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What to do with this 50 years old Mal Rees?

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What to do with this 50 years old Mal Rees?

Old 10-05-15, 11:10 AM
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netto99
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What to do with this 50 years old Mal Rees?

Hello

I've been given a presumably 50+ years old Mal Rees Ahead of Time. It looked quite heavily used at first and did not get any better after a few attempts to dismantle it (mostly unwanted :/ )
Here you can see the photos of what is remaining (couldn't work out how to post photos here)

https://goo.gl/photos/TYzx7A95etuVn6EYA

The frame was custom built for my granddad, but since we have very similar built it should fit me well. Its quite rusty and the BB area got a bit damaged during dismantling. Tubing is Reynolds 531, according to sticker. The fork had a broken off bolt stuck in it, I've tried to get it out, but it have broken off... even more. So I've tried to use the drill, but apparently damaged threads on one side.
For some reason only one wheel remains and the hub looks quite worn out, along with cones. Almost all bolts that I've tried to unscrew would crumble before turning. I've also thrown the stem away as it had more rust on it that anything else, might have been a mistake though.

What I'm trying to find out is, is it worth restoring? How much should be reasonably spent? Shall I try to find parts from the era or just use modern parts? What parts would be suitable for such frame? Can anything be reused from old pars?

I've heard that old bikes are nicer to ride due to different geometry used, so now I'm wondering if I should give this bike a chance, or invest in something modern and made of carbon.
I would be quite interested in restoring this bike as a project, but I would hate to find out that I've wasted my time and effort after its done.

Thank you for reading.
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Old 10-05-15, 11:13 AM
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I'd do both. Buy the new bike and carefully take my time to rebuild this bike property. A 50 year bike owned by one's grandfather and made of Reynolds 531 don't come along every day. This is a heck of a bike and fabulous project. It will take some time for you to learn how to restore this properly but please do so. This bike is too cool not to fix up.
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Old 10-05-15, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I'd do both. Buy the new bike and carefully take my time to rebuild this bike property. A 50 year bike owned by one's grandfather and made of Reynolds 531 don't come along every day. This is a heck of a bike and fabulous project. It will take some time for you to learn how to restore this properly but please do so. This bike is too cool not to fix up.
+1 I agree...I would definitely take the time to restore this bike...but...try and keep the original paint! And the original decals, as much as possible. Buy another, decent bike to ride...and enjoy the process on this one...particularly since it is a family "heirloom"...
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Old 10-05-15, 11:56 AM
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Very nice!

You probably should have kept the stem, but judging by the other rust I see, let's not belabor that issue. This bike could certainly be restored to a lovely rider.

Looks like the paint is pretty far gone; you will probably have to repaint. You can get the correct decals from H Lloyds Cycles.

Your chain set is a Wiliams, and very nice; I would try to clean that up and keep it. The brakes are the deluxe version of Weinmann Centerpull brakes, made about 1960; very nice. You can probably replace the rusted steel bits with the equivalent ones from newer Weinmann or Dia-Compe brakes.

The derailleurs are nothing special; you might want to replace those.

I don't know about the existing wheel; you might want to find a matched pair and not worry about the old one. But check to see if 700c wheels will fit; your existing wheel is 27" while 700c (the modern standard) are a few mm smaller. The question is, whether the brakes will reach the smaller size wheel. If so, I would definitely get 700c wheels. If the brakes won't reach, I'd stay with 27".
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Old 10-05-15, 01:22 PM
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The paint work is definitely needs replacing, besides the rust underneath it has to be removed. I'm not too bothered with decals and names, as long as it is a nice ride.

The crankset has teeth sharp as needles, I'm pretty sure it should have been replaced before it got to that point. But even then what kind of a BB would go with it?

PS. Isn't 700c equivalent to 29'', therefore bigger than 27''?
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Old 10-05-15, 01:46 PM
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+1 to all of the above with the exception of netto99's comment to replace the chainrings, they look fine and will take to rechroming if need be.

Build it, and then ride it like you stole it. It'll make you granddad proud!
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Old 10-05-15, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by netto99 View Post
The paint work is definitely needs replacing, besides the rust underneath it has to be removed. I'm not too bothered with decals and names, as long as it is a nice ride.

The crankset has teeth sharp as needles, I'm pretty sure it should have been replaced before it got to that point. But even then what kind of a BB would go with it?

