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Old 05-16-08, 03:33 AM   #1
kenmc
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Rebuild old (very) bike

Hi,
I've had an old Mcleans 'featherlight' (in name only ) in the shed for a long time. It was my grandads, I got it about 15 or 16 years ago at this stage, it was old back then too. I am thinking of trying to get it going again to use as a commuter, cos I don't want to get my 'good' (read better) bike thrashed by scumbags in Dublin when it's parked up. Anyway....

There's an old 5 speed sprocket on it, but I remember when I rode it that the wheels were buckled and crappy, so would be looking to replace them - what's the chances of getting a new axle/freehub to fit? I am presuming that it's a 120mm rear spacing, but I have to go dig it out to measure it. I see new road axles are at 130mm so I'd need to coldset the frame.

It has an old style cottered crankset, as well as non-cartridge style cup-and-cone bottom bracket - is it possible to just put a cartridge BB into one of these, cos I hated having to go through the procedure of getting the locknuts set up 'just so'?

The headset is one of the oldstyle quill type ones, but from memory it kept on loosening - is there any sort of retrofit ahead-set type one I could get for it? Again I hated trying to get the two nuts to the right tightness while keeping the steering loose but with no play.

It has down-tube mounted shifters, non indexed but having gotten used to brifters I'd probably be looking to move to these, dunno if I could ever go back to down tubers...

So I'm thinking I'll need:
2x new wheels
new calipers.
new drive train - crankset, cassette, front and rear mechs, chain.
bottom bracket
handlebars
stem
brifters
gear and brake cables

hard to know if it'd be worth it or not, i'd almost certainly be able to buy a new bike for that sort of money... but I'd hate to spend money on a nice new bike to attract attention...
any thoughts? I'll have it out of the shed in a few days and can post pics later on if it helps. I'll also bring it to my LBS and see what they reckon the possibilities are, but just want to get a pre-opinion...

I suppose the first thing to do would be to try coldsetting the frame - if that doesn't work then it's all a moot point!

Last edited by kenmc; 05-16-08 at 04:41 AM.
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Old 05-16-08, 07:16 AM   #2
jwa
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Check with the folks on the classic & vintage forum. They know everything.
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Old 05-16-08, 07:37 AM   #3
kenmc
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thanks, never even saw that forum before
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Old 05-16-08, 09:23 AM   #4
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Almost without seeing the original I think I can safely say restoring or modernizing this bike will cost way more than buying an entry level new bike, or cheaper yet, a much newer used bike. Frames this old will possibly have unusual threading, strange tube sizes and all sorts of problems accepting current components. A real restoration will be difficult and expensive and is really a job for an experienced mechanic/historian. Modernization will be difficult and frustrating.

Buy a decent used bike and paint it flat black or some patchwork of colors to make it unattractive to the thieves. You will be way ahead in cost.
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