Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
Bikes: Surly World Troller, Downtube 8H
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Those are pretty rough looking. I've used Oxalic (sp) acid to get rust off of some parts (a search should pull up lots of discussions), but nothing that extreme. Being that this is a classic and vintage forum, maybe you want original parts as much as possible, so if someone else thinks it's possible, it may be worth the effort, but I'd be concerned about performance and safety. In my limited experience, those old, steel rims are hard to true if they get bent, and if those spokes are rusty too, they may not hold up well. With my bike, the first thing I'm working on is a new set of wheels for strength, weight savings, ability to true, and for a machined braking surface. I see you have a rear coaster brake (as do I), maybe the quality of the rear tire has less of an impact on braking, but on my bike at least, my front tire was too dinged to true properly, leaving me an inability to adjust the front brakes well and poor stopping. It was supposed to be the first component to be replaced until I ruined the rear tire...
Now it should be the 2nd thing to be replaced.
It seems like straight, clean (if you're using rim brakes) wheels are one of the biggest factors in a smooth ride, so I'd want to make sure your original tires fit the bill before you put too much effort into them.