Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Restoration tips

As there is not a lot of cycling to be done at the moment I thought I would write some restoration tips for anyone starting a project over winter. These tips are based on previous restoration projects dating back to when I first started restoring bicycles in the late 1980s. Now we are most fortunate to have the digital camera and one of the first things I would suggest is to take several photos including some close up shots of transfers etc so when it comes to putting the bike back together you at least have a guide as to what the finished bike should look like etc. After carefully stripping the bike down and cleaning the necessary parts it is a great idea to put the parts in labeled plastic bags so they are easy to find latter. After stripping the bike down you really need to decide what type of restoration you will be undertaking e.g

Full restoration - Which would include sandblasting the frame & checking for cracks in the tubing,repainting the frame in the correct color, re nickel or re chroming the appropriate parts - the most expensive restoration option but will give you a show room finish.

Refurbishment restoration - Any parts that are broken need to be replaced with NOS period correct parts, new tyres & tubes , cables etc. Note if the frame has a nice patina and the original transfers it is better to just polish the frame ( This is what I have done with the Humber sports )- a cheaper restoration option that will look like it has never been restored , just well used.

The next question to be decided on is what kind of use will the bicycle have, this is a main factor in what type of restoration you will undertake. For example will you be displaying it or riding it often, short day trips or multi day tours etc.

The other main factors which will help you decide on what type of restoration you will undertake are the following:

Money - How much are you prepared to spend in restoring your bicycle

Time - Will you do the majority of the work yourself , some restoration projects can take a long time to complete

Value - What is the value of the bike you wish to restore , not just the monetary value e.g historical value or family heirloom etc

In my view bicycles were meant to be ridden so they should be in working condition at least and reliable enough to take on a day ride without fear of it breaking down.

Pictured above are two examples of a Full restoration and a Refurbishment restoration


The Jolly Crank said...

Painting and re-chroming:
Is that something you take to a shop?
Are there shops that specialize in that kind of thing? It sounds expensive.

Don Speden said...

Hi Jolly Crank

Thanks for the comment in my next post I will explain some of the ways to save money in doing a restoration, such as painting & re chroming etc.

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