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These stop a lot better than the old black ones. They're an ugly orange color (using the special "rubber" pioneered by the no-longer available Mathauser brake shoes. Nothing else works as well.
Many French bikes sold before the late 1970s used the now-obsolete French bottom-bracket threading.
Most French bikes sold in the U.S. used standard ISO thread freewheels:1.370/1.375 x 24 TPIBut older bikes made for the French market used a slightly smaller thread:34.7 mm x 1mm (1.366" x 25.4 TPI)If your hub is made for a French-thread freewheel, a standard freewheel will fit on, but be very loose and will be unusable.
It is not possible to put a French freewheel on a standard hub without considerable violence.
Sorry, French Thread Freewheels Are No Longer Available.
The old French standard clamp size for aluminum handlebars is nominally 25 mm, though they are often a bit larger in practice.
Sorry, no more French size handlebars available.
Many French bikes sold before the late 1970s used the now-obsolete French headset threading:25 mm x 1mm (0.984" x 25.4 TPI)instead of the ISO standard threading:1" x 24 TPI (25.4 mm x 1.06 mm)For more details of headset dimensions, see the Headset entry of my Bicycle Glossary
Most French bikes sold in the U.S. used standard thread pedals:9/16" x 20 TPI (14.29 mm x 1.27)But older bikes made for the French market used a slightly smaller thread:14 mm x 1.25 (.551" x 20.32 TPI)If your cranks are made for standard-thread pedals, a French-thread pedals will fit in, but be very loose and will be unusable. It is not possible to put a standard pedal into a French crank without considerable violence.
It is possible to re-tap French cranks to take standard pedals. Use standard 9/16" x 20 taps.
Sorry, we are not currently able to get any stems in the old French size.
French stems differ both in the size that fits into the steerer, and the size of the part that clamps on to the handlebar. Thus, if you want to replace the handlebars on a French bicycle, you will probably also need to replace the stem.
French stems are .2mm narrower where they fit into the steering column. A standard 7/8" / 22.2mm stem won't usually fit. In many cases, the limiting factor for fitting the stem in will be the headset locknut, rather than the steerer itself. Try removing the locknut before sanding down a stem. If the headset locknut is slightly tighter than the steerer, it can be enlarged easily with a small grinding wheel.
In cases where the stem really won't fit into the steerer, a few minutes work on the stem with sandpaper will usually do the trick. Wrap the sandpaper around the stem, grip it with your hand, and turn the stem round and round until it fits. You only need to remove 0.1 mm, which is 1/250", not much at all!
If you convert from a French stem to a standard one, you will also need to replace the handlebars, which are a different diameter.
French tires are listed on our Tires Page.
Specific hard-to-find French sizes include:
If the size numbers are confusing, see our page on Tire Sizing
- 584 mm / 650B / 26 x 1 1/2 tires are found on older French tandems and serious touring bikes. This size was also formerly popular on French utility bikes.
- 490 mm / 550A / 22 x 1 3/8" tires are found on French folding bikes and juvenile models.
Ideale leather saddles
Freewheels or parts for Helicomatic hubs.
AVA bars & stems
Simplex Retrofriction shift levers
|Articles by Sheldon Brown and others|
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