There are two men who dabble in bicycle restoration in Gilberts, IL. My dad and I have bought quite a few bikes from the two of them but their collection is usually hit or miss. They seem to be bent on the whole ‘Classic American Schiwnn’ stuff that usually encompasses Pixies, cruisers, and a dumb sissy bars but from time to time you will they will have some worthwhile rides.
Every once in awhile we will stop by to see what they have piled up along the side of their garage, the bikes that obviously are not ‘Classic American Schwinns’. We once found a beautiful Raleigh Wyoming frame that we rebuilt properly about a year ago but mostly its just rust buckets or frames that are missing components. Anyway, on this visit we found a Panasonic Sport DX 25 inch. We quickly worked out a deal and bought the bike. I believe we pulled the original wheelset from the bike and used it else where. Frame was made up of double butted Tange tubing, paint job was in great shape, and both my dad and I really wanted to see the frame converted to a single speed. And that’s what we did!
We got a good deal on a black rimmed flip flop wheelset that was pulled from a display bike. The front rim had some brake wear but nothing to complain about. Black Formula hubs and clean silver spokes. Perfect for the frame. Since the frame had already been stripped and gone through rebuilding the Panasonic was quick.
We had a nice vintage racing saddle that had been reupholstered by Pancho and already had most of the components on hand, Salsa chainring, Nitto bars, and Dicta freewheel. Once the build was prepped we brought it over to Mike for cabling and bar wrap.
The bike turned out nice and clean like we envisioned it.
We are still waiting for a tall rider to purchase the bike but until then, its nice to look it.
This was the Capri that was traded in for a Motobecane Mirage (2 entries ago). Like I explained in that post, the only reason they guy traded it was because he didnt like the handlebar set up, which was fine because I was able to help him out and help the buyer of this Capri out as well.
I didnt have to do any extensive work, just replacing tubes, cables, handlebars, saddle, handlebar wrap, and levers.
It ended up turning out very classy looking. The cream saddle on the bike really gives it such a unique touch.
Just wish I was able to get more/better photos before selling it.
What a weird bike. My dad and I bought this bike from a guy and his son up in Mchenry, Il. They seem to stumble on bike for resale and usually give us a courtesy call when they are listing a new bike on Craigslist. This particular bike wasnt listed because they had just picked up and we just happen to see it while there buying a Schwinn World.
They quickly showed up the unique feature on the bike, a cam that is actually integrated with the with the bottom bracket cup.
I had no idea what kind of bike it was or where it came from and neither did they. I thought it may have been a German or Belgian bike with a name like that but it turns out that Houdaille was an American company.
To my understanding this is the only bicycle Houdaille Industries made. What makes this such a rare bike is not only the manufacturer but the Powercam crank, which is conjured in competition with Shimano’s Biopace technology.
The bikes Powercam crank is definitely different. From what I read it was designed to help the rider at their weakest extension while cranking, improve cadence, and build muscle. After riding locally on the Houdaille, and getting use to the strange relief motion you experience when your leg is furthest forward while cranking, I can agree that it has the ability to build muscle quickly while ‘kind of’ making it easier on the rider. You can definitely build and maintain speed very easy with this bike without exerting as much energy as a conventional crank. I think the primary reason this technology did not take off is because of how different the riding experience is. Its definitely not a bike I would take our leisurely. It is meant to for performance applications like competition and racing.
This project was another “build to order” for a guy who needed a sleek commuter that rode well. We set up a deal to trade his Raleigh Capri and Schwinn Varsity plus $25 for a Motobecane Mirage frame rebuilt as a single speed:
It was a decent deal but all and all, I really helped him out. This panned out to be a very nice bike.
I bought the wheelset (Weinmenn DP18s) off someone who had recently upgrade to Mavics. The wheels had only seen around 70 miles so they were in pretty good shape.
One major reason the buyer was willing to trade me his two bikes for this one was that he recently bought the Capri as his commuter because his last bike had gotten stolen. His last bike had bullhorns and he really missed the style of those bars and wanted them back. I didnt exactly give him bullhorns but rather, cut & flip drops which he was fine with.
He also requested to have an aggressive gear ratio so I set him up with 16/52. Another request was some efficient tires so I bought him Vittoria Zaffiros.
I really loved the way this bike turned out and so did he. Definitely an upgrade from his Capri.