PS. Isn't 700c equivalent to 29'', therefore bigger than 27''?
On the decals, a bike like this can be very difficult to identify if the decals are gone. Please do the next owner a kindness and put Mal Rees' name on it somewhere! You won't own it for ever.

Chain set, it is a Williams C1000, and you can buy the chain rings on eBay, sometimes quite cheaply. The bottom bracket is a standard cottered spindle, probably about 132 mm long (that's a guess!, better yet before you buy).

700c rims have a bead seat diameter 622mm, 27" have 630 mm. So the 700c (28") rim is smaller than the 27" rim. Depending what tires you use, the overall wheel may be larger or smaller, but your bike probably won't take tires much bigger than 32 mm.
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Old 10-05-15, 10:31 PM
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The miles never drag on a Mal Rees super bike!
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Old 10-06-15, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
The miles never drag on a Mal Rees super bike!
Heh, don't trust adverts. Can anyone advise a suitable wheel set? There are so many that i can't even select one modern bike.
Also I've found a relatively good chainring, but the pedals just won't come off. I've been marinating them in WD40 and PlusGas for a week to no avail.

And should i salvage the freewheel or replace it, and with what?
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Old 10-06-15, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by netto99 View Post
PS. Isn't 700c equivalent to 29'', therefore bigger than 27''?
29er MTB wheels are the same diameter as 700c road bike wheels, however the MTB tires are wider and have a larger overall diameter, close to 29 inches. 700c road tires are sometimes referred to as 28 inch, which only adds to the confusion. Whether you use 700c or 27 inch depends on if your brakes will reach and if the tire will clear the frame/fork.

You could probably find a donor bike in better condition to get most or all of the missing parts for a lot less than purchasing separate.
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Old 10-06-15, 08:03 AM
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I'll echo what other people have said-

If you want a carbon bike- get a carbon bike. This will never be a carbon bike.

This is a special frame- especially because it was specially built for your grandfather. It's a quality frame, made from quality materiel.

If you get the frame/fork painted- spring for the decals- once the frame is painted and it leaves your possession- it just becomes "an old bike" like millions of others- and on some forum somewhere there's going to be a "Identify my mystery frame" thread and no one is going to know what it is.


Where I get a little different is that I would build the bike a little more easily sourceable. I think your brakes are the gem as far as components- keep those. But the rest of the stuff- I'd find a quality 70s 10 speed and transfer the parts. Because I'm a dork- I'd go with Suntour Cyclone 1st generation derailleurs, Simplex Retrofriction shifters and a Stonglight 99BIS crankset. Lightweight, impeccable performance, certifiably "vintage," and undeniably badass.

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Old 10-06-15, 02:55 PM
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I'm with with majority - KEEP it and built it back up. A superb frame regardless, but what an incredible story too. This would make a great, and meaningful, long-term project. Yes, you may need to bring the fork into a shop or use a power tool to remove that bolt. Worse case scenario, you have to buy a new fork (and new wheels).
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Old 10-06-15, 08:09 PM
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That looks like a really nice English frame. I just bought one myself from Hilary Stone in England, and it has the same dropouts as on yours, both front and rear. I think that you'll find the rear dropouts have a Simplex mark. My project is an F. W. Evans (London shop) frame, purported to be from the 50s. I'm pretty much in the same boat as you, paint-wise; but already decided to have it done. You'll probably find that the head and seat tube have angles about 71.5 degrees or so; pretty relaxed. And maybe fairly long chainstays, like 44.5 cm or so from BB to middle of the rear dropouts.

What I'd do, provided that the brakes will reach 4 mm farther than they did previously (one looks like it will, the other maybe not) is to outfit the bike as a 700C-wheeled single-speed and try out the ride that way; minimum of investment and adjustment, you're not stuck with 27" tires, and if you don't like it, you could always sell the single-speed wheelset later -- they're pretty popular. If your rear (the usual culprit) brake caliper doesn't reach, then no problem. Weinmann made both "610" and "750" calipers, pretty much for this reason. The former (like what you have two of) have nominal reach of 61 mm, while the latter go to 75 mm. They were ubiquitous in the 70s, and there are plenty of them available in bike coop bins, and on eBay. With a fixed cog (rather than freewheeling single speed) on the rear, you could even dispense with the rear brake, since you can brake the rear by "back-pedaling". But I'd go for two brakes and a freewheel. And use Kool-Stop thinline brake pads for excellent stopping.

