Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New Bike!

I have a new project bike. Which is mildly depressing, considering that means I now have two fixer-upper bikes. The new bike is a old French Motobecane Mirage, pre-80's. Picked it up from a pile of free used bikes behind the bikeshop, needless to say it's a bit tore up. However, the frame is nice, and its longer than my MTB frame, so I'm going to try to fix it up. (The MTB is from when I was 13, it's on the small size, and I've done a lot of dumb things on it, so it's pretty trashed.)

The front derailer was nearly worn through where the chain rubs when shifting, and the lower cog on the rear derailer has had all its teeth worn off. It seems that the prior owner either rode an exorbitant number of miles and kept the bike really well greased, or they didn't ride it very much and thrashed the daylights out of the shifters. Beats me. Either way the drivetrain, in terms of shifting, is pretty trashed. At this point, I'm really tempted to make it a single-speed, but really would rather have gears for making up the hill to school. So, I need a new pair of derailers, or some way to fix the existing ones.

The rest of the tear-down went really well, nothing was corroded together or stuck, and even cotters on the cranks came out clean. That really surprised me, everything I'd read/figured suggested that this would be the biggest problem.

So right now I'm looking at replacing the tubes/tires, all the cables (some were fraying), the derailers (unless they cam be repaired in a reasonable time frame) and repainting it. I just need to tear down the bottom bracket, and then the frame will be ready to paint.

I've caught a lot of flack for wanting to repaint the bike. I've had several people tell me that the color is nice, and the original lettering is nice, and similar sentiments. The thing is, I agree. The bike is really well done, and I enjoy it. However, the existing paint is chipped and flaking in areas, and there are some large patches of rust on the chain stays. Being the bastard that I am, I hate rust, and would rather maintain the structural integrity of the bike than the integrity of the paint scheme. But I do like the lettering.

I'm working on hacking the font together, so that I can stencil the current markings back on to the frame at some point. If it works, it will be epic. If not, oh well, it was a free bike.

If anyone has some hardware they want to throw my way, I'd be happy to have it.

*5/29/08: I spent some time in Photoshop messing with extracting and vectorizing the font. Long story short, I'm just going to get some acetate and copy the lettering by hand.*

Robert Alverson


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