The retro racer

I have mentioned it before. The idea that I would like to build a bicycle in the style of an “retro racer”. The standard roadster frame, one gear, upside down turned handlebars. All in a classical 1930’s style. The thoughts has been with me for a long time, but I never got around to it.

Some time ago I saw a classified add on internet of an old Swedish Monark bicycle made in the 1950’s, that the seller had rebuilt into a old racer with drop handlebars and other nice details that made it look very attractive and fast. I liked the clean look of the bicycle and started to think if I could do an build like that. I started to look around for a good project to get started with. Sadly, every old bike today are used, in original condition or expensive.
Since vintage bicycles today are popular they who owns them know what they are and know the market for vintage bicycles. So my options where to find a donor bicycle and re build that one or a frame of some sort. The problem was that the complete bicycles that where in bad shape was in really bad shape and the ones that where suitable for a rebuild was in way to good condition. With that I mean they where complete and in a good original condition and it should be a real shame to remake a bicycle like that. Only to strip it of all details and in short, destroy the original look and paint.

Then I started to look for a frame instead, an vintage frame that was from the right era. The mid 1950’s, only because that is when they built the frames in the most general way. All details where there, but it was a very good build and not so heavy as the earlier frames. But that turned out to be a real problem. Where to find one in a fairly good condition? Many of the frames or “in need of slight renovation” that were offered looked like they had spent the last 50 years on the bottom of an lake. After all, the fram should be safe, if it looks like it has been runed over by a buss, perpshs it is not safe to start to build a racer on that frame… But there was a place in the city where I got offered a frame. In my opinion it was a bit expensive. It was just the frame, no wheels or so. It was the same price for the frame as an complete original bicycle on internet.

One day I was looking around on the internet then I saw the Pashely Guvenor bicycle and I realized one thing.
Why make a old bicycle when I can build a new one to look just like an old one? New parts, new frame. Better parts in general. Of course, not exactly the same details. But I am only after a minimalistic retro racer. So I went home and looked at my black Pelago Bristol bicycle. That one is a 3 speed one, I was thinking of perhaps using that frame, it looks so good. Sadly it has loops for the cables for the gears attached on the frame. I visited the Pelago website and noticed that they where selling frame sets so you can build your own bicycle! Now that is just the ticket for me! What luck that I was going to Helsinki on my vacation a few days later.

At the shop in Helsinki they where very helpful and listened to my silly ideas with interest. I had some special requests about the bicycle frame. The nice girl in the shop helped me a lot and phoned around. I needed to go back home the same day, but I said that would write an email to them. Later that day I wrote an mail explaining my ideas again and about the frame I was interested in.  Two days later (it was weekend) I got an reply.
-Yes, the frame I wanted was available.
I placed the order right away. So now I will build a retro racer with a Pelago frame as a foundation. It will be a great build, all in a classical look. A Nordic build. It will be a special bicycle, only one example. But with the possibility to build more since all parts is available. That is one huge advantage agaisn real vintage parts. They are very scarce in finding. New parts are, well new. So the are simply a click away on your computer.

There is also an different project I am thinking of creating. The big photo project of 2015! It is a project to make a photo book based on my friends, the retro racer and my interest of photography and designing. The idea is to having a friend posing with the bicycle, then I will write a short text about the photo, the friend and the environments on the photo. Always the same bicycle. The retro racer. The friends I have asked so far to be a part of the photo project, they all says it is a great and fun idea! So now there is two major projects for me to do for 2015.
The Retro racer it self and the photo book. It will be a fun and productive year!

It is soon winter here in Sweden, so I will have 5 months to build this one. After all it is 11 months to Bike in Tweed 2015!

By then it will be done.

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  1. The Silver Arrow, or? | schneebremse

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