All those technological improvements didn't happen overnight. Along the way, a lot of funky ideas came and went, consigned to the backwaters of bicycling history. My Kabuki has a few great quirks, but I've never seen as many oddities on one bike as I've found on my new Motobecane Jubilee Sport.
The French manufacturer Motobecane evidently came unto hard times in the early 80s as the 70s bike boom waned. They'd always been know for quality bikes and were second in France only to Peugeot. Unlike Peugeot, Motobecane was an early adopter of Japanese componentry, which at the time offered higher quality at a lower cost compared to European derailleurs. They also used Swiss threaded bottom brackets like my Juvela, which is great if you don't want your bottom bracket to unthread while you're riding, but not so great if you ever want to replace it.
With the Jubilee Sport, Motobecane got even quirkier. The frame uses Columbus Cro-Mo steel and "inexternal" lugs, meaning the lugs are brazed on the inside of the tubes. I'm not sure what the advantages to this method were, but it gives the frame a nice clean look. Instead of calling this frame lugless, which is common today but in the 80s was associated with cheaper department store frames, Motobecane coined the odd word inexternal. To confuse the issue further, they stuck a decal on the headtube to make it look like the frame had lugs after all.
While they were at it, Motobecane gave this frame internal brake cable routing through the top tube, a feature I haven't seen before on an 80s bike.
On the other end of the chain is a Maillard Helicomatic hub, another short-lived innovation designed to make gear cluster removal easier than a threaded freewheel. Shimano's cartridge system, which also debuted in the early 80s, quickly eclipsed the Helicomatic and is still the standard today. As a result, it's difficult to find tools or parts to service Helicomatics. If I ever need to replace a spoke on the rear wheel, I'll need to find myself the proper lockring removal tool or get a new wheel.
The wheels themselves have 27" double-walled Wolber Gentleman alloy rims. What a great name for a wheel, right? Because they're 27" wheels, there isn't a great selection of tires available, but I picked up a set of Kenda skinwall 1 1/8' road tires that ride just fine.
Finally, the bike came with weird one piece rubber handlebar grips with integrated brake hood covers that were molded to look like stitched leather. I'm not sure how these were ever installed--I imagine it took about a quart of olive oil or something. The rubber was dry and cracking and wouldn't allow any adjustment of the brake hoods. Risking the ire of the bike restoration gods, I replaced these with new cork tape.
My first ride was a 38 mile loop across the Coon Rapids Dam. This was the first time it had been ridden after decades of garage storage. The bike was quick and responsive and I sorta got used to riding on drop bars again. I'm not sure if I'll end up keeping to selling this bike, but its quirkiness certainly argues for keeping. Even after picking up a used Brooks B17 saddle for it, I still don't have a lot of cash invested in it. Time, yes. But not too much money.