'64 Schwinn Racer: What to do?
I bought this Racer in '98 while I was in College up in Oregon. (I also had a '71 VW Type II--guess which one worked more often?) I only paid a few dollars for it and figured it would be fun to beat around on, but after I cleaned it a little and put new rubber under it I realized that this was the best way to get around that small college town. It also began my love affair with the SA 3-speed hubs. I put thousands of miles on it and along the way did some work. Firstly, I rebuild the hub as it was grinding a bit-- found some pretty well chewed gears inside and replaced them. I also repacked the bottom bracket and replaced a bent saddle and worn-out pedals. Besides that, and putting some lights and a lock on it, it was ready to go. Then I got broadsided by a girl in a Ford Ranger one night on the way to the library. The rear rim was bent and I had it replaced with a much thinner, but same diameter, alloy rim. Boy did I notice the difference in how it stopped after that. A few years later I was handed down a Trek 830 Antelope and the Schwinn was set aside in favor of the lighter weight and the better braking. Those chrome wheels look great, but they are really slippery in the rain--guess what it does a lot in Oregon? Rain. Now, ten or twelve years later, it is sitting in the garage and wanting some attention, but what to do?
A Brookes saddle is a must, probably sprung to keep the same aesthetic. It does need a new shifter, the one on there now is a bit rusty and newer than the hub, I would love to get a NOS from the '60's. But beyond that, I don't know how far to go. I would love some advice from the community, especially if you have done any of the changes I propose.
Basically the issues to deal with are the mismatched wheels and the rough paint. So, the question is to do a full restoration, or to make it more functional?
Should I repaint it and try to get some decals, put an original chrome rim on the back?
Should I repaint it but not worry about the decals leaving me the option of new, wider alloy rims for more comfort and better breaking?
Should I leave the paint, maybe touch up the really bad spots to slow the rusting, and get the new rims?
Let me know what you think.