As I continue my enjoyable but increasingly costly rebuild of a 49 Carpenter I have been struck by a dilemma which must face many who pursue our hobby: how far does one take a restoration/ rebuild and where does one draw the line?
A recent comment by a well-known former listmember, that essentially only a wanker would buy an old frameset in need of painting and rebuilding - when it is often more cost effective to buy a complete bike, perhaps resonates with truth. When faced with laying out the equivalent of another two-weeks of grocery money for a ratty old handlebar mounted bottle cage with a set of bottles (or maybe not) which are more than likely unusable - or at least, perhaps not overly healthy - how far is it worth going?
How far is it worth going to ensure that parts are absolutely period correct - to the year and, in the case of some parts, to the exact month? And will they still be functional? After all isn't this a bike to be ridden?
I do not have the bottles or the cage(s), but I do have the nicely chromed headlamp and am currently looking for a suitable matching bracket. Yet, I haven't a clue whether I can get the right batteries to run the lamp! Is a fitted lamp which does not work little more than a pretention? And how about the temptation to fit a period cyclometer, a time-trial bell, and a stopwatch!! But, isn't that what would have been fitted on these bikes at the time, I ask myself?! Will they come up on ebay again? How scarce are such items becoming? Will they make the finished product any better? Will their absence really affect that finished product or, even more so, its ride?
Wanker maybe, but having a hell of a time on the hunt for those often elusive parts which will bring this old machine back to life. My ebay watch list is full and I may never get that Coloral bottle and cage but it is fun to dream.
Where do YOU draw the line?
Ottawa, ON, Canada