BB-wise, it's going to be English threaded, so any sort of bottom bracket will fit it, except maybe some super-weird modern stuff: either cottered (what you have) or a square-taper type. You can get a cartridge-bearing BB (easy to adjust, like IRD or Tange) and a single-speed crankset (Origin8 or the like, with a 46T ring) for not that much outlay. Somafab.com has all this stuff, as well as any well-equipped bike shop, or other e-tailers. It might be worth having the BB housing "chased and faced" by an expert bike shop, especially if the faces of the BB shell are mucked up by less-than-knowing disassembly.

Depending on what your ambitions are, bike-wise, you might decide that a carbon bike is your cup of tea, and the Mal Rees isn't. That's OK; more bikes for us vintage fools. Just don't f__k it up for us, if you know what I mean!

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Old 10-15-15, 10:50 AM
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Thank you all for all the suggestions so far. I'll make sure to get all of the decals necessary ))

I was also thinking, since I'm going to replace almost all of the components, why not buy something new, like Campagnolo Veloce or Athena groupsets. I've heard that VO are highly regarded, but have anyone had any experience with SunXCD stuff?
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Old 10-15-15, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by netto99 View Post
Thank you all for all the suggestions so far. I'll make sure to get all of the decals necessary ))

I was also thinking, since I'm going to replace almost all of the components, why not buy something new, like Campagnolo Veloce or Athena groupsets. I've heard that VO are highly regarded, but have anyone had any experience with SunXCD stuff?
The spacing is wrong for a modern wheel to be put in there, which you'd need to do if you wanted to use a modern groupset. You'd need to respace the rear triangle, which is doable, but such a nice old frame, might be nice to be kept classic.
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Old 10-15-15, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I'd do both. Buy the new bike and carefully take my time to rebuild this bike property. A 50 year bike owned by one's grandfather and made of Reynolds 531 don't come along every day. This is a heck of a bike and fabulous project. It will take some time for you to learn how to restore this properly but please do so. This bike is too cool not to fix up.
+1

Most old vintage steel bikes with rust aren't actually worth restoring. What I mean by that is that although lugged steel bikes can be theoretically repaired, you can braze in a new tube or seat stay or chain stay, it usually isn't worth it. I mean that in several senses, in that it isn't worth it financially nor is it close to worth it in terms of what you end up with in the end.

You can pick up a nice aluminum Eddy Merckx frame these days for about $200-300. Although there are thousands of people that have been inculcated into the "steel is real" cult, the reality is that in terms of performance and efficiency a modern aluminum bike or carbon fiber bike is almost incomparable to a vintage steel bike. Fairly, many people disagree. Like the members of car clubs, the population of people riding classic and vintage bicycles is aging, and fairly rapidly. There are many many people that as they age and their flexibility decreases and their bones become more brittle actually reasonably due prefer steel bikes. Vintage steel race bikes with butted tubing like Reynolds 531 can be best understood as an old ladies Cadillac compared to a modern aluminum or carbon fiber racing bike. The difference with cyclists as compared with people who collect vintage cars, is that we still pretend to be performance cyclists when for many of us those days are long past. At best most of us are recreational cyclists, and the idea of actually having the fitness or the form to race competitively is almost absurd. With recreational cyclists there is a very reasonable argument why vintage steel racing bikes are a great "fit" if the bike fits.

Reynolds 531 tubing has been around since the 1930s. Its a legendary tube set in the cycling world. Reynolds 531 debuted in 1935 and its been a favorite of frame builders since. Its easy and cheap to work with and its forgiving of frame building errors. It made what was a comparably light frame set with good riding characteristics, located in context historically. Its nothing compared to a performance Reynolds tube set like heat-treated Reynolds 753, but almost all frame builders failed when attempting to build 753 frames (you had to send in 753 frames back to Reynolds for their certification process), it didn't tolerate sloppy low-skilled builders and you couldn't just "bend" the frame to correct for imprecision on the jig. In fact you can't even cold set a 753 frame to change the rear dropout spacing.

