Monday, January 7, 2013

2012 The Year in Bikes (projects)

Hello, I can hardly believe that it is once again time for me to look back over the bike projects of the last year. I did not do quite as many bikes this year. However I did a few of the toughest or most involved restorations I have ever attempted. Enough about that, lets look back at some really cool old bikes.
Above: The Thruster Fixed Gear bike experiment. The question was, Can I make this Mal-Wart bike cool and reliable? And all for a total investment of $200.00 I must have done ok because I never heard from the new owner again. :) The Thruster Blog posts are by far the most viewed posts I have ever done. I went a little over budget. That is until I subtracted the value of the discarded parts. In the end, it was almost exactly 200.00 total cost.
Above: Back from 2011 the "GIANT Attraction" makes a second appearance. I was never too keen on the first crank, which was a last minute replacement. So in 2012 the Giant got a new /old Shimano Bio-Pace crank. And a New WTB Speed V Comp Saddle as well, the . And to finish it all off, a cleaned-up and very stylish red Cannondale wedge bag.
Above: A Schwinn exercise bike led to a post about how a mechanical speedometer/odometer works. I was amazed at what I found out. And I couldn't wait to share what I had learned. And hopefully the people who read the post (both of them) enjoyed it too.
Above: The Free spirit fixed gear bike project started with this department store bike.
Above: Then it became this bike. But it wasn't quite there yet.
Above: So then it morphed into this bike. Much netter, but still not quite right.
Above: Now were getting somewhere! But the brake, that's gotta go! And the bars.... they just do not look as good as I hoped they would.
Above: Finally! Yesterday (Jan 5th 2013) I found the look I was after. Good thing nobody was waiting for this one...ltms. But for me it was well worth the wait, I am glad I didn't give up on the vision.
Above: The Specialized "Rock Hopper F S". This bike also went through a few stages of restoration before I ended up with the bike above. Now it is the bike I ride most often. I think of it as my comfortable urban commuter. Not the best picture, I had just dumped it out back and it has a little dirt and sand stuck here and there. I am considering converting it to a real thread less headset with a new (and better) suspension fork at some point in the future.
Above: In the spring I did my first BB-UN55 bottom bracket conversion (typical to cartridge type).
Above: The bottom bracket conversion was for this single-speed / fixed-gear Touring bike. I took some flack for that one. So now I call it my single speed/fixed gear flatland commuter bike. But just between you and me it`s a "Flatland Touring Bike".
Above: A friend described this bike as looking like something I found at the bottom of a lake. ltms.. It made no sense to restore this bike, so I will not try to give you a logical reason for doing so. I looked at it as a challenge to myself. I just wanted to see if I had progressed to the point where I could handle it.
Above: The finished project. Thank you to all my readers who encouraged me through the project. And a special thanks to Darrell Yarborough at Bent Wrench restorations for donating the decals. And to the Bicycle Gods for making that old fork I had laying around the shop a near perfect replacement. lol.... And to Brian (the owner) for financing the project. And for showing up with the perfect Brooks Saddle!
Above: The Roadmaster Star Rider was my first "Tank Bike". The young lady (Angie) who brought me this bike was having it done for her brothers girlfriend. She had previously purchased two restored bikes from me. One for her Mom and the other for her Dad. What a sweet kid. I had the wheel set (1962 Schwinn) and pedals on hand. and I found a guy on the e Bay who had the same model for sale for 45.00. I offered him the same price + shipping for the tank (with light fixture) and front fender. I had to shave the rear tire a bit to get enough clearance for the fat gangster whitewalls.(just rounded off the edges a little) But other than that it went pretty smoothly.
Above: I named this project "Sears Free Spirit Brittany" deja vu in Blue". About a year ago I restored the same model and color bike. I think this little Department store Free-Spirit with the lugged frame and the nice paint was well worth restoring. The first one went to Angie's Mom. This one went to Rebecca in AnnArbor. Go blue!
Above: This Raleigh Teton Mountain Tour I restored for a coffee shop buddy who wanted to have it done for one of his sons. It had a lot of surface rust and needed pretty much everything serviced or replaced. I also installed a "light set" but forgot to take another picture. I really enjoyed bringing this vintage chrome horse back up to snuff. I donated the red wedge tool bag from my old Rock Hopper which by this time had a larger trunk bag.
Above: Saying goodbye to Brian's Raleigh Sprite was a real heart breaker. But it did inspire me to restore my 1964 Raleigh Sports 3 speed.
Above: I went totally overboard restoring this Raleigh Sports for myself. Resto-Mod might have been a better word, as it has plenty of incorrect parts and accessories. Eventually I found a guy in Greece who had a N.O.S. set of 1960's Raleigh replacement pedals in the original box. (I won't tell how much I paid for those) And thanks again to Darrell at Bent Wrench Restorations for selling me the front wheel with the Dyno Hub. I also purchased a stock Sturmey Archer front wheel and hub from Darrell. This way if I ever sell this bike I can keep the Dyno Hub wheel and light for my next old Raleigh 3 speed. Also the decals are for a more modern 1970's Sports. But since I built it for myself that's ok.
Above: I found these 3 road bikes on the same day at the same place. And a freestyle bike (in the truck bed) on the same day at another stop. That was a good days hunting. The only one of the three I have restored so far is the Trek 330. (on the rack)
Above: The Trek 330 restored. This was a nice bike to work on, it had no serious issues. I do remember that the two water bottle cages were a bit pricey. Actually it was the most I ever spent for two cages. But they look as good on the bike as I imagined they would, so I guess it was a good call. And it sold really fast to Brian who was the first person to look at it. This TREK would surely have been a "keeper" if only it had not been too tall for me.
Above: The L.L. Bean bike was originally an all terrain type bicycle. When I took it in on trade it had a badly bent rear wheel and the bottom bracket was really bad. I managed to replace the bottom bracket with a good salvaged one. But the only 700 wheelset I had on hand was of the road bike variety. So I decided to go that route. I will be doing some more work on this bike, so expect to see it again in the not to distant future.
Above: After countless failed attempts to match the green paint, I finally decided to paint the fork legs white. I also had to make a crank change as the original somehow got bent. However this did allow me to install some vnice touring bicycle pedals. So now it was time to let this extremely rare "Custom Built - Parliament - Made in England" bike go to a new home. The original crank went with the bike in hopes that a matching one can be located somewhere down the road. If only this had been a horizontal top tube frame bike. There would have been no way I would have ever let it go. I did find out that in the late 1960'S Raleigh did build some custom bikes off site. I'm guessing it was to bring back at least the idea of hand built unique road bikes. I was able to date the bike at 1969 so it definitely fits that time frame. And country of origin of course.
Above: I am building an Online Bike Shop. It is hosted by There is a link to "Hugh's Online Bike Shop" just below the followers in the top right column. I am not through stocking it yet, but there is already much to see. So check it out when you get a chance. It does not cost anything to look.
Until next time Please RIDE SAFE and Remember to Always...RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE...... Cheers, Hugh


