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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I bought a 1986 Motobecane road bike about a year ago. The bike is in very good shape, the original owner said he bought it new and used it like 3 times in all the years he has had it. The guy at the bike shop was commenting on how good of shape the frame is. Also, he mentioned something about the frame being worth alot because it was made a certain way (I think he said butted [there are no visible welds on the frame, it looks like the pieces just slide into eachother]). Can someone elaborate on what the difference is between most modern bike frame construction and the type of construction used on my road bike?

thanks in advance,
Steve

P.S. Would this bike be considered vintage?
 

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Probably a better question for a vintage road bike forum in terms of it's value.

As far as I know, typically 'collectible' road bikes are not mid-80's Motobecanes.

I don't know squat about roadie bikes though. :(
 

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Generally there are three major construction methods used throughout the years.

1) Lugged - This was likely the most common way for frame to be built up until the early 80's. A lug is a connector that holds tubes together. Tubes slide into the connector and another material is melting around the joint, and the material flows into the joint to secure the tubes to the lug (the method is called brazing). In most cases, the lugs are still visible on a completed frame. Look at the joints and you'll see them.

2) Fillet brazed - This method joins tubes using a brazing method, but without lugs. Tubes are cut to fit very snuggly against eash other, and then, as with lugs, a material with a relatively low melting point is melted around the joint, where it hardens and secures the tubes. The join appears to flow together (sounds like what you have). The tubes themselves are not effected by the heat - if you remove the brazing material, the tubes come apart.

3) Welded - TIG welding is the most common method for joining tubes on a frames today (excluding carbon fiber). Welded frames are created by placing two tubes together, and heating them too their melting point. The tubes are joined (welded) together when they cool. Prior ot the early 80's few high-end frames were welded.

Today lugged and fillet brazed frames are few and far between. They cost more to produce, so fewer people want them. However, if you appreciate craftsmanship, a lot of people view them as superior to welded frames.

If your frame is fillet brazed, it was a high end frame. Fillet brazing takes a lot of additional work to make the tubes fit together well, and extra time to join them. They're always handmade, and usually pricey.

Hope that helps.
 

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An 80's bike can be valuable as, Laffeaux said, if it was fillet brazed it was upper end. Another clue is the parts group. In the early to mid 80's upper end bikes usually had Campagnola Record, Super Record or Shimano Dura Ace. There were other good goups but these were the main ones'. (apologies to Sachs guys)

If you have a handmade moto with a good group, you have a good bike. My old roadie bike (of which I am now too fat ride) is an early 80's Eddy Merchx which is now quite valuable.

Hope you found a good one!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thanks guys, that fillet brazed you mentioned sounds familiar, and i can't see any weld marks, all the parts of the frame have lips which another piece of tubing slides into. The frame says "built with 2040 Hi resiliency tubing" as well as "Made in France" (as well as the pedals :confused: [I thought platform pedals were all made in asia] if that helps. Plus when I left the LBS, I looked back into the shop they were all looking at the bike like they have never seen one like that before. The employee said I could probably get over a grand for the frame. I'm not looking to sell it, but I sure got my 75 bucks worth (just from riding it so much). Thanks again guys, I appreciate it.
Steve
 

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It sounds like your frame is likely lugged.

Pic of a lugged joint:


Pic of a fillet joint:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I'm sorry, I'm mistaken about the fillet brazed looks like the first pic, so it's lugged. Sorry no pics, my digital camera is broke. Thanks again for the help guys. Another thing that puzzles me is that upon reasearch, I found that the French Motobecane was bought by Japan's Yamaha in the early 80s, so how could the frame and some components be from France after the company was sold to Yamaha. Wouldn't it be from Asia? My bike is from 86. Here's what I found from Wikipedia:

In 1981, Motobécane filed for bankruptcy, and was subsequently purchased by Yamaha and reformed in 1984 as MBK; the French company continues to make motorscooters, and has no relation to Motobécane USA, which imports bicycles from Taiwan and China, manufactured to their specification under the Motobécane trademark.


Thanks again for all your help guys.

Steve
 

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I don't know much about the history of Motobécane, but French components on a bike of that age would not have been uncommon. Likely Huret, Simplex, or Sachs components?

The 1980s is when Japanese companies really started taking over the component market. Originally European manufactures dominated the market, with Campagnolo (Italy), Huret (France) and Simplex (France) being the big players. Initally, in the late 70's and early 80's, SunTour began cutting into the European makers' profits, and several years later Shimano really took off and became what they are today.

If the frame was produced in Asia, then likely SunTour or Shimano components would have been used. However, production could have been remained in France for some period of time, and French components would have made sense.
 

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bloviating said:
It can still be valuable if its lugs (lugs are brazed). My Merckx looks like the first picture and is very upper end.

What kind of componants? eg., derailur, crank etc.

As to your question on where its made, haven't a clue.
just kinda skimmed over this, but typically you wont find that many fillet brazed road bikes since lugs were readily available, designed for road geometry and cheap (until a high end builder spent hours on them cleaning them up and making them pretty).

Fillet brazing was used for funky bikes that lugs wouldnt work for geometry-wise like track bikes or anything out of the norm. Same with mountain bikes, no lugs were available for their geo and the initial fixed cost of casting them is expensive so the frames just got brazed.

In the 80s, entry level road bikes as well as high end road bikes were typically lugged. High end mtbs were typically fillet-brazed.

Also, if it says the tubing is "2040 hi resliency" or whatever, its a low end frame. Definitely not worth $1000 or even $100. Hope I didnt burst any bubbles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks again guys, no you didn't burst my bubble. Like I said, I was not looking to sell it/make a profit or anything. I was just curious because of what I heard and I wanted to know if I should take special care of it, or just ride it into the ground. I paid 75 bucks for the bike and ride it like 20 miles a week, so I'm happy that I am getting that much use out of it. (I ride my mt bike 50 miles per week :thumbsup:)

Steve
 

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Fillet-brazed said:
Also, if it says the tubing is "2040 hi resliency" or whatever, its a low end frame. Definitely not worth $1000 or even $100. Hope I didnt burst any bubbles.
Or you could take it back to the shop dude and offer him a deal for $500 :thumbsup:
 

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jetfan2207 said:
Thanks again guys, no you didn't burst my bubble. Like I said, I was not looking to sell it/make a profit or anything. I was just curious because of what I heard and I wanted to know if I should take special care of it, or just ride it into the ground. I paid 75 bucks for the bike and ride it like 20 miles a week, so I'm happy that I am getting that much use out of it. (I ride my mt bike 50 miles per week :thumbsup:)

Steve
Cool. Yeah, just keep on riding it. Its amazing how well those old bikes do their job. And theyre fun to ride too.

Or like azjeff said, go sell it to the guy at the shop for a discount on his quote and upgrade a little. ;)
 
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