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Mistral

“A classic model for the tourist, a craftsman built frame in Reynolds 531 butted tubing with Prugnat lugs, Campagnolo forged dropouts, 72 degree angles and 41 inch wheelbase.

The above quote was taken from original sales material for this model. This one is a 1980 model but the component spec changed from year to year. The 1981 bike came spec’d at the time with a mix of components suited to the bikes intended use as a tourer, including:

  • SR square taper crank-set
  • Campagnolo Rally derailleurs
  • Campagnolo low flange hubs
  • Regina Oro freewheel
  • Super Champion 27″ rims
  • Weinmann center-pull brakes and levers
  • Lyotard pedals
  • Esge fenders
  • Rear rack

For me this bike isn’t intended to be touring oriented. My interest was in creating a versatile all-purpose machine, one that you wouldn’t hesitate to take on a century ride, a 200 km brevet or just to take around the neighborhood. It should be sporty and fast but not afraid to turn down a dirt road either. Comfort on the bike is also important so I’ll start with some 32c tires but reserve the right to go larger. There is no intent to be period correct, just to find the right mix of components to get the desired result.

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There is an experimental element in the frame sizing of the bike as well. This bike is 24.5 inches in the seat tube which I would normally consider a little too large for me. However, the larger frame size allows me to get a more level horizon from seat height to handlebar height without using an awkwardly long stem which can look kind of dorky. The goal of this recipe is to have a side order of comfort with my sportiness.

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Light mounting on a 1969 Rene Herse randonneur.

Light mounting on a 1969 Rene Herse randonneur.

I love 3TTT handlebars and stems. They are top quality and have that classic look but with excellent comfort, performance and are currently available on eBay. They also come in wider widths than many older bars, and these are 42 cm wide which is about right for me. New but retro TRP aero brake levers and Deda faux leather bar tape complete the cockpit. A Velo Orange mini rack cleverly attaches to the Weinmann center-pull brakes and a mini mag-lite attaches to the rack in a vintage style mount. This light is inexpensive but provides as much light output as almost any bike specific headlight currently on the market, at a tenth of the cost!

 

 

TA Specialties cranks have a great look. For one thing, they are period correct for this bike but they also offer the expanded gear range that I prefer. I did have to modify the spacing between the chain rings since this crank was originally intended for 5 or 6 speed components and an 8 speed chain could get stuck in the wider gap between the rings. The Dura Ace front derailleur handles the gear range well. Shimano SPD pedals keep the bike compatible with most of my other bikes so that different cleats are not a problem.

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Here’s something different; I decided to go with a Shimano drive train on this bike. Mostly it was so that I could get the option of using mountain bike cassettes, but also just to change things up a bit from my normal Campy mode. Indexed 8-speed downtube shifters proved a little difficult to match up with a rear derailleur. I found out that old and new Shimano 8 speed components do not mix well. I tried a variety of rear derailleurs only to find different incompatibilities, such as, non-linear travel, incorrect derailleur travel for a given cog spacing, not enough chain take up etc. I was surprised to find that an inexpensive new SunRace R-80 rear derailleur worked perfectly with new Shimano indexed 8-speed downtube shifters and a Hyper-glide 13-32 cassette on Dura Ace hubs. A shop may tell you otherwise but the only way to find compatibility with a build like this is to try it and see if it works!

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This frame is high quality but is not a racing frame. That means it has huge clearances for tires and fenders especially after switching to 700c wheels. Long reach Weinmann center-pulls look like they can handle almost any tire you want to throw on it, and stopping power also is very good! The Velo Orange Raid rims are 25mm in width which gives these Grand Bois 32c tires a nice shape. Some old school Matthauser pads seem to be up to any demand made on these stoppers.

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I guess the last thing is a Cardiff saddle, this one being a knock-off of a Brooks B-17 that I found on eBay at a great price. The saddle sits on a nice 3T fluted seat post. I don’t really have any miles on the bike as yet and am still in the shakedown period. There are a couple of events coming up that I may try and do on it. I’ll follow up with reports after the rides that I am able to do.

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