please find two photographs of the newest addition to my bike stable...an
early 1970's French/Belgian Astra. I salvaged a complete bike (minus
wheels) from a friend who sells refurbished bikes. This one was
in his junk pile, and I was immediately attracted to its "blowfly
green" paint job and horizontal dropouts. The carcass, as it were,
came with some vintage Huret and Nervar components, which I promptly
stripped off. In fact, the only original bits are the frame, headset,
the Weinmann brake arms and the beautiful "GW" French stainless
steel fenders -- that ain't chrome, baby! Six hours of polishing
with Flitz paste returned the fenders to their glittery glory (the
longest part of this rebuild)!
rest of the components are salvage or "nothing special" new purchases.
The wheelset is an Ebay special -- Formula flip-flop hubs laced
to Weinmann LP18 rims. I got a cheapie Bulletproof crankset and
MCS Racing 44T chainring off Ebay. It is linked to an 18T fixed
cog on one side and a 20T "bailout" freewheel on the other...cheapie
nickel-plated 1/8" BMX chain ties it together. Nothing else is remarkable
save the ancient Waveflo titanium saddle -- filled with a non-hardening
gel/paste that captured the unique shape of my "sit" bones, and
the ultra-boss braided stainless steel brake cable casings.
no-name moustache handlebars bear witness to my first attempt at
a "harlequin" wrapping job -- black Tressostar underwrap for additional
cushioning and blue/grey diamond wrapping over that. It ain't perfect
but I am quite pleased nevertheless. I finished the bars in the
classic French style (Velox rubber plugs and hemp wrapping...I am
debating whether to shellac or not).
have only found two other photographs of Astras on the Web...one
in the Classic Rendezvous photo database, one on the Bikecult.com
gallery (belonging to legendary bicycle artist Taliah Lempert).
I don't really know anything about this marque, but I have heard
it was a subsidiary of Motobecane. I'd sure love to learn more,
so if any viewers have additional info, shoot me an email!
(at) verizon (dot) net