For the modern cyclists, Reynolds 531 bikes are like 60s and 70s sports cars. You can go down and buy a modern Mercedes or BMW four door businessman's coupe that will embarrass almost any Ferrrari, Masarratti, Corvette, etc. of those eras. However, that isn't why you collect and drive those cars, just for their pure performance. The same is true for the vintage bikes. They just don't compare in terms of performance to even vintage aluminum, vintage performance steel bike with Reynolds 753 tube sets, or carbon. However, that is NOT the point. Many of these bikes were built by frame builders or shops that had a real cache and history. Owning a vintage or a classic steel lightweight racing road bike is NOT just about performance, as the paradigm changed with the onset of aluminum and then carbon, but its about what these bikes are, not just how fast they go. It is only an added bonus that as most of us age that the steel frames give us a enjoyable comfort ride as well.

In terms of this being your grandfather's bike, I'd caution you to slow down and do things right. With stripped bolts acquire the right tools like a cheap Speed-out bit set which you can get for less than $20 at Home Depot. If that doesn't work for rusted bolts, and it might not as they are really designed for screws not bolts, you'll need some better extractor tools. However, I agree with the above poster in that the fact that this was your grandfather's custom bike means it should probably be treated as the best bike in your stable.

Whereas just a normal Reynolds 531 bike like a vintage Colnago, Olmo, Cinelli, or Pinarello isn't really going to be worth the cost of replacing rusted/cracked tubes and stays, let alone the cost of a professional repaint, IF the bike matters to you on a personal level, and yours clearly should, then the cost/value calculus goes out the window. I may not understand why someone would spend serious coin repairing and replacing a dime a dozen Colnago 531 bike, when the repaired bike won't be quite either as authentic, or as handling neutral as an undamaged original, not to mention the paint being non-original, but plenty of people make that decision because they want to keep that bike, as its personal to them. I can understand completely restoring a vintage custom that was made for my grandfather, and in my mind such a bike (if it fit me) would necessitate a CycleArt repair and restoration.

I think I'd sell every other vintage component and bicycle I've acquired over the last twenty years to fund such a project if necessary. You can have a Mustang GT, a vintage Model A, or even a kool cat Porsche bathtub but there is just something altogether different about a car that was actually YOUR grandfather's. With bikes, I want you to understand how truly rare it is that bicycles actually fit the son, or the grandson. That never happens. Also, what is even more rare is the fact that your grandfather was actually a cyclist and not just tooling around on some boat anchor stovepipe Schwinn.

There is no amount of money I wouldn't spend to repair and restore that frame. The components, handlebars, and stem I'd keep and hang in my garage, but I'd replace everything with nicer modern stuff.

I say FULLY restore that bike. I mean CycleArt restoration, or send it to Mark Nobilette for the inspection and repair and then get Joe Bell paint. It was your grandfather's bike. Carbon is short-term disposable, but you have something truly special to YOU. Everything else is just a bike, you have YOUR Grandfather's bike. Which is something most of us can only dream of.
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Old 10-15-15, 12:45 PM
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+1 on this bike shouldn't be wearing modern components.

I could go either way on the paint, would but lean towards keeping what you have and just cleaning it really thoroughly and giving it a regular waxing. The reason for this is you could keep all the old crappy-looking (but presumably functional, once cleaned and lubed) components and the whole bike would be "of a piece," a little piece of family history, as well as a joy to ride. Used bike parts can add up quickly if you can't save most of what you have, but are usually less expensive than replacement modern parts.

If, OTOH, you go for the full paint job and newish-looking old components and you'll spend a lot of money getting it right. Or go for the full paint job and modern components and you're spending a lot of money to build just another frankenbike.

If it was my granddad's bike, I'd replace the wheels with a decent set of similar vintage 27's (plentiful and cheap), get a freewheel that works with the type of riding I'd be doing on it, clean and lube everything else as needed, new tires, cables, bearings, bar tape and it's done. Have a bike shop help you with the frozen bolts and details you can't manage on your own.
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Old 10-15-15, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by netto99 View Post
Thank you all for all the suggestions so far. I'll make sure to get all of the decals necessary ))

I was also thinking, since I'm going to replace almost all of the components, why not buy something new, like Campagnolo Veloce or Athena groupsets. I've heard that VO are highly regarded, but have anyone had any experience with SunXCD stuff?
I'm not opposed to "new" stuff- but you want to make sure you get "appropriate" stuff.

I've been looking for excuses to get SunXCD stuff- the RD looks cool, the hubs look glorious.

