Right below this introduction is a photograph of the Course taken in December of 2017. It shows the substantially restored state of the Peugeot, minus a few adjustments to seat height, toe strap length and such like. It also shows, if you zoom in by clicking on the photo, the pale blue logos of the original Michelin TS 23 tires in 700 C x 23 sizing. These tires were the OEM equipment installed on the Course at the factory.
I had ridden the Course for assessment purposes when first acquired and I had ridden it to test changes to equipment and the frameset during the restoration process. In all these cases, the bike had been on its original Michelin tires. These inflated to 80 PSI (5.5 Bar) front and 90 PSI (6 Bar) rear with no problem and they rolled along as one would expect.
However, if one looked closely, short, fine cracks could be seen in the side walls and in the tread. During a normal service life, these type of cracks have never been a problem on any Michelin I have owned but the TS 23s were installed around 1983 judging from the low tread wear and overall condition of the bike at time of purchase. Given the age of the casing and tread, I checked the tread rubber with a fingernail pressed against it. The rubber was hard and did not yield to the nail nor did it leave a groove in the rubber surface. As well, deflating the tire slightly and squeezing the tread yielded a series of parallel lines in the tread rubber that opened down to the fabric cords beneath the rubber. The rubber did not chunk or flake and retained its integrity when re-inflated but it was obviously time to replace the tires.
The OEM Michelin TS 23s were a top of the line clincher when new given the file/rib tread design and the then new, high tech Kevlar folding beads. It is amazing such a premium tire would be fitted to an entry or aspirational level model as the Course but Factory specs from the period clearly list the tire as such. It seemed to me, however, that the replacements needed to be competent not elite and affordable at the same time. Since Peugeot retained an enduring loyalty to French component makers, I decided to replace Michelin with Michelin. The Michelin TS 23s would be replaced with Michelin Dynamic Sport tires in 700 C x 23. The Dynamics have a mixed reputation when you read reviews but I had previously had Michelin Selects ( a predecessor tire) on a previous Peugeot and had liked them. As well, I choose the white wall Sports rather than the Classic with gum walls because of the better match to the frame colour. The tires were purchased through Pro Bike .ca and the $12 Cdn cost per tire was outstanding and so was the service. The tires arrived together neatly packed in a cardboard box.
The steel beads made for a difficult installation but once on the Rigida 1320 rims with Velox rim tape, the tires seated cleanly and the Michelin A1 Airstop tubes pumped to pressure without problem. The matt slick tread was quite grippy and where the TSs would slide easily across wood or tile floors, the new Dynamics will grip without slipping and chirp when forced. They come with a pressure suggestion chart on the cardboard label matching pressure to rider weight. I run mine at 80 PSI front and 90 PSI rear just like the OEM Michelin TS 23s. They are ridden on tarmac paving, chip seal and compacted gravel and provide a comfortable ride at the pressures mentioned with good grip. No rain riding so no comment on that. It is comforting to be able to look at the new tires and trust that they will remain on the rim with an intact tread just as installed. With a few set up tweaks and the new tires, the Course now looks like this:
The next post of the series will be regarding the Atom 77 Compact freewheel there was an issue that needed to be dealt with.