Sunday, March 29, 2009

Polishing Aluminum

So, Ray Dobbins did a good write-up about how to polish aluminum parts on his site. I started with his directions and have done quite a few parts now. Below is what I've learned.

He writes that the oven cleaner can pit the aluminum after 3-5 minutes. I have not had this experience. Typically what I do is spray down the part, let it sit for 3-5 minutes and then take some 000 steel wool to it. Then I look at what areas are still anodized and spray it again. Typically, I do this about 4-5 times. To get it all off. Thus far I have not had any pitting on any of the parts I've done.

I have found removing clear/silver anodizing the toughest to remove. Maybe because its more difficult to see what areas are still anodized or maybe its the chemical composition of that color versus black (which seems easier).

You know your done when the part is fairly dull, almost gray. You'll think at this stage that you made a mistake and wasted your time.

Next, if the part has a lot of scratches, gouges, dings, nicks etc, pull out some fine sandpaper and sand out these imperfections. The steel wool (in the next step) will get out any fine scratches from the sandpaper. The level of perfection you want in your final results is largely dependent on how much time you spend in this stage. If you want the part perfect, make sure all gouges are out in this step.

The next step I do is polish with #000 steel wool and Brasso. After I feel comfortable with the results of this step. I pull out the Simichrome and a soft cloth and rub the part down further. The part should sparkle like new.

You could use a buffing wheel as Ray Dobbins advises, but I dont have one. And although this process takes a some time and a strong arm, the results comes out pretty good.

Above photo is the cranks I did today, drive side is an example of what the non drive side used to look like.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Univega Specialissima

This is going to be my new ride. A 1981 Univega Specialissima. I bought her off of eBay for $78 plus some shipping.

I'll use a lot of parts from my closet to dress her up. All silver stuff. I'm planning bar end shifters from Suntour and a leather saddle. One of my inspirations for this bike is this:

A guy's bike from the C & V section of

Monday, March 16, 2009

Peugeot PX-10

Then, the same day I sold the Bianchi, I bought a Peugeot PX-10. Paid $150 for it. The bike is in moderate condition (although it did have mountain bike bars on it).

The seller said it had "cheesy" rear derailleur (uh, that's the original Simplex RD). My main concern when I went to look at it was the chrome. I didnt know what parts were on the bike, but at least I'd be buying it for the frame and fork. The chrome is in good condition. Additionally, most of the components are original.The paint is in okay condition, a lot of chips.

Now comes the fun part.

Original Brooks Professional saddle dead?

French Stronglight cranks with french threaded Lyotard pedals

Sold the Bianchi

After the maiden ride, my fears were confirmed. The bike was too small. Now for anyone reading this wont be surprising: I'm 6'1" and the bike was a 55cm.

Guess you could say it was my first flip. I paid $149, put $28 into it totaling $177. Then I sold for $280. Profit = $103.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Schwinn Cross-Fit Catalog

Old bike catalogs are cool.

Schwinn Cross-Fit stripped

One of the parameters of the project was that it couldnt cost a lot. I set a budget of around $200. I began acquiring parts, some new from Velo Orange and some old from eBay and my parts box.

When I had all of the parts, I stripped the bike down and took a propane torch to the decals to burn them off. This works very well, produces little smoke, and is easy. I've had great success with this method in the past.

Next I took a putty knife and scraped off all the burnt decals. Some coarse sandpaper was next, sanding down the little pits and chips here and there.

I will take a lighter sandpaper to it next to make it nice and smooth. Not too much of a rush though. My only work area is on the roof of my apartment building it its supposed to be cold and wet for the next week or so.

Schwinn Cross-Fit

My wife has had this 1991 Schwinn Cross-Fit for a couple of years. We bought it from a Thrift Store for $25. About a month ago, I decided I would remake this hybrid into something pretty cool. Something like this from ANT bike.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Avocet Computer

The Bianchi came with a Cateye CC6000 as mentioned. But I just found this Avocet Altimeter 50. Supposedly, it has an altimeter built in (I wouldn't count on it working well). But look at the colors, like perfect right?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Touchup Paint

After cleaning the Bianchi up, all of the little nicks and scratches began to make themselves apparent. I did a little internet hunting and read some people say Dupli-Color automotive touchup paint is much more durable than Testor model paint (which makes sense).

I went to my local Autozone and for $6.49 bought the Universal Black. This thing is pretty cool because on one end it is like a ball point pen and then other end is a little brush. This made the job really easy. All the scratches and nicks went away (black is a great color for this).

The bike looked good before, but now it looks even better.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

1987 Bianchi Brava

Last week I picked up this 1987 Bianchi Brava road bike. It has full Shimano 105 components which are in very good condition. Celeste on Black is a pretty sexy combination of colors. The photos dont really show off the Celeste too well because of the sunlight. I got it off of CraigsList and the guy I bought it off of was the original owner. Additionally, he said he hadnt ridden it in 8 years.

Yes the bartape is old and done. This may be the original handlebar tape though. Seriously. I think the tires are original, IRC Triathlons 700c x 20. They are actually in pretty good condition, I think I'll ride them for a bit.

6 speed indexed shifting and the sticker stating World dominance.

Cateye CC-2000 computer. The battery was dead, but I got a new one and it works. Caution: does not have automatic start/stop feature. And, the computer never shuts off----this seems like a waste. The manual to this bike computer and all other Cateye computers can be found on their website here.

My plan is get some older Look pedals, some new bartape, clean it up and go for a ride.


VeloResto is the location of all my bike projects unrelated to cyclocross. Here you can see what I'm working on regards to restoring old bikes back to their prime.