I have been thinking about different approaches to bike restoration while working on the Malvern Star, concluding that the approach should depend upon the actual bike that one is dealing with. For example, with original paintwork that is of some possible historic value, every attempt should be made to keep the finish roughly “as is” while preventing further deterioration. This could be done for example with a clear coat, if suitable to the particular restoration.
If ( as with this bike ) the original frame paint is gone, then I feel that as the original patina and decals are irretrievably lost, it is all right to change the colour scheme and to add new paint. However in a bike of this age I do like to see some kind of patina, rather than just a renewing or re-coating of everything. I have decided to leave some things a little bit rougher, such as the quill stem, the seat post, wheel hubs, rims, pedals. Active and surface rust is to be removed as I have seen too much rust damage in my childhood days near the sea to become nostalgic about it.
It’s important, of course, to ensure that all the bearing surfaces are at least properly cleaned and lubricated to give the restoration a good chance of being useably reliable.
This will be a sedate ride, so I am changing the steel drop bars to “tourist” type bars, as on my Speedwell. I haven’t ruled out trying the originals later, however the chrome has all but rusted away on the old bars except for under the grips. I would like to see how they look stripped back further and clear coated, maybe a project for later on :
I am going to go all out with the saddle and have purchased a Brooks B18 with a beautiful embossed pattern – it’s a so called “lady’s saddle” ( i.e. by Brooks ) but I like the traditional looks so much that I don’t really care. I have a B67s on my old Speedwell, which is also a “ladies” and find it quite comfortable. The old Oxford saddle I will keep aside just in case, but I feel it is not really worth restoring – for the moment at least.
A saddle like the Brooks can be transferred from bike to bike if needs be, and to my mind is a good long term investment in riding comfort and appearance.
The B18 comes with a seat post clamp that fits the Malvern Star post perfectly. The double rail spring arrangement means that it may not suit modern posts or clamps, so check this first, if you are thinking of getting one .
Here is the 20T Surly brand track cog fitted to the coaster hub – it’s a bit fancy, which I didn’t realise when I ordered it, oh well – it’s not a strictly original bike anymore !