This is the dream bike build. No expense will be spared. Problem. No money exists to complete at this point time hahaha…Its a lightweight Tange 900 Mixte frame. So far its been cleaned polished, slapped on some racy Sugino cranks, french Mafac centre pull brakes, alloy fluted seat post, hand polished alloy rims and SunTour shifters and derailleurs. Will be ordering a white leather saddle, Nitto north road bars, Nitto Technomic Stem, white tyres, latex tubes and Kool Stop pads some day.
The 8-week journey is complete. In the process this ordinary bike has really turned into something special. That time frame is potentially longer if you consider a further 2-4 weeks spent conceptualising what kind of bike would be perfect for Olivia. We did this via email and basically spent a lot of time discussing what kind of parts would suit her needs and her taste, and at the same time whether these upgrades would accommodate her budget, or whether certain parts were worth spending more on or compromising and spending less on. It all looks like this on paper:
VO Left Bank handlebars
Dia Compe Silver ratcheting shifters
VO Thumb Shifter Mounts
Dia Compe Inverse brake levers in brown
Alloy side-pull brakes, recycled
Shellaced cloth tape, double wrapped, finished with twine
And it all ended up looking like this in real life:
Theres a pretty long story behind this build and I have condensed all of the previous updates which recount the process from starting out as a humble, rusty, clunker to finishing as a comfortable, eye catching and stylish, upright and safe daily commuter. For more words and pictures, click on the picture below.
This is a fully custom restored bicycle. Unique components have been sourced from all over the world. The quality of this bike is exceptional; it is like no other on the market at the moment. Why pay top dollar for a standard bike with standard parts. Pay the same as you would on eBay for a bicycle customised to your unique preferences.
Velo Orange Front Rack is securely attached to the frame in 3 places making it the perfect support for a handlebar bag or basket.
Detail of Velo Orange Rack. The finish of the rack is immaculate.
A Wald Wire Basket is included. It is extremely sturdy since it is attached to the rack which is bolted directly to the frame. Great for books, groceries, small pets and possibly spouses/partners!
Comfortable cruiser handlebars with conveniently located thumb shifters. Never take your hands off the handlebars. Gearing is indexed/clicking, so changing gears is as easy as clicking the shifter into place.
Warm honey coloured and grippy textured handlebar grips. Grips are double wrapped. These are longer, thicker and squishier than traditional rubber grips and are delightful to touch.
Velo Orange Leather Saddle. The honey brown colour matches the grips. The textured leather prevents you from sliding off your saddle. The saddle features heavy chrome springs to support your back, hammered rivets and tool bag loops.
Velo Orange Fluted Fenders. These mudguards are higher quality, longer, lighter, and sturdier than most other vintage and after market fenders. The finish is highly glossy. The hardware is robust and adjustable which allows for perfect fenderlines where the curve in the fenders matches the exact same curve of the tyres.
The extra long mudguards also mean better protection from puddles and spray from your tyres in wet conditions. Notice how much shorter the front fender is on the white and purple bike.
The cranks and pedals are usually found on men’s racers. They are light weight with a polished alloy finish. The gearing is indexed, which means that changing gears is as easy as clicking the thumb shifters into place. The rear gear changer is a more modern touch and is usually found on top end Repco racing bikes. The rear gear cassette is brand new, as is the chain.
Both brakes are light weight polished alloy. The brake pads are Kool Stops and guaranteed to pull you up like no other brakes.
Below is my initial reaction after picking up a bike Olivia purchased on eBay.
Jeez life gets busy. But as a wise man aka my boss, once said, sleep is for chicks. But hey I’m not giving up on this little project. Im just going to power on restoring bikes including this little number.
She has been named Lardee by her future owner who purchased her in a state nothing short of a nightmare. I hope she doesn’t read this because I pretended that it would all be okay when I first met the bike and its owner. Fortunately it has come up nicely after a thorough clean and hopefully the new owner will appreciate the hard work which has transformed this bike into something thats far from perfect, but passable, worth restoring, and in the words of another wise man, Id hit that.
Here’s some before and afters for your enjoyment.
Some parts came in today all the way from the USA. It took 11 days to ship so its been quite a long wait. Should opt for express postage next time.
This is quite an expensive build, but Lardee’s owner wanted to spend on quality components so that she would never look at her bike and think: you need an upgrade, and that mentality has really turned this tired old bike into a delightfully restored bicycle.
Featured in this post are french styled handlebars, ratcheting thumb shifters, inverse brake levers and brass bell.
Here was a lateupdate #2.
Lardee is already being enjoyed on the streets of Darlinghurst, Sydney, by her new owner so I am MEGA behind!
Here are some progess pictures I took of the cup holder (yes it was designed to hold cups and cans rather than bottles), the hammered fenders, cranks, MKS pedals, Shimano derailleur and Araya alloy rims. 80% of these parts are nice alloy parts which were used in a bid to save weight and improve the overall quality of the bike. The owner chose to ditch the chrome rims in favour of slightly less polished alloy rims, which are a million times safer to ride in the rain.
