10 Speed Dreams – Part One

First of all, apologies for the lack of posting lately. What can I say – I’ve been busy – work and life takes over. Also, to be frank, I haven’t had much to say, so I’ve taken the advice of sages and said nothing.

My new old bike - A humble 1987 Peugeot Premiere 10 speed. Can it cut it as a workaday road bike in the 21st Century? Only one way to find out...

However, a new bike acquisition has awakened me from my blogular slumber. A while ago, I penned an article extolling the virtues of the 10 speed racer – that icon of the 70s and 80s – the Ford Capri of the bicycle world. The slender, light, rugged, affordable, yet much maligned ten-speed bicycle was the go-to bike for the 70s and 80s teenager – before the expression ‘go-to’ was even thought of. Go here for my full treatise on the matter.

Since writing the article I’ve been on the lookout for a suitable project bike that would enable me to test out a pet theory that I’d been toilet-training – that the 1970s/80s ten speed is still a viable and enjoyable bike for all round road riding.

It would have been easy to pay over the odds on Ebay for a questionable, unsighted example of the breed, so instead I decided to put the idea of 10 speed purchase on the back burner, until that fickle mistress called Serendipity cast her spell. Then a week ago I rode past a local junk shop and lo! Outside, under a layer of dust and rust, a metallic blue Peugeot 10 speed leaned gracefully against the glass. I circled from afar at first – downwind. She looked to be a late 80s example – around a 23 ½ inch frame – my ideal size. I returned the next day figuring if the bike was still there, negotiations would begin.

The bike in its 'before' state.Note the shredded bar tape and decayed gumwall tyres.

The next day, sure enough, the bike was still there. I approached and took a closer look. Everything was intact and original, if in need of a little renovation. The shop owner came outside and almost immediately said that he only wanted £10 for the bike – I’d figured on £30 so I bit his hand off – a crumpled note changed hands and I wheeled the bike home on flat tyres.

After much elbow grease plus new tyres and bar tape.

Once home and as soon as practicable, restoration began. A good wash and degrease revealed a fully working 10 speed drivetrain – Sachs Huret mechs with downtube friction levers. The tyres and tubes were shot, as was the bar tape. A quick trip to the local bike shop yielded a set of Specialized All Conditions 25-700c tyres at a clearance price, plus a roll of expensive but nice white Bontrager bar tape – it had to be white to complement the airy blue paint scheme. The saddle, though serviceable, was an ugly padded plastic item and was duly replaced with a 1960s or 70s Lycett l’Avenir leather saddle which I’d found on another discarded bike a few months previously. The only other addition was a set of SKS Olympic fenders and a fulsome application of T-Cut, Brasso, chain oil and grease (literal and elbow).

Component highlight - the awesome drilled out Weinmann GT brake levers, after much Brasso and polishing

The result? Well, you can take a look for yourselves (pictures taken before application of fenders and ‘leathern’ saddle). Some might think ‘piece of crap’ but this beholder sees ‘beausage queen’. I’m really pleased especially taking into account the overall outlay:

Bike: £10
Tyres: £22
Tubes: £8
Rim tapes: £6
Fenders: £25
Bar Tape: £11

Total: £82

Also on its way, via Ebay – a pair of period Weinmann alloy rims on Maillard hubs with a 6 speed block to replace the ‘nice but scary in the wet’ steel Rigida Superchromix hoops. I’d have kept them if it wasn’t for a nasty flat spot in the rear rim that no amount of spoke key twiddling will remove. The cost – the small matter of £10. So in total, a full restoration with upgrades for under the magic £100 mark.

How about the all important ride experience? We’ll talk about that in Part Two, along with further details of the bike itself.

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16 thoughts on “10 Speed Dreams – Part One

    1. theeverydaycyclist

      Fear not H, that saddle is now history! Now replaced with a (level) Brooks. That said, I am a slighty ‘nose-up’ man.

  1. Well done.
    Steel is real and all that
    Been commuting 23 miles/day
    on an old but revived “10 speed” myself
    and considering retrograding to a home built
    “clubman” 3 speed

    1. theeverydaycyclist

      Certainly beats spending £1500 quid on Pashley’s Clubman for largely the same effect. Less money – more fun. Go for it!

  2. Just picked up a Raleigh Winner from a nice bloke I met on a cycling forum. Twenty quid, and 100% original. Got some Alhonga brakes on order to replace the Weinmann calipers. I’ve also swapped out the original saddle and gumwalls. Having a hard time tracking down some decent alloy wheels for the price I want to pay – I promised myself that no replacement component should cost more than a tenner!

    1. theeverydaycyclist

      Hi TIW – like your idea of setting a tenner limit on parts replacement. Sadly I’ve already smashed through this limit with a set of £25 mudguards!

  3. Chris Thompson

    Very nice. A perfect project to work into the warmer months of cycling. I scoured the yard sales last year for a project bike. But, sadly, being short limits my selection.

  4. Chris Thompson

    I believe I met the twin of this bike yesterday. As I was leaving teh local bike shop a gent was bringing in his old Peugeot to be restored to riding condition. His was yellow but had the same colored stripes. He was the original owner and the bike had been in his garage for a while. I mentioned this site to him. I wonder if he will check it out.

  5. Derek

    Good work! I owned a ‘basic’ Peugeot in th 80’s. Just bought a similar model with all original componants off Gumtree for 50 quid (sorry no pound sign) + some aftermarket gizmos. Jonit project with my son. Got it home and stripped it. Luckily no money required to be spent – untill I saw your white tape. Mmm…white tape; maybe white cables…maybe I could re-spray it!!
    Good work!

  6. The only down fall for a ten speed bike is to bend your back over riding it . But if you change the handle bars for a mountain bike bent bar . You can sit up strait and ride at the same time .

  7. Blake

    Just stumbled on your blog looking for information on suicide lever hoods.

    Like you I have a love of 1980’s road bikes. I have a Raleigh 531 Reynolds team Panasonic, And a 1980’s Raleigh 501 Reynolds Eclipse. The 531 was given freely to me at the end of the 90’s and it’s a cracking road bike ( the previous owner jumped on the ALU and Carbon bandwagon). The Eclipse is a recent purchase for £30 to be an every day bike.

    The Eclipse seems to have been in a similar state to yours. Original but neglected mechanically. It got stripped down to the bearings cleaned and rebuilt. Both wheel on it now spin for an eternity. Also like you it’s ended up with larger rat trap pedals, new rubber and a new seat. The seat however is a nice budget racing seat.

    1980’s road bikes are fantastic machines. Both of mine get some serious looks of envy from the current youth that are turning them into fixed gear bikes are ruining all of the bikes best features.

    Thank you for the entries on the Pug, It’s been a good read.

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