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Old 11-22-13, 11:26 AM   #1
Ramona_W
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Ever met a bike you didn't want to mod?

I'm a volunteer mechanic in a not for profit bike shop and while there are a few bikes I find enticing, there are a great many more of the cheap clean-em up, make-em safe, get them out the door to a new home variety. (All of our bikes are donated.) Naturally, I added fenders, changed pedals, swapped saddles, etc on my own bikes. But even on the bikes that are going to come and go fast, I find myself thinking "What if someone did X...?" Thus my question: Have you ever bought/found/otherwise acquired a bike you didn't immediately start mentally redoing?

(I wish I could say my problem was confined to bikes but I rarely precisely follow knitting patterns as they're written and I've been known to grab the scissors and re-cut parts of my hair after I come home from the beauty school.)

Last edited by Ramona_W; 11-22-13 at 11:28 AM. Reason: Not enough coffee
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Old 11-22-13, 11:28 AM   #2
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Yeah, I picked up a 1989 specialized stumpjumper comp that I left alone for a long time because I liked it so much; but I have fallen prey to the modification impulse as I just recently tore it down to steal all the parts for another project!
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Old 11-22-13, 05:59 PM   #3
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It's a standing joke among my friends that I don't leave ANYTHING alone, I have TAS, "Tim Allen Syndrome".
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Old 11-22-13, 06:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ramona_W View Post
I'm a volunteer mechanic in a not for profit bike shop and while there are a few bikes I find enticing, there are a great many more of the cheap clean-em up, make-em safe, get them out the door to a new home variety. (All of our bikes are donated.) Naturally, I added fenders, changed pedals, swapped saddles, etc on my own bikes. But even on the bikes that are going to come and go fast, I find myself thinking "What if someone did X...?" Thus my question: Have you ever bought/found/otherwise acquired a bike you didn't immediately start mentally redoing?

(I wish I could say my problem was confined to bikes but I rarely precisely follow knitting patterns as they're written and I've been known to grab the scissors and re-cut parts of my hair after I come home from the beauty school.)
No I have not. All my bikes are weird.
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Old 11-22-13, 09:35 PM   #5
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It's a standing joke among my friends that I don't leave ANYTHING alone, I have TAS, "Tim Allen Syndrome".
"Everything's a Kit" is one way I've heard it put.
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Old 11-22-13, 09:47 PM   #6
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"Everything's a Kit" is one way I've heard it put.
I had never heard that but, yeah, it is. I even souped up my riding mower.
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Old 11-22-13, 11:49 PM   #7
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Its evolution. All my bikes have had mods.
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Old 11-23-13, 12:01 AM   #8
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I had never heard that but, yeah, it is. I even souped up my riding mower.
Build details? Seriously. I'd used a riding mower about three times before I started thinking "How fast could I get this thing to go and still cut the grass efficiently?" so I'm curious to see what you did. Do you race it?
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Old 11-23-13, 01:23 AM   #9
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Yes:
A used 1969 Raleigh Sprite with S5 speed IGH and Brooks B72 saddle. I bought it in 1973 at a thrift shop for $40.
A new 1972 Raleigh Sports with a TCW 3 speed IGH and Brooks B72 saddle, paid $82.
A new 1976 Raleigh Superbe with a 3 speed IGH, Brooks B66 saddle and dynohub front wheel; $135.
Every other non English bike I bought has remained essentially as bought with the exception of the saddle which I have replaced with a Brooks B72, B66 or B73.
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Old 11-23-13, 07:13 AM   #10
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Depends on what you mean by modifying. I have some bikes that are exactly the same was when they left the factory. Others I have customized to suit my needs by adding lights and baskets. Others are full blown customs where the only original part is the frame. Not every bike needs to be customized/modified. Some have period correct accessories or upgrades.

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Old 11-23-13, 08:21 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Ramona_W View Post
Build details? Seriously. I'd used a riding mower about three times before I started thinking "How fast could I get this thing to go and still cut the grass efficiently?" so I'm curious to see what you did. Do you race it?
No racing, I just wanted more power. My riding mower qualifies as a C & V, it's a 1970 Wheelhorse that was originally an 8 HP ( I like old stuff ), I replaced the engine with a later model 12HP with overhead valves and a pressurized oiling system and swapped out the drive pulley to change the "gear ratio". Cut my mowing time by 10 minutes and reduced fuel consumption by 40% in the process. I love the double takes people do when they drive by and see me mowing my yard with an "antique".

Ever watched "riding mower" drag racing? "CRAZY!!! They are basically riding mower hoods and fenders mounted on a snowmobile drivetrain but with rear wheels instead of tracks. They only race for a couple hundred feet but at the finish line they are going something like 85 MPH!
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Old 11-23-13, 08:23 AM   #12
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Yup, my GT Tequesta the only mod I ended up doing on it was switching the canti's for V-brakes, only because the shifter/brake lever combos were about worn out.
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Old 11-23-13, 10:05 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
Not every bike needs to be customized/modified.
"It's not about the bike." It's about my need to modify.
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Old 11-25-13, 07:21 AM   #14
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No racing, I just wanted more power. My riding mower qualifies as a C & V, it's a 1970 Wheelhorse that was originally an 8 HP ( I like old stuff ), I replaced the engine with a later model 12HP with overhead valves and a pressurized oiling system and swapped out the drive pulley to change the "gear ratio". Cut my mowing time by 10 minutes and reduced fuel consumption by 40% in the process. I love the double takes people do when they drive by and see me mowing my yard with an "antique".

