Vintage bicycle abuse

In the UK, one of the more popular VRC brands is Orange.  You’re forgiven if you’ve never heard of them as I don’t think they were ever sold here.

From browsing I’ve learned that the Prestige is one of the more popular models;


As you can see, when they’re done right, they’re gorgeous.

But when they’re done wrong;


I get the poverty thing.  I’ve done it.  I once put together a bike using a frame I had, and all the parts either came from whatever leftovers I had, and any not quite worn out parts I scavenged from repairs at the shop.

I ended up with a usable single speed, but of course you have to put up with a lot of Zen and The Art of Bicycle Maintenance type crap.    Like this;


Zen and The Art of Bicycle Maintenance doesn’t exist by the way.  I guess I’ll have to write it…

Judging from the forum post, the builder has intentionally gone with those stupidly narrow bars.  That’s left him with no room to install the front shifter, which is actually handling rear shifting duties.  Also, cantilever brake levers running V-brakes – which I can tell you, doesn’t work that well.

There are also mis-matched wheels, four out of a possible five chainring bolts, and a frame in desperate need of a respray.

I’ve built some pretty sketchy rides in my time, but not anymore.  Or not to the same degree anyway.   When I was Redbike, Cliff told me that he too used to do the poverty thing, but it’s just too much work.  Too much effort to keep these kinds of bikes running.  And you can’t ever sell them, unless you find a buyer that will understand the known issues, and is willing to deal with them.

He decided that he wanted “flawless.”  And after a lot of years building bikes like this, that’s what I want as well.

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