Vintage Bicycles Done Proper :: Portland, Oregon
In 2011, on one of the last days in November, I was cycling home from work and was struck by a car in an intersection. Luckily, I was not permanently hurt and I was not at fault but my phenomenal 1990 Schwinn Voyageur frame was bowed from the impact, rendering it totally useless. That incident could be an entirely separate post and one day, I may share the experience, however this post is about the replacement bike that I picked up, months later. Not the incident beforehand.
My goal was to find a stout, mid-80’s/early-90’s touring rig that could be used as my main commuter on my 22 mile round trip ride from home to work. I also wanted something that would scoff at any touring expedition I challenged it to. My search went on for quite a few months and there were some serious contenders found but most of them were well out of state and without actually seeing them and feeling if fit was right, I ended up holding out and buying local.
Enter my purchase of a well used 1985 Raleigh Kodiak.
This beefy touring rig was second in line behind the esteemed Raleigh Portage. The fit was spot on, the rig felt solid and the price was right but the condition was something that had me shuffling my feet over. Why the worry? Well, the frame, let’s say, has lots of character and all of the components are badly in need of some rejuvenation and/or repair. Toss in my nagging desperation to get back on the road ASAFP and you have a recipe for some big choices.
Once my plan was crafted the clock started ticking. How quickly can I get this bike back into action? I guess that depends on (A) how bad the frame/parts look, (B) how much time I want to put into them.
A + B = C
The tear down and cleanup begins:
The frame overview shot above is busy but there are many changes that have occurred since you scrolled from the top overview photo to this bottom shot. Most notably, the frame was washed/scrubbed, rust removed, all bare metal was hand clear coated and waxed (2x) to enhance the shine and keep any rust from accumulating. A Shimano cartridge bottom bracket was installed as the old cup and cone setup was laughably pitted and wrecked beyond an iota of salvage. The headset was repacked and the bars/stem were upgraded. The brake levers were also upgraded with parts I had lying around along with the shifting system (note the hard to see Suntour bar ends). Lastly, the seat post was mated to a fantastic tried and true saddle (Vetta Centurion Anatomic) then installed.
So far, the only purchase made is the bottom bracket and the only original parts that have gone back on are the headset bearing rings and the seat post.
Stay tuned for more…
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