I owned a Peugeot PX10 about twelve years ago. I was living in Seattle in the era when vintage bikes were all the rage, before the arrival of the electric bike to our bike shops. Of course, there is still a strong interest in classic, steel road bikes in the city, but new technology has definitely shifted interest away from these old bikes. The Peugeot PX10 I owned at that time was a much later edition, from the late 1970’s and the paint on its tubes had been touched up by an unsteady hand. Suffice to say it wasn’t the PX10 I had been looking for, though I still loved it. This one, however, is something much closer to what I’ve always wanted, and I bought it for just 110 Euros.
The Era is Everything
If there’s an era that defines the PX10, it’s the 1960’s: Tommy Simpson and Eddie Merckx successes at the World Championships, Pino Cerami riding his to victory in the 1960 Paris-Roubaix. Naturally I’ve always searched for a PX10 of this era, but it had to be one that was affordable and in need of restoration. A PX10 in museum condition would always be out of financial reach, let’s be honest. So when I saw this bike for sale, originally priced at 250 Euros, with a black and white picture of its original owner wearing the iconic Peugeot jersey in the listing, I was sure it was something special. Luckily, the listing stayed up for weeks while I waited for my moment to pounce. It was risky but it worked out for me.
After seeing that old photo of the owner with the bike, I expected to hear some proud stories and fascinating anecdotes at the point of sale. But one thing I’ve learned over the years when it comes to buying old bikes is to expect the unexpected. The man who showed me the bike had absolutely no information about its provenance and seemed to possess no interest in the bike itself. My questions were met with shrugs and monosyllabic responses. The bike itself looked very tired and neglected, like it had been forgotten about for many years. For a moment, I even considered passing on it, feeling a certain pang of disappointment that the current owner had no enthusiasm and the bike was in such a poor condition. However, I realised I just had to save it.
The Job – Always Expect More
There was a lot to do. When I got the bike home and looked at it more carefully, I realised that restoring the paintwork was going to be a difficult task. It was near the point where a full respray was a real consideration. However, that to me is always a last resort. Instead, I thought to myself “If I can just get this paint back to a reasonable condition, the restoration will be a success.” I did my best with the skills I have and it’s now in good enough condition that I can look at it with that sense of delight and pride. Isn’t that what we all seek in our restorations? I had to replace the front derailleur ( expected ), the saddle, grip tape and Mafac brake levers ( absolutely necessary ) and the original Simplex rear derailleur to match the front replacement.
Watch the Video!
Sometimes I think there’s too much emphasis on racing when it comes to bicycle magazines and media. This leads to an obsession with lightweight machines and a devotion to improving one’s performance on the road. Perhaps it’s the type of society we live in these days, in which the emphasis is on elite athletes and the culture of ever-increasing performance and speed linked to price. New technology can enhance our abilities to ride quicker and more efficiently, but we shouldn’t overlook the fact that for most people cycling is a simple leisure activity. An easy ride is something inexpressibly pleasurable, and a bike can take you to your destination with no other demand than the joy of being outdoors, moving at your own speed and under your own power. Long live vintage bikes!
On the Road for the First Time in Decades
There’s no doubt that when you restore a bike and change some of its components, it’s not going to be perfect on the road. Even if you feel you’ve got it right on the stand, that it shifts and brakes perfectly, the performance on the road is always different. In this case, I found a few issues a few miles into my first ride of it.
- There was some chain slip under pressure on the 1st gear
- I installed the left Mafac brake lever slightly higher on the handlebar than the right Lever.
The solution to the first problem is the chain length, I believe. It is just slightly slack, one link even, which can cause this slipping problem. The chain is not trying to jump into the next cog, so the problem isn’t the cable or derailleur alignment. I’ve taken a link off and I hope this will be the answer.
The bike is older than me and long ago was ridden in amateur races and club competitions, and one can imagine how proud the owner was of this haut de gamme machine. You can’t help talking to it at times, when you’re out on your own on a lonely road, as if it has a spirit of its own. Such wonderful vintage bikes seem to possess an anima that draws your respect and reverence, the riding experience is really something different to that of riding functional and modern bikes. That freewheel, though, causes me apprehension every time I see any form of elevation in the road ahead; if it’s a steep climb, I have to get off. I really need to find a kinder gear ratio than 42 – 18.
- 1964/65 Peugeot PX10, Bought in Fougeres, France
- 56cm Frame C-C, 56 cm Top Tube
- Reynolds 531 Main Tubes, Stays, Fork
- Half Chromed Rear Stays and Fork, Simplex Dropouts
- Nervex Professional lugs
- Stronglight Competition Headset and Bottom Bracket
- Serial Number: 554300
- Stronglight 63 Crankset 53/42
- Atom Pedals
- Original: Simplex Prestige Rear and Front Derailleurs, Super LJ Shifters
- Replacements: Simplex Super LJ Front and Rear Derailleurs
- Campagnolo Nuovo Record Hubs, Ambrosio Tubular Rims:; 36 Spoke
- Mafac Brake Levers – Replaced with Later Drilled Version
- Mafac Racer Centrepull Brakes
- Ideale 92 D Rebour Saddle
- Selle Italia Suede Leather Handlebar Tape
- Weight: 22lbs