34) 1969 Peugeot A0-8Read Now
Made in France
Frame & Fork: Peugeot Tube Spécial Allégé (Special Lightweight Tubing)
Groupset: Simplex Prestige SDGD
Brake Set: Mafac
Saddle: ADGA La Chatillonnaise Croupon 28A (Made in France)
Wheelset: Rigida Chrolux Chromage Supérieur (Superior Chrome Plating) rims on Atom hubs with Huret Luxe wing nuts on Kenda K35 tires
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I was fortunate to buy this Peugeot from the original owner. Brenda was a student at University of Victoria and working in Banff at a summer job when she purchased this bike in the summer of 1969. She said that everyone wanted one back then and they were hard to find. She had to order it from the shop and wait for it to arrive. She rode the bike during her university years and held onto it all these years. Except for the rear tire, everything was original including the front tire which was rotting and the leather saddle that was stiff as a board. Brenda was obviously attached to this bike or she wouldn't have kept it for 50 years. I was looking forward to bringing it back for a visit after the rebuild.
This Peugeot was a lot of work but it was worth it! Every single piece of metal had rust or corrosion and had to be polished. That means every bolt head, nut, washer, shifters, brakes, spokes, rims, and so on. Even though the components were in rough shape, the frame was in quite nice condition. After stripping the parts, I noticed that the inside of the bottom bracket was clean and rust free. The paint had a lot of fading but it had very few scratches or scrapes. I decided to restore it rather than repaint it so that it would keep the vintage patina look. After using Mother's 3-part polish and wax system, I was amazed at how well it polished up.
The clamp for the front derailleur was made of plastic and had cracked. I found a nice aluminum replacement in France. When I removed the crank arm cotter pins, one of them got mangled. I thought I'd just head down to the local bike shop and pick up a couple more. I know bikes haven't been made with cotter pins for over 30 years but I was surprised to find that not a single shop had any. In the end I had to order them from France.
The tires were completely rotted and needed replacement. Unfortunately, 27 x 1 1/4 tires are not common at all. Lucky for me, The Bike Smiths on Ebay sold a set of two tires, two tubes and rim tape (the Peugeot's was rotted) for just under $100 CAD. A big shout out to them for providing this rare tire for those of us restoring and rebuilding vintage bikes.
Perhaps the most satisfying part of the rebuild was the saddle. It was flared out and hard as a piece of wood. I rubbed it with rubbing alcohol for a long time until the pores of the leather opened up and then I coated it with petroleum jelly. After sitting overnight with straps to get it back into shape, it got another coat of petroleum jelly and then three coats of leather conditioner. In the end it turned out really beautiful and relatively supple.
This Peugeot turned out to be a beautiful bike and a satisfying build. Because of its age, I thought it would mostly be a nice bike for someone to look at but after riding it around a bit, I've changed my mind. It rides quite nicely and is a lot of fun. I wouldn't want to bomb down any hills but the brakes are adequate for cruising around. As a bonus, it shifts surprisingly well. I'm really looking forward to seeing the look on Brenda's face when I bring it back to show her!
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