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Old 05-03-12, 12:04 PM   #1
Scott Fields
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Alco Villager Adult Tricycle Restoration - Rims

Hello all... I was fortunate enough to run across a 1970's Alco Villager 3 wheel bicycle, and am very excited to clean it up as a project with my 2 sons (7 and 11 years old). I just acquired it yesterday for all of $20 (my wife says I was ripped off, so please help me prove her wrong), and am concerned that the back rims are too rusty to restore. In addition, the front rim is in better shape, but is missing a spoke. Never having tried to restore a vintage bike, I am unsure if there are viable replacements for the rims and spokes? Thanks in advance for putting up with a "newbie"... I hope that this bike will start me and my kids on a new hobby of restoring bicycles, and this forum certainly seems like the place to be.
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Old 05-03-12, 12:38 PM   #2
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Please?
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Old 05-03-12, 12:46 PM   #3
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What size wheels are they?
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Old 05-03-12, 12:54 PM   #4
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20", but I am unsure how to take into account the width of the hub (which is approx 2 1/2") and what is the best way to measure the hub hole (ie is a tape measure close enough or do I need calipers?
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Old 05-03-12, 12:56 PM   #5
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Scott,

I'm unfamiliar with your bike. We don't see a whole lot of vintage trikes on here. What size are the rear rims? First try to clean them up, you'd be surprised what a little elbow grease can do. try some crumpled aluminum foil and lemon juice to take the rust off. The foil is softer than the rim, so it removes rust, but not metal.

If I recall correctly, the hubs on a trike are where it's going to get tricky and you won't be able to swap them out with normal bike wheels. It might be a costly thing to replace the wheels with new ones. If you consider building the wheels, I don't believe you have to dish them, but merely center the rims to the hubs. Once you find the wheel size, put a wanted on your local freecycle (www.freecycle.org) and see if you can get any parts bikes for free, then salvage the rims to use with this project. But try cleaning them up first to see where you are. New rim strips are like a buck each, new innertubes and tires after that.

Adult trikes are always priced higher than other bikes, you didn't get ripped off unless the frame is so rusty that it breaks on you ;p
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Old 05-03-12, 02:52 PM   #6
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Thank you so much for the advice. I will try to clean them, just looked a little like a lost cause because the rears are nearly covered with rust. I can try anything once! As for the rest of the bike, it is amazingly solid. Is it difficult to find replacement spokes? or is it simply a matter of measuring and ordering?
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Old 05-03-12, 03:00 PM   #7
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probably measuring and ordering, however kids bmx-style bikes get trashed every day, rear wheels generally get the worst of it. You might be able to find a donor bike and just pop the front wheel in there and call it good. Or, if you find a donor bike with a trashed front wheel, try pulling a good spoke out of it. I don't think this trike is terribly desirable as a collectors item, but it could be a bunch of fun to ride around on. The cheapskate in me would go that route vs. spending any sort of money on it. Of course, you may just want to buy a spoke and be done with it, really what ever method appeals to you is the right one here. Enjoy the learning process.
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Old 05-03-12, 03:21 PM   #8
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Hi Scott,

Welcome! Apart from a spoke and a set of tires, the bike seems pretty much complete. Just a lot of cleaning, greasing and polishing, but that's what the kids are for, right? Enjoy!
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Old 05-07-12, 11:19 AM   #9
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Thank all of you for the great responses... We will get to scrubbing and save the money of replacing anything. The kids get a great lesson that some things just need effort with no money out of pocket (kids don't learn that often anymore).
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Old 05-28-13, 09:29 PM   #10
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have just rebuilt one

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Fields View Post
Hello all... I was fortunate enough to run across a 1970's Alco Villager 3 wheel bicycle, and am very excited to clean it up as a project with my 2 sons (7 and 11 years old). I just acquired it yesterday for all of $20 (my wife says I was ripped off, so please help me prove her wrong), and am concerned that the back rims are too rusty to restore. In addition, the front rim is in better shape, but is missing a spoke. Never having tried to restore a vintage bike, I am unsure if there are viable replacements for the rims and spokes? Thanks in advance for putting up with a "newbie"... I hope that this bike will start me and my kids on a new hobby of restoring bicycles, and this forum certainly seems like the place to be.
I have just rebuilt one use steel wool to clean up the wheels or the colored scouring pads. can use modern wheels on front. I paid 40.00 for mine now that it is done it looks sharp and made it worth @ 200.00 the new tricycles run @ 350.00 here in michigan. if you need more info contact
me at my e-mail jb4876@att.net rebuild it with pride you will be surprised at what you can do with them at very little expense.
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Old 05-29-13, 05:30 AM   #11
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You shouldn't use Steel Wool on chrome it will leave scratches in the chrome that will rust eventually, Bronze Wool is what you want as it's softer then chrome & won't scratch it up. Also Navel Jelly works great for removing rust, just keep it off the painted parts ( wear gloves as it will burn the skin ). I use Navel Jelly a lot myself, I just got a plastic tub to put my parts in & I use a paint brush to apply it, walk away & work on something else for a bit then go back hit it up with the brush a few times. When the rust looks like it's gone you can wash the parts in cold water ( Hot water can turn the parts black) wipe them down & either wax them or apply a lite oil with a rag until you are ready to use them. You can even do the wheels if you get a big enough tub, I do half a wheel at a time just so I'm not making a mess from the Navel Jelly dripping off the wheel as you spin it in the tub.

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