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Restoration - when to stop?

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Restoration - when to stop?

Old 04-26-05, 10:24 AM
  #1  
rokrover
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Restoration - when to stop?

I got a classic old Nishiki road bike cheap at the local thrift store for utilitarian commuting to save the expensive road thoroughbred for the more exotic fun rides. This old "beater" was supposed to be used "as is" but since it rode surprisingly nice I thought what the heck, why not give it some TLC? Many hours later after total disassembly, cleaning, internal rustproofing, bearing replacement, repacking and adjustment, new chain, derailleur fine tuning it emerged even better. In fact, it now runs so sweetly and silently with fresh lube I am inspired to do a complete repainting of the frame for a total restoration. This goes beyond the original intent, time and budget wise, and is becoming an obsession. A shiny new paint job would cruelly expose the rust flecks on the original chrome that would demand attention and lead to yet another sub-level of detail like scratches on the seatpost...... it's endless. There can be no perfection and I should accept these cosmetic blemishes as a sign of character as well as a practical deterrent to theft. After all, that was the original justification to get another bike. Help me stop with some sage advice; surely others have been lured down this path!
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Old 04-26-05, 10:47 AM
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I've done the same with my '86 Trek 520 Cirrus. I cleaned, lubed, replaced brake shifters/hoods, retaped the handlebars, replaced the red brake cables, replaced chain, & re-packed bearings. However, I'm still looking for those original rims (Rigida 1320's) The paint job part I've left alone because in my opinion, it's too expensive to repaint it the original color (Metallic Gray) & Red. What I've found is that with a little of my wife's nail polish, I can touch up the spots that really need it. What I also did is polished up all the chrome parts and in my honest opinion, it looks great. I'm proud of what I've done and who ever said it has to be perfect.
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Old 04-26-05, 11:10 AM
  #3  
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Sorry to report that you've got the disease! It starts out simply with the first bicycle, then you pass by a sweet looking number at a yard sale and BOOM!...you're the proud owner of two. Then you see a frame on ebay that you just can't pass up and WHAMMO!...enter project number 3. I'm up to five now and each one has it's strengths and weaknesses, but I take an equal delight in working on my rides as I do in using them. Attain perfection?...maybe not, but just enjoying the time spent tinkering and perfecting your steeds is a great way to unwind from a crappy day at the office. Don't seek out a cure...seek out another bicycle to add to your stable...lol. Enjoy!
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Old 04-26-05, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by rokrover
Help me stop with some sage advice; surely others have been lured down this path!
Sell it and buy a vintage Peugoet, preferably with cottered cranks. You will not be tempted to retore one of those.....

Seriously, how bad of shape is it in cosmetically? If you like it and are going to ride all over on it, make it nice. Don't obsess over details, but clean it up and give it a paint job if you're so moved.

In the old west, a man was known by the rifle he carried. Make a statement.

John D.
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Old 04-26-05, 12:06 PM
  #5  
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By painting it you will cover what makes the bike a classic.
It will just be another painted frame.

You have completed the hard part now enjoy the bike for what it is.

Enjoy
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Old 04-26-05, 12:36 PM
  #6  
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I like the patina as long as it doesn't compromize
the integrity of the frame. Take care of rust spots
but I'd leave it as is. The patina speaks volumes
about where the bike has been, its miles etc.
Here's a quiz for you.
2) 1973 Masi GCs one restored, repainted all NOS parts.
one wears original components paint etc. and has been
cleaned maintained etc.
Which Masi has more "Mojo"?

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Old 04-26-05, 07:11 PM
  #7  
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There is a certain type of person that actually competes at having the most complete and accurate restoration of their bicycle. These are the people who never, never actually ride, at least not the complete restoration, because use takes points off at the bike shows. I've never been to a concours competition, and think that it would be cool to go look, but I also think bikes are really really meant to be ridden. btw, a truly pristine original will always trump the best restoration...My bottom line is build for riding. Otherwise you have a really expensive dust collector.

...2) 1973 Masi GCs one restored, repainted all NOS parts.
one wears original components paint etc. and has been
cleaned maintained etc.
Which Masi has more "Mojo"? ...

I had a 75 GC fall out of the sky last October, and have spent the winter putting it back to original spec (1st gen super record, last of the "inexpensive" parts on eBay...). I'm currently riding it a couple of times a week. If I continue and take good care of it it'll grow new mojo, won't it?
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Old 04-26-05, 07:36 PM
  #8  
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this thread needs pictures
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Old 04-26-05, 08:00 PM
  #9  
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If you put alot of money and time into a restoration, you will need another bike to serve as your beater. I splurged on my Capo, as did Ron Bowman with his, because it is a rare classic, but I do not feel inclined to do this with any other bike I have owned. OK ... maybe my Ned Overend Team Issue Schwinn mountain bike ...
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Old 04-26-05, 08:54 PM
  #10  
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I have friends who collect and restore classic cars. They spend all their time working on the cars, but never drive them except to take them to car shows... which is a waste of a good car as far as I'm concerned.

