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Restore or upgrade?

Old 11-05-15, 12:29 AM
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Restore or upgrade?

Hi folks,

I have a vintage English club racer from the early/mid 60s. It was built by Bill Soens in a Liverpool shop that he co-owned with his father, Eddie, a respected cycling coach. The frame is in good shape, but many of the components have been replaced by low end junk. It’s built with Reynolds 531 DB and no-name forged drop outs. Interestingly, it has braze-ons for barcons, which where often used by club racers at the time. There is virtually no rust on the frame, but the paint is badly chipped and needs refinishing. I have found replacement decals for a restoration.

Most likely it was purchased as a frame set and built up with whatever parts the new owner had available and/or could afford. If purchased a complete bike, it would have been equipped with either a Campagnolo Gran Sport drive train or one with Stronglight/Simplex/Huret components. With either of these it would probably had a GB bar and stem, Weinmann brakes and a Brooks saddle.

Here’s my dilemma. Should I try to restore it with period correct or upgrade to a slightly later generation of components that function better? It has a nice set of wheels with Campag Veloce hubs and Mavic MA2 rims. Campag Triomphe and Veloce components from the early/mid 80s can be found in good condition at reasonable prices while Gran Sport stuff is pricey with sometimes questionable quality or condition. The Stronglight/Simplex/Huret drive train is a whole other story. Getting a period correct Stronglight chainset is not a problem, but finding the rest of the drive train is difficult to find in working condition at a reasonable price.

I really like the way this bike rides, handles and performs. I plan on riding it regularly, so function is more important the having the perfect restoration.

Your inputs and suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks and regards.

Van
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Old 11-05-15, 01:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Senior Ryder 00 View Post
...
Here’s my dilemma. Should I try to restore it with period correct or upgrade to a slightly later generation of components that function better? It has a nice set of wheels with Campag Veloce hubs and Mavic MA2 rims. Campag Triomphe and Veloce components from the early/mid 80s can be found in good condition at reasonable prices while Gran Sport stuff is pricey with sometimes questionable quality or condition. The Stronglight/Simplex/Huret drive train is a whole other story. Getting a period correct Stronglight chainset is not a problem, but finding the rest of the drive train is difficult to find in working condition at a reasonable price.

I really like the way this bike rides, handles and performs. I plan on riding it regularly, so function is more important the having the perfect restoration.
I'd build it with whatever got me out riding on it. I wouldn't worry too much about period-correctness unless I was going for a pristine show-bike kinda thing. Although I'd avoid really modern looking stuff on general principle. No Shimano 105 or anything briftered. No gel saddles or anything with an anatomic center channel. No aero brake levers.

Also: got some pics?
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Old 11-05-15, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman View Post
I'd build it with whatever got me out riding on it. I wouldn't worry too much about period-correctness unless I was going for a pristine show-bike kinda thing. Although I'd avoid really modern looking stuff on general principle. No Shimano 105 or anything briftered. No gel saddles or anything with an anatomic center channel. No aero brake levers.

Also: got some pics?
+1 I concur...with doing a restoration (i.e. repaint) anyway...putting on more modern components will only make you want to ride more...and...you can ALWAYS change it out later! I would go even further and say that, if very modern stuff makes you ride more (i.e. brifters)...go for it!
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Old 11-05-15, 07:03 AM
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Period correct is the way I would go. Or close to it. TA or. Stronglight crank, or a nice steel cottered crank. Gran Sport derailleur or maybe Huret. I prefer old saddles, so a 60's Brooks swallow or Pro. I build on the cheap, and find nice vintage parts that fit the bike I am working on. To me, that is what vintage bikes are about, keeping them vintage.

I don't find them any less rideable. But then again it's the only type of bike I have.
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Old 11-05-15, 07:29 AM
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I'd ride it as-is if possible while saving for the build outlined in your second paragraph. I understand Gran Sport functions just fine / well, though I've yet to shift them myself so can't offer more there.

