Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Finished 1982 Motobecane Super Mirage


As you may have already noticed, I finished Ginger's '82 Motobecane Super Mirage early this week.  I apologize for not updating more frequently on the progress of the bike, but the basement is a bit dark and cluttered for taking decent pictures.  So I decided to just let the finished bike emerge from its dark, below-ground cocoon.

I can't say that this project was as seamless and straightforward as some of my previous machines.  The disassembly, cleaning, and rust removal went more-or-less as expected.  But there were a few snags in the process of reassembling the bicycle.  The first notable snag was how to run brake lines.  See, step-through frame bikes have rear brake calipers that are sort of upside-down - the cable comes into the calipers from below the brakes, along the seat stays.  But I replaced the old brakes on this bike with a set of brand new long-reach calipers.  The new calipers are designed with the housing stop at the top, as is traditional for non-step-through frame bikes, so I had to do some creative cable running.  As you can see in the picture above, I ran the rear brake line through the existing guides on the top tube, then between the two laterals, where it made an 's' shape into the rear brake caliper.  It's maybe not ideal, but it will have to do; and I'm pretty happy with the action on the rear brake.  I've also considered cleaning up the old brake calipers and putting them back on the bike, but I'm still undecided.  My main reason for not switching back to the old brakes is that I like the increased stopping power of the new calipers.

The second, and potentially ongoing, issue that I had to deal with was fender clearance.  I accessorized the bike with a set of hammered alloy fenders from VeloOrange.  I should preface by saying that these fenders are gorgeous.  They also come with ample hardware to mount the fenders in a number of different ways. The front fender went on the bike without a problem.  But the rear fender comes painfully close to the tire as it passes under the rear brake.  So close, in fact, that the little rubber nipples on the new tire hit the fender, making a sort of swishing sound as the rear wheel turns.  It's actually not the rear brake that is the cause of the clearance issue.  The source of the problem is the brake mount that runs between the seat stays, which is far too low and close to the rear wheel.  Eventually, though, a little elbow grease and patience was all that was required to alleviate the problem, and hopefully alleviate it permanently.

Some of the other notable additions or modifications that I made to this bike include the beautiful vintage  Suntour downtube shifters that the folks at Queen City Cycles assembled for me, and the Wald 215 rear rack.  In fact, I liked the Wald rack so much I bought two of them and put one on my bike.  It's also worth noting that one of the old Weinmann brake levers was totally shot, so I trashed them and picked up a set of nearly identical levers from The Hub.  The new levers, however, have a pretty ingenious quick-release mechanism for releasing brake cable tension that is really cool.  The wheelset, rubber, tubes, fenders, and 6-speed freewheel I also bought from The Hub.  Along with the shifters, Queen City was my source for bar tape, brake hoods, cables, and a few other odds-and-ends parts that I needed during the course of the project.


  1. Very nice rebuild. It's gorgeous. I never would have thought about a Wald rear rack, but it has classy, old school charm that compliments that age of bicycle. I also like its wide platform.

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Annie! The Wald stainless rack certainly has charm, but it is also inexpensive. I bought two of them at under $20 each, with free shipping. It may not be as lightweight as a more expensive alloy rack, but it looks nice, has sufficient clearance for 27" wheels, and mounted with only minor difficulty.

    - Cody