Make Do and Mend

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
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Make Do and Mend

Postby glueman » 25 Sep 2009, 6:26pm

A germ of an idea has been forming for a while and I am prepared to go public. It will not make me popular with bicycle retailers but won't do component sellers any harm. It won't be easy and I may be beaten by the system but... I shall attempt to never buy a new bike, at least a new touring bike, ever again.

I have a few advantages over some readers; first, I won't see fifty again. Second, I recently bought a new frame (though it's identical to many built since the 1980s at least), third, I have more than one touring bike to choose from, forth, my tourers are steel and in theory, repairable. If I fail and something catches my eye I shall own up for public ridicule. It will certainly mean looking after what I've got and a major frame collapse or accident will mean playing a Get Out Of Jail Card and replacing the frame, but I shall try.

There's no pressing reason except a vaguely uneasy feeling about profligacy and waste and the expedience of groupset mania. I haven't suddenly been hit by impoverishment - well, no more than usual - but we'll see how it goes. eBay and old bike shops will no doubt have to be scoured in the coming years and I've begun a minimal stockpile of likely items.
Anyone else of similar mind or are you all too practical!?

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Re: Make Do and Mend

Postby PW » 25 Sep 2009, 6:44pm

I've worked like that for decades. I replaced all ours over 2003-6 as they were 20+ years old, 2 had died from metal fatigue and the wife bent one :( Plus all the old 6 speed equipment was obsolete and spares were becoming difficult to source. Now we're all set up hopefully for another couple of decades, all I need is a decent hack bike to save miles on the good stuff.
If at first you don't succeed - cheat!!

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Re: Make Do and Mend

Postby glueman » 25 Sep 2009, 7:21pm

The only factor that may scupper the plan is if some radical rear-end spacing takes place. Should mechanical derailleurs die out in favour of electronic ones or freewheels get a chip it might prove problematic to spare parts supply, likewise external headsets, though I have at least three new ones of those waiting.

It will be an interesting journey anyway. I wonder which of the sprocket combos/ derailleur changers will prove most stable and continue to be supplied?

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Re: Make Do and Mend

Postby asinus » 25 Sep 2009, 9:55pm

Good on you, mate: if we're to claim to be ecological we have to be prepared to mix and match, though the trade will try and introduce incompatiabilities to stop us. I confess to having one bike that gets new(ish) bits, and two that live on hand-downs (one is called "The Heinz"). I bught a load of stuff from a chap whose hobby was building up bikes from its bought at police auctions, and this forum should be a good source of bits.

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Re: Make Do and Mend

Postby gaz » 25 Sep 2009, 10:06pm

I bought my first new tourer in 1988 and my second in the same year. My second mountain bike followed shortly after, my first was sold to make room and an audax and tandem were added to the fleet around 1993.

Since then the fleet has thinned.

The mtb was knicked and the audax stripped and the frame sold on as I wasn't audaxing at all.

The two tourers became one after a frame failure. There have been other frame failures since.

Once or twice there have been significant purchases of new kit but never another new bike, there's always something from the old ones left on it and there's much more still up in the loft.

ASP Bitsa: All Spare Parts; bits of this, bits of that.
2020 : To redundancy ... and beyond!

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Re: Make Do and Mend

Postby Slowroad » 26 Sep 2009, 6:01pm

I like the idea - I'm looking into refitting my 20-year-old Raleigh Touriste but suspect I'll run into availability problems. It'll also be my first venture into real bicycle repair work - will everything fit together if I manage to source it!?
“My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: riding a bike to the library.”
― Peter Golkin

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Re: Make Do and Mend

Postby Velorum » 26 Sep 2009, 7:28pm

Appart from the Dahon D7 which is really only for occassional use when packed in the car for camping etc the rest of my bikes are pretty old. Thanks to the internet its not as difficult as it used to be to track down pre-index transmission parts etc.

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Re: Make Do and Mend

Postby glueman » 26 Sep 2009, 7:47pm

Slowroad wrote:I like the idea - I'm looking into refitting my 20-year-old Raleigh Touriste but suspect I'll run into availability problems. It'll also be my first venture into real bicycle repair work - will everything fit together if I manage to source it!?

Re-fitting a 20 year old Touriste shouldn't be any bother. A very nice bike you'd have to pay a lot of money to better.

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Re: Make Do and Mend

Postby MikewsMITH2 » 26 Sep 2009, 7:57pm

I'm looking into refitting my 20-year-old Raleigh Touriste but suspect I'll run into availability problems

I doubt it! I have a lovely "new" tourer incorporating components of the highest quality.
The frame was hand built by a craftsman in Wolverhampton in 1960.
The principal components bar the tyres, tubes, spokes and cables are recycled or new old stock. Plus critical parts like threaded headset, bottom bracket and screw-on freewheel are new and were no problem to source. It is a real joy to ride and draws admiring comments whenever I take it out.

When I had finished it, I fancied a nice new "racer" too. The repainted 531 DB frame is 1950's and every component apart from the BB, threaded headset and seat pillar are recycled from other bikes I've owned or from jumbles. This is a fabulous, fast and comfortable bike to ride with a fantastic pedigree of 5 victories in the Tour of Britain, plus fastest stage.