Some people do the same with bikes. Although I admire the effort and dedication that goes into restoring a classic bike to "like new or better" condition, I think it's a shame when we turn an great riding machine into an pristine, unusable collectors item.

I think bikes are made to be ridden. I believe it's better to get an old bike into good, stable working order... the ride the h*ll out of it.

Of course, there are exceptions: Bikes of personal sentimental value, and bikes of historical significance... such as a bike used to win the TdF, etc.

Perfectionists take note: This is my personal philosophy. Like I said, I admire how you restore a bike down to the last little detail. It's just not the way I would do it.
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Old 04-26-05, 09:03 PM
  #11  
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Eventually you will slow down and be more discerning when picking up bikes. I am way more picky now...although I still go insane on rebuilds occasionally.

Ride it, enjoy it.

PJ
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Old 04-26-05, 09:39 PM
  #12  
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It is probably more economical in the long run to go totally nuts over one bike than partially nuts over many...That is probably what is causing the continual upward spiral of vintage bike part prices...
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Old 04-27-05, 01:52 AM
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I to spend way more time wrenching and restoring than riding. Actually, I spend way too much money on the darned things to. Once you catch the disease your done. You're done! LOL


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Old 04-27-05, 04:54 PM
  #14  
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I know what you mean. I did that with my $10 Schwinn roadie. It's now a $275 bike!
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I explained that he could never pay me enough cash for the amount of work I had put into that bike and the only way to compensate me for it was to ride the hell out of it.
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Old 04-27-05, 09:11 PM
  #15  
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hmmm....
My rebuilt (not restored) HT mtb is used daily, no time or money spent on cosmetics.
Flat black, the bike is 15 yrs old, the paint is toast.

Here's the thing, it was one of the most expensive mtb when made -above $1200 in 1990. I bought it for $150, spent $550 to get it to a modern competent running order.

A 700$ HT mtb no suspension ...well, if I wanted a new T.R. bike, I'd be looking at around $1600?...anyway.

Works for me, I have the frame\bike I want, just a little old\ugly.
I restored it to ride the snot outta it.
No rest for the wicked, the saddest thing was the bike was designed to race..and never did.

I guess it's different if it's a team bike, or special design aspects that only are on it's series.
To me it's about the frame\ride, a good sweet steel bike frame that fits and rides like butter.....=where's the parts box..it's Hammer time.
Pretty expensive way to ride..but you seen the prices on new chromoly frames?

I like old HQ frames, but like index shifting and modern brakes. CF bars too, but frames?
There is a level of top shelf frames that really are only improved by materials IMO, not by geometry or joining teqniques.
Now if you can get an old one that's not a noodle, it just might be worth a visit to the parts store.
Mine was I feel.

My next bikes (road, urban freeride) will both be built up bikes, the road will probably be some arcane Italian\French lugged steel racing bike old n' retro...except the CF bars and fork..snicker..
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Old 04-27-05, 09:51 PM
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you'd have to be pretty tough to race a 1991 TR nowadays. Racing stuff goes down the toilet after a couple of years. You could make it a single speed and compete in the real man category tho, you'd still be competitive there (likely the only entrant!).
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Old 04-27-05, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by luker
you'd have to be pretty tough to race a 1991 TR nowadays. Racing stuff goes down the toilet after a couple of years. You could make it a single speed and compete in the real man category tho, you'd still be competitive there (likely the only entrant!).
As far as I know, THE bike was not raced =still worth riding, not a noodle or likely to have the tube failure.
I doubt myself or the bike are 'contenders' really. I might entry level XC race it..it's heavy @ 22 lbs, but I practice hillsprints. Grrrr!

No.....it's my all-round bike, and so solid.
I'd have to spend 700 to get a solid bike that would last 5 yrs, this one is funky, rides great, custom to my fit\ride style AND I had the great past time of building\restoring\tweaking it.
I had my fun, and still do.

Last edited by jeff williams; 04-27-05 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 04-27-05, 11:22 PM
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i've got the same road bike affliction. got a 2004 giant ocr3 but still wanted a peugeot. so i bought a mangalloy steel versailles in really nice shape. after 3 weeks riding the versailles, i loved the ride of it so much i began to wonder what a lightweight peugeot would be like. just got a triathlon frame- now i'll find out.
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Old 04-28-05, 09:25 AM
  #19  
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We call that "mission creep" it's pretty common in the old vehicle game. Here is my 1946 Ford 2N that I was just going to put a $150 clutch in. After mission creep it turned out to be a $1500 clutch and that was a "rehab" not a "restore" with original parts. You're lucky your just thinking of doing it with a bike. The bigger old iron takes a lot more time, money, tools, and space.
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Old 04-28-05, 10:34 AM
  #20  
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If you intend to ride the bike many miles, upgrade components. some items that match specific the frame (stem,bb,seatpost)are often sized that they cannot be swapped out.
One of the reasons i don't run a suspension fork on my mtb, the headset and fork are working perfectly fine, both 15 yrs old, if\when the fail, they will be replaced with a better system.
Unless your new\old bike came with Campy group, I personally like riding new components, and I built my bike to @ least 5 yrs.
I'll give it to my daughter when she's big enough to ride it.

