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Never forget your first

Old 01-18-23, 06:17 PM
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Road85rebel
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Never forget your first

While clearing out my mother-in-laws garage, I discovered a bike she was given as a teenager. It was a birthday gift from her parents. I believe its a 1953 or 54 Columbia Superb. It was in "poor" condition with all original components (tires were flat but surprisingly held air.) I decided this would make a great restoration project. Other than simple and routine maintenance, I don't work on or tune up my road bike. This bike seemed easier and less complicated so I did some research and began the disassembly. The process was relatively straight forward. Patience and persistence were my greatest tools. I decided to avoid any re-chroming or repainting in my restoration efforts and used modern cleaners and materials along with considerable elbow grease to bring it back to its former self. All hub and wheel bearings were removed, cleaned, repacked and reassembled. Although it still has surface rust on the downtube and some lettering has been ripped or destroyed by age, the final results were more than satisfactory (by my standards). I can't say I am ready to be proficient at working on my daily rider, but I will never forget my first venture into restoring a vintage bike. I did buy new tires and tubes but acquired age appropriate white walls with original manufacturers labels. (I will post a few before & after pics once I reach my post threshold) Would enjoy seeing photo's of other similar bikes for comparison purposes. A final note.. it looks much better than it rides. How children rode these without serious injury is amazing to me!
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Old 01-18-23, 06:23 PM
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Polaris OBark
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Welcome. We will look forward to the photos (1 post away?)
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Old 01-18-23, 06:58 PM
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Thanks for the message. Will add pics soon.
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Old 01-18-23, 10:05 PM
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Let's see it!
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Old 01-19-23, 05:05 AM
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As follow up to my previous post, here are a few pics of my restoration effort. Before and after for reference.


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Old 01-19-23, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Road85rebel View Post
As follow up to my previous post, here are a few pics of my restoration effort. Before and after for reference.


WOW! Well done!
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Old 01-19-23, 05:22 AM
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Appreciate your feedback. On to the next adventure.
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Old 01-19-23, 06:08 AM
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Great job on the restoration! Has your wife ridden it yet?
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Old 01-19-23, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Road85rebel View Post
As follow up to my previous post, here are a few pics of my restoration effort. Before and after for reference.


make sure you put a brake band on that reaction arm, it'll save that hub.
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Old 01-19-23, 06:35 AM
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Looks great, nice job for sure.
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Old 01-19-23, 06:43 AM
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Thanks for your input. I have the original brake band that came off it. The leather strapping was torn/deteriorated and I am searching for a replacement. Appreciate the reminder.
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Old 01-19-23, 06:50 AM
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Not sure my wife is ready to embark on any cruises around the neighborhood....she isn't convinced of my mechanical prowess. She'll likely just use her Specialized hybrid shown in the background.
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Old 01-19-23, 07:26 AM
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Fantastic restoration! You are to be commended for a stellar job! What a classic time capsule!

The "Brake Band" is not a leather strap. I believe you are confusing this with the "hub cleaner or shiner" which hung around the inside of the hub and kept it clean.

Instead, the brake band is a metal P-Clip which secures the coaster brake arm to the left chain stay. Notice how the brake arm in your picture is pointing towards the rear fender reflector? It should be rotated 180 degrees and pointing towards the crankset. A P-Clip (can be purchased at any hardware store) will wrap around the chain stay and attach through the hole at the end of the coaster brake arm.

