Dear Mr Williams
I read your post with interest, I have been there. For once, and once only, I shall strive to make a constructive and lucid contribution to the list.
If a bike is unique or so thin on the ground as to be destined to become a museum piece, it should be restored to 100 % original spec if this is known, irrespective of cost and manhours, and any parts no longer available should be remanufactured on a lathe or whatever. The notable exception, the only exception to this rule is if the machine has proven history and pedigree, and the post production modifications are part of the value (historic) of the machine. Example: right hand front brake operation was introduced by an Italian rider on the TDF, could have been Gimondi, not sure . Putting the brakes back the "right way" on one of this riders bike would be downright stupid. Just a minor example.
This rather conveniently leads me to my next point: a bicycle is an ongoing piece of history, the succesive modifications unless they are cost driven downgrades or botches are an integral part of the machine. Should that bike not be as of great historic importance as outlined above, put it as far back to it's original configuration as you feel inclined, or further modify it even. Obviously, one would rather avoid going indexed or whatever, but there is no compelling reason to aim for total originality. I have indulged in some very amateur archeology as a hobby, and draw from that experience some "lessons" which may put things in perspective: a aureus gold Roman coin dating 1st century AD can be of great monetary value, it's "scientific" interest, unless unique, is close to zilch. That very same coin, found as a 4 th or later century ring, the actual coin having been maimed in the process, is of the greatest interest.
Looking at things in the very short term (just over a century) one would tend to think that everything must be original. With a larger timeframe in view, common sense says do what you want, within reason.
In the case of any "ordinary" bike, however nice, it should be ridden, and set up to withstand riding. Regarding former listmebers and wanking, I admit I lack the historical perspective to make any judgement on the matter. As to where I draw the line: quite simply wherever I feel that the line should be drawn, I draw where and when I want. I listen to all advice and promptly ignore it unless, of course, it is strictly identical to my thoughts on the subject in question.
Derogatory comments from the CA Masi community may be sent to the usual email address.
Nick March, Mont de Marsan, France
From: "Dr. Paul Williams" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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?
Paul Williams Ottawa, ON, Canada
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