The Simplicity of Vintage Cycles

Vintage Bicycles Done Proper :: Corvallis, Oregon

Pre-1970 Motobecane

Vintage Motobecane

This Motobecane has a long proud history.

Prior to me, it was owned by an old wrencher and friend here in Portland. I purchased the bike from him in 2007 as my first, serious, road bike. At that point, I didn’t know beans about bikes. I only know that I loved to ride it so I took it out on dry days to pound the pavement or open it up on a long stretching blacktop. After a ride, I heard it was best to keep the drivetrain as clean as possible, so I would wipe down that and the frame. After every…single…ride.

Apparently, my neurosis for cleanliness and preventive care is an ingrained element.

As time went on, I learned more about sizing and realized that the reason I felt sore after rides was because the fit of the Motobecane was not even close to what I should be riding. Upon realizing, I upgraded and left the poor ‘ole Moto being hung from the rafters in the shop, collecting dust, waiting to be ridden again.
I am a firm believer that a functional bike should be ridden and not put up as a museum piece (unless it actually belongs in a museum). Unfortunately, this gorgeous steed was too small for me and too big for my wife (plus she has a spectacular Maranoni anyway) so as much as it pains me, I know that it must go to another home who can/will appreciate it.

Specs are further below but a few standouts elements are as follows:

  • The shifters are Suntour Accushift “Command” 7-speed shifters. These are brilliant shifters and I recommend them for anyone interested in a simple, period appropriate solution for those who do not want the possibility of complex mechanical failure from STI shifting but do want to keep their hands on the horns while shifting as much as possible. Either way, these shifters are a bit rare and very spendy when you can find them on eBay.

Motobecane Drop Bars

  • It is hard to see but the bracket used as a cable point for the front derailleur but look closely, it is very clever. Recognize it? It’s a rear cantilever brake hanger. Dual applications! I also think that the little red rubber dust cap tops it off cleanly, no?

Motobecane Cable Hanger

  • The sizing of this bike is an odd bird. Usually the seat tube is longer than the top tube, but in this case, it is opposite. This means that someone who has long arms is going to love this one. The seat tube is measured (center of BB to top of seatpost) at 54cm. The length of the top tube is (measured center to center) at 55cm. The sizing is strange but not bad for the right gal or small fella.
  • The final standout item I would like to highlight is the beautifully long and elegant French rake. It truly maximizes the springy steel comfort level and gives it such an element of class.

Vintage Motobecane

Color: Custom paint (Gloss black, tan metallic, sea foam green metallic)
Frame Size: 54cm (C-T) seatpost & 55cm (C-C) top tube
Frame/Drop-outs: Unknown; Assuming Reynolds 531 or “Light Steel” 1020
Fork: Unknown; Full chrome
Handlebars: Belleri (French); Cinelli bar wrap
Stem: Pivo
Saddle: Forte Classic
Seat Pillar: Sakae
Crankset: Sakae SA; 52/40 170mm
Freewheel: 6-Speed Suntour Perfect
Hubs: SR (Sealed CCB; 36 hole)
Front Derailleur: Shimano FD-Z206
Rear Derailleur: Shimano RD-Z503
Shifting Levers: Suntour Accushift “Command” 7-speed shifters
Brakes: Dia-Compe levers; Dia-Compe N500 calipers; Kool-Stop pads
Rims: Araya 27”; Aluminum
Tires: Specialized Armadillo
Pedals: MKS Sylvan (Not pictured but included)
Special Features: Double water bottle bosses

Motobecane Drops

Motobecane Headbadge

Motobecane Paint Detail

Motobecane Rear Brake

Motobecane Downtube

Motobecane Crankset

Motobecane Rear Derailleur

Motobecane Hub

© Josh Capps and The Simplicity of Vintage Cycles. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Josh Capps and The Simplicity of Vintage Cycles with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


11 comments on “Pre-1970 Motobecane

  1. Ivan
    March 28, 2012


    Nice customized “Tobec” as we call it in France.



  2. rw
    March 28, 2012

    You sold your bike. What a pretty cycle. So sorry to hear about your accident
    I hope you are ok and healing!


    • Josh C.
      March 28, 2012

      Thanks for the comments and yes, sadly, I sold the Motobecane. I purposely ignored the fact that it wasn’t the right fit for me for a long time before I pulled the trigger. Boy, was she a looker! As for the accident, I was lucky to have walked away and that the driver didn’t run off. If only my touring bike was so lucky!

  3. Michael Mann
    March 30, 2012

    Wow – what a lovely bike. Now I have a better idea of what you were talking about at Pedal Nation. I would have had a very hard time letting that one go, especially if it fit me.

    It was good to meet you and talk at the bike show and Velo Cult G.O. – I hope we meet again soon, in the neighborhood or out riding.

    • Josh C.
      March 30, 2012

      Great to hear from you, Mike! I was sad to let the Motobecane go but it was time someone else enjoyed the ride.
      Portland is a small, big city and I am certain we’ll run into each other again especially since our interests overlap so much. Happy riding!

  4. Steve
    May 6, 2012


  5. news
    June 7, 2012

    Hello, I just hopped over to your website thru StumbleUpon. Not somthing I might generally read, but I enjoyed your views none the less. Thank you for creating something worth reading through.

    • Josh C.
      June 8, 2012

      I truly appreciate your comment. Thank you for stopping by.

  6. bex0r
    October 12, 2013

    super nice! i’ve got an 80’s motobecane grand sprint I’m about to resto. would love to see more pics of this baby! she’s a beau!

    • Josh C.
      October 12, 2013

      This is the one bicycle that I sold that I still am on the fence about when it comes to regrets. The frame did not fit me so riding it wasn’t as pleasant as it could be, however, the vintage of the bike, the paint job and the wonderful combination of parts came together to make it a very special build. The buyer, who took it away years ago now, broke my heart with how they said they were going to store it (outdoors!) and instantly made me think that I should have kept it around until the right person materialized. Regrets on selling and regrets on the buyer who took her away is a bad combination of pain in my heart. But either way, what’s done is done and the Motobecane is long gone. The only proof I have of it coming into my life is displayed here on the website.
      Thanks for the comments and enjoy your restoration! Please do send images after it has gone through its transformation.

  7. Pingback: 1991 Schwinn Voyageur | The Simplicity of Vintage Cycles

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