The bigger consideration is if the bb\headset swap is worth the bikes 'rideability'.
And if any internal corrosion has gone too far.
Then get the frame checked for straightness. I keep a stash of old cool retro parts to keep the bike looking in period.
But some stuff HAS to be updated, or replaced often =I prefer to update rather then maintain a reduntant system.
A system running needs not be replaced, that would be..well, redundant.

You have to change the pads\tires\cables\drive components\saddle\peddles\balls on any bike that is being run lots and is going to run any long time.
I do it on a skanky old chromoly frame because alu has a low survival rate longterm.

75% of the components could be swapped to a new frame if this one was un-repairable. Depending on how bad, I would have the frame rebuilt probably if minor\repairable damage.
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Old 04-28-05, 06:56 PM
  #21  
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Reading this makes me feel much better. I was beginning to think there's something seriously wrong with me. I know my friends and family think there is. Maybe they're right, but at least I know I'm not the only one. When I've done everything I can possibly do to a bike, I have to immediately get another one. I can't stand it when I don't have a bike to work on.
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Old 04-29-05, 12:07 PM
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I currently have 10 different bikes, All have been build up from bare parts. It is a sickness, I even have an old schwinn twinn that has 6 speeds and square taper cranks. I can't stop building and riding. They are all my favorites. An old Stella started me... Simplex ... brazing ... next thing I knew I was putting a 700c 38 tire on a manitou 4 fork and putting the canti brake through the wrong holes. BAMN '29er!

Now I am going to take a nishiki international (sweet red and white) and but some old xt cranks and a flat bar on it with the 700c 19 tires and a 6 speed suntour winner. It should be super loved.

You should do what makes you happy!
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Old 04-29-05, 06:19 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by dedhed
We call that "mission creep" it's pretty common in the old vehicle game. Here is my 1946 Ford 2N that I was just going to put a $150 clutch in. After mission creep it turned out to be a $1500 clutch and that was a "rehab" not a "restore" with original parts. You're lucky your just thinking of doing it with a bike. The bigger old iron takes a lot more time, money, tools, and space.
I did this with my house a few years ago. "Could you just paint the bathroom?" "The bathroom needs more than paint. Let's put some tile in...and some trim. and new fixtures..." pretty soon you're painting and trimming and flooring the whole place...then the outside looks shabby compared to the inside...what do the neighbors think...crap. I think I got about $15K into it before I got the situation stabilized.
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Old 05-01-05, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Dirtdrop
Reading this makes me feel much better. I was beginning to think there's something seriously wrong with me. I know my friends and family think there is. Maybe they're right, but at least I know I'm not the only one. When I've done everything I can possibly do to a bike, I have to immediately get another one. I can't stand it when I don't have a bike to work on.
I'm in the same boat. My wife may honestly be a little worried about me. I took an overhaul class last fall with the idea I could save some money by doing the maintenance work on my new mountain bike myself. It's now three bikes later... I'm definately NOT saving any money. In fact I had to quit smoking in order to fund my new addiction. I love making something old, squeeky and rusty, new, shiny and smooth.
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Old 05-01-05, 02:22 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by rokrover
I got a classic old Nishiki road bike cheap at the local thrift store for utilitarian commuting to save the expensive road thoroughbred for the more exotic fun rides. This old "beater" was supposed to be used "as is" but since it rode surprisingly nice I thought what the heck, why not give it some TLC? Many hours later after total disassembly, cleaning, internal rustproofing, bearing replacement, repacking and adjustment, new chain, derailleur fine tuning it emerged even better. In fact, it now runs so sweetly and silently with fresh lube I am inspired to do a complete repainting of the frame for a total restoration. This goes beyond the original intent, time and budget wise, and is becoming an obsession. A shiny new paint job would cruelly expose the rust flecks on the original chrome that would demand attention and lead to yet another sub-level of detail like scratches on the seatpost...... it's endless. There can be no perfection and I should accept these cosmetic blemishes as a sign of character as well as a practical deterrent to theft. After all, that was the original justification to get another bike. Help me stop with some sage advice; surely others have been lured down this path!
Dude, I've done the exact same thing to an '83 Nishiki. Gave it to my gf. I bought it for $25 bucks, then realized it was actually quite nice with a good cromo frame, Sugino cranks, suntour/diacompe/maillard parts, so I totally stripped, cleaned, repainted, and rebuilt everything, only stopping to add Aero brake levers and a women's saddle. So ya, do it, it's fun and you'll end up with a great bike
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