MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

SITE INDEX   FINDING   BICYCLES   WORK SHOP   TRADING   WHAT'S NEW?

MY "TEN SPEEDS"  

AUTOMOTO - INTRODUCTION

FINDING THE AUTOMOTO

EVALUATING THE AUTOMOTO

TEST RIDING THE AUTOMOTO

RESTORING THE AUTOMOTO

 

BICYCLES OF FRANCE

 

EVALUATING THE AUTOMOTO PORTEUR

Unpacking a packed up vintage bicycle is always a treat, regardless of the outcome.  Expectation runs high with the promise of immediate reward just moments away.  This same story can take on a bitter sweet note, however, as was the case with the Automoto.  I already had a pretty good idea that the frame set was bent.  That is not nearly as hard to find as it is to discover the frame is bent only when the box is opened, as was the case with my Peugeot PX10.

Anyway, even though it took a long time to get the bicycle boxed up, it was here.  The day was glorious, to say the least, Mother Nature's way of apologizing, to Canadians, after the ravages of her Winter.  Immediately upon getting a call from the bus station that a package had arrived for me, I was into the Ranger and off CCM hunting.

Less than a half hour after receiving the Greyhound Bus call, I had the bicycle in the back yard, waiting to be unveiled.  A couple of passes with the knife, and the, close to seventy year old bicycle would soon see the light of a Thunder Bay day.

It is fun unpacking a bicycle.  Gloom fills the container, allowing glimpses of this or that.  Glimpses that serve to add even more anxiety, be it positive or negative, to the task.  And the Automoto unveiling proved to me no different.

As the bicycle began to emerge, I could see one cosmetic issue surface, after another  The alloy fenders were rough looking, but appeared to be dent and damage free.  The headlight, oxidized to the point of looking like it might well need to be replaced if cosmetics were going to be considered in the upcoming restoration.

And, as the bike started to come out of the box, my greatest fear, or concern might be a better word, was realized.  The top and down tubes were definitely bent.  However, it did appear that someone, at some time, had attempted to repair the structural damage.  My hopes did, and still do, run high.  I am pretty sure that I can do a better job of repairing the frame set.  Not perfect, perhaps, but good enough to satisfy the target set for the bicycle.  The target - full Street Restoration.

Full Street Restoration involves getting the bicycle up and running, ensuring that everything works properly and double ensuring that the bicycle is safe to ride.  A Street Restoration does not focus on spending, bunches of money, in an effort to make an old bicycle look its best.  That is an incredibly expensive route to take, when putting a vintage bicycle back on the road.  Anyway...

Cosmetic issues aside, I began a look at the mechanics.  Needless to say, without testing, this and that, there is no way to tell it either are working, or not.  It is easy, without testing of any kind, to see a modern set of wheels, in place of the original ones.  Yup, the original wheels for the Automoto were not in the box, nor would they ever be.  They were gone and, my expectations were, that they would be extremely hard to find original replacements.

But most everything else looked to be there.  I marvelled at the antiquated plunger style rear, and only, derailleur.  I loved the look of the ornate head tube lugs, not to mention the wonderful old headbadge.  For what it is worth, I absolutely love the presence of a headbadge on a vintage road bicycle.  The absence of one significantly lowers a bicycles desirability, in my opinion.

The brakes were about as ancient as any I had ever run across.  The question was, would they actually stop the bicycle?  It has been my experience that the older the Old School stuff get, the less user friendly it is.  To that add the fact that older stuff, often times, does not work nearly as well as later technological offerings.  Perhaps these old cam style(?) brakes would fall into that category.

As I continued looking the bike over, I realized that the Automoto was a restoration challenge, to say the least.  Bent frame set, missing wheels and oxidation just about everywhere.  But nothing that could not be addressed for little, if any cash outlay.  Put another way, most of the issues could be fixed, and fixed for little or no cash outlay at all.  My spirits were lifted.  There were so many little vintage features that I could hardly wait to get at.  The chain guard.  The light system.  The original luggage rack, and the drop dead gorgeous matching leather saddle bags.  What a great project!

       

And, as I continued to look at the bike, an activity which spanned, on and off, the next few days, I started looking forward to the build.  All of the vintage eye candy on the bicycle demanded that I get at it and get er done.  But before spending any time, effort or cash, the bicycle would need to be assembled and test ridden.

NEXT - TEST RIDING THE AUTOMOTO

 

 

 

 

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