Ever watched "riding mower" drag racing? "CRAZY!!! They are basically riding mower hoods and fenders mounted on a snowmobile drivetrain but with rear wheels instead of tracks. They only race for a couple hundred feet but at the finish line they are going something like 85 MPH!
We do modding of lawnmowers around here... it is mainly to keep the old ones rolling. Current rider is a 1987 Yardman with a 5 horse upgrade 2007 motor in it, no clue which pulleys vs original.

I have a buddy that races lawnmowers he has both the drag style as well as the ones that use a track format... crazy stuff!

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Old 11-25-13, 08:27 AM   #15
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Me?? I never mod bikes.

Just because I started with this:



And ended up with this:



Doesn't mean that I like to mod bikes...
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Old 11-25-13, 11:04 AM   #16
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90% of bikes in the US don't come with fenders or a chain guard, so that's something I immediately notice. Many US bike shops don't sell ANY bikes that come stock with fenders, never mind chain guard. By contrast, in many European cities, such as Amsterdam, it would be difficult to find a bike that does NOT come with fenders and chain guard.

The US bike industry seems to not realize that a sizable chunk of people looking to purchase a bike want a bike for TRANSPORTATION, not just recreation. I would argue that the vast majority of people in urban environments are riding for transportation. Maybe in another 10 years or so we'll see more bike shops that actually get this.
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Old 11-25-13, 02:49 PM   #17
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I don't intend to mod them, but a light here, a blinkie there, can't get the tire or the brakepads I had last time. It just happens.
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Old 11-25-13, 03:40 PM   #18
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90% of bikes in the US don't come with fenders or a chain guard, so that's something I immediately notice. Many US bike shops don't sell ANY bikes that come stock with fenders, never mind chain guard. By contrast, in many European cities, such as Amsterdam, it would be difficult to find a bike that does NOT come with fenders and chain guard.

The US bike industry seems to not realize that a sizable chunk of people looking to purchase a bike want a bike for TRANSPORTATION, not just recreation. I would argue that the vast majority of people in urban environments are riding for transportation. Maybe in another 10 years or so we'll see more bike shops that actually get this.
I think one big reason you don't see more American bikes automatically coming with chainguards and fenders is the expense. If a manufacturer includes these items, they have to pass the cost along to the consumer. Bikes are considered by many people- not going to say most though it's probably true- to be disposable and no one is going to pay extra for features they don't think they'll ever need. In Europe, people seem to be much more concerned with how they appear on the street on their bike and are less likely to change into work/dressier clothes when they arrive at their destination and that's why you see fenders, skirtguards, etc.

Another reason these are rarer in the US is that we are concerned about our bike's weight sometimes even more than our own. Even when you're talking about a bike for hauling groceries or taking someone back and forth to work rather than racing, weight is often a consideration. If I'm transporting 120 pounds of me and 50 pounds of groceries then do I really want to propel a 40 pound bike up the hill? Same with kickstands.

And, finally, aesthetics. Chainguards tend to be made of plastic and cheap plastic at that. The plastic fills with dirt from the road or it cracks and just generally looks bad so I tend to take them off. (Some chainrings are like works of art- at least I find them to be- and the chainguard obstructs the view so that's another reason I take them off.) Unless fenders were specifically manufactured to go on a bike and their installation was considered in the design, I find that they break up and obscure the lines of a bike too much for my liking. Which is not to say that there aren't beautiful fenders that can enhance the appearance of a bike but for the most part I prefer the looks of a bike without them and I don't think I'm alone.

store.velo-orange.com/index.php/accessories/fenders/vo-45mm-hammered-polished-fenders-700c.html
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Old 11-26-13, 07:30 AM   #19
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I'm unable to leave any bike alone.

I tried with my 1977 Fuji S-10S, which I vowed would remain "stock". It looked so clean and rode admirably for what it was. But...it needed fenders. Okay. And clipless pedals to go with my riding shoes. Uh Huh.

Not a long while later, I thought that bar end shifters would be better than the downtube PowerShifters. At least the new ones were "period correct" SunTours. Of course, why not add a rack - center mound Blackburn for authenticity, but no longer stock.

Then I thought, if it had a smaller inner chainring, I'd get just a bit better climbing ability for what was now evolving into a utility bike. Swapped a Sugino 39T for the standard 42T.

And so it goes...
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Old 11-26-13, 03:40 PM   #20
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The only bike I've had that I've kept exactly the same is the one in my signature. The American Eagle. For what it is, it's perfect. It gets used the most- not the most mileage, but the most trips. When it was given to me it had a basket which I re-installed after the picture.

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