Restoring a vintage bike

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
anthonypedals
Posts: 30
Joined: 22 Nov 2010, 3:42pm

Restoring a vintage bike

Postby anthonypedals » 11 Oct 2020, 3:25pm

Hi All,

I have long wished to restore a road bike from the 70's (when I was young) but struggle to negotiate the number of frames that are available and whether I would be buying a dud. I am happy to spend about £300 on the frameset (is this enough?) and I am going to go for it but wondered what the top 3 things to look out for/grasp/understand are before I leap into the unknown. I am not that bothered by a "name" of the bike just one that will look lovely when done.

Cheers

Anthony

robert17
Posts: 311
Joined: 24 Mar 2009, 1:41pm
Location: Worcs

Re: Restoring a vintage bike

Postby robert17 » 11 Oct 2020, 3:51pm

In my very humble opinion, a name could give you at least some guarantee of quality. Reynolds or Columbus tubing would be a strong recommendation. I'd also consider the cost of respraying - I'll be paying Bob Jackson nearly £200 to revamp my father's old frameset. This is not something I could even dream of doing myself. The mechanics yes, but not paintwork. Looking for cracks, serious rust and large dents should make you look elsewhere. Good luck.

mumbojumbo
Posts: 778
Joined: 1 Aug 2018, 8:18pm

Re: Restoring a vintage bike

Postby mumbojumbo » 11 Oct 2020, 4:40pm

For £300 you should get a whole bike.If you want a cosmetic challenge you can pick up a frame for £10 easily.

Brucey
Posts: 42858
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Restoring a vintage bike

Postby Brucey » 11 Oct 2020, 8:43pm

IMHO if you are wanting to do a project of this kind then it arguably doesn't matter what you choose to restore as a first-timer, you will be learning as you go and you will inevitably make mistakes of various kinds.

If you buy a bike one piece at a time it ends up being a very expensive bike, and one that is difficult to build too in many cases; it is perhaps better to buy something which is more or less complete but is a 'doer-upper'. This potentially side-steps many of the issues to do with fits and compatibility; you know the bits fit together if the bike is complete and unmolested.

FWIW if you want a bike to look pretty then you can paint it using rattle cans, to any cosmetic standard that you can manage/be happy with. However it takes ages, not everyone can do it well enough (to please them) and the resulting paint is IME never as tough as good professionally applied paint. Poor professionally applied paint (which is more common than you might expect) is little more than an expensive disappointment; choose carefully if you go down this route.

If you are thinking about buying steel parts with chrome plating on them, and having that chrome plating renewed, my advice is to make a different choice; either buy stuff with intact plating or use bits that don't use chrome plate at all. Rechroming is fantastically expensive and (especially on framesets) will make the frame more likely to break subsequently.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

rogerzilla
Posts: 1595
Joined: 9 Jun 2008, 8:06pm

Re: Restoring a vintage bike

Postby rogerzilla » 11 Oct 2020, 8:49pm

Paint is the big cost. One colour with decals is over £200 at Argos in Bristol. Add some chrome masking (not new chrome), multiple colours and a bit of lining or filled pantographing and you're looking at £500.

mattsccm
Posts: 3666
Joined: 28 Nov 2009, 9:44pm

Re: Restoring a vintage bike

Postby mattsccm » 11 Oct 2020, 9:38pm

Many a piece of junk is being pushed as a classic nowadays. If you want something half decent look for something with original parts and a real Reynolds 531 sticker.Plenty about in rideable condition for your budget. Hang on for useable paint but assume chain, freewheel and tyres are knackered, wheels will need truing etc.

anthonypedals
Posts: 30
Joined: 22 Nov 2010, 3:42pm

Re: Restoring a vintage bike

Postby anthonypedals » 11 Oct 2020, 10:49pm

These are all really helpful responses. Clearly I need to get the paint done by a professional and it makes sense now for me to buy a compete bike and do the whole thing up.

Thanks so far................

Any other thoughts?

Cheers

Anthony

RobC
Posts: 133
Joined: 5 Feb 2008, 3:27pm

Re: Restoring a vintage bike

Postby RobC » 11 Oct 2020, 11:52pm

Just search on eBay for “531 vintage bike”, narrow the results down to a frame that will fit you, and go from there.

