|Quality at the Low End|
Hardy Menagh 4/30/08
There's something strikingly elegant about a Mixte frame bike. The delicate, yet sturdy assemblage of tubes looks like it would be just as much at home on an early aircraft as on a bicycle.
I found this French Peugeot UO18C on the Craigslist while looking for a bike for my wife. At US$20, the price was right if it was all there and functional. As it turned out, it was mechanically sound but hadn't seen any maintenance in many years. Although it was advertised as a 1973 model, the decals and plastic headbadge place it in the 1975 or possibly, 1976 model year. Unfortunately, the serial number tag that would have pinpointed the year, was missing from the bottom bracket. It was mostly original with the exception of the saddle. The mattress saddle it originally came with, had been superseded by a cushy comfort model at some point.
The Peugeot UO8, UO18 & UO18C Models
The UO18C is the Mixte version of the Peugeot UO8, men's model. The UO18 had the same Mixte frame but with upright handlebars. These bikes represented the bottom of the Peugeot 10-speed racing-style, touring bicycle line. Even so, the quality is quite good and surpasses bikes from other manufacturers, that sold in this price range. Compared to the English Raleigh Record, for instance, many of the components are a little higher in quality and in other cases, have a more refined appearance. The UO series bikes also came with quick-release hubs as a standard feature.
My intention for this bike was to refurbish it without any major upgrades. It's true that a bike like this could benefit from alloy rims, lighter handlebars and maybe even a cotterless crankset but the fact is, it's very functional with the original components and without them, much of its character would be lost.
After winning a lengthy fight with a seriously stuck crank cotter, I cleaned everything, re-greased the bearings, touched up the paint, trued the wheels, replaced the brake cables and housings, re-taped the handlebars and finally fitted the UO18C with the required reflectors and bell*, to make it street legal in my state.
I enjoyed a brief two mile test ride of this bike on completion of the overhaul. It compared favorably to every other steel frame touring bike I've ridden. It felt solid and stable and handled easily on the road. As for the most important thing, my wife is very pleased with her like-new Mixte.
Frame: Brazed lugged steel, tubing type not indicated
Crankset: All Steel, Cottered Cranks, 40 - 52 Chainwheel
Pedals: Steel Lyotard, adjustable bearings
Hubs & Wheels: Quick release Normandy alloy hubs, Textured steel rims, 36 spoke, 27", Schrader valve
Freewheel: 14 - 28
Derailers: Simplex Prestige
Shifters: Simplex, friction down tube
Brakes: Mafac Racer center pull
Brake Levers: Mafac w/ Dia-Compe aux levers
Handlebars: Steel drop
Tape: Black textured vinyl
Seat Post: Steel
Seat: Mattress (UO18 & UO18C)
Weight: 32 lbs.
For more information see:
Sheldon Brown's French Bicycles page.
and see '73-'74 Peugeot UO8 on this site.
*IMHO, it's absurd and extremely dangerous to believe that a bell is actually safety equipment. Mount a small one in an out-of-the-way place on your bike if it's required but condition yourself to yell (a rude expletive may be appropriate in some situations) if you need to make your presence known. A yell can be instantly recognized for what it is. A bell has little or no recognition factor to a motorist, if they hear it at all.
Copyright © 2008 Hardy Menagh