I'm not someone who rebuilds and flips a ton of bikes. In the last six or seven years, I've probably torn down and rebuilt maybe 15-20 of them at the most. I've always taken the approach of completely stripping the whole bike to the frame first, removing every nut bolt, and fitting, tearing down every bearing, then cleaning, greasing, and reassembling it from the ground up, usually with new bearing balls.
But I'm rethinking that a little now. At some point I'm going to start working on a nice 1988 Panasonic DX-3000 (though I have one other bike to get through first). In looking over it the other day, I studied the wheels--Shimano hubs, nice Araya rims (non-eyletted) that are pretty grimy but perfectly true with buttery-smooth hubs. I mean, they're mechanically immaculate as far as I can tell.
I could--and still might--tear them down and clean and regrease them, but a lazy part of me wonders why. In principle, I realize, a perfectly smooth and perfectly adjusted hub with fresh grease is better than a perfectly smooth and adjusted hub with 24 year-old grease, but how much difference does that really make? I'm thinking of just cleaning up the wheels, replacing cables and casings, cleaning and repacking the bottom bracket (going to change the spindle to a triple anyway)--then riding it for a while to see how I like it before I decide what else, if anything, I'm going to do to it. Am I going to C&V hell?