Like LOOK, Motobécane is a French marque whose bikes have always been held in high regard. But while LOOK has catered for the sharp end of the market, Motobécane established a reputation for reliable machines for the everyday cyclist, albeit those made during the seventies. Berlin’s Santucci Cycles came across a track model from that era which turned into a shining restoration exercise.
Dan Santucci ‘officially’ started restoring bikes about two years ago, when more and more of his friends and colleagues began asking if they could procure one of his project bikes for themselves. Dan continues: “The complete bike was acquired for rather little money via eBay before track bikes were being sold in supermarkets. The frame had been rattle-can sprayed silver and there were no decals.
“The only sign pointing to it actually being Motobécane is the M stamped on the seat stays. Originally I wanted to do it up simply and ride it at the track, but I became curious about it. Uncovering any information about Motobécane track bikes was difficult and I suspected I had something rare or collectable. That is where the tables turned and I decided to try my hand at a restoration.
“To this day I don’t know if it was a production bike or one-off. The frame isn’t high end. My guess is it’s made with straight gauge Vitus tubing. The lugs are standard 70s issue Bocama, but are pretty nonetheless. The Normandy hubs are stamped 77, helping me date the parts, and possibly the frame. Eventually I gave up on the ‘period correct’ idea and just went for a colorway and decals which I liked.
“This was a personal restoration so I was in no rush. I disassembled, de-anodized and polished everything. Over time I sourced different parts and had decals made. Everything was French standard so it took longer than usual to find stuff like pedals, stem and bars. Eventually it all came together. It’s much nicer than I originally anticipated and in the process I realized how Zen bike restoration can be.”
“Now the idea behind Santucci Cycles is custom built or rebranded bikes based around vintage frames and parts. Even though vintage components can sometimes cause compatibility issues, I still like using them where and when appropriate. Generally speaking, especially in cycling, there is a stigma attached to something used or old. But for me, good design is timeless.
Dan goes on: “The craftsmanship and design of classic parts is something all too rare in their modern counterparts. Through restoring, building and riding these bikes, we not only reduce our impact on the environment, but also support artisan techniques, helping to keep our cycling heritage alive.”
Head to the Santucci Cycles website and Facebook page to browse more projects.