Well, last December I stumbled upon a 1970s vintage Motobecane mixte on eBay. The combination of uninformed seller and bad photos made it difficult to determine the specific model Motobecane. However, I was pretty confident it was Grand Jubilee.
In the 1970s, the Grand Jubilee was a good quality bicycle residing on the north end of the Motobecane lineup. And a Grand Jubilee of the mixte persuasion is a rare find. There was also a chance that it might have been a Grand Touring. The seller wasn’t sure of anything and couldn’t or wouldn’t send more photos, so the purchase was a bit of a crap-shoot. I decided to take a chance and it turned out to be a 1975 Grand Jubilee.
The mixte has undergone a resurgence. After being quite popular in the US during the 1970s-80s, it all but disappeared in the 1990s. Granted, the lion’s share of production mixtes of that era were low-end and mid-level. Nicer production mixtes from the 70s and 80s are rare but they are out there and I’m always on the lookout for these better quality bicycles.
The 1975 Grand Jubilee mixte came with double-butted Reynolds 531 main tubes, Nervex Professional lugs, and Huret dropouts. The components weren’t too shabby either; Stronglight 49D crankset, Stronglight v4 Competition headset, and Huret Jubilee derailleurs. As was common with Motobecanes of this vintage, the finish was nice and it came with contrasting head and seat tube bands.
In addition to my fondness for mixtes, I’m also an admirer of old Motobecanes. My first touring bicycle was a 1978 Grand Touring with a Vitus 172 double butted frame. I made a few changes to the components to make it more touring friendly. I put thousands of loaded touring miles on that bike before cracking the frame in Italy on tour. Motobecane, in a gesture not as common today, shipped me a new and nicer frame. Motobecanes, like most quality bicycles of that era, had a lifetime warranty on the frame.
But let’s get back to the Jubilee mixte. So I stripped off the components and bits, cleaned the frame and built it up with some alternative parts. Don’t get me wrong, I love the distinctive Huret Jubilee long cage derailleur – long, beautiful, light. But it seems a bit too frail and temperamental for a rear derailleur. Alas, the clamp on the front Jubilee derailleur had a fractured band, so I replaced the set with a Huret Success. The Stronglight crank was swapped out with a shorter TA Cyclotouriste and the Weinmann brakes for MAFACs .
I added a vintage Blackburn rack on rear and a little TA bag support on front so I could try out some Ironweed bags on it. The Orpington front bag worked well. Unfortunately, there was not adequate space in the Stronglight Competition (v4) headset stack to squeeze in the Velo Orange decaleur. I made it work – for just to test the fit – by removing the toothed locking washer. I like this headset, so I’ll have to figure out a different decaleur.
Below are the results. I can’t speak to how it rides, and have to rely on the opinions of others. I do think it will make a nice city bike for someone.