Saturday, May 13, 2017

One of the things I wonder about in terms of bicycling is why people gravitate to one 'template' of bicycle or another. I suppose where someone lives has a lot to do with it - people who live near a lot of dirt trails may go for mountain biking, while people with good roads may gravitate toward road biking. That makes sense.

What makes someone go into vintage bikes? Part of it is an appreciation for history, and perhaps for old-style manufacturing methods.

More specifically, what makes some people cling to steel Westrick rims, versus replace them with aluminum modern rims? Perhaps some people are more 'conservative' as to parts and layout on their old bikes than others are.

But I think ultimately the best thought is that you have to be flexible: some projects demand all-out, original parts, while others allow you to build a custom bike up because they arrive incomplete or have been damaged.

When I started with vintage bikes I insisted on only "period, brand, and model correct" parts. I had to replace Endrick rims with Westrick originals where possible. I had to use original lighting, including stuff that was basically a joke in terms of being able to see at night. I paged through catalogs to see what kinds of tires, brake cable housing, etc were used.

After doing this for a very long time (over 20 years), I've settled on a view that says, 'examine the total project as it arrives, and see how it presents itself'.

I wish I could give more guidance than that to the new hobbyist, but that's really it.  Look at your project for completeness, rarity, condition, and why it appeals to you and how you plan to use it. Then decide if you're going to 'upgrade' parts or customize, versus go all-out catalog spec. But overall, you need to like what you're doing.

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