Looking back, Im just so amazed at how well this bike looked and felt after admittedly, a lot of work, keeping in mind how it used to look. This bike was bought off eBay, but hundreds or thousands like it must be simply dumped at the tip out or left out to rot. Its such a shame that people throw away these beautiful bikes.
This is the last update before finishing the bike and highlights the simple but elegant touches which sets this bike apart from the rest.
Its clear from earlier posts that Lardee was quite an ordinary bike. Ordinary mild steel frame, it is a mixte frame though. Oridinary original paint in okay condition, still better than a powder coat in my mind. Lastly, very, very ordinary components. However the seemingly insignificant, yet excessively time consuming, hand-made touches, such as the twined thumb shifters, cup holder, kick stand and the shellaced grip tape, together with the beautiful leather saddle, ridiculously over priced combo of shifters, shifter pods and handlebars, and the Rivendell saddlesac soon to be united with this bike by its owner, has really transformed this ordinary bike into something a little bit spesh.
Another thing to notice is how much was spent on the bits of the bike which the owner would spend the most time touching: the pedals, the saddle and the handlebars. I think its important that if your going to enjoy riding your bike, mnoney needs to be invested in all of those points of contact. Would you really enjoy riding a bike with awful rubber grips and fake plastic leather saddle…probably not.
Finally, Id just like to reiterate, no other eBay seller, no matter how experienced they claim to be, or how popular they may be, offers this level of attention to detail as apart of their service. Enjoy the pics which will be up shortly.
This is a pretty amazing restoration when you look at the before and after pictures. Like all my other projects the emphasis was on quality, though some consessions had to be made to keep this build within its small budget. Most parts are alloy and most parts are Shimano. This was a full restoration meaning the bike was pulled apart and built back up again piece by piece. Almost every part has been replaced, rather than simply reconditioned. Everything including the gears and brakes are perfectly tuned and adjusted.
The bike was a nice find. Nothing special, fortunately it wasnt rusty, it was just dirty and needed a good clean (see below). Hiding below all that dirt was a beautiful dark charcoal (not quite black) glittery coat of paint. It was made out of heavy, gaspipe, high tensile steel labelled as “Dynaloy” by Malvern Star. I was surprised how heavy it was, I could barely lift it onto my bike rack. So from the very beginning it was clear that this bike needed to be lightened.
I got rid of the original brakes, shifters, stem, cranks, tyres, cables, chain and derailleurs. Most were original generic brands and made of heavy chrome steel.
Smooth shifting, quality derailleurs, make or break a bike for me. I replaced the original Shimano Tourney parallelogram derailleur ($5 piece of junk really, yet every vintage bike on ebay has them…), with a low end Shimano Slant Parallelogram derailleur. This design was original copied by Shimano off Suntours patented design which shifted the smoothest in its time, and the design is still being used today. The change was dramatic despite being a low end model, and I dont think I would ever build a bike without a slant parallelogram derailleur, unless of course it was made by Campagnolo. The cherry on top was a new silver chain.
The cranks were replaced by lighter SR Custom alloy cranks and the brakes were upgraded to alloy shimano race brakes. Still low-end stuff Shimano stuff, but still markedly lighter and better in quality than the original generic junk.
The finishing touches included gold luglining and white cloth tape around the handlebars. This bike is delightful and within a tight budget. The upgraded parts and finishing touches make this bike both quality and individual.
More parts have arrived, theres just a few more to come. But Im still waiting on the frame, once it gets here Ill put it all together.
Heres the big bag of goodies all wrapped up nicely.
And heres an almost complete Suntour Sprint Groupset. Sprint was 2nd in Suntours line up during the 80s, just below Superbe at the very top of the heirarchy but ahead of Cyclone. Sprint was exceptional quality with exceptional finish but value for money.
Quite an ambitious task to rebuild a Raleigh Team Pro frame bought off a cycling forum. Original Campagnolo Nuovo Record parts are rare and pricy, so Ive decided to use Suntour Superbe/Superbe Pro and Sprint parts made in Japan, which in terms of quality, rivals if not betters the Italian stuff. Here are the parts that have come so far.
Got these wheels in the mail today. Its like Christmas. Suntour Sprint sealed bearing hubs. Never used anything with sealed bearings before. Never had anything that spins so butterly smooth. They are laced onto Mavic Open 4cd grey anodized alloy rims. They are pretty light too.
Also got Suntour Sprint 9000 shifters, with power ratchet of course, making shifting a delight.
Still tossing up whether to use this Suntour Vx rear derailleur. Its light, solid, reputable, but it doesnt have the same racing pedigree as Suntour Sprint derailleur might.
And still tossing up whether to use this Suntour Spirt front derailleur. Its top pull/reverse swing, so the gear levers will move in the same direction making double shifting a possibility. But I also have a Suntour Sprint front derailleur coming in the mail. Hmmm…decisions…
These three bikes have yet to be completed in my eyes. Things like fenders, new tyres, cables, bar tape and so on are still needed before they are finished. The three include 2 Raleighs and 1 Oxford. I also have 2 immaculate ladies frames which need to be built up. So check back for updates.