Bicycle Restoration - JC Higgins
JC Higgins - Before Restoration
Bicycle Restoration - JC Higgins
JC Higgins - After Restoration (By Dave Brown)

Old bicycles can be repaired to the point they ride great, but most old bicycles when found or purchased, need a lot of work and a lot of parts to make them work properly again. The following is a brief overview of old bicycle parts, and a brief synopsis of how to care for, or repair, these parts:

Vintage Bicycle Restoration in Brief

Cranks

The cranks on most vintage bicycles haven't been greased in years, possibly since they originally left the factory when they were built.

Freshly greasing the crank bearings of an old bicycle will really improve the feel and ride of an older bicycle. It is best to completely remove the cranks to clean and inspect them. Once they're removed, clean the dirt and old grease, inspect for signs of ruin or excessive wear, and reassemble with grease. Make a final adjustment so the cranks spin freely.

Did you know...?

Did you know that in order to repair a dented rim, you'll have to use a torch to heat up the rim and beat the dent out using a hammer like a blacksmith in medieval times?

Even after all that effort, there's no guarantee that the rim will work. It's simply not worth the trouble, so if your vintage bicycle has a dented rim, just buy a new rim.

Hubs and Wheels

The condition of the wheels and tires on an older vintage bicycle will determine if the bicycle is even "ridable." Many antique and very old bicycles will have wheels and tires that cannot be ridden. The wheel is made up of the rim, spokes, and the hub, and if any of these parts are not in working condition, the entire wheel will not work.

By spinning the wheel slowly, you can determine if you have a bent or dented rim. If the wheel doesn't spin straight, chances are, you have a bent rim which will need to be replaced.

The hubs, like the cranks, need fresh grease to function properly. Also, the hubs need a proper adjustment. You don't want it to be too tight or too loose. Once the hubs are properly adjusted make sure the locknuts are tight so they will stay in place.

Pedals

Pedals on older, vintage bicycles have usually undergone a lot of wear and tear. Many vintage pedals are completely worn out and unusable if you intend to ride a vintage bicycle. You may want to consider replacing overly-worn pedals to really improve the feel when riding a vintage bicycle. If you want your restoration to be completely accurate, there are a lot of vintage parts out there available for purchase to fit your bicycle.

Brake Pads

A very important update to any vintage bicycle with hand brakes is to install new brake pads. It's important to remember to properly adjust your caliper brakes to handle the increased stopping power of new brake pads.

Vintage Bicycle Parts Online

Bicycle Restoration Projects

1950 JC Higgins

1938 Monark Silver King

1950 Monark Firestone Holiday

1954 Schwinn Hornet

1935 Girls Elgin

1930 Elgin Cardinal

1938 Red Hawthorne

1937 Hawthorne Zep

1930 Elgin Twinbar Delux

Monark Hawthorne Duralium Pro

1948 Schwinn Whizzer

Rollfast Tandem Bicycle

Articles About Vintage Bicycle Restoration

Bicycle Frame Repair - Vintage bicycle frame repair is one of the most costly repair expenses for people who purchase and restore vintage or antique bicycles. Read ahead.

Bicycle Wheel Repair - Vintage bicycle wheel repair is an essential skill for anyone interested in cycling, but it's especially essential for vintage collectors who like to repair or restore their own vintage or antique bicycles.

Bicycle Repair Stands - Bicycle repair stands make working on vintage or antique bicycles a much easier task. Read ahead about different types of bicycle repair stands.

Tip: If you're a bike repair novice, take a look at this book.

Bicycle repair may seem fairly intimidating if you've never really handled tools before, but Chris Sidwell's Bicycle Repair Manu will show you how easy it all is.

The highlights of this bicycle repair manual include a detailed discussion of the specific maintenance needs of different types of bicycles and an informative analysis of different bike tools. It'll help you get your fundamental skills right!

Last Word About Classic American Bicycle Restoration

My obsession about bicycles is not limited only to collecting antique bicycles. I never miss an opportunity to keep my eyes peeled for that one old bike that would surely make my heart jump in excitement.

Most of my and my family's old bikes are still hanging out on our garage wall, unprotected from the rain and from the sun. I still wish that one day I will find the time to fix them, and to bring back their youth.

Books About Bicycle Restoration

More information about bicycle restoration can be found on several informative books. Take a look at these selected books from Amazon

Useful Links

What's Next?

If you want to ask a question about your vintage bicycle, just post a question

If you want to sell or buy a vintage bicycle, just visit our vintage bicycle marketplace

If you want to buy a vintage bicycle, just visit our vintage bicycle marketplace

If you want to share your story about your vintage bicycle, just join our vintage bicycle forum

For any other question or feedback, please contact us

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."
Bill Cosby

Comments

Bicycle Restoration — 1 Comment

  1. I bought a 30-year-old Schwinn Varsity 10-speed road bike at a thrift store for $5. With about $15 in new parts, the bike is in very good condition and is routinely ridden all around our southern California town. I love to see people recycling well-built machines and putting them back into service. Keep up the good work and in spreading the word.

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