I'm going to either bump one of the 'Suntour is back' threads or start a new SunXCD thread- I've vaguely heard of people using some stuff- but I've never seen it in person.
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Old 10-15-15, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by netto99 View Post
The paint work is definitely needs replacing, besides the rust underneath it has to be removed. I'm not too bothered with decals and names, as long as it is a nice ride.

The crankset has teeth sharp as needles, I'm pretty sure it should have been replaced before it got to that point. But even then what kind of a BB would go with it?

PS. Isn't 700c equivalent to 29'', therefore bigger than 27''?
It probably has a standard English threading Bottom Bracket, but it may have Italian, or even French threading in that Nervex BB. You sometimes never know. Regardless, even if the BB threading is all boogered up you can rechase the threads. If the BB threading is actually destroyed that still isn't the end of the world. Vintage Mavic bottom brackets are as high quality (if not higher) than a Phil Wood and use a compression fit after chamfering the BB shell. They use sealed bearings so they are "lifetime" Bottom Brackets. I think Velo Orange sells a cheapo version of a compression fit BB, and that should be in the toolbox of every cyclist as a way to keep vintage bikes on the road with French threading, or boogered up threading.

There are very nice vintage cranksets you can find that were truly epic and you can source these for cheap. Nobody really knows how good touring cranksets like a Sugino AT were, which will give you a nice triple setup, and these can be found cheap and often unused. Sometimes you can find them with the original "half-step" touring gearing which was fashionable then (pre-indexing 5/6/7 speed freewheel era) for touring bikes. VeloOrange has some very nice vintage looking cranksets that are very good quality Taiwanese made. Not as good as vintage Japanese kit, but very nice looking and affordable. I believe they make a knockoff of the classic SPÉCIALITÉS T.A. 50.4 BCD crankset that is very nice. Also Da Vinci (the tandem specialty) maker makes some very very nice vintage/classic looking cranks for single bikes (or tandems) in a variety of lengths up to 200mm. That's the go-to classic looking crank for those of us above 6'3", and they have a nice reputation as being stiff enough (which is almost never the case with classic kit).

I'd go with more modern brakes for safety.

700c is NOT the equivalent of 29", and is NOT bigger than 27". Most people love to offer advice but truly don't understand what the different tire sizing designations actually mean. The silly french system that cyclists love to bandy about actually represents a very convenient way to describe the rolling circumference of the tire mounted on the rim, and inflated. So theoretically any 700C wheel/tire should roll the exact same distance as ANY other 700C wheel and tire for one complete 360degree revolution. Now this certainly isn't true anymore, and that aspect of the 700A, 700B, 700C, and 700D naming system is essentially meaningless now. Tire and Tyre manufacturers "cheat" and undersize their tires to gain a marketing advantage on claimed weights for a given width be it 19, 21, 23, 32, 35, 38 or what have you. Only people like Jan Heine project normative value judgments onto the old French naming system. I would think most of the intelligent cycling community understands that a 700c designated wheel or tyre is merely just a 622 ISO size.

While the 29er wheel uses a 622 ISO rim, it most definitely is NOT a 700c equivalent. As the very notion of 700c implies a standard rolling circumference by convention. So while a 700c (really just a 622 ISO) rim/wheel and a 29er rim/wheel both use a 622 BSD (Bead Seat Diameter) they have very different rolling circumferences. 29er tires are massive and very wide and very tall, and have a much different rolling circumference from what the 700c rolling circumference standard was, read longer/more. To that end no one should really be using the term 700c anymore as its an ignorant term that doesn't represent what it originally represented, and is misunderstood. So what is true is that what people call a 700c (really a 622) uses the same BSD size rim as a 29er rim. Both a road 622/700c and a 29er tire are for a 622 ISO BSD.

A 630/27' tire or tyre actually has an 8mm larger BSD standard, giving it a slightly larger wheel diameter. Most cyclists, like Jan Heine, don't seem to understand that a misunderstood naming convention has NOTHING to do with how a tire/tyre affects the handling of a bike and we really should stop using terms like 700c, 700a, 700b, and 700d and 650b.

