Sunday, 23 October 2016

1982 Peugeot PH12E Centenary Model

I was recently very kindly given a Peugeot frame – a PH12E Centenary model with some of the original parts still fitted. Unlike a lot of the similar survivors on the internet, this example has been used and obviously had an active life. Paintwork is tired and transfers are rubbed. The question arises, is it worth restoring? My answer is a resounding “Yes”, firstly because the bike rather than been put away, “because it is a centenary model and might be worth something”, was actually ridden as intended. It has a history of use and shows signs of that use. Secondly, Peugeot embraced the 'aerodynamic' culture of the time and fitted some now rare parts to the bike. The great French rider Bernard Hinault, 5 times winner of the Tour de France had ridden a specially built Reynolds tubed aerodynamic Gitane time trial bike in the late 1970s. Cycling Weekly (UK) coverage of the time featured riders in skinsuits riding time trials which was to lead to the development of low profile time trial bikes with smaller front wheels. These would see use in the professional peloton time trials, until banned by the UCI. Greg Lemond pioneered the use of Tri-bars to obtain a more rider aerodynamic position in the professional peloton. Shimano produced it's 'aero' AX600 and AX Dura Ace between 1981 and 1984 according to the Velobase website.

The frame I was given was missing the wheels, Simplex SLJ6600 rear mech and the top mounted down tube levers. The orginal parts fitted would obviously stay, but could I find the correct replacement parts? The most serious challenge would be the Simplex rear mech. I believe the SLJ6600 was introduced in 1982 and was the first mech to to have an angled parallogram like Suntour and Shimano. The original rear mech was branded 'aƩrodynamic'. Apart from the scarcity of the mechs, the other factor would be price and condition. According to to Disraeli Gears page entry for the Simplex SLJ6600, the springs lost tension very quickly rendering the mech less than effective. This probably explains why the original rear mech was missing. A search on French ebay over several weeks identified a few examples for sale. Some were the later 'SPIDEL' branded version and other examples looked to be in poor condition from the seller's photographs, but not reflected in their asking price. I eventually located what appeared to be a good example and managed to secure it by auction including delivery for a fraction of some of the asking prices on ebay in the UK. Probably one of the biggest hurdles in terms of sourcing original parts had been overcome. I was also gifted boxes of parts along with the Peugeot frame. During the sorting process, I came across a set of Maeda Suntour top mounting down tube levers carefully bagged up. A quick check proved these were off the Peugeot, so another major headache in terms of original parts, was thankfully overcome.

The Peugeot PH12 model was usually made from steel Carbolite tubing, the frame having the appearance of being lugless, but in fact the lugs are internal. Whilst a carbolite tubed frame is not as light as one built with Reynolds or Columbus tubing, fitted with a decent set of wheels, these Peugeot bikes ride very well indeed. Probably a lot to do with the French frame geometry. The 1982 Carbolite tubed Centenary PH12E has an 'aero' seat tube and down tube. The gear cables are routed internally through the down tube from the top mounted friction levers. The other significant thing is, the down tube friction levers and chainset are Japanese, not French. The chainset is an alloy SR Custom model with detachable alloy chainrings, a change from the usual Stronglight alloy crank with swaged steel chainrings.

The 'aero' style seat tube means the seatpin, from necessity, is very short. The top of the seat tube is round to accept the seatpin, but as the seat tube quickly changes profile, the seatpin has to be much shorter than would be found on a bicycle with a full round seat tube. Again, Peugeot use a much smaller diameter seatpin than found on other bicycles. The original seat post is a plain model, necked in at the top, the original saddle being retained by a steel seat clamp bolt arrangement. In amongst, the various store of parts within the Springhill Cycle Collection, there was an alloy one piece seatpin with an integral seat clamp. It has been in the store for a number of years and although not original to the Peugeot it will be used on the bike as a nice finishing touch. It is an unusual and certainly period correct part. The upshot of all this is, the 57cm frame will not suit a tall rider because of the short seatpin. 

It is my intention to restore the bike as close as I can using period correct parts. I still have to source the correct Mavic rims and a small flange Q/R rear hub with a 1982 date code to complete the wheels.  The fact some parts are missing may have more to do with their lack of durability/suitability as the bike was heavily used. I will probably fit a pre-owned Concor saddle and replace the Lyotard flat steel touring pedals that have been fitted in lieu of the 'aero' type pedals that were original to the bike. Although the Shimano PD-1050 105 are 5 years later than the bike, they will make a reasonable substitute. They are in keeping with the 'aero' theme and could represent a likely modification during the bike's working life. The Springhill Cycle Collection is happy to restore the bike in an as used condition. It means the collection now holds a 1982 Peugeot Centenary model along with a similar, used, 1987 Raleigh Centenary edition bike.