Unfortunately I have no photographs or precise memories of how this bike originally looked. That’s not a bad thing as it allows me some free rein, and I’m not averse to modernising components to make it a better ride, unlike my blue Speedwell that I want to keep fairly original. I might mention that ( in near faithful ‘Grandfather’s axe’ fashion ) only the steel frame itself – without the paintwork – is really original.
These flat pedals have good grip thanks to the many threaded studs, though I think I prefer the feel of Speedplay Drilliums. To me, the white finish suits this bike though some may see them as garish. It seems they run on bushes rather than ball bearings and have spin adjustability for your personal pedalling preference.
I cut these stencils with a craft knife based on the blue bike’s stencilled lettering. It was hard to get a clean finish – if the foil is too thin it won’t stay put when you curve it around the tubes. If too thick, it is hard to cut cleanly. Nevertheless a little later repainting of the area around it should solve the overspray and run problems. I stuck the fiddly bits down with tiny spots of blu-tack before spraying.
I took a lot of liberty with the seat tube decoration, making it a ‘modernised’ and simplified version, using the same letter “S” and some gold lines and trim with red and indian red.
The head tube was infilled with Indian Red enamel by hand ( without being too particular ), and I left some black around the home-made head badge to add visual depth. This head tube colour infill makes a big visual improvement over the previous all black finish.
I accentuated the gold hand lining as well. I find that it’s best to use a slightly thinned gold enamel with a good quality pointed artist’s brush and to try for a continuous and confident brush stroke. A turps-y rag will wipe off mistakes.
It’s the best I think I can do without repainting all one colour, though I am still open to more lightbulb moments regarding the decoration …
From my humble collection of Brooks saddles I decided to use the B17 Imperial narrow – so far, so good. The B17 narrow is becoming a favourite saddle of mine on bikes with drop bars. I’m not yet certain if the cut-away is of benefit over the standard B17 narrow, but it’s comfortable anyway.
The Soma Road Flares are a rather bling-y kind of safety feature. Just don’t drop the bike or lean it on a wall, and make sure they can’t hit the top tube on full lock … any bars with rear facing ends should be fine – albatross, gull-wing, drop, porteur etc. I guess they would also work as bar end caps using lock-on grips on upright bars, as well as with the bar tape used here.
The switches underneath are hard to locate ( hence unobtrusive ). AAA batteries are a good idea. The flares fit firmly yet are easy to remove. The little top windows are a nice touch.
I didn’t really want reproduction decals on this, so why not D.I.Y. ? It’s fun, if a little time consuming, and a pleasant task in the winter sun. Decorating it was enjoyable, but best of all is taking it for a cruise-y ride on a sunny-cool winter morning off …
Remember though, once any bike is re-painted you will have to wait a long time for that nice patina to re-develop.
Happy Re-cycling !