11 September, 2007

Good Old Bikes

There is a magazine called Good Old Boat about restoring and sailing older boats. There really should be a similar publication about bikes. It could focus on bikes like these:

It's not hard to find nice used bikes on E-bay or elsewhere, but finding a high-end mixte is another matter. There were simply not that many really nice classic mixtes made. Julie owns one, this Motobecane Grand Record. This is a very well designed and nicely built Reynolds 531 frame. Many would say this was the "sweet spot"in Motobecane's line, good construction with rando-like geometry and Nervex lugs. And are those the lovely new Velo Orange fenders 45mm that we see? There are a few more photos here.

Mike found a lovely blue '86 Nishiki Riviera GT (Grand Touring). It has cantilever brakes and full rack mounts. There are even fender mounts for the Honjo fenders he just bought. Nice bell too, and tapped right into the stem.

Mike also built-up a neat Bridgestone T700 for his wife.

14 comments:

Tony said...

Would you consider posting the pictures of old bicyles owned by your customers/blog readers? (Or do you think this might get out of hand?) Thanks for your Blog/Store
-Tony

C said...

I think the reason you see mags devoted to bringing back old boats (and houses and cars for that matter) and not bicycles is because it takes a lot longer to bring back an old boat. You can tear a bike down and reassemble it from the ground up in a couple of hours. I'm guessing doing the same to a boat is going to take a little while longer. I know (the hard way) that it definitely takes a lot longer with old houses!!

Tony said...

I disagree "C", I think that the reason we don't see mags devoted to old bicycles is that there are simply fewer of us that appreciate them. When I show up to a club ride on an old lugged steel bicycle, I get a lot of "how old it that?" & "why are you riding that old thing?". Of course when I go for the sprint & finish in front of them, they are often surprised, & I have had more than a few tell me they were really working hard not to get beat by the guy on the old bike! (Its really not the bike, its all in the legs you know).

ANDY said...

That Nishiki is sweet.

Joel said...

You can tear an old bike down and reassemble it in a few hours. But the technique rarely has decent results. If you doubt me, go to fixed gear gallery and look what has been wrought upon many a hapless Colnagno, Motobecane, Raleigh, etc. They all deserve better. Much better. You would think the more the word gets out, the more likely people would realize as much.

C said...

"You can tear an old bike down and reassemble it in a few hours. But the technique rarely has decent results."

Speak for yourself! I've done with old Colnago, Peugeot and even Singer bikes. Granted, this assumes the parts don't need major work beyond replacing bearings, pads, cables, and the odd bolt. Of course if you have to hunt down a Mafac pivot bolt or a Jubilee pulley that will complicate things a tad. ;)

Anonymous said...

Bicycle Quarterly does a good job featuring older bikes with rich articles and great photos.

Cyclofiend.com has numerous galleries of bicycles - one is dedicated to classic rides.

Anonymous said...

The link to "more photos" in this posting produces an error:

404 Not Found
/errors/ofoto_error.html was not found on this server.

Resin-3.0.19 (built Mon, 15 May 2006 04:50:47 PDT)

neil b said...

Joel,
I'm guilty as charged. My work bike is a '82 Colnago Super single-speed with a front brake and the fattest tires that would clear. Maybe it does deserve better; while it's not junk, it certainly isn't a 70s Mexico either.

franklyn said...

Bikes are functional and serve a purpose. I believe in riding one's bike, even if it's an old one in pristine conditions. I have a old bianchi frame (from the 60's) striped to the chrome (i didn't do it, I got the frame like that) that I converted into a fixed gear (although it current has three gears, two fixed via a Surly Dingle Cog and a freewheel on the flop). I ride the bike everyday on my commute and errands around town, even short tour that's not extremely hilly. The bike still rides as well as ever and I am happier riding it than restoring it and hang it up on my wall, although i do see the usefulness and significance of doing that for some special, historic specimens.

Joel said...

I own a single speed. It is an ideal bike for winter commuting. But it is a frame purpose built for single speed set up.

My point about the fine old Italians, French, and even US is not that they should be put on display, but rather they are better restored as the original designer intended. Velo-Orange, Ebay, etc. are wonderful sources of functional used and often NOS parts that can really make the bike.

I also believe in re-painting unless the frame is something really rare like a good Herse or Legnano in collectible condition.

As long as the single speed restore avoids chopped bars and aero wheels, it is certainly better than nothing. But still. Some these frames can really turn out nice.

Chris Kulczycki said...

Tony, Or anyone, send photos of your interesting bikes and we'll do a blog about them every once in a while. We used to do that, but got out of the habit.

Anonymous said...

The reason there aren't more (and thicker) magazines devoted to the topic is because there are not companies looking to advertise in such. Why? Maybe, because there isn't a big enough market. Maybe because the bicycle companies with money to spend on print ads want to sell new whole bikes more than parts.

Bicycle Quarterly is a wonderful journal making a real contribution. A monthly would probably require a staff of writiers.

The RBW Reader, when it features adventures, rider/restoration profiles, and esoteric looks at bicycle lore is fun and meaty - but the work to produce such appear too great for Grant, for the time being.

The two combined with a section on reader/club-generated pieces would be perfect. But who would advertise?

Competition is great for advancing ideas but it can, especially in the age of the web, lead to splitting up a market so quickly, there isn't enough to sustain anyone.

Antonius

ANDY said...

Chris, If you keep up the VO readers' "Good Old Bikes" ... there is your publication. No need for another magazine.