Restoring an Automoto

Posted on December 25 2014

This 60-year-old French bicycle was brought to us in a sorry state - from the look of the tyres, it had been sitting in a barn in the countryside for decades! Automoto was the leading French bicycle builder in the 1950s. Take a look at some of their old catalogues here.

We discovered all sorts of eccentricities, like the length of kernmantle rope used as a rim strip.

Here's what it looked like when we were finished.

This intricate chainguard matches the clover-shaped lugs on the frame.

The detail on the frame was exquisite.

This gorgeous leather saddle has seen a lot of use, but it's still comfortable.

The Simplex Grand Tourisme push-rod derailleur was a glimpse into history (if you're interested in reading more about the history of the rear derailleur, check out Disraeli Gears). With three cogs on the rear, it shifts just fine.

The design details are eye-catching - the fenders are fluted, with rivets along the sides, and the rear carrier fits to the fenders, so there's no need for struts.

We rewired the dynamo system and replaced the bulbs, and it all still works perfectly - that's old-school electrical quality for you.

We also replaced the tyres with some period-accurate Grand Bois red-rubber.

Here's the rear dynamo light, neatly mounted on the fender.

If you have a bicycle that deserves restoration, bring it in and we'll give it some love.

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