I have not had the slightest problem is sourcing parts for these bikes, nor have I for my 1970's Raleigh. The 1908 Peugeot Tandem is slightly more of a challenge due to French threads, but with help from the people on this forum, will soon be fully refurbed and ready for another 30 years service, by which time I'll be in my 80s!

These bikes are as good as new and each cost me well under half what a new one would have and they have cost the environment very little too!

So go for it Slowroad!
S.O.S - Save Our Steel!
1971 Raleigh Mercury
2010 Condor Fratello
1980 Peugeot Tandem
1989 MBK Aventure MTB
195? Viking Severn Valley
1951 Raleigh Lenton Sports
See them here

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Re: Make Do and Mend

Postby chambo3413 » 27 Sep 2009, 8:44am

I have been using this idea for some years now mainly due to being skint(family, refurb house etc etc) and also liking old/vintage stuff(member of VCC)
getting hold of old parts isn't that difficult what with Ebay, car boots,free ad and ad mag papers etc etc, also worth trying or even travelling to local 'council' rubbish/recycling plants as some (getting less and less though) will sell you a bike for around £20.
Using the later option is how I have amassed most of my 16 or so bikes for well under £300, all are quality Reynolds tubed or similar, some are not too old(8 speed 531c Raleigh Equinox) and the odd one is a novelty(1963 'pop riveted' Moulton).
I have to admit to purchasing a made to measure fast tourer frameset recently from Edisons at Clowne(new job & pay rise), I hoped it would be future proof but having decided to build it up with 9 speed 105 components I have struggled to get parts, but I could use it for 10 speed if needed.
Doing it all 'on the cheap' also gets you used to rebuilding and restoring , just make sure the other half is out when you put the deraillieurs& Cranksets in the dishwasher!

Below is a list of all? my bikes most of which are Reynolds 531db or equivalent many of which were obtained from local 'tips' / ad mag, car boots etc, the 1949 Webster was a complete machine for £20 and can be seen here ... er-rb.html the 55 Fothergill here ... rgill.html

1932 & 1949 J.Webster of Chesterfield
1947 Semper (French 650b) 1947 Mecadural (French 650b aluminium)
2X 1950's unknowns
1955 J. Fothergill
1965 E.G Bates
1954 Paramount
late 70's J.F Wilson
1963 Moulton
1947 Raleigh Lenton Clubman
1992 Carerra Krakatoa mtb
1989 Orange Clockwork mtb
2009 Edison fast tourer
Last edited by chambo3413 on 27 Sep 2009, 9:23am, edited 1 time in total.
information on cycling in and around Chesterfield during the 1930's -1970's wanted

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Re: Make Do and Mend

Postby worrywort » 27 Sep 2009, 9:01am

Three cheers for common sense.

The dumps, alleyways and sheds are bursting with useful bikes and spares. I believe We are really doing our bit to save the planet by using, and saving existing bikes and spares. Society has gone mad for "bling". :D

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Re: Make Do and Mend

Postby drossall » 27 Sep 2009, 8:20pm

I've still got the road bike I built up as a student 30 years ago. Some parts have been replaced, but most are original or at least not made in the last few years. My Audax frame was bought 20 years ago. I've replaced the bars and stem on safety grounds (the originals were taken from another bike and may have been used on a third before that), and fitted new chains and freewheels. I've just "modernised" it with some 8-speed Athena Ergos, chosen because I could use the original threaded hubs with a seven-speed freewheel. My low profile is a 90s model with seven-speed Dura Ace. My work bike is a steel-frame fixed with many older parts.

I do have a rather nice Principia from the modern era, but even that is "only" 9-speed, as is the Shimergo on my steel Mercian tourer. Oh, and my Specialized FSR MTB is now nine years old.

I don't really like to replace things until they wear out :D

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Re: Make Do and Mend

Postby fixer » 27 Sep 2009, 8:29pm

There's literally tons of old stuff out there, in sheds, lofts etc, I would guess only a fraction ever gets offered for sale.

It's just that you can't go down the road to your LBS to buy it.

Some years ago in a bike shop I heard someone say that haven't bought anything new since 1958! Interestingly, I think carrying on using the recent 8, 9, 10 speed parts might have more of a problem than older non-indexed parts.

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Re: Make Do and Mend

Postby drossall » 27 Sep 2009, 10:41pm

I think so too. The compatibility of old parts was a massive, massive advantage, meaning that there are still loads around. It's not just that Campag and Shimano are different now, but that they keep changing so fast - so Campag is incompatible with both Shimano and itself.

That's one reason why I kept to threaded hubs - I'm still not having too much trouble getting freewheels, whereas the same shops would probably struggle with eight-speed parts.

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Re: Make Do and Mend

Postby glueman » 27 Sep 2009, 11:26pm

There are three bikes in the shed running 7-speeds, including a new one. All have downtube levers that can un-index at the turn of a screw. The question I asked myself is would a bike with new components be better and I could only answer 'not for me'. If I lived somewhere flatter I dare say I'd ride fixed all the time and I enjoy STI on the MTB but have never felt the same about Ergo on drops and 9, 10, 11-speeds. That feels like you're in a three year window of what the manufacturer wants you to have rather than taking control of what you like.

I suspect I'm one of those people who feels no great affinity with new things and only comes to like them when they've been around for a while.