Monday, April 26, 2010

Reassembly !

Ok so now the project is really picking up steam,
I finished painting most of the components and am now starting to reassemble the bike!

here's my progress so far...

it looks better than it is, the brakes arent hooked up or anything, and i did do a test fit of the rear wheel, and i'll have to replace it as it badly kinked, and well.. not round anymore... oh well, it was the rustiest piece (that i wont have to sand anymore :D yes!) I'll also need a chain, but that was my fault, i was using the chain breaker and... i broke it.

oh ya and bar tape is hard wrap properly, this will require some practice.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

We are back online!

After much delay, entirely due to school getting in the way, and my spray booth (balcony) being severely chilled by winter.

None the less we are back, and i've already finished sanding down the frame and have primed and painted it black. It needs a few clear coats, and then it will be ready for re-assembly. I've also decided to plain many of the chrome components whose chrome is .. faded. They've been primed and will soon be painted a creamy off-white. Together with the black frame, brown leather bar-tape and saddle the retro look will be complete.

Monday, September 21, 2009


I dreaded having to sand-down that frame, I was convinced that removing this paint would be like pulling gum out of hair, and that my tendonitis-ridden hands would be the least of my worries after my arm fell off from excessive sanding. But I was wrong. Happily the sandpaper tore though the tired old paint like a knife through butter (ok it’s not that easy, but it’s not bad).

Admittedly, I didn’t finish sanding down the frame. While taking breaks from the excitement that is sanding (note sarcasm) I started doing something I rather enjoy; taking things apart, cleaning them, and then putting them back together again. While doing this I listened to TED conferences, and thought about how this process of taking things apart putting and putting them back together again was in a sense a microcosm of the entire bicycle restoration. I also though that; while my goal in restoring this bike is not to learn about bikes or how they work (it is so that I can have a really cool bike without breaking my piggy bank) I am learning a lot about how bikes are put together. Which is good if I ever need to fix or design one.

Once I’d disassembled the braking system, I scrubbed it all down, piece by piece, with a little bit of Brasso and some steel wool. I then soaked it all in some coke to make it shine. When I returned a few hours latter, they were shiny, but not as clean as I would have liked. So I proceeded to make my first major mistake in the project. I decided that it would be a good idea to soak the components in a solution of 1 part bleach, four parts boiling hot water to beat that dirt and grime into submission! I poured in the water and a few minutes later a saw rust floating to the surface. “Fantastic!” I thought, it’s going to be like new tomorrow. But by the next morning, the rust had been joined by the chrome plating which used to adorn those components. Yes, the bleach had successfully striped the chrome plating off the metal. Strong stuff.

Plan B: I will scrub off what’s left of the plating and paint the bare metal parts.

Damn you Pedals !

The first step (and possibly the most entertaining) involved disassembling the bike. Things were going well, I’d removed the bar tape, taken off the brakes, and the handles. As I disassembled everything, I separated them into labeled zip-lock bags so that I know what everything is when the time comes to reassemble everything. It may sound anal, but it really helps.

Things started to get a little more resistant from then on. The pedals were supposed to be next, but they’re still connected to the crank … I haven’t cracked that one yet. I did manage to get the crank off though. It took a few days for me to figure out how because I was looking at YouTube videos about how to do this and they’d always say

“start by popping off the plastic cap …“


“then take your crank-puller …”

Two problems:

1: My bike’s crank doesn’t have a plastic cap
2: I don’t have a crank puller

Solution? Turns out I don’t need a crank puller because my bike was made before this new style of crank was introduced (which is why I don’t have a plastic cap either). My crank uses cotter pins instead. This was good news, it meant I didn’t need a special tool just to take it off. All I needed were a couple convincing blows of a hammer to pop out the cotter pins, and the crank was free. With that I took off the shifter, the wheels, the seat and everything else that needed removing. I then deflated the tires, took them off their rims and called it a day. The next thing on the list is sanding down the frame.

The Beginning

In case there were any questions as to where this journey began, it began, as always, at the beginning. And on this particular occasion, it began in a rather sketchy bicycle shop on Spadina Ave here in downtown Toronto.

"Do you have any cheap racing bikes ? " I asked.

The salesman smiled with the knowledge that he'd just made a sale. All he had to do was help me sift through the many mediocre options and convince me that one of them was worth the 100$ in my pocket. As you'd expect for 100$, they weren't exactly in great condition. But then, that is the point of restoration, isn't it?

As I test drove the bikes, a long lost feeling came over me. It had been about 5 years since I'd ridden a racing bike, and I'd forgotten just how much faster they are than the clunky "Canadian Tire" style mountain bikes that I was used to. The feelings of insane speed and acceleration were slightly dampened by the questionable reliability of the brakes, but I was completely sold.

The bike I ended up buying didn't exactly get off to a flying start. One of the pedals was crooked and felt really strange. More worrying though was the brutish amount of force required to turn said pedals. About 2 minutes into the test-drive the reason for this sluggishness was revealed. The rear tire, which, until that point, had been over-inflated, quickly became un-inflated. In other words; it exploded. But the salesman, keen on making that sale, fixed the pedal and installed a new inner tube free of charge (nice). The second test drive was much better. The gears didn’t switch very well but that can be sorted. The real selling point was the condition of the frame, it wasn’t rusted, dented, or severely scratched. And didn’t have any stickers or decals to remove for the re-spray. Sold. Time to get to work.