I’m in the process of finishing up a Peugeot NSL-40. The “NS” stands for Nouveau Style and the “L” signifies Luxury. It’s a five speed, and this frame style also came as a single speed folder,. The wheels were very rough and, unfortunately, an obsolete size 550A (490 mm ISO/BSD). Thankfully, it was an easy fix by substituting small MTB rims (24” or 507 mm ISO). It also has internal cabling and dynamo wiring with Franco-rific fender-mount lights.
This was a pretty straightforward clean and tune project. However, in addition to the wheels I did swap out a couple of components. For instance, I replaced the cottered crank with a 3-pin alloy Stronglight TS. Next, I changed the tattered Simplex Prestige with another very clean white label Prestige from my French derailleur box. What’s more, I had already done a preemptive Suntour pulley wheel transplant on this derailleur. There were several other very nice Simplexes in the box, but I chose to keep my powder dry a least until I see how this thing performs.
The Simplex Prestige transmission system is much maligned. I will concede the integrity is horrible. But the rear derailleur actually performs well before the pieces start cracking and crumbling. Simplex rear derailleurs had the upper pivot return spring on everything from the Prestige to the SLJ models. This feature gave them superior shifting by wrapping chain and keeping pulley wheels tight and close to the freewheel/cassette. I did, however, replace the fragile Simplex Prestige shifter with a smooth and sturdy Simplex Criterium lever.
After fishing the cable housing through the frame, I grabbed a shift cable and started to install it. Then I remembered these old Simplex shifters take a cable end that is significantly smaller than contemporary shifter cables. I was about to file down the cable end when I remembered I had a stash of cables I purchased from a shop back in the late 80s. They were clearing out stock and I bought all they had – about a dozen or so. I came across them recently while cleaning up. On one end of the cable is the smaller barrel end and the other is the smaller disc shaped end that fits Huret shifters. These are getting harder to find.
As I previously mentioned, the dynamo wiring is run inside the frame and tucked neatly into crimped edges of the fenders. For those familiar with French bicycles, this was pretty common on city style bikes of a certain vintage. It gives bikes a nice finished look. No stay wire hanging about.
Next up… the Moulton!