Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bike Restoration - Part II

Dave -
The bike restoration project sped along full speed until it abruptly hit a wall. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the wheels did not match. I'm not talking about some subtle differences, I'm talking about blatant differences - one has an alloy or satin finish and the other wheel has a heavy chrome finish. Of course no self-respecting bike mechanic would allow this, so I have been scouring the Internet for inexpensive used bike wheels. I think that I may have found someone that has what I am looking for. Of course I thought this to be the case last week and upon inspection the wheels were no better than what I have.

I had the rear derailleur to clean and lubricate so I took on this job last week. As the picture shows, my work bench is the top of the trash container. While some would feel that this is no way to tackle a project, I have to say that it works well for a procrastinator like myself. The trash container goes to the curb on Thursday night so this forces me to finish what I am working on before then. It is my motivator since I would be at a lost if I had to disturb the reassembly order.

Speaking of reassembly, I have fooled around with bike parts over the years but I have never encountered the complexity that seems to define British engineering. Those of you that own British cars can certainly attest to the nightmare-infused package of parts that the British refer to as 'engineering'. Case in point, most derailleurs have about 15 parts; this derailleur has 27 parts - not counting the 15 ball bearings in each of the pulleys. I reassembled the derailleur and ended up with two extra parts. I re-reassembled it two more times until I finally ran out of parts - I figured that at this point I was done.

To date the bike has been stripped, primed and painted. No, it isn't perfect. I justify the $87 spent on sandpaper, cleaning fluid, primer, paint, and buffer pads as an "investment" in a project that Mike and I are enjoying. The alternative would have been to take it to a paint shop and just write a check for $155; what fun is that? (Of course, I am told that the professionally painted frame would have been really, really nice.)

Once I have some wheels, it should be just another four or five hours and the bike will be ready to be enjoyed on streets, bike paths, bike lanes, and an occasional sidewalk.

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