In the end these are the intelligent wheel/tire sizes to use:

559 - commonly called 26" or mountain bike/cruiser
584 - misunderstood as 650b which they are NOT in terms of rolling circumference
622 - misunderstod as 700c which they are NOT in terms of rolling circumference
630 - misunderstood as being "lower-quality" than "700c" by ignorant folks

There is nothing normative or "better" about a given wheel/tire size. What Jan Heine doesn't understand is the relationship of the wheel/tire size to the frame size/cyclist size. A 622/29er wheel on a mountain bike for a 6'5" cyclist on a 23" gives a totally different handling characteristic than for a 5'4" cyclist that needs a kooky geometry frame to accommodate it. While anyone over 5"10" can absolutely appreciate how the larger wheel diameter allows the bike to just roll over obstacles without a care that would require some technical skill a smaller 559/26" wheels. Smaller and diminutive cyclists actually seem to not actually like the 622/29er bikes because their tiny bikes require drastic and aggressive frame geometries that just really don't make sense, to allow the suspension front wheel to fit the tiny tiny frame.

Likewise, using the same 622/700c wheel on every frame size from 49cm through 63cm + bikes makes about as little sense. Jan Heine has tried to craft a false narrative that there is actually something superior about the 584 wheel size. However, once you start talking about the 584/650b wheel size in the 584 ISO language instead of using the language of "650b" for most intelligent cyclists the projection of normative value disappears. What Jan really needs to say is that he prefers a 584 wheel for his stature and frame size, and how that wheel feels to "him." There is NOTHING universal about wheel sizes. There are fifteen different touring/road size bicycle sizes using 1cm increments between 49cm and 63cm. Considering many many people, myself included ride bikes up to 70cm, there are actually twenty-two distinct sizes of bicycle frames, that are commonly used.

A given wheel/tire size just feels and handles completely different for bikes that sit at different places on the sizing spectrum. 622/700c wheels aren't really appropriate for very tiny bicycles. Terry who is known for their saddles these days, started out as a specialty bicycle accessories and builder for women's bikes. They did something relatively innovative at the time and used to spec a smaller front wheel on their tiny women's bikes because those frame sizes simply didn't accommodate the larger 622/700c wheel, in the exact same way that very small and women's mountain bikes don't accommodate a 622/29er wheel without messing up the handling/geometry of the bike. You can fit a 622/700c wheel into a very small women's road bike or a 622/29er road bike but in doing so you negatively affect the handling of the bike and booger up the geometry.

To that end it shouldn't be lost on anyone that a 584/650b wheel size that Jan Heine is trying to spread propaganda as being somehow "magical" as a touring wheel size, will feel completely differently on different size frames/bikes. What is lost on Jan, and I'm not sure its actually lost or if he's just being disingenuous, is that ANY given wheel size will feel differently to ANY different frame size on the bike size spectrum. A 584/650b wheel will handle and ride completely differently on a 49cm bike, a 56cm bike, a 63cm bike, and a 68cm bike. In fact its an absurdly small wheel for just about any bike over 57cm that will build a bike that doesn't handle as well. The very opposite of what Jan claims.

For bikes 60cm and above, it really has NEVER made sense that these bikes used the 622/700c wheel size. The 622 wheel is just really too small for these bikes. In fact most cyclist over 5'10" truly have no concept of how well smaller bikes handle for smaller cyclists. How stable the little people bikes actually are with a proportional size wheel set. Any bike over 60cm, and arguably over 58cm would really be using 630/27" wheel size or even larger. There is a 635 wheel size, but while you can get quality tires/tyres in 635 it is almost impossible to get quality rims in the 635 in the US. Most 635 bikes were for "rod brake" style cruisers, and only heavy steel rims in 635 are available.

In the 630/27" wheel size quality tires are prevalent. You can top quality touring tires/tyres from Continental, Schwalbe, Panaracer and narrower racing style tires are available from many manufacturers as well. Even Bontrager the Trek house brand has put out high quality road racing tires in the 630/27" size. The misnomer that 622/700c tire size indicates a "better" quality rim/tire is ignorant. What is true is that the 630/27" offerings have never been what they were during the US Bike Boom days when the 630 tire size was prevalent, and fewer rim manufacturers are making 630 rims. Velocity, Sun others still make plenty of quality 630 rims in a variety of drills and widths. However, it isn't true that the 622/700c is a European size compared to 630/27" being a US size for low end bikes. European rim manufacturers made plenty of 630 size rims for their market as well. While many of these were never imported to the US, rim makers like Exal (Belgium), Weinmann (Swiss later Belgium), Rigida (France), Alesa (Belgium), MAVIC (France) all made plenty of 630 rims for the non-US market.

