Bargain!

Often in the depths of winter you can find a used bike for a good price. Last month I saw this nice French mixte bike for sale on Ebay, locally advertised, and wondered if the seller would take an offer for a quick sale. It turned out she wanted it sold that day, and so it only cost me 25 pounds in the end. I dare say that this is a very good price for what is a quality mixte bike from 1988/89. The icing on the cake was that it rode like a dream, even though it was far too small for me.

The Citroen Camargue
The Rolls Royce Camargue

The Camargue

The Camargue is a world heritage site in the south of France, an area famous for its marshland and horses. I remember looking up the region in an old encyclopedia when I saw a Rolls Royce Camargue in Liverpool when I was a kid. What an unwieldy beast of a car that was, a big wallowing whale of luxury and wealth. I never liked it. I did, however, always fancy owning a Citroen Camargue, a concept car first built in 1972. There’s something unmistakably French about it. This Peugeot bike has few qualities or vices of either of these vehicles, being a functional, affordable bike in its day.

Combinations

I don’t think Huret ever made a really attractive component besides the Jubilee, which was just a beautifully crafted set of derailleurs. The same can be said, in my opinion, of Sachs-Huret components in the 1980’s. Nothing about them really stands out, yet the transmission on this bike, a long cage Sachs-Huret Classic 2000, works like a Swiss clock. On the handlebars are thumb shifters for the indexed 12 speed gears, and I was impressed at how functional they switch between each cog. The set-up is a 52/42 crank with a big range 14 – 28 freewheel.

Sachs-Huret

Condition and Looks

For its price, this bike is in remarkably good condition. The lacquer coating on the paint is still mostly intact and the tubes retain much of their shine after decades of use. Indeed, I don’t think there’s any rust to be found anywhere on the frameset, which is rather understated colour for a French bike of the 1980’s. Admittedly, there’s a dash of ‘80s Memphis colour on the seat tube and forks, but otherwise I like the tidy design of the rear brake cable routing, guided through a bridge between the double-tubed top tube.

Simple Details I like

This bike stands at the time of a transition between old technology and new, and you can see the clues in how it straddles the two eras of vintage and modern. It features braze-on gear cable stops on the down tube, internally brazed lugs, sloped fork crowns, and has indexed shifters. Yet side by side are throwbacks to the past, the double tope tube design, the Weinmann long reach calipers, the six speed freewheel, even the seatpost is secured by a traditional nut and bolt. In the 1990’s aluminium bikes became the rage, and mountain bikes became a more popular choice than the traditional mixte

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