I am now the proud owner of a 1975 Root Beer Brown Twenty, But I didn't plan it.
A few yeard ago Dave Gray, General Manager of Surly bikes, bought a 406 Twenty just to get the frame. When he finished, he had a 451 fixie with all modern components and a lage box of Twenty bits. Lightly rusted but easily salvageable.
I swapped him this box for a strange little 16" wheeled bike with a long wheelbase, sheet metal frame and a bendix 2 speed. It didn't fold but the frame split in two for travel.
I was stuck with the box of useless, to me, Twenty bits for a couple of years, till this week I see an ad in Craig's List Minneapolis for someone needing Twenty parts. We connect and it turns out I have every part that is missing or badly corroded on his bike.
He brings it over and the paint and frame are quite good. Looking at the rubber, it seems to be very low milage. As we talk it dawns on me that I'm actually more interested in the bike than he is. So instead of me getting cash for the box of parts, I gave him $50 for the frame and the few bits that weren't rusted beyond hope. There is something strange in the atmosphere in Minnesota garages that seems to leave paint and frames alone but destroys British chrome.
After he left I started checking it out and everything seemed to be working, if rusty. Among the missing bits were the seat and seatpost, so he'd never ridden it. I stuck my post and seat into it, aired the tires and told Jane I was going to ride it around the block.
Now I get why so many people love them.
I'd never ridden a Twenty before and found it an absolute delight. "Around the block" turned into 5 miles. I like it much better than Jane's modified Moulton Mk III.
I'm hooked! Now the only question is; Restore or Modify? Alloy or Steel?
That's a great story - grinning here! Most people get hooked on the first ride. Something so solid yet fun about it. Also cool to hear about the Surly guy... I bet his is pretty trick.
As to the restore or modify question... that's a toughie and it depends what you wanna do. And spend. there is the the Third way which is to do both - restore it with modern parts so it looks kinda stock but goes like the clappers... Get some nice components (honey brooks saddle, polish up the rear rack, put on a 5 or 7 speed dyno hub etc etc....