So, Craigslist is my friend (and quite probably will be my downfall). Saw the ad this morning for a 1980 Motobecane 50V, talked to the guy early evening, and by 9:00 I was headed home with a new project.
The bike is in what I would describe as "conflicted" condition. Some things look really awesome (you should see the seat on this beast! near-perfect!) and some things are in disrepair. Fortunately the (immediately apparent) things that need to be fixed are simple, like one bent pedal arm and a whole slew of broken cables/wires. The frame and fenders are in pretty good shape, just a little pitting. I don't know about spark or the carb yet, but I think compression is good just from turning over the engine by hand.
In any case, this bike will require some work. I've got a few Motobecane questions in general. Keep in mind I haven't started taking things apart yet and have only browsed through the online manuals. I just figure I'd ask for some direction as I undertake this restoration.
First, I want to make sure I know how the clutch works. When I pedal, the outside ring on the left side spins. I didn't try too hard, but I couldn't get it to engage the inner disk (figure that's attatched to the flywheel) hardly at all. I read about the decompression lever, maybe that's the secret. I don't NEED to use that on my Vespa to get it to turn over, it just makes it easier, but some of what I've read leads me to believe this is required. Is this the case, or might I need to repair the clutch?
Second, I read that many Moby models have a variator. Again, I'm comparing to the only other bike I've worked on, the Vespa, where the variator runs from engine to rear wheel. On the Motobecane, does the variator belt just run from the engine to where the pedals are, and then chain drive back to the wheel? I see a chain from wheel to pedals on the left side, but maybe I'm just hoping there's a variator in there somewhere :-)
Third, if I'm having troubles getting spark (haven't tried this yet) are there any silly wiring things that might cause problems? For example, some bikes won't spark if the taillight is out or wired wrong, etc. Lots of the wiring is messed up, so I'd like to know what basic things to check.
Fourth, if (when) I DO get this 'ped up and running, what kind of speeds can I expect? I see that there were 20, 25, and 30mph versions. How do I tell which one I have? Is there just easily-defeated restriction for the lower speed models that I can change?
Any other advice/tips/resources/wisdom specific to this kind of moped? All help is appreciated! Thanks!