Thursday, February 21, 2013

The New Project: 1982 Motobecane Super Mirage Mixte

Before we made the move to Springfield, there was a period of time in which Ginger was working in Springfield and I was still working in Columbia.  Our house was on the market and I was interviewing for jobs.  It was a somewhat trying time, but it was made even worse when Ginger's Raleigh Record was stolen.  The bike was locked to the trunk rack on the back of her car overnight and it would seem that someone cut the cable and made off with the bike.  I hadn't put an extraordinary amount of money into the bike since the Records aren't particularly valuable, but it was still a blow.  The bike was a gift from my dad, and there was a certain degree of sentimentality associated with it, especially compared to the rigs that I've picked up off of Craigslist.  But the bike was in the wind, and there was only one option left:  build Ginger a new bike.

I picked up this 1982 Motobecane Super Mirage mixte during a trip back to Columbia to see our friends Kyle and Liz a couple of weeks ago.  I should mention that I'm not totally certain of the date of manufacture, but the serial number on the bottom bracket ends in "82" and the crank is stamped with an "81," so I'm thinking the frame was made in 1982 and outfitted with components that were manufactured in '81.  I bought the machine for a pretty good price.  It had been previously converted from its original setup as a 12 speed to a single speed, which was unfortunate.  Luckily, the seller had most of the original drivetrain components, including the front and rear derailleurs and inner chain ring - the conversion to single speed had simply involved removing the inner chain ring and using the original crank set.

The frame is pretty interesting in that it's a mixte, but it doesn't have the laterals running all the way from the head tube down to the rear dropouts.  Instead, it has a single, full-sized top tube that splits into separate laterals just in front of the seat tube.  Once the top tube splits into twin laterals, the lats then run down to the dropouts like a traditional mixte.  This style of mixte frame is supposedly somewhat rare.  After looking though a few old Motobecane catalogs, I found that the company referred to this type of frame as "mixte special."  No matter what it's called, I was initially a bit uninterested, since I was shopping for a more traditional mixte.  But after seeing the bike in person, I couldn't resist.  The frame is in great shape and the color is really mesmerizing...most of the time it looks blue, but in certain light it looks more greenish or gray.

I'm hoping to have this bike fully road-ready for Ginger by the time the weather starts to warm up, so this is the project I'll be focusing on during the coming weeks.  She's been riding her Sports around town since the Record was stolen, but she's looking forward to having a lighter weight cycle, especially for longer trips.

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