Going about my daily duties, I’ve been pondering the general direction to take with the project bike. The universe of possible options was narrowed down to three…(1) faithful restoration, (2) focus on function, and (3) focus on function, then make it pretty. Since it has so much original equipment in good condition, I felt a bit obligated to consider restoration, but honestly, my heart just wasn’t in it. Rather than serving as an exhibit, this bike was always intended for a specific use. So option 1 dropped out.
After being quite inspired by this video, option 3 seemed like the obvious way to go. Then the obsessing about colors and wide range of possible upgrades ensued. The number of decisions almost made my head explode, and project costs were climbing exponentially. I’m not ready to totally let go of the pretty bike option, but since that could be phased over time, option 3 was put on the shelf for safe-keeping.
That leaves us with option 2…focus on function. Other than a slow leak in the rear tube, the bike is quite operational now. However, a more thorough inventory suggested that replacing a few items with new, or currently on-hand, parts would make the bike more comfortable for me, and perform better for my needs.
The first consideration is points-of-contact. The saddle will be replaced with a Brooks. I really enjoy the various models of B17 saddles I own, but will probably try a Swallow for this bike. The Campagnolo Nuevo Record cranks are more narrow than cranks on my other bikes, and I think something more narrow will be appreciated by the inside of my thighs. I have a pair of 41cm Nitto Noodle bars that aren’t being used. They will replace the more narrow Sakae bars that came on the bike. The most difficult decision was pedals. Rather than the platform pedals used on my other bikes, I’m going back to being attached. The current clip/strap pedals will be replaced with a pair of Speedplay pedals left over from my “racier” days. I hope I can find my old Shimano shoes with Speedplay “cleats”.
The perfect transition between personal comfort and pure operation comes from the tire department. Fortunately, I’ll be able to add some width. Although this bike will be intended for paved roads, some of the county roads in my part of the world are fairly rough. It appears that the front fork will be the constraint, and I’ll basically max-out the available space. My current guess is that a 30mm tire might work, and a 28mm will definitely work. I’ve got my eye on the Grand Bois Cypress.
At one point in the pondering process, brifters were considered. But I’ve got this perfectly functional Campagnolo Nuevo Record drivetrain here. I also have a pair of Dura-Ace 10-speed brifters, but that brings all kinds of compatibility issues. Since I’m very comfortable using downtube shifters anyway, I think I’ll stay with the existing drivetrain for awhile.
In summary, the project is starting to look like a thorough cleaning, followed by a few replacement parts. Bars, brakes, brake levers, cables, tires, tubes, and saddle will all be replaced with things from the parts bin, or purchased new. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, a computer will be added. I’ll simply touch up the paint nicks and scratches with clear nail polish. The result should perform well, but will be lacking in looks.
But if initial efforts work as well as anticipated, option 3 can be pulled off the shelf for implementation.