I finally got the bike restoration project moving forward. It’s nothing special right now, but I went out for a test ride to make sure the brakes were working this morning. It felt good having this thing actually roll around after the time I’ve put into it so far. Having it come back to life is a testament to how well things were built back in the 1950’s. Incredibly, it wasn’t just the metal parts that held up. When I got it all back together, I just pumped up the tires that were there and headed to the street. I was prepared to replace them, but after who knows how many years, they inflated and gave me a clean ride. Amazing!
I didn’t tighten everything down too tight or lube it, since I will just be taking it all apart again, but it still was a really smooth ride. I was expecting a little clunk or alignment issues, but there was nothing unusual. There was a little tightness in the crank, and some very slight deflections in the moving parts, but again nothing you would notice day to day. This bike was clearly a high end bike with very tight tolerances, and even after all these years of neglect it still preforms well.
All that is left now is the saddle repair, gearing overhaul, and a fresh coat of paint. Getting the gearing back up and running will probably be the toughest part of the rebuild. That and deciding what color to paint it, of course.
Here’s to a new year of projects! Cheers to 2012.