Bike refurbishment dilemma

by varderik   May 19, 2013  

I am currently playing with the idea of starting a cottage industry buying old, steel frames and doing them up. After a recent visit to Argos Racing Cycles in Bristol where they had many beautiful refurb jobs on display I was inspired to trawl the Internet for unwanted treasures with a view to bringing them back to their former glory. My dilemma is whether to focus on frame & fork only or venture into full-build territory. If I go with the latter do I try to keep things authentic - e.g. keep the down-tube shifters - or do I use modern technology? My current preference is to go modern where possible but I'm not sure if this will find me losing those who want "classic" as well as those who prefer the more contemporary. Thoughts?

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Keep it authentic. That's what I would do. Try and get things back to how they came out of the builders.

Out of interest, have you found anywhere to get bikes, apart from ebay. I've been trying for the last couple of months for a project bike, just to give me something to get my teeth stuck into, not working just now is doing my nut it.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8935 posts]
19th May 2013 - 20:29


If I were to do it—and I'd love to—I don't think I could resist building up some full bikes, but would anticipate most money coming in from the selling of frames and components. My unscientific thinking being that complete bikes invariably sell for less than the sum of their parts, and many folk who want vintage/retro are bike tinkerers themselves so the lure of a full build isn't so great.

As for whether to build up with new or vintage components, that's a tough one. My preference for the past few years has been for new components on older frames, but choosing carefully to maintain the right look. ie, alloy rather than carbon groupset.

Good luck, whatever you decide to do!

posted by ped [168 posts]
19th May 2013 - 20:36



I got my last project frame via (who could actually be doing what varderik has in mind), but as they've already added their markup buying to sell from them wouldn't make sense.

The LFGSS forums are a good place to find parts, usually far less than Fleabay prices too.

posted by ped [168 posts]
19th May 2013 - 20:47


On the look out myself for a similar project, looking for a nice reynolds frame but thinking carbon fork (if poss?) and modern components but with a subtle and considered approach. Not just ott carbon craziness if you know what I mean...

posted by Cycle_Jim [282 posts]
20th May 2013 - 18:38


Thanks for the feedback. Looks like a 50/50-ish split between authentic and modern. No single source of frames yet; probably start with eBay then look at offerings from vintagebikecave. Also thought of leaving "Can I buy you?" tags on unloved examples chained up around the city. Thinking refurb frame with silver Hope B/B, headset and hubs with silver 105/Rival/Veloce (if it's an Italian frame), silver stem/bar/post and black, leather Brooks saddle & bar tape. Spec driven mainly by my taste but I want to build something that I'd ride. And if it doesn't sell I'll make sure it doesn't go to waste.


posted by varderik [5 posts]
20th May 2013 - 19:53