Why do I find this restoration thing fun? I am certainly not getting rich doing it … or even trying to.
I am not a professional restorer either, and I’m not worried if my restored bikes don’t look showroom new close up, as long as they work properly, look preserved and cared for, and are safe to ride. I prefer aged, non-rusted, hand polished surfaces to new ones.
Part of the appeal is via the concern of seeing useful things go to waste, partly the fun of riding an older bike with a bit of history, uniqueness or character, and partly the sense of challenge and achievement in making a functional and/or desirable bike out of something unloved enough, or unused enough, to be discarded by the owner.
One has to be careful that the expense of getting a bike together doesn’t become excessive, but on the other hand, things like Brooks saddles are good investments that can be transferred from bike to bike. Buying too many new parts can defeat the idea of cutting down on waste, as all new parts consume energy and resources in their manufacture and distribution, just as did the original bike. Therefore with badly broken cases, I think that the bike is best used for parts, unless it’s unique.
Also for example, by the time I buy a seat and chain it’s at least $40+ just for cheapies, and that’s usually required on a basic restoration. Then there’s often tyres and cables too, brake pads or bearings. It quickly adds up …
I don’t normally buy old bikes, so have to make the best of brands that are not always good second hand sellers, and people don’t usually throw away perfectly working bikes, so what I am normally restoring are bikes with something wrong that the owner didn’t know how to fix, or couldn’t be bothered fixing, for whatever reason, major or minor.
Better to be able to re-use something directly rather than melt it down for scrap. Even though that is also recycling, it consumes more energy than restoration…