I need a bike to ride to work every day, one that’s just like the one I have now but a little bit bigger. The only requirements I have are that it needs to be quick and reliable and unattractive to thieves.
I have found a beautiful old frame that’s perfect for what I need. It is a Raleigh racing bike and it’s pretty and blue and not rusty at all. The chain, however, is rather rusty and if I can’t get that moving again I’m going to give the whole thing away (because replacing the chain etc is beyond my abilities) but if I can, I am going to make it a project to get her up and running.
Other than the chain, she’s missing a pedal (which I can get replaced at the bike shop) and brake and gear cables (which I can replace myself). Because of the current state of her I can’t really figure out what else is working, other than the rear derailleur which seems to move just fine.
So my questions:
Given that it’s mostly a hobby, and I am not going to be entering any races with her, do you think it’s worth rebuilding this bike? Is it likely to be a money pit that sucks all my time and money and never works as well as one I could get for $100 somewhere else? or if I’m going to do it, would I be better off starting with a better frame?
If it is worthwhile, any particular tips on how to make her fast and reliable at as low cost as possible? Since I am saving the cost of a new bike I don’t mind dropping a bit of money if there’s something really worthwhile (for example, I am thinking I will buy some proper wheel rims).
(Note I also have a couple of dead bikes lying around that I can scavenge for parts.)
Any other tips/lessons learned? I have never done this before and if there’s anything to learn the hard way, I’d rather learn it through someone else’s bitter experience!