The hottest part of summer is behind us and all through the sweltering heat that has been bombarding Melbourne I have had the best intentions to start working on Prudence the Project Mixte. It was only after I picked up some $2 brake levers and $10 cantilever brakes at the Treadlie Bike Hub over the weekend that I seriously started feeling like I should pull my act together and get cracking on my royal blue lady.
So yesterday morning I put on my working clothes, set up my folding Park Tools bicycle stand (which I highly recommend to everyone), popped Prudence in and started ripping off her tired old components. It was a surprise to me that I barely needed to touch an allen key during this process – Prudence was held together by a series of philips and flat head screws.
I couldn’t have gotten her apart without the help of my vise-grips. Surprisingly, my 10mm and 14mm spanners also came in very handy. I guess you never know what fastenings they used to put together these old bikes.
At the end of the workshop session I was left with an almost bare frame and a box full of components that will either have to be rescued or binned. Now it’s time to start sanding, polishing and scouring the world for the things I will need to get her rolling.
Things Prudence definitely needs:
- New mudguards: I like the look of these hammered ones, but I am not sure if my budget will stretch that far, does anyone know where I could pick some up cheap?
- Front chainring and square taper cranks: I don’t think two front chainrings are necessary for riding around Melbourne, and I am keen to minimise the number of levers and cables for a clean aesthetic, so I will be heading to Ceres Bike Shed to see if I can pick up something more suitable.
- Headset: The current one is grinding and has a small amount of play in it, so I will play it safe and replace it.
- Handlebars: I think there is too much rust on the current set to be polished out, so I will be searching for some new handlebars at the Bike Shed as well.
- Chain: this goes almost without saying really.
Things Prudence will probably need:
- Wheelset: I got four wheels when I bought Prudence, but they are all in pretty bad shape. The only problem is that a new wheelset could easily be the most expensive part of the build…
- Rear dérailleur: The Suntour dérailleur she is currently sporting is pretty rusty and slightly bent. It is possible I could bend it back into shape and replace the bolts, but I will still keep an eye out for a shiny second hand one.
- Paint job: Prudence’s original royal blue paint job has been growing on me, but I will definitely have to do something about the patches of surface rust. I have been toying with the idea of sanding back these patches and clear coating them, while leaving the rest of the paint job as it is. After a quick clean I noticed she has gold outlines around her lugs, I don’t like the idea of getting rid of these details. I like the idea of leaving her history there to see, I think this means I will remove her damaged stickers and leave the ones that are there intact.
Over the past month I managed to pick up an old rear rack, as well as the brakes and levers I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I think at least one of Prudence’s shifters will be able to be rescued, which would be good if I can also manage to save her dérailleur and cassette.
What I have spent on Prudence thus far:
- $40 – frame and original components
- $10 – Shimano 600 cantilever brakes
- $2 – brake levers
I wonder how cheap I can get her built up for? This is my first vintage bike restoration project, so if you have done one and learnt a few lessons the hard way then I would love for you to share your advice for me in the comments!