So much of wheel/rim sizing is completely misunderstood. What is true is that most bikes on the road today don't have the appropriate sized wheel/rim. Manufacturers and distributors want a "one-size-fits-all" approach to wheels/rims/tires which makes about as much sense for bikes as it would for cars.

I would strongly encourage anyone thinking of switching from a 630/27" wheel size to 622/700c to think twice. The incrementally smaller 622 wheel size translates bumps, cracks, and road imperfections much more so than does the 630 size, which is remarkable considering the marginal 4mm radial variance. However, the larger 630 size is just so much more smooth even for a given tire width with the identical model tire compared to its 622 cousin. Bikes 58cm and larger handle much better with the 630 wheel size, and bikes that are 60cm and larger just handle poorly with the smaller 622 wheel size. With 630 wheels a given bike is demonstrably more stable (a significant problem for larger frames that smaller cyclists have no frame of reference for), is faster on the flats and rollers and maintains momentum better (bigger "flywheel" analogy), and the bigger wheel size reduces speed wobble as well.

I've always felt that bicycles should have proportional sized wheels. Soemthing Jan Heine, seemingly, doesn't comprehend that different wheel sizes "Feel" different on different sized bicycles for different sized people.

If this was my Grandad's bike I'd build it up using a quality hubset like classic Mavic hubs with Mavic Module E rims in 630/27", the drill and spoke choice would be a function of rider weight.
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Old 10-15-15, 01:41 PM
  #20  
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in case you haven't come across these:
Mal Rees story on Classic Lightweights, and a few items on CR including a 1959 frameset
a 1951 bike
and a 1967 bike
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Old 10-15-15, 02:36 PM
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You've been given lots of ideas and several points of view. I think all are valid. If it were mine, I'd focus on the frame. IMHO the paint is gone-gone-gone! Some new paint and — if you can replace the decals, it would be a real love. I agree that the brakes are a centre-piece in the component line up.

Personally speaking I don't freak out over the possibility of creating what some members consider a "frankenbike", but within reason. I do not have a bike as old as yours, but I think the vintage bikes I've built from the 'frame on up' are no insult to the periods in which they were made. Of course the purist's ideal is to rebuild it as close to original as possible. Your choice — of course.

As for making/replacing the transmission, there are enough bits of older Shimano 600 and Suntour Cyclone or Superbe around that are still in nice condition. Nitto is a Tokyo company that makes retro-looking bars, seat posts, and quill stems in different sizes and diameters. A lot of their finish and polishing is still done by hand. Tange make some very nice cartridge BB's, and in my opinion they are not a glaringly objectionable on an older steel frame. Tange makes a classic looking headset. MKS makes several models of classic-looking peddles that can be fitted with straps and toe clips. DiaCompe make some very nice vintage-looking parts.

I think you can make a very nice, classic looking bike that is a combination of what what you can salvage and what is available in used, older parts and retro, modern production. I don't think you have to go madly into Campagnolo group sets like you suggested. You can keep the costs down and still have a very nice classic steel bike that is special to you.

Back to the frame: As was suggested above, it really needs to get to a frame builder. The builder will inspect the tubing and offer expert opinion as to whether any rust has compromised the frame and made it either a "write-off" or something salvageable — another decision point. The bottom bracket needs to be refaced, and you may as well have the head tube done at the same time. The threads on the bottom bracket and steering-tube will be chased out and made clean and smooth again. The builder will check the alignment of the triangle and make any corrections. Drop-outs will be aligned (and in my experience, they are nearly all out of alignment on veteran frames.) Chain and seat stays will be centred and can be cold-set to accommodate the hub you want to use. My guess is that it is currently 120 mm. Are you going to go single speed, classic freewheel six speed, or even an internally geared Sturmey Archer hub? (Many "clubman" bikes of this type in that era came with Sturmey Archer hubs — now being manufactured in Taiwan — apparently with some refinements). Whatever you chose, the frame builder can optimize the frame in accordance with how you want to build it up.

I agree that the cost of rebuilding this bike may not reflect what you may ultimately want in a bike — ie: it won't be the modern, wonder rocket. So I agree with the above advise. Buy the modern rocket, and keep this bike for quiet rides in the crisp fall air among the falling leaves and soft sunshine. Many of us think there is romance in these old dears. Explore the link above to "Classic Lightweights" — you just might find yourself restoring it to original configuration.

