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.
My father tipped me off on a lead for a tall framed Super Le Tour somewhere in Elk Grove, Il. My father had plans for the day so he asked me to go out and buy the bike for him. He told me that the seller would be a place of business until 5pm so I had to run out the door quickly.
I met with a cheery cigar smoking gentlemen who had a small warehouse full of random things. Antique smokers, lawnmowers, dvd players, bicycles, stuffed animals (including a grizzly bear head) and number of other interesting items. He apparently runs a demolition company that is able to cease the items at the sites they are hired to demolish so he is constantly stocked with common/oddball items that he takes the time to refurbish, restore, rebuild, and resale. He had a number of bicycles but only a couple were ‘sellable’ because the rest had not been worked on. Along with the men’s Super Le Tour I went out there to buy, I ended up buying this pretty mixte.
The wheels were out of true, calipers needed adjusting, the headset was loose, and the frame in general needed a good cleaning but it only ended up being an hour of work so it wasnt a bad buy at all. New tubes, cables housing, regreasing, and slapped a nice brown leather reupholstered saddle.
I toyed with the idea of getting it converted to single speed but figured Id save myself the work and hassle of getting the rear redished and the other expenses that go into conversions.
I really love the champagne color alongside the nice browns. Such a nice autumn feel.
I told the seller about the hobby that my father and I have and that we dont mind buying non-functioning bikes. Hopefully we can start a business relationship in the future. Not sure how this winter season will pan out as far as the demand of bikes but Im confident that I will still be relatively busy.
I bought this bike of a young guy in Elgin who had the bike as a commuter for a couple months. It looked as if there was some work done to it, sporting a Sugino BT crank and Weinmann Wheels. It was fairly clean upon purchase but obviously needed a face lift.
I kept a great deal of the components on the bike. Just stripped it down, cleaned it, regreased and reassembled. Some new components/accessories but mostly just cosmetics.
Turned out very nice. Had a couple people who were interested in it but went with the most adamant. Yet another guy who needed a replacement bike because his was stolen.
Chicago has been hit was a lot of crime, aside from bike theft. Hit and runs involving cyclists as victims is steadily becoming a bigger threat now as well.
My father had bought two frames at the beginning of the summer that he intended on rebuilding up much sooner than later. Ended up not being able to focus on them because of our workload pulling us elsewhere so the frames sat.
Both of them were very summery frames that I wish we could have gotten to earlier but luckily were able to build the turquoise Sprint within August.
Nothing too special went into the execution of the build. Used a set of 27inch Araya’s George had redished and went with an appropriate color scheme that complimented the frame.
It sold almost instantly, partially because, in my opinion, there has been a serious drought of functional, attractive, affordable bikes on the market lately. Because of that, our bikes have been selling within a couple hours of being posted online.
We hope to rebuild the yellow Schwinn soon, before the allurement of summer colored bikes falls into autumn.
A young guy by the name of Charlie contacted me through the blog and was impressed with some of the work my father and I have done. He had recently moved to Chicago and was looking for a light, simple, clean, and fun single speed to scoot around the city with. He was on a bit of a budget but proposed an trade.
We ended up meeting and he showed me his Giant NRS AIR XTC Mountain Bike. It was quite the bike. He had built it up with a friend out east where he only did light riding during the summer seasons.
The bike was insanely light. Definitely a bike for the serious mountain biker. We agreed on a even trade for a World Sport rebuilt as a single speed. Pretty good deal…
It did take me some time to get around to selling the mountain bike but once I did, it sold quickly. After that I promptly got started on his build. Turned out to be a pretty bike.
Ordered a pair of Weinmanns from Bells Bike Shop off Ebay followed by a collection of standard components.
Nice, clean, and fresh look. Charlie was pretty psyched upon completion.
It was a pretty good transaction and project over all. Hopefully more like this will come in the future.
I had just pulled up to Jewel for some fruit and had pulled behind a truck with an enclosed bed. The sight of spokes jumbled about the bed caught my eye so I stepped out and took a closer look. There were two Schwinn Traveler II’s in the bed, both the same color, model, and nearly the same size (the one below being the smaller of the two). Since the truck was parked I hoped back in the car and began to write out a note to leave for the owner but was cut short when I saw the young man appear. He apparently tried selling the bikes at a pawn shop but was denied so I made him a fair offer and he agreed. I didnt have any cash on me so we made plans to meet up the next day.
My dad and I met the kid and his father at their home which was only 2 minutes away. We ended up buying a third bike, a Schwinn Le Tour, and left the door open for more bikes they may come across in the future.
I began stripping the smaller of the two Travelers but wasnt sure where or not to try and rebuild it as a multispeed or wait out for George to finish redishing a few alloy 27inch wheels for us. George unavailable for a short stint for medical reasons, during which time we focused mostly on multi speeds. George ended up recovering well and was able to redish a few rear wheels for us. I jumped on the opportunity and ended up converting the bike into a single speed.
The Traveler turned out gorgeous. Much prettier than I expected. The saddle was another one of Pancho’s reupholster jobs and even though vinyl was used it still looked great.
The rest of the white components were all provided by our friend Mike in Berwyn, Il who keeps a good stock/selection of components/accessories which always come in handy.
I kept the original crankset, chainring, stem, and seatpost but replaced the wheels, handlebars and obviously gave the bikes new wrap, saddle, tires, tubes, chain, and freewheel.
Turned out to be a real eye catching bike.