  1. Chapeau on a banner year Hugh -good work. That '64 Raleigh really turned out beautifully and I have no doubt you get lots of compliments when you tool around on it. Looking forward to some sweet Road bikes in 2013 ;-)


    1. Thank you my brother,
      And back at you. I look forward to seeing some more of your bike restorations and refurbishings. Is that even a word? P.S. I enjoyed your last post on your blog k.u.t.g.w.
      Cheers, Hugh

  2. What a wonderful selection of bikes in those images Hugh...Great work and well done...


    1. Thanks Trevor,
      I really do appreciate that.
      Cheers, Hugh

  3. Outstanding! Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks Dan,
      Did I ever tell you how I think you came up with that name for your English bike? I remember thinking about it. But I can't remember if I ever wrote it down. ltms..
      That my friend is called "a senior moment"
      Cheers, Hugh

  4. Yes, 2012 was a great year for the bikes that came under your care. You did fantastic work, and it's fun to watch as you go along.

    Here's to a great 2013!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Let me try this again :)

      Thank You Sir.
      Well We made it past the Mayan (end of the world) So I guess we are off to a pretty good start.
      Cheers, Hugh

  5. Somehow, I KNEW the Parliament would be the "Grande Finale."

  6. Hugh,I'm a bit behind with everything online as I've been offline a spell (you may remember me better as "The DC" or "The Disabled Cyclist"...lost my passwords so here i am as SS :p ),but it looks like I missd lots in the last several months,you've had a great year! Just wanted to say hello and here's to an even better '13 :)

    The DC (old habits die hard :p )

    1. Hey Steve,
      Glad you made it back. I am having some sort of problem with the publishing part of my blog. I am hoping it is resolved soon. Hopefully I will be able to create new posts soon. Cheers

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Hey
    On the Parliament I used a Brooks saddle. There are however other options available. In the right column near the top of this page there is a link to Hugh's Online Bike Shop (just under the followers) Click on the link to check out the online bike shop. On the bike shop page In the categories or departments section (on the left) you will see WTB Saddles/Leather Options. And below that you will see Brooks Saddles/Bags/Tape. You can't go wrong with Brooks, but there are more affordable options. Just remember to read those reviews.


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