Michelin Dynamic Sports 700C x 23 and the Peugeot Course

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.

Peugeot Course Dec. 2017

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.


Simplex Derailleur Adjustments Front and Rear

The fine tuning of the Simplex LJ 1000 rear derailleur and the SJA 102 front derailleur is a fairly straight forward procedure. If you removed the derailleurs from the bike and did nothing to them except clean and the lightly lube them, then this step will go very easily.

I am assuming that both derailleurs have been returned to their pre-restoration locations on the bike as described in restoration previous steps. If so, the SJA 102 front derailleur should have its cage parallel to the face of the outer chain ring and be located about 2 mm to 4 mm above the chain ring teeth. The rear LJ 1000 should be hanging on the rear dropout tab and be able to move freely on that tab. Both should have the Sedisport chain threaded through them and then over the largest rear cog and the larger of the two front chain rings. This gear combination  (big/big) is never used in the real world because of the extreme cross chaining involved which accelerates chain noise as well as wear on the chain, cogs and outer chain wheel. The reason you use this as the default location for setting the derailleurs is that the system must be able to accommodate this maximum length of the chain in case the gear combination  is engaged inadvertently.  If this configuration cannot be adopted because you have changed to a larger freewheel or a new chain or both, you must lengthen the chain to accommodate  this arrangement. Failure to permit the system to engage the big/big configuration will result in difficulty shifting onto the big cog or an inability to shift onto the big chain ring. It’s the old story: change one thing, change many.

However, if all you have done is clean and lube and resisted the urge to fiddle with the derailleurs while off the bike, the next steps are straight forward as promised earlier. It is critical to be sure the inner and outer throw of the front and rear derailleurs are accurate. If you get the rear derailleur adjustment wrong, you can stuff the derailleur into the spokes destroying the wheel, the derailleur and possibly even bending the rear dropout and frame as well. If you permit over shifting at the front, the chain may land on the crankset gouging the finish. Worse, the chain could go between the crank arm and the spider jamming and  gouging up that side.

For the rear derailleur, you will need to use the adjusting screws on the derailleur body to adjust the inner and outer throw of the derailleur. The upper screw  controls the outward throw of the derailleur to access the high gear cog. The lower screw controls the inward range of the derailleur throw to allow low gear engagement.  To check the set of the derailleur range put the right Retrofriction all the way forward. Manually place the chain on the smallest cog. Turn the cranks and pull the gear lever back, sequentially selecting the next cogs.  As you approach the largest cog, be careful of the force you apply to the lever and select the largest cog. There should be no extra travel available which would allow over shifting the chain into the spokes. If travel is still available, use a small straight blade screwdriver to screw outward the upper travel screw. This limits excess motion and prevents disastrous overshifting into the spokes. Carefully re-try and test that the throw limit is correct.

Turning the cranks, shift back down the 6 cogs of the freewheel until you cautiously approach the smallest, high gear cog.  As above, if the cog engages without extra lever motion available, you are fine. If lever motion is still available, use the straight bladed screwdriver to screw the limit screw inward to prevent over shifting. Once the limits are set, it may be necessary to re-tighten the derailleur shift cable to eliminate slack.

To check the front derailleur throws, set the chain on a middle cluster cog. Using the left Retrofriction lever , carefully turn the pedals and gently pull the lever back. The chain should climb onto the big chain ring. If lever travel remains, use the straight blade screwdriver to move  down the screw limiting extra movement. Carefully turn the cranks and then gently move the left Retrofriction lever forward to derail the chain off the big ring. The chain should drop neatly onto the small ring with just enough extra lever movement to allow the front derailleur cage to clear the chain as the chain goes up the cluster and onto the big cog on the freewheel. If excess motion remains at the lever, use the screwdriver to screw down the inner travel limit screw to prevent the chain from derailing onto the bottom bracket shell or jamming between the inner chainring and the axle. Any excess cable slack should be removed if this adjustment was necessary.

Once you have completed all the basic adjustments while on the work stand, run the shifts up and down the cluster gradually increasing the loads and the speeds of the shifts. The derailleur should shift quickly and cleanly from low gear to high, up and down the freewheel cluster with no overshifts beyond the cogs. Do the same for the front chainrings. Then take the small screwdriver with you and one large enough to fit the Retrofriction screw and ride the bike outside or on a mag trainer. Run the same upshift/downshift tests you did on the work stand paying special note to the possibility of Retrofriction lever slippage under load such as sprinting. Tighten and fine tune as necessary. Once the Retrofriction lever tension is set, it should stay that way until or if you choose to change it. Watch after the first few rides and check shift lever cable tension. There may be some stretch and you may have to remove that from the cables to keep the shifting smooth and linear.

