Alpin Hubs and Super Champion Competition Rims
I really liked these Alpin hubs: hi flange, beautifully made, a French tubular wheelset of high quality that was very light. I polished them up as they were a little dull after decades of service, and they ended up gleaming. I hadn’t heard of Alpin as there aren’t many of these hubs around, and the bike they were on was a 1978 Motobecane Le Champion. I like the large holes in the flanges, making them really lightweight hubs. I think the wheel would have looked even better with tan and black tubs, rather than being mismatched; this, in my view, never looks as good on vintage builds.
Normandy Hubs and Maillard Tubular Rims
This is the classic wheelset that is less common than many found on many French bikes made through the 1970’s. Mavic rims were more common on mid-range models of the larger brands like Peugeot and Motobecane than these Maillard rims. Normandy hubs were in mass production for the worldwide market but because of their great quality, they were used at the highest level of racing. Normandy was a brand that that always date stamped their hubs, making the task of dating a bike a lot easier if you were stumped to when is was built. These superb tubular wheels from 1978 were a good 500 grams lighter than the clincher equivalent, but, of course, harder to maintain. These Continental Giro tyres were certainly not the original tyres, that had long gone, and they were in nearly new condition. Sold for just £35.
Exceltoo Super Competition Hubs and Mavic Record Du Monde Sur Route Rims
If these Exceltoo hubs look very similar to the Normandy high flange above, it’s because they were basically identical to them, just rebranded by Exceltoo and called “Super Competition”. There’s understandably a lot of confusion about these vintage French brands like Atom, Maillard, Pelisier and Normandy, and Exceltoo can be included in this interchangeable group. These are lovely hubs and shone quite beautifully, laced to quite rare Mavic Record Du Monde Sur Route tubular rims. High quality Schwalbe tyres, though a bit worn, would guarantee a smooth ride. A wheelset, in my opinion, that competes with the best of the era, just as good as mmuch sought after Campagnolo Nuovo Record, and half the price ( sold for £45 ).
Mavic 500 Hubs and Mavic MA 40 Rims
Mavic have made some really wonderful hubs, the later 571 model ( for 7 speed cassettes ) being my all time is my favourite. These 5 speed 500 hubs look quite similar in design, wider bodied than other rivals and quite unmistakable in their style. Surely a contender for the best vintage hubs ever made, these ran as smooth as butter and were laced to anodised MA 40 rims clincher rims, which were in very good shape for their age. Not the lightest wheelset of its age, but of superb quality, with a 5 speed Maillard freewheel, though I would have preferred a Regina Oro. These sold for £50.