Obviously, I first owe an explanation as to just where the idiot title of this thread originates.
A couple of months ago a bike appeared in Numbskull of the Day - like most others, utterly forgettable other than the momentary amusement we all got from it's abysmal condition coupled with the ridiculous pricing aspirations of the seller. I can't remember what make the bike was, it's color, or anything about it . . . . . except that it was a complete piece of crap and, for some reason, had time trial extensions on the handlebars. In the comments section, somebody mentioned that, "It looked like a time trial bike for the homeless." No idea who, although for some reason East Hill comes to mind.
Like many non-sequitor (sp?) phrases, odd snippets of old disco or Britney Spears songs, or horribly unfunny jokes, this statement settled into my mind, grabbed hold, and absolutely would not go away. So of course I had to build my own versions of a time trial bike for the homeless.
Now, I do not build beater crap. Period. The closest thing to a beater that I've ever ridden/driven in my life is my current Chevy S-10 pickup (purple, scratched, but still looks good from five feet away) which my wife has had to listen to me whine about for the past year since the budget doesn't allow for it's replacement. So of course, while my budget would have to do the "for the homeless" bit, the final product had to be as pristine as anything else in my garage. So, the final rules became:
1. You may spend money on bar tape (I don't recycle old bar tape) and tyres/tubes.
2. Everything else must have been picked up for free, or at least have been on the shelf long enough, or used in another use, so that the previous purchase price was amortized long ago.
Starting point came out of the deal that got me the Peugeot UO-8 - Dan, as is his usual, tossed in a freebie on the deal, a 1981 Raleigh Gran Prix (s/n NB1413534 - Nottingham built) minus the wheels and cranks. Lots of little scratches, but the paint was solid, the chrome good, and it cleaned up beautifully (more on this later). Yeah, it's 59cm, which is the absolute maximum that I can straddle, but I do clear it. So I use it.
I reused as much as possible, added a Scott time trial bar and old mountain bike stem picked up from the freebie box at Richmond Recycle, crankset, shift and brake levers came from my stock and got a great deal of polishing. The wheels are true to the original concept - at least a lawyer would see it that way. They are something I built a year and a half ago strictly for stretching spare tubulars: Helicomatic hubs with Ambrosio rims. And the Vittoria Rallye's are part of my spare tyre stock. Ten bucks for two boxes of bar tape, and . . . . .
. . . . . here's where I blew the budget. Remember that line about bikes having to look perfect? Well Raleigh's silver from that year is an almost perfect match to 95-96 GM silver. You gotta be within six inches to see the shade difference. Add in one bottle of touchup paint, and every scratch on the bike has been covered.
As to the final result:
I've yet to ride it - the tyres haven't been glued on, and this weekend was spent in first rides/final fettling of the UO-8 - but that's planned for next weekend. Only things I'd really like to complete it is a replacement set of pads for the arm supports, and a set of SunTour bar end shifters. And some blue cable casing would be nice. All of those will wait until I figure out if I even like what I've built.