One further step needs to be taken. After test riding the PB 12, I noticed cracking in the Michelin TS sidewalls which is quite typical of Michelins in general. However, there were also cracks in the tread which, upon higher pressures and closer observation, were observed to extend down to the fibers of the tire carcass. Replacement of the tires was obviously going to have to happen next.


Peugeot Course: Lyotard 45 CA Pedal Rebuild

The PB 12’s drive train only needed the rebuilding and re-installation of the Lyotard 45 CA pedals to be complete. This design of pedal has a lengthy history extending back into the mid-1930s as the Velobase link here describes.  As received, the pedals were slightly oily and dusty with the toe straps installed backwards (photo shows corrected orientation) . As well, the Christophe toeclips were slight scuffed but the pedal cages and caps showed no sign of the bike having been laid down in an accident as they were clear of scrapes.

The pedals themselves were nicely made with no burrs or machining flaws. The bodies were pressed, chromed tubular steel with press fit anodized alloy cage supports and alloy cages. The pedal caps were faceted to allow removal with a wrench (I used a small adjustable wrench but  slip jaw pliers with padding on the jaws can work). Removal was somewhat stiff but rider serviceable pedals were not to be sneered at. Once the dust cap were off, a lock nut and removable cone were revealed on each pedal along with sludgy, dried brown grease. This serviceability is very atypical at lower price points, pedals usually having peened over lock nuts and little user adjustability.

The thick, nearly dry grease was wiped off the axles, off the cones and out of the races. Once this was done, the pedals revealed themselves to be in excellent condition. The forged axles had only the slightest of bearing tracks worn on the axle pedal ends and the adjustable cones at the outboard ends of the axles were the same. The chromed, pressed steel pedal bodies had been bulge formed to make cups and these looked merely broken in. The ball bearings were in perfect condition. Everything was wiped clean with CitriSolv, greased with Park grease and reassembled. The pedals adjusted without play in the bearings, locked down and have held their adjustment. Oddly, these nice looking budget pedals are 100 gm lighter than Campagnolo Record road pedals and about 15 gm lighter than the black alloy caged Campagnolo Superleggeri non-click in pedals.

Once reassembled and adjusted, chromed steel Christophe medium size clips were bolted on and new, black leather Christophe straps were inserted into the cages. Thankfully, I remembered to give the straps one full turn to prevent the straps sliding when snugged up with a firm pull. To aid that, excess length was trimmed and strap buttons were added to the end of each strap. The raw, light coloured end of the leather strap was coloured with a black, alcohol based marker. Both pedals were then re-installed on their crank arms using a 6 mm allen key, completing the drive train refurbishment.

Peugeot Course Sedisport Re-installation

Once the chain, freewheel and crankset have been cleaned and re-conditioned, then it is time for re-installation on the bike. The freewheel has its threads smeared with anti-seize compound and then is carefully hand threaded back onto the rear hub. If you are unfamiliar with freewheels, be very careful to get a true engagement of the hub threads and the freewheel to avoid cross threading the freewheel and then ruining the hub. Gently hand turn the freewheel until it stops at the end of its travel and is fully seated near the hub flange. (You are not fully finished with this process, there is a following step later in the next instalment.)

The crankset bottom bracket has been re-installed with the axle ends protruding and the bearings adjusted for smooth, non-binding rotation. Slip the crankset drive side with its chainrings back on the drive side axle end and press until there is no further movement. Do the same on the non-drive side. Then, add the bolt and washer to each crank arm and tighten down. Add the plastic Stronglight dust caps and tighten them using a Loonie (Canadian $1 coin) or a plastic ruler to avoid damaging the plastic cap. (A video showing removal and re-installation can be found here.) Some people lube the square axle’s faces prior to assembly to ease seating of the crank arm and others do not, fearing that the axle will slide too far down the axle faces thus seating the crankset too deeply on the axle and, eventually, prematurely wearing out the crank arm socket. I install crank arms dry.

Once the freewheel was back on the rear Maillard hub, the front and rear derailleurs re-attached to the frame and the bottom bracket and crankset re-installed, then the time arrives for the re-installation of the Sedisport chain.  Be sure that the chain is fed over the rear sprocket and through the rear derailleur’s pulleys in the form shown in the diagram, in case you had not taken detailed “before” photos.

Once the chain is threaded properly, drape the chain through the front derailleur cage and over the edge of the bottom bracket rather than on the inner chainwheel (although you can do that.) This allows the chain to be slack and makes matching the two ends of the chain back together much easier. Then, use the chain breaker to push the link pin back into the opposite chain plate. Wriggle the link up and down and side to side until it moves freely. Then pull the chain forward off the bottom bracket shell and set it on the inner chainring. A detailed video is here if you have only used chains with reusable links prior to this rebuild. The final result should look like this but minus the pedals:

With the drive train re-assembled, the next step in the process is to be sure that the  front derailleur cage outer face is parallel to the face of the outer chain ring and about 2 to 3 mm above the large chainring’s teeth. Then the derailleur control wires are carefully routed over the plastic bottom bracket guide and through the outer housing for the rear derailleur. Each wire then needs to be pulled taut using pliers and then tightened down under the 8 mm retention bolts on the front and rear derailleurs.

