Vintage Mavic Handlebars
The chances are, when you come across a vintage French bike, it will have either Pivo, Ava, Atax, Philippe or Belleri handlebars and stem. Mavic are definitely rarer to find, and especially these bars, named Comte De Coucy. These were originally on a beaten-up Motobecane C5, and are a beautiful set of drop bars and matching stem to enhance any bike. Vintage in this sense means early eighties, probably made in 1981. Mavic also made the handlebars in black as well as in gold, which are very rare indeed. The term Comte De Coucy means Count of Coucy, which was a famous castle in the Picardy region in France. I don’t know why they were given this name, I haven’t been able to find out the story behind it, I’d love to know. This bars and stem set is currently for sale on Ebay here.
Ideale Record 90 Saddle
Forget Brooks! There’s nothing better than having a quality Ideale saddle on your vintage French bike. Unfortunately, the French brand never got past the 1980’s when the saddle market got all aerodynamic and synthetic. But at least you can be sure that the saddle’s leather and rails were made in France, unlike the modern day Brooks leather which is made in Belgium. The Ideale 90 was a beautiful leather saddle that was as good as, if not better, than its English rival. Incredibly sturdy, comfortable and beautifully made and designed, they may have weighed more than the Concor Professional or the Cinelli Unicantor of the time but there’s no doubt, more Ideale saddles survive than these Italian Suede ones. The 90 was the top of the range leather saddle, and well worth finding to make the perfect saddle for your French bike.
Lyotard 45CA Pedals
Weighing just 410 grams complete with clips and straps, the 45CA is a perfectly formed quill pedal that looks better than the heralded Campagnolo Nuovo Record. I dare say these pedals are close in quality, but the Lyotard pedals were more affordable back then. Features like the heart-shaped pattern cut into the centre of the pedal, to the distinctive and stamped dust caps make these more interesting than its plainer Campagnolo rival. Unlike the Atom 600 pedals, these were fully adjustable by simply unscrewing the cap for access to the bearings. With a pair of Christophe toe clips and leather straps, these pedals are the perfect choice for a bike connoisseur. You can buy them here on Ebay.
A Stronglight Seatpost
A few months ago I came across one of these, the first I’d ever seen, a Stronglight seatpost. The brand famous for its cranksets and headsets made seatposts too?! I never knew. It’s always cool to come make a rare discovery, and although this seatpost had plenty of scratches and had lost some of its shine, it was still a graceful fluted post that would set off an elegant vintage saddle. It weighed 302 grams, and was 26.4mm, which isn’t the guaranteed size of a vintage French seat tube. I undersold it, common practice with me, for just £15 on Ebay.