Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sally's Bike, 1988 Peugeot U.S. Express

Three weeks ago I located a bike for my sister-in-law through Craig's List. It's a 1988 Peugeot US Express, one owner, barely ridden, with index shifting, 18 speed - all for 40.00.

The frame is in great shape - that's unusual for the age of this machine. It had been stored in a garage.

I love the pretty color and nice graphics.

The head label and white cables are attractive.

I hand-sanded some surface rust on the derailleur, wheels, and a few bolts. I discovered that 150-grit sandpaper works very well. Because the bike had sat so long in the garage, I lubricated every bolt, joint, pivot point, and chain until the shifting worked smoothly again. I also re-greased the wheel bearings and freewheel (had the bike shop remove the freewheel). The brake pads were still fine - I only ran some sandpaper over the pads. There wasn't any chain-stretch, but I reattached a disconnected side of a link. The wheels were perfectly true with tight spokes. The only thing I didn't mess with was the crank, other than running a rag along the cogs

I am a big fan of cantilever brakes, mostly because I understand the mechanics and feel I can adjust these on the spot. An interesting feature of the rear brake is this pulley system. I think it's there because of the frame angles and the brake needs to pull upwards, but maybe someone else can comment about this. I discovered that to adjust the seat (does not have quick release) I loosen and re-tighten the right hand bolt. This affects the brake positioning because the bolt is connected to the pulley - something you wouldn't see with modern cantilever brake systems. Sally and I figured that once the seat is in correct placement, it's a minor adjustment with the left-hand bolt to reset the pulley and brake pads. It's odd, I know, but she'll most likely never adjust her seat more than once.

She already has a nice rattan bag that I gave her last Christmas, but I couldn't resist this one too. Again, I added leather dog collars (cut to correct length, punched out more holes, and  Krazy-glued the cut ends to prevent fraying) to attach the bag to the handlebars or rack.

The blue flowers on the bag coordinate well. I replaced the spongy hand grips with black leather ones. I think it adds a bit of class.

With new, narrower tires she'll have a quicker ride. My sister-in-law is not an avid cyclist, but with their home now near a bike path, she's been riding considerably more. I added a back rack, water bottle holder, and fenders from our stash of bike parts.

Total Cost = 81.00, breakdown below:
  • Purchase of bike = 40.00
  • Leather grips = 8.00
  • Tires (Nashbar, two pair) = 24.00
  • Remove freewheel = 5.00
  • Bag and straps = 4.00
 Merry Christmas, Sally!


  1. Congrats to Sally on her new bike. The bag is a perfect match--lovely.

  2. I love the bike and its nifty new basket/bag!

  3. Hi Annie,

    The bike looks beautiful. Thank you so much! With Peter using my bike for the past 2 weeks, I am really looking forward to having a bike to ride.

  4. Hey Annie,
    Your right the rear brake cable pulley is very similar to the step through giant I am about to strip.The reason the cable comes up from below is being that it is a step through frame, there is no top tube to route the cable along. The pulley bracket being incorporated into the seat post clamp or collar is rather odd. But as you said, how often does one change their own saddle height? At any rate, you did a masterful job creating a very practical and aesthetically pleasing bicycle. Well done!
    Cheers, Hugh

  5. Hi, I am looking to buy this same bike, but I wanted to replace them with drop handle bars. Is this silly? I don't know much about bikes...

    1. It's not silly to replace handlebars. However, be aware that these older mountain bikes have short stems,especially is height is a concern. Also, drop bars require a different brake and shifting set up. It depends upon what you want to invest in a bicycle. You local bike shop can help.

  6. I had this bike in Germany in 1986 to 88. It was my introduction to mt biking. I loved it. Rode the hell out of it around Fuerth and Munich .


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