Ive been pretty busy with projects for specific people these last few weeks. Projects for individuals often prove to be challenging but fun. Ive met some cool people along the way and its always interesting seeing the different reasons why someone needs a bicycle and flattering that they want me to rebuild one for them. This bike almost ended up not being thrown in the “build-to-order” category but it was very similar to a bike I already had lined up for a young guy.
Originally the guy was going to have me rebuild a Miyata One Ten frame Ive had for the past year now. He needed a commuter and wanted to mess around on a sturdy vintage steel frame with decent tubing. Once I discovered this frame I knew it was a much better buy than the Miyata seeing that it had Columbus tubing and a much sportier color scheme.
I didnt have to replace really any of the componentry, just recondition it, add new tires, tubes, cables, housing, wrap, chain, saddle, true the wheels, and a good cleaning.
Its a sharp bike and rode very nicely. The guy was pleased with it and thought it would be perfect for his applications.
Every once in awhile I’ll build a bike that sub quality components. What I mean by that is steel. Steel components are heavy, restricting, and dumb. Cottered/one piece cranks, heavy steel handlebars, and of course steel wheels that each weigh a ton. They just are efficient components and there are more than obvious reasons why they were left in the shadows 30 years ago. But like said, I use them on occasion because there is an abundance of them and if they are reconditioned, they can be used for a budget bike. Thats what I did here:
Had this project called for alloy components I would have charged much more but since its equipped with steel, its considered a budget bike for a budget buyer. I dont want to be known as someone who is too prideful to work on shitty bikes or attempt to build a decent bike within a tight budget and I think most people who buy these budget bikes appreciate that. Not everyone values, appreciates, or can afford $250+ bikes so helping those individuals out is something I enjoy doing, which is why I made this steel clunker as efficient and pretty as I could.
Unfortunately the buyer of this bike didnt appreciate the extent of work/resources that went into this bike. I received a call on a Saturday prior to heading out with friends regarding this bike. It was a young man calling on behalf of his father who thought the bike looked great and was priced accordingly. I set something up with them the following day and everything was in order. Next day came and I called the young man an before I left to confirm that we were still on for the afternoon. He confirmed and then confirmed the price that he claims we agreed on. Thing is, we didnt talk about a price at all, I assumed they were paying my asking price. I was somewhat flexible but I didnt want to bend that much because the bikes was already priced for someone on a budget. We agreed to $10 less than my asking price which was fine.
They lived on a very narrow one way street outside of Chicago and I met them in the street since there was no parking in front of their flat. Young man and his father came out and scanned the bike without compliments. Instead, the father quickly made a fuss about paint chips, the very few that were on the frame. I tried explaining that paint chips are extremely common on frames that are 20-30 years old, even younger, but he wouldnt budge. He claimed “he had to get the thing repainted”. I told him that if the frame didnt have those chips I would have charged more and that they are common and meaningless. The bike is in great shape and full functional but it didnt matter. Him and his were trying to drop the price on me even more and I frankly got upset. I knew I was being taken advantage of and I felt really disrespected. While this was happening a car pulled up behind me and sat there. I basically had to make a decision. Take the father’s bullshit offer or drive off with the bike. I took his offer to justify my 30 mile trip to their home but respectfully shook the mans hand and told him to have a nice evening.
Everyonce in awhile you run into jerks like that but in any line of service you will. Hope he enjoys the bike.
I left early one morning to buy this bike from a gentlemen in Wicker Park who promised to hold the bike for me despite having had many other inquiries. It was initially very dirty and needed a decent amount of work. There was a great deal of dried limestone and grit on the rims and surrounding the BB shell. I didnt expect it to clean up so nicely, though.
After stripping, reassembling, and dressing the bike up I was very content with the turn out. It was a 22 inch frame so I was able to ride it semi comfortably.
It took about 2 weeks for this bike to sell which is probably the longest time Ive waited for a bike to sell since last winter. Ive noticed that the prices of bikes have gone up slightly but the quality and workmanship has definitely remained sub par. There is just not a lot of great deals out there for people which kind of baffled me when this Trek didnt sell in a matter of days.
I finally had a young man from Ireland inquiry on the bike. He turned out to be the best person to own the bike. He had knowledge of bikes and an appreciation for 80s steel road bikes, having rode a few in Ireland.
It doesnt scare me that it took that long to sell but the down season is definitely here.