How bad bad is the bad paint? Clean, polish with Mothers or similar, then wax unless a repaint is absolutely necessary. A bit of character is a good thing, and keeps you from having to shell out for parts in the finest condition. If it's not rusting it can't be that bad.
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Old 11-05-15, 08:47 AM
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It's a very personal choice, and any of those options sounds good. I personally enjoy restoring a beat-up old frame back to a like-new condition, researching the period components, and then trying to find them. Most good quality 1960's parts are perfectly functional and are neither difficult nor particularly expensive to find.
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Old 11-05-15, 09:48 AM
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Think of a restoration as how an original owner might have equipped it after the original "cheap" parts wore out. How would the OO have upgraded it before it had become either C or V?
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Old 11-05-15, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
Think of a restoration as how an original owner might have equipped it after the original "cheap" parts wore out. How would the OO have upgraded it before it had become either C or V?
This is also my approach. It allows both the sentimental and the practical.
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Old 11-05-15, 11:45 AM
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Everything depends on your goals.

There are some people who select quality classic frames and build up beautiful modern bikes.

I've had my primary ride on the road now for 33½ years, and it probably was already old when I bought it. Over time parts have worn out, and I've changed and the bike has evolved.

Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman View Post
No gel saddles or anything with an anatomic center channel. No aero brake levers.
I may have my original seat somewhere... but I think I've discovered that those old barrel shaped seats are just not that comfortable. Ok for a quick jaunt into town, but not something I'd want to ride for long rides.

After years of debate (and two worn out brake levers), I finally went to aero levers... and like them. Also an aero bar (with a 2 bolt stem)



Actually, I've started liking the little knobby top on my brifters... so I may even look for a bit more ergonomic levers.

One thing with the brakes, I managed to loose my barrel adjuster. The levers I have are adequately long pull so the lack of adjusters hasn't made a big difference yet, but I could imagine more upgrades in my future.
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Old 11-05-15, 12:27 PM
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I have one foot in each camp. I am keeping the Capo Sieger very close to stock except for the gear ratios, but the Capo Modell Campagnolo now has several components, including derailleurs, crankset, and wheelset, which are 10 to 20 years newer than the frame.
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Old 11-05-15, 12:33 PM
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I would build it with whatever tripped my trigger. Whatever functions great and looks to whatever my vision of "right" is.

I'm the guy who builds up mid 1980s bikes with early 90s components. I think it looks good, even great. But just not "correct" if you're that kind of dork. (not that there's anything wrong with being a bike dork about your builds.)
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Old 11-05-15, 12:47 PM
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Being the bike's strongpoint and attraction is the era, build on that point. I would have to go something campy like Nuovo Record or earlier depending on the year of the frame. NR is well recognized and began in that era.


Cool project!
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Old 11-05-15, 01:36 PM
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If you're planning on actually riding it, I would definitely upgrade to at least the 1970s when derailleur technology was vastly improved from early to mid 60s.
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Old 11-05-15, 01:52 PM
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Ride it as is and think how you want it. Then act.
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Old 11-05-15, 04:23 PM
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Hi Folks,

Thanks for all of the great responses. Yes, it is and will always be frequent rider. I'm leaning toward equipping it with a later generation of components. Probably early 80s Campagnolo. These would match the wheels as well as provide slightly improved performance. It has obviously been through several renditions over the years and getting back to original may take more time and money than a more reasonable approach.

Thanks again,

Van
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Old 11-08-15, 12:48 AM
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Hi folks,

Here's the latest plan. I've replaced what appear to be the original bars and stem with a Modolo semi aero stem and anatomic bars because the original bars were too narrow. The Dia Compe brakes have been replaced with near period correct Weinmann side pulls. A beat up Campy aero seat post has been replaced with an SR fluted one. The current wheels (MA2s laced to Campy Veloce hubs) and tires are in good shape and will be used for the time being. The crappy drive train (swaged crankset, low end derailleurs, plastic Simplex shifters) needs to be replaced ASAP. I recently got barcons for it since it has brazons or them. For the rest of the drive train, I'd like to use Campy Veloce (or Victory/Triompe maybe?) if I can find them in good shape, at a reasonable price. Other than the brakes, the other components are from the 80s.

Comments or suggestions?

Thanks and regards,

Van
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Old 11-08-15, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
... or a nice steel cottered crank....
They make a NICE steel cottered crank? Those things were the bain of my existence when I was a teenager.
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