Sunday, August 24, 2014

1969 LeJeune

I bought this LeJeune frame off ebay and sourced the parts through various collector friends and The Bicycle Stand in Long Beach, CA. The Bicycle Stand did the final build - putting the period/country-correct components together for a smooth-riding machine. 

The bars are country-correct Belleri, and have sweeping tops that allow for some surprisingly-comfortable hand positions. The Mafac breaks and levers work great. New brake pads, tires and tubes, cables and housing, and the rear Simlex derailleur completed the build. The shop did a great job, as always. 

I opted to keep the original paint and decals. Love the patina, fades, and small blemishes. They speak of many happy miles over the years. 

I think I'll add bar tape today. Sunday afternoons are my favorite time to wrench on bikes. :)

Own any French bicycles? Comment below. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Vintage Bicycle Eyewear

Chick Magnets...Meh.

Somehow I've kept these Jones cycling glasses for over 30 years. I bought them in 1984 and I remember them as being one of the only dedicated cycling glasses available. Before these, people wore regular sunglasses or rounded motorcycle goggles. These came out around the same time that the "Gargoyle" glasses made famous by The Terminator. 

Does anyone else remember these? They worked great! Plenty of front-facing coverage, but the ear pieces were thin and flimsy. Stylish as all get-out, ehe?

1965 Paramount

The popularity of classic steel bicycles is still on the rise, and, as more people discover the wonders of these vintage machines, bicycle shops are cropping up with the means to restore them. Even shops that typically stock the latest in bicycle technology are beginning to see the benefits of having mechanics who can wrench on these machines and understand the nuances in components and frame details from this era.

There's two shops, in particular that I love and that do exceptional restorations of vintage bicycles. The Bicycle Stand in Long Beach, CA, and Adrenaline Bikes in Orange, CA. Both offer a full range of modern bicycles, but also have plenty of vintage frames, parts, and accessories, as well as mechanics trained in working on vintage racing bicycles. 

One more shop to check out, when you find yourself in the Washington DC area, is Fathom Custom Rides.

The 1965 Schwinn Paramount in the photos above was recently brought into The Bicycle Stand and they had to snap a few pics of this wonderful specimen. The shop added the racks and fenders, but, because it was in such exceptional, original condition, otherwise left it unchanged. To see many examples of restorations the shop has done, click on over to their Facebook page. I had my 1969 LeJeune restored there, and they did a superb job for a very reasonable price. 

Adrenaline Bikes is tucked away in a strip mall off Tustin Avenue in Orange. Blink and you'll miss it, but this isn't a shop you want to miss! Jesse and his team sell a lot of high-end modern machines, but, as an avid vintage bicycle collector himself, Jesse also made sure his shop was well-equipped to handle everything from vintage part sourcing to full vintage rebuilds and restorations. His team is terrific, well-versed in the new as well as the old cycles, and always a treat to talk to. This shop has worked on several of my bikes - new and old. Check out the Adrenaline Bikes Facebook page for more details and great pics.

What's your favorite bike shop that handles these vintage steel beauties? Chime in on the comment section, below. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

2002 Isn't Vintage! Oh yeah?

I love traditional, lugged frames with standard tube sizes. The 2002 Look KG261 has all the elements I look for in vintage designs, but is built of carbon fiber with titanium lugs. While I wouldn't consider a carbon monocoque frame to be vintage, I think this Look has strong ties to traditional frame geometry and aesthetics.

So, is it vintage? Not really, but it sure makes me smile. 

I asked Adrenaline Bikes of Orange, CA (Jesse and his team put on the Show of Steel Bikes, as well) to swap parts from a too-small Ciocc over to this Look frame for me. As always, they did a great job.

What's your opinion? Can a 12-year-old bike be considered vintage?

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