I once had a frame that was not too much different from the one you have. It was non-butted, straight gauge Reynolds 531, cottered cranks and oil fed hubs and BB. I wish I still had it.

PS — My mother was born in Middlesex — Northwest London — home of Mal Rees
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Old 10-16-15, 05:21 AM
  #22  
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I guess, at this point I ought to make some clarifications. Me and my [step]granddad are not blood related and the bike is not a family treasure. Just like that. I only got the bike, since otherwise it would go into the bin, and the fact that me and my granddad have similar builds is just a coincidence. I like him nonetheless, he is a great guy but I doubt there will be any difference to him whether I restore this bike or any other old bike. There is no sentimentality about it.

I've only took it because I've thought that it could make a fun project AND a good ride.

Now, I've brought up carbon bikes as a comparison only. I guess it's my own fault for saying "new" and "carbon" in Vintage section And Campagnolo got in here since it's groupsets are the most retro-looking out of the big 3.

Having a second look at Campag components, I've became more inclined towards SunXCD stuff. Especially their 120mm rear freehubs. The frame dropouts are 121mm so I'm thinking whether use Sun hubs and make a cassette myself as well, or respace frame one size up.

The reason I'm not so inclined on old components, is that they cost just as much as new ones, often even more yet practically don't offer any advantages. Yes, people make good money on the die-hard vintage fans. Of course people would argue that vintage bikes are made only for looks and no one is expected to race on them, so "practicality" is overvalued and the components must come from the era. Well, I'm not planning to race on it either. But I guess I'm not devoted enough. After all metal fatigue still exists.

Don't take me the wrong way, I'm completely sold on the idea of making it a nice looking retro bike. But those Williams chainrings are long since gone. (someone here have tried to convince me otherwise).
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Old 10-19-15, 09:46 AM
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Old 10-19-15, 10:45 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by netto99 View Post
I guess, at this point I ought to make some clarifications. Me and my [step]granddad are not blood related and the bike is not a family treasure. Just like that. I only got the bike, since otherwise it would go into the bin, and the fact that me and my granddad have similar builds is just a coincidence. I like him nonetheless, he is a great guy but I doubt there will be any difference to him whether I restore this bike or any other old bike. There is no sentimentality about it.

I've only took it because I've thought that it could make a fun project AND a good ride.

Now, I've brought up carbon bikes as a comparison only. I guess it's my own fault for saying "new" and "carbon" in Vintage section And Campagnolo got in here since it's groupsets are the most retro-looking out of the big 3.

Having a second look at Campag components, I've became more inclined towards SunXCD stuff. Especially their 120mm rear freehubs. The frame dropouts are 121mm so I'm thinking whether use Sun hubs and make a cassette myself as well, or respace frame one size up.

The reason I'm not so inclined on old components, is that they cost just as much as new ones, often even more yet practically don't offer any advantages. Yes, people make good money on the die-hard vintage fans. Of course people would argue that vintage bikes are made only for looks and no one is expected to race on them, so "practicality" is overvalued and the components must come from the era. Well, I'm not planning to race on it either. But I guess I'm not devoted enough. After all metal fatigue still exists.

Don't take me the wrong way, I'm completely sold on the idea of making it a nice looking retro bike. But those Williams chainrings are long since gone. (someone here have tried to convince me otherwise).
While it does change things a "little," it is still a custom built frame for a person your size.

I like your ideas- IMO- keep the frame identity- Make sure that Mal Reese name stays with it. Build the bike to a classically styled functional machine. I love the idea of SunXCD and newer components. I would just say that make your mix of parts kind of go together. I'm not talking as a "gruppo,"* but so that your bike kind of has a cohesiveness to it.

I have parts that are my favorites- and in my mind they work on frames built 10-15 years before the parts were made. IMO, the style is classic and doesn't particularly stand out as garish.

Just as an example- a SunXCD/Velo Orange build sounds awesome for that bike.

And if you have no attachment to the old components, you can sell those to people that do appreciate them more than you do.

I think you're going to be putting together an inspirational bike.
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Old 10-19-15, 11:57 AM
  #25  
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@mtnbke, those European sizes, as inaccurate as they are, referred to wheels' diameters, not circumferences.
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