Decades of Neglect
Perhaps “neglect” is too strong a word for the description of this bike, as it is my impression that it was stored for much of its life indoors. I’ve seen a lot worse; bikes that have been exposed to the weather and have paid the price for it, tubes eaten by rust and aluminium greyed and frozen by the elements. This Peugeot PA 10E was kept for decades in a garage, but is not too sullied or beaten by time’s march.
Why Love it?
It’s a beautiful bike. Even with the ragged handlebar tape, the dirt and old grease locking up the components, and even if the frame has lost some of its shine, I defy anyone to say it isn’t a beauty. I admit it, I find these vintage white and black Peugeot models from this period are irresistible, even in this state. It may not have a Reynolds frame, but it has character, pedigree, and just exudes vintage charm. What’s more, it’s so recognisable; so many bike fans would instantly know that it’s a Peugeot.
But it’s Not a Reynolds Frame
Unlike the PN10, this model has plain steel tubing, even though there is a sticker on the seat tube with “tube special, allege ( lightened ) Peugeot”. I suppose that’s like putting a sticker on a Ford Fiesta 1.4 litre with “Enhanced Engine Performance by Ford”; it doesn’t really mean anything. Well, nothing of any real value, if the owner really craved a lightweight frame. Here is the same sticker on a slowly rotting ladies’ Peugeot, sitting in the garden of a lady who likes to decorate her garden with old bikes.
Old Bikes with Tubular Tyres
If you’re looking for a vintage bike to ride away, buying one with tubular tyres is not normally the way to go. Most will be shot to pieces, like the tubulars on this bike. What’s more, the glue that’s crucial for them staying on the rim will no doubt be useless. In fact, old tubulars can often be easily pulled away from the rim, making the bike a death trap. It’s really a shame when you come across a beautiful old brand like Clement, falling to bits and rotting into a dusty mess. New tubulars are expensive: the cheapest new tyres I could find in French shops were Hutchinson Tempo, priced at 50 euros for a pair. Ouch.
Stronglight Brought Me Here
It’s a bit strange to me that Peugeot built this model with a Stronglight 93 crankset. What I mean is, that it’s a quality component that is attached to a rather humble frame. But then it’s not only the Stronglight crank that seems oddly out of place, have a look at the the saddle: an Ideale Record 80. Add to that the nice Mavic Monthleray tubulars and the glitzy, gold Belleri handlebars, and you have a build that was not too different to higher quality Peugeot club bikes, models that guys in the 1970’s would be racing on.
The More Humble Parts
I suppose, with this build, you could stick a Reynolds 531 badge on the seat tube and pretend that this bike was something greater than a PA 10. Sure, it’s weight would give the game away, that’s quite sure; when you lift up this bike, you immediately feel the difference when compared to a frameset built with 531 tubes. But what you also notice on closer inspection is the generic headset and bottom bracket: both are simple, basic components that are found on the cheapest models of all French bikes of the time. In other words, the little details, betray the true status if this bike.