Hello and Welcome,
Before I start, Let me make this clear. I am not talking about pre war "Tank Bikes" or Exotic "Road Racers". I am talking about typical "Bike Boom Era" bicycles that appear every day on Craig`s list and other free selling sites on the web. The following comment (via e-mail) inspired me to finally offer my thoughts on this over-used and often abused term, "ALL ORIGINAL". I am in no way implying the writer of this comment is one of the "type of people" I describe in this post. I do thank Anonymous for inspiring me to do this post.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Schwinn Traveler Restoration / Conversion":I have a Schwinn traveler, all original, just curious how much it is worth?
The following is my original reaction to the question.
If by "all original" you mean a bike with original 20 to 30 year old tires. Which by now are "unsafe at any speed" (regardless of how they may look). Original cables and housings? Original cables that if not lubed over the years, one or more are probably sticking or froze -up . And the cable housings, which by now are starting to crack at some of the cable ends.(where they meet the braze ons or cable guides) Original brake shoes, which by now would be "Rock Hard" & squeaking. And the original grease in the head-set and crank (bracket). Which over the years has virtually disappeared and hardened to the cups and bearings. And if the bike has been ridden in this state, It has affected the bearings and cups in a negative way. If the inner-tubes are original 20-30 years old, one of them probably leaks.(if not both) If the wheel-set is original, and has not been maintained They are ready for "the works". Which would be truing, polishing / rust-removal, hubs / bearings cleaned and re-greased. And new rim strips or tape for both wheels.
If this is what you mean by "all original" I typically purchase these bikes for 20 to 30 dollars. Or about 10.00 at a garage sale.
Back to my original reaction.(:
"All Original" is probably the most "Misunderstood and Abused" term in the cycling world. There are countless people who drag these bikes out of long term storage. Then pump-up the tires and give them a quick cleaning. After which they post them on Craig`s list and advertise them as "All Original".
Back to my rant again!
Eventually some poor college kid snatches it up thinking He or She has just found a real prize. When in fact what they have actually purchased is a bike that should have been described as "Needs Everything" I try to tell anyone who is in the market to buy a good vintage bike to ride. Listen, Unless you are opening a #%$&@ bicycle museum, All original is not what you are looking for. Look for adds that say "well-maintained" and "serviced regularly" or totally re-built. And watch for the word NEW. As in New tires, New cables etc. etc. Or better yet, watch for the absence of the word New in adds. Anybody who refurbishes or restores bikes "wants to tell you" about all the New or Newer stuff. So read the words carefully. And read the missing words even more carefully.(to be continued)
My original reaction continues.
Some of the things you can expect to happen if you get stuck with one of these gems would be. Poor breaking, not only loud, but the bike is taking way too long to stop. Also you will most likely snap a cable while shifting or breaking at some point. (that can actually get you seriously hurt or worse). You may notice a grinding in the crank (pedaling) or head-set (steering). This will do serious damage to your bike, and possibly to you as well. You may have trouble with your bike not staying in the gear you select. You may have a tire blow-out for no apparent reason (this can also get you hurt or worse) So there you go. Those are just "some" of the problems you can expect.
And cost, Forget About It! You will either spend lots of money getting all this needed work done. Or "Risk Your Life" riding a bike that you can`t begin to afford to fix. That`s a cost you can "Live Without"
Till Next Time, Ride Safe and Remember to Always, RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE
A Quick Tip: Before I go. It is hard to judge the condition of gum-walls from a photograph. Especially if there is no close-up. So take note of the color. Gum-walls tend to darken as they age. Even if no cracking is visible, the darkening will tip you off to the approximate age of the gum-walls.