The only other French bike I've ever built up was a mid-'80s Vitus aluminum (remember those? Aluminum tubes in cool anodized colors, "screwed and glued" into polished aluminum lugs) and all its frame-fit and threaded components were made to modern British or ISO dimensions. But older French bikes used unique dimensions for such items as bottom brackets, headsets, bars, stems, and freewheels. Here was the reality as far as French headsets were concerned: Pressed-in parts, like head-tube cups and races, were the same size as their British and Italian counterparts. Threaded parts were unique and incompatible with other national dimensions. And the inner diameter of the fork steerer was slightly smaller and required a smaller diameter handlebar stem - 22.0 vs. 22.2.
For my conversion, I did spend some time looking around for 22.0 stems. New ones are pretty much non-existent. Used ones come up on eBay, but many are questionable from a safety standpoint (AVA "death-stem" anyone?), and most of them are only available for French dimensioned handlebars which run from about 23.5mm to 25mm diameter, while most better quality road drop bars today are 26.0 (actually, nowadays, 31.8 - but that looks bad on a vintage steel bike if you ask me). Finding a vintage stem with a the right extension, or a longer (taller) quill is yet another wrinkle. Unless someone is looking to keep an old bike "period correct," I think it's a good idea to go with a modern stem - and that means 22.2.
I've read that it isn't too difficult to modify a 22.2 stem to fit a 22.0 steerer. On Saint Sheldon's site, it points out that you only need to remove 0.1 mm of material, and "a few minutes with some sandpaper will usually do the trick."
More about that to come. Read on . . .
|Once the bars and stem are installed on the bike, you'd never know all the work it took to get them to fit.|
|Is it me, or the lower section on these bars really loooonnnggg? And longer with the addition of the bar end shifters. Anybody have experience with these bars - maybe recommend cutting an inch off them?|
That's all for now. Stay tuned. . .