I needed a bike for my morning commute, three miles over steeeeep hills on craptastic New England roads. I set a budget for myself, carefully examined every option, asked various respected internet forums for advice. Just as I was going to lay down five hundred on a well-reviewed hybrid commuter from a respectable brand at a reputable shop...
... I went and bought a 1978 Raleigh Record Ace for $75 from a disabled vet who fixes and sells yardsale bikes for beer money.
This isn't the fancy aluminum frame jobbie - this is solid, lugged steel, sized just right for my inseam. It has a nice (for the '70s) Suntour geartrain (with friction stem shifters! Yay!) and nice Shimano cantilevers (with awful generic levers that look like they're a royal pain to adjust. Boo!) and nifty quick-release chrome fenders. It's beautiful, rides like new, and I had a bike just like it when I was 10.
I have no idea why I bought this thing, but just looking at it makes me happy.
OK, so... now what?
I'm 6'2", 330lbs, and am more of an "80's bad-guy professional wrestler" fat guy than a "wheeze up the steps" fat guy. I break stuff by being big. While the frame seems bomb proof, I worry about the rest of it...
1) North Road bars, cork grips, modern brake levers. Might as well swap out the cables while I'm at it.
2) Fat-man-friendly saddle for upright riding. I really like the looks of the bigger Brooks, but the price is hard to swallow for something that =might= suit me, or might not. May just get a cheap, padded springer saddle and call it a day.
3) New tires. The ones on there now are Swallows of undetermined size.
How else can I bomb-proof and upgrade this relic?