully enough and I should have noticed it before the listing but I am just glad someone pointed it out so I didn't mistakenly sell this as a "good" derailleur.  I am trying not to think of what could have been, in good condition these derailleurs are in demand...sigh.

So I relisted this derailleur as "parts only" with an opening bid of $9.99 and it sold yesterday for $21.50 which brings my total up to $126.78.

The frame, oh the frame, was listed on Craigslist for $50 and I got one query in the first go around but no real interest.  When I relisted it I had someone from California ping me about it, I ended up selling it and he had a local friend in Seattle come get it.  Included with the frame was the French headset, seat-post, stem and bottom bracket as these are pieces that make building a French frame up tricky, due to unique sizing and threading.  As a person I follow on Facebook said recently "there are lots of old French bicycles  out there but oddly not many old French parts".  All was well until I received a text from the local guy who had paid me for the frame,  it arrived in California and the buyer said it was cracked and he wanted a refund.  What!!! after taking a few moments to process I asked if he would send me a photo of the issue.  I couldn't really tell from the photo if it was a crack, a scratch in the paint or a dent.  The affected area was in the seat tube cluster.

A number of things went through my mind, how did I miss this?, was it a scam? etc, but I quickly settled on sending the full refund.  There were no winners in this deal, I was out the $$ and the frame and parts, the buyer was out shipping and didn't get the frame he was searching for.   In retrospect I could have inspected the frame more carefully to being with, and I could have documented all the parts of the frame before selling it so if there was a claim of cracks I could show that it was in good shape before the sale and the issue would have had to have occurred during shipping, but that is all 20/20 hindsight.

My classroom on parting out bikes
So to sum up, I think my instincts were right on that this bike was a good candidate for parting out, for a $95 investment I could have received about $200 in return had things gone better with the rear derailleur and frame  As it was I still cleared $31.78 on my investment of $95 and some time in disassembling the bike and I learned the lessons to check twice or thrice before buying, and before listing the parts.  Had I found the derailleur and frame issue I could have lowered the initial price and still sold the French seatpost, stem, bb and headset.  Hopefully you can benefit from my experience and missteps.  Even after the fiascos  my ROI (return on investment ) for this deal was 33%, which is better than I would get at the bank ;-).  And I  still have useful things leftover like the; rear rack, bottle cage & clamps, pedals & toe clips, replacement handlebars and front derailleur the seller provided,  which I can sell or use on a build.

As always Ride.Smile.Repeat.


  1. Wow, you did it! And learned an amazing amount in the process. Thanks for being the honest guy out there.

  2. Thanks Annie, it was an interesting experience. I figure $50 is not enough to quibble over and I have my Karma to think of ;-).

  3. Karma is super important. Stay on the positive side of that!!

    1. Agreed Jim - and funny enough I have been watching "My name is Earl" on Netflix