Fine tuning the throw of the derailleurs and the setting of the limit screws will finish the drivetrain setup but before that can be done the pedals need to be re-built and re-installed on the crank arms.




Peugeot Course Drivetrain Reconditioning

Once the  Stronglight 5470   was cleaned, reassembled and reinstalled on the Stronglight bottom bracket, the next steps were to clean and lube the chain and then do the same to the Maillard/Atom Compact 77, 6 speed freewheel.

The Sedisport chain on the PB 12 was a standard, black version of the nearly universal (on French bicycles) Sedis chain. It was a narrow, bushingless, bulged plate chain

Contours of Chain Links

suitable for use on both standard width 5 and 6 speed freewheels or on the narrow spaced compact designs of the Atom 77 or the Maillard 700 Compact. The Compact design and spacing was like Suntour’s Ultra line of freewheels. Both the Suntour and Maillard systems allowed narrow spaced 6 speed freewheels to fit into a 120 mm wide rear wheel traditional 5 speed spacing . The Compact/Ultra designs also allowed for 7 speed freewheels to fit into normal 126 mm rear  wheel spacings of conventional 6 speed freewheels.

With an older bike you must assess the chain’s condition and longevity before cleaning because if it is worn, the chain and, possibly, the freewheel will need replacement. Take a ruler with a 1 foot Imperial scale and measure the distance from the center of a chain pin to the 12th inch on the ruler. The ruler should be exactly from the center of the first pin to the center of the 12th pin which will show that the chain is not “stretched” or excessively worn. If the measurement is not exactly pin center to pin center,  the chain will need replacement. On the PB 12, the chain was slightly dirty but measured the exact 12 inch

Cyclo Rivoli Chain Breaker

distance from pin center to pin center.  To clean and lube the chain, I removed it with a chain breaker. This involves partially driving out a link pin. Once the chain is separated, place it in a margarine tub with Varsol or CitriSolv and allow it to soak for several hours. Gently agitate the solvent periodically. Then, use a tooth-brush to scrub the links individually (rubber gloves are useful here) and wipe the chain down with paper towels. Warm the chain, if possible, to dry inside the rollers. Residual solvent will dilute your oil when you re-lube the chain. I hung my chain all afternoon in the August sunshine on a 30 degree Celsius day which dried it out quite nicely.

Once the chain is dry, treat each chain roller with a drop of lubricant. Some people prefer Pedro’s Tenacious Oil, others use SRAM products but I use Super Lube. Again, wipe off any excess with paper towels, wrap the chain in paper towels and bag it until ready for re-assembly.

The Atom 77 Compact freewheel had previously been removed from the rear wheel. This freewheel is a 6 speed narrow spacing design of medium range. The cogs run 13-15-17-19-21-24 which is not unexpected in a freewheel on a sport bike with the possibility of being used in entry level racing. Luckily for me, my home area is relatively flat and the freewheel is fine for my purposes. For those of you unfamiliar with freewheels compared to current freehubs, the freewheel has its ratchet mechanism inside the freewheel body not inside the hub body. Instead           


of machined grooves like a freehub cluster, the freewheel body has a screw thread that threads onto the bicycle’s rear hub. The vertical grooves in the freewheel body are the remover tool grooves used by the Atom remover to unscrew the freewheel from the bicycle hub. This is a 20  spline remover dedicated to this type of freewheel and provides a very solid engagement for removal. The Maillard 700 freewheels, for example, use a two prong Suntour style remover. Once the freewheel has been removed, (check here for instructions) you can either tear down the freewheel to re-grease the bearings or you can do it the quick and easy way.

Take the freewheel and clean all the grit and oil residue off the freewheel cogs using solvent and brushes. Once done, place the freewheel in a clean margarine tub and then pour solvent over the freewheel from the back to the front. Leave the freewheel to soak for a day and then blow out the solvent with compressed air, wipe the freewheel down with paper towels and dry it out in bright sunlight or an oven (if you have a compassionate spouse). Once dry, flood the front and rear bearings with lube (I used spray on Super Lube), spin the freewheel repeatedly, re-lube and then allow the freewheel to drain excess lube for 24 to 48 hours.

Be aware that the Atom 77 has a very quiet ratchet system and has only the slightest  of buzzing when spun. I have another 77 that freewheels in both directions so the springs may not engage the ratchet as forcefully as a Maillard 700, for example. Once the excess lube has dripped out and a final paper towel wipe down is done, wrap the freewheel in paper towel and put it in a margarine tub until it is time to re-install on the rear wheel.

The next step is to reinstall the chain and check the shift quality of the derailleurs.