This bike was purchased cheaply in run down condition and while appearing quite sound, it needs a service, some rust removal, and cosmetic detailing. So I will start by disassembling the bike to find any potential issues and to properly clean and service the bearings and components. The grease is sure to be crusty and dry by now, but if the bearing races are sound it should be easy to get the bike working smoothly again. I would like to keep it looking original and don’t wish to spend a complete fortune on it, nor do I want it looking showroom new.
As I have said somewhere before, I like to retain some patina to keep a bike looking authentic so it’s only the signs of neglect that I want to remove, e.g. rust, excessive oil and grease, and oxidation of paint and alloy surfaces.
On a closer look the white vinyl mattress saddle is starting to fall apart, and I don’t know if I can save it, though I will attempt to. The only alternative is a leather saddle, but I did like the shape and colour of this one … it’s very Brooks-like in the suspension, with its B66 style double rail. A “honey” B66s might be a nice alternative saddle.
Unusually for 1980, the head and bottom bracket bearings are all plain balls rather than caged ones, which I think are better mechanically anyway, because the races use a greater number of balls and that should give a better bearing spread of the loads, even if it means a fiddly service job.
The over-painting of the frame in places means more work for me as well, because I have to rub back the new paint and its undercoat to reach the original colour ( which is much nicer ). A previous owner had tried to hide the scratches and chips by masking and spray painting over broad areas on the forks, loop tube and guards. The overpaint is more dull grey-green than the original turquoise metallic.
Luckily the original paint is mostly still underneath and I have found that using fine steel wool balls and rubbing by hand is the gentlest way to remove the top layer without damage. The original paint surface is much harder to abrade, and this makes it relatively easy to save. The steel wool also helps remove any rough surface rust at the same time, making it easier to neutralise the rust spots after the overpaint has been removed.