P.S. I can make you a new hub shiner out of red leather if you'd like.
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Old 01-19-23, 07:33 AM
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You are absolutely correct! My inexperience is showing. I am confusing the two.....but learning thanks to feedback like yours! Thanks for sharing. I will get it right....eventually. Next update will have this corrected. Thanks again.
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Old 01-19-23, 07:38 AM
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She cleaned up nicely! Great job!
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Old 01-19-23, 07:52 AM
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Wow, excellent work. On these older bikes, so much emphasis is put on saving the original paint. You did that, and more. Great job!
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Old 01-19-23, 08:02 AM
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Appreciate your message. You can see from earlier comments that I made some mistakes on the re-assembly, but I will correct that. First time is always a learning curve. Grateful to everyone's messages and suggestions.
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Old 01-19-23, 06:00 PM
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Great work! An amazing transformation. You should also post this in the "before and after" thread.
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Old 01-19-23, 06:09 PM
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Road85rebel
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Thanks for your comments and suggestion. As a "newbie" to the forum, I'm still trying to navigate all the various topics and discussion boards. Support and input from the biking community has been stellar.
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Old 01-19-23, 10:18 PM
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Nice work and very quick too. I could have taken a month to get as far.

Hope the bike gets to see some use.
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Old 01-20-23, 04:46 AM
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Appreciate your comments. Once I correct a few mistakes I made while re-assemblying the bike, I hope to give it a spin. The hardest part will be getting it out from my basement. It feels like it weighs 50lbs!
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Old 01-20-23, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Road85rebel View Post
While clearing out my mother-in-laws garage, I discovered a bike she was given as a teenager. It was a birthday gift from her parents.

I decided to avoid any re-chroming or repainting in my restoration efforts and used modern cleaners and materials along with considerable elbow grease to bring it back to its former self.

Although it still has surface rust on the downtube and some lettering has been ripped or destroyed by age, the final results were more than satisfactory (by my standards).
A couple of things...

I think you did a better job preserving a piece of family history than restoring a child's bike and that is more important IMHO. And when it comes to paint an d chrome, it is only original once, so keeping it as original as possible is best. I don't know how old you are, but I hope you have daughters or granddaughters that may get to experience riding this old bike up and down the block some day just as their grandmother likely did.
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Old 01-20-23, 05:13 AM
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Road85rebel
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Very thoughtful and insightful comments. It was a labor of love effort focused primarily on preserving a piece of family history....if a bike can actually have such meaning. Regardless, I plan to pass it down and hopefully it brings another generation into the joys of riding. As for myself, I am approaching the joys of retirement, but doing my best to fight back against father time when I ride.
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Old 01-20-23, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Road85rebel View Post
Very thoughtful and insightful comments. It was a labor of love effort focused primarily on preserving a piece of family history....if a bike can actually have such meaning. Regardless, I plan to pass it down and hopefully it brings another generation into the joys of riding. As for myself, I am approaching the joys of retirement, but doing my best to fight back against father time when I ride.
As you will notice we are 99% an agreeable bunch of old bike nerds who get along with each other exceptionally well (there are a small handful of exceptions).

I live on a coastal barrior island that hardly has a 10-foot elevation change. While we have our transient tourists, we also have a nice size population of year-round residents, including children and teens (and not just retired old guys like myself).

What has been really cool to see are the tween and teen girls (pre-driver license) riding their modern versions of your resurrected and preserved time capsule '50s Columbia, around the island. Of course, the boys favor their MTBs, but the girls are into single speeds with fenders, chainguard and baskets. The middle school ones are my favorites, because they tend to be in packs of 3-6 girl riders, and usually rendezvous with a pack of boys on their MTBs.

BTW, I made a hub shiner for one of my bikes yesterday. It's an experiment. I have an early '80s Phil Wood front hub wheel. Typical of this era the hub shell has rusted in places. I want to see if the leather hub shiner, with an inner layer of Scratch-X, will polish the shell as I ride. More later.

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Old 01-20-23, 08:05 AM
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Nice pics of your hub and the effort to shine it up. Every little bit helps! I have some travel planned for early Feb. Leaving my snow covered roads and heading to Charleston SC area (Edisto Island) to visit friends and get some rides in on those flats down there. Looking forward to putting these hills of New England behind me for a few days. I also agree with your assessment of this forum. Its reflective of most groups of people.....majority are good and well intended.
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