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  1. #1
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    newb question: do you restore or do you upgrade?

    Hi,

    My son has decided that he wants us to take up restoring a steel road bike just for the fun of it. I don't know how serious he is, but I've started thinking about it, and find myself puzzled about what exactly the point is, at least for me. One of the things that's brought me back to cycling is the huge advances in the technology: I always hated the moment when you took your hand off the bars to reach down for the gear lever.

    So, here's my question. Restoring would suggest you keep the old gears; creating a great bike would suggest a combination of an old frame and new components. But the latter seems very unsatisfactory. Am I right in thinking all of you guys would agree that we go for components that are appropriate to the orginal bike? Are there suppliers of new versions of the old components?

    Is there an ethics of bicycle restoration? Or maybe I mean aesthetics.

  2. #2
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    Mixing and matching is what vintage bicycles are all about.

  3. #3
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Some people "get it" right away, some "come around to it", and some just never do. Whichever way, it's just fine. In your case, the biggest thing going for it might be that you get to work on something together with your son.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  4. #4
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    Just like with vintage cars, there's different perspectives and goals to shoot for which will need to have factored in the bike's classic status, it's history, originality, completeness and condition. Really, only you can decide if it's to be the subject of a period-correct restoration, a hot rodded chopped and customised daily rider or anything in between. One thing tho, is that occassionally you can run into a truely rare classic and without recognising it's significance, can easily diminish or even destroy it's desireability and value. If you don't know what you have, just post a pic and see what reactions you get before you take the sander to it.Sometimes, it's best to just clean'em up and turn 'em over to someone that " really needs" it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member g-funk's Avatar
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    what kind of bike is it? certain bikes scream restoration, others are cool however you want to build them. me personally I like turning vintage race bikes into single speed or 3 speed cruisers, and mobbing downtown with a pack of friends but that's just me, the cinelli on my wall is collecting period correct campy parts for a restoration.

  6. #6
    . bbattle's Avatar
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    I've got bikes that I've converted to singlespeed/fixed gear; some frames awaiting new components, and a frame that'll get built up with period components.

    Have fun, do what you like. But don't alter the bicycle in such a way that nobody could restore it to its original look if they wanted to.

  7. #7
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caterham View Post
    Just like with vintage cars, there's different perspectives and goals to shoot for which will need to have factored in the bike's classic status, it's history, originality, completeness and condition. Really, only you can decide if it's to be the subject of a period-correct restoration, a hot rodded chopped and customised daily rider or anything in between. One thing tho, is that occassionally you can run into a truely rare classic and without recognising it's significance, can easily diminish or even destroy it's desireability and value. If you don't know what you have, just post a pic and see what reactions you get before you take the sander to it.Sometimes, it's best to just clean'em up and turn 'em over to someone that " really needs" it.

    +1,000,000

  8. #8
    Bicycle Rider
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    The take that I recently took when faced with a similar situation was to build a bicycle with a pretty much period correct build. I used a 1987 frame but "upgraded" it with Dura-Ace 7402 components. I like to think of it as a build that could have been created a few years after the original owner got into cycling and wanted to seriously upgrade his ride. It maintains the vintage appeal, but still rides super nicely.

  9. #9
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    Like Caterham, my approach will vary depending on the bicycle. In the end, it comes down to what will give your son (and yourself) the most satisfaction. But one general precaution is not to do anything that is irreversible. For instance, some people like to convert derailleur bicycles to single gear, fixed drive (aka fixies) and take a hacksaw and file to remove integral derailleur hangers and shift lever bosses from frames. This destroys any potential resale to restorers and prevents you from doing so too, should you have a change of mind.

    I agree wholeheartedly with USAZorro, that the most enjoyable and positive aspect of the project will be the time spent with your son. Two years ago, my son had a grade 7 project for which he had to design and build a chair. That was one of the most satisfying experiences on my life. Plus, it got rid of seven old bicycle rims that were loitering in my workshop.

  10. #10
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    I personally don't have the patience or usually the desire to do a "period-correct" restoration, so I have little problem hanging components off of a frame that I think will suit best the intentions I have. A good number of my bikes have their greatest value/quality in the frames themselves and were outfitted with components that weren't special (such as my '72 Schwinn Super Sport), so I have no problem with upgrading to my heart's content. I can understand why someone might want to put together a time machine and recapture that bike of his/her youth, but that's not for me (and that green Vista Flyer I had in junior high is one I wouldn't care to revisit).

    Neal

  11. #11
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post

    I agree wholeheartedly with USAZorro, that the most enjoyable and positive aspect of the project will be the time spent with your son. Two years ago, my son had a grade 7 project for which he had to design and build a chair. That was one of the most satisfying experiences on my life. Plus, it got rid of seven old bicycle rims that were loitering in my workshop.
    Hello Tacfarinas, I don't think I can add much to the discussion--it's up to you, just don't destroy something which can't be undone, and keep any original parts stored in a box somewhere labelled as to what they came from.

    I would like to welcome you to the C & V forum, though.

    And to T-Mar, we'll need photos .

    East Hill
    ___________________________________________________
    TRY EMPATHY & HAVE LOVE IN YOUR HEART, PERHAPS I'LL SEE YOU ON THE ROAD...

  12. #12
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    I don't do anything to high quality, but I have fun.

    I am tinkering with a 1955 Schwinn Corvette which will be mostly period correct. A 1961 Schwinn Jaguar that will be built and modernized to 1970's style the way I rode a similar bike in the 70's, and I have a 1986 Schwinn Voyageur that will have a modern 9 or 10 speed drive trainon 27" wheels, with little but the frame, fork and headset original.

    I also have an all original 1989 Centurion Ironman Master less the pedals. and an early 70's Sears 10 speed that I now run a cotterless compact double and wide range 6 speed freewheel on... changed to alloy rims.

    If I had something worthy of a true restoration, I would have fun with it, but I am a bit too cheap for that aspect of the hobby.

    Restoration of an entry to mid-level bike would be fun, interesting and relatively inexpensive... However, it would have to be done for the joy of it, because it won't make you any money. On the high end it could pay off if you are fortunate to get the bike and components inexpensively and in restorable condition.

    If you read here, there are those who love their down tube shifters, and there are those of us who go to great lengths to eliminate them... we are no more homogenous than any other group.

    There are ways to avoid downtube shifters and remain "vintage"... that's what barcons are for.
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

    People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
    - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  13. #13
    Bottecchia fan
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    Like others, for me it depends on the bike. My current "project", a 1972 Bottecchia, is mostly original and all period correct except for the Look clipless pedals. I can't live without those and you can always swap the pedals out for display if you want. It would look odd with modern components. My future project will one day be a late 80's - early 90's Bottecchia Equipe/Squadra frame on which I plan to hang the latest Campagnolo Record aluminum components I can find, only avoiding the latest carbon stuff to achieve a fully modern bike with that retro look. Kinda like the new Mustang.
    1959 Bottecchia Professional (frame), 1966 Bottecchia Professional, 1971 Bottecchia Professional (frame),
    1973 Bottecchia Gran Turismo, 1974 Bottecchia Special, 1977 Bottecchia Special (frame),
    1974 Peugeot UO-8, 1988 Panasonic PT-3500, 2002 Bianchi Veloce, 2004 Bianchi Pista

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