ElCani
Posts: 385
Joined: 5 Mar 2015, 11:24am

Re: Restoring a vintage bike

Postby ElCani » 12 Oct 2020, 7:09am

I recommend taking a look the for sale section of the retrobike.co.uk forum: http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewforum.php?f=47

You’re more likely to find honestly-described bikes there than on eBay, with loads of people willing to answer questions and generally help. There’s a Wanted section in the forum as well, should you be after something quite specific.

Getting something that doesn’t require painting (at least not urgently) would also be my advice.

WOT
Posts: 47
Joined: 22 Aug 2019, 9:43pm

Re: Restoring a vintage bike

Postby WOT » 12 Oct 2020, 7:42am

Top 3 things are frame size, frame size and frame size. Be certain that you can ride it when finished because you’ll put more money & time into it than you’ll get back.

Matching original fork is a good thing usually.

If not to purchase but to hone your search I suggest looking at some of the new old stock frame traders’ websites. Velo Villes is an example.

Enjoy

rogerzilla
Posts: 1595
Joined: 9 Jun 2008, 8:06pm

Re: Restoring a vintage bike

Postby rogerzilla » 12 Oct 2020, 8:00am

If you're used to modern bikes with sloping top tubes, traditional frame sizes for horuzontal top tubes are amazingly large.

If your saddle height is about 30" (BB centre to saddle top), a 23" frame will give a racy-but-rideable drop to the bars of around 4 inches with a quill stem up to the "min insert" mark. You can get stems with longer quills, like Nitto Technomic, but it all looks out of proportion.

Top tube length is just as important and the stem length should end up in proportion, so an 80mm stem on a 23" frame is wrong, as is a 140mm stem on a 21" frame. However, the fashion in the 70s was to put a long stem on everything, especially if you were an Italian racer! Compare the current fashion for slammed stems, which means the riders can't even reach the drops.

Carlton green
Posts: 1006
Joined: 22 Jun 2019, 12:27pm

Re: Restoring a vintage bike

Postby Carlton green » 12 Oct 2020, 8:19am

I ride an old bike which I think is from the 1960’s. It’s cosmetically imperfect but quite practical for serious use - so functionally just as it was when it was originally made - if still ‘only’ a ten speed bike. The question you need to ask yourself (and tell others the answer to) is what you intend to do with the bike. Is it for riding or for showing or for something else? If it’s for riding then what type of riding is it for? What do you mean by a ‘road bike’ and what broader range of bike characteristics might that include?

Spare parts can be an issue and eventually they will dry up / become impractical to purchase. As such you need to look ahead a while and consider how long you might have the bike for and how you will support the bike with replacement parts. From ten years back (when I thought that they’d always be available) five speed blocks are getting harder to find so you might be wise to get some in or to buy a bike with (as built and not spread) wider dropouts to suit a six speed block. To a lesser extent rims and tyres can be an issue too, the once standard 27” size has limited supply so something originally built for or well adapted to suit 700C’s would be my own preference.

The importance of correct frame size and its fit to you is large and likewise getting a complete bike makes enormous sense to me. My own ‘classic’ frame is notionally one size too small for me but the bike has ended up being a perfect fit for me (by changing the handle bar stem to one with much greater throw and raising the saddle). I don’t mind the non-stand look ‘cause it’s for riding not looking at, but others might choose differently to me. The non-compatibility of bike parts is a hidden hazard so getting something virtually complete (ideally in running order) helps you avoid some pitfalls, but still expect to find some ‘work around bodges’ on what you buy - I found such out the hard way and frustrating way.

Good luck and enjoy the journeys (restoration and using it).

Cowsham
Posts: 1106
Joined: 4 Nov 2019, 1:33pm

Re: Restoring a vintage bike

Postby Cowsham » 1 Jan 2021, 4:21pm

I've just found this in my mother's barn ...
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Still clamped to a turbo trainer I used in my 20's
thought it had been dumped over 30 years ago. it's been there for about 35 to 40 years, an old Triumph Jack Of Clubs.

Cowsham
Posts: 1106
Joined: 4 Nov 2019, 1:33pm

Re: Restoring a vintage bike

Postby Cowsham » 1 Jan 2021, 4:38pm

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Cowsham
Posts: 1106
Joined: 4 Nov 2019, 1:33pm

Re: Restoring a vintage bike

Postby Cowsham » 1 Jan 2021, 4:39pm

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