Bicycle Resurrection Part I

Sanding BeginsFor forty dollars, I bought an old Centurion road bike for my brother for Christmas. I thought it would be a fun brother-to-brother project, wherein we could refurbish the bike together while I taught him about the basics of bicycle mechanics, the satisfaction of using hand tools and how to appreciate classic rock.

Boy, was I wrong.

My brother cleans components as I finish taping the seat tube.I should have just bought him the new Ok Go album and left my holiday aspirations at the thought of some brotherly gift reception like: “Cool… I like this band. Thanks, Joe.”

Instead I’ve been nagging my brother for a month to come over to my house and work on the bike. In retrospect, I should have considered that spending three or four Saturday afternoons with the greasy innards of a ragged-out old bicycle probably would not be the most appealing way for an angst-ridden eighteen-year-old to spend his weekends.

Cleaning the old Centurion before

But, finally, he ostensibly had nothing better to do and agreed to come over this past Saturday.

We spent the day dismantling the bike, cleaning the components and prepping the frame for a new paint job with a thorough sanding.

Although the bike did have a classically “rad” paint job from the late 1980s (complete with squiggly lines of hot pink and fluorescent green), I decided to sand the bike down to its steel underbelly.

Sanding Continues

Ultimately, I want to paint it only with clear coat. With the imperfections and welds of the steel frame showing through the clear coat, the bike should come out looking pretty tough and utilitarian – as befits a forty-dollar road warrior.

After a couple hours wrenching, I couldn’t help noticing my brother’s characteristic teenage sarcasm slipping away. In my own mind, I was conscious of a certain amount of pride in being the older brother with the knowledge of what to do and in the possession of the right tool to do it. (Of course, having the right tool was largely due to Christmas money from Dad from the year previous and the extensive Craftsman wrench set I had bought with that money.)

Yes, more sanding…On the classic rock front, he’s not yet into the Rolling Stones or Hendrix, but I got him to start working his way back through the decades. Now he’s borrowing some of my 1990s cds, including Pearl Jam’s Ten, the self-titled 311 album and the obligatory Nirvana albums.

It’s difficult to realize, but the kid was only three when Nevermind hit.

Next time will be dedicated to the bottom bracket, The Police and The Clash.

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2 Responses to Bicycle Resurrection Part I

  1. soapboxpudding says:

    oh man, my heart is breaking to see that you sanded off the circa 1987-88 paint job. I admire your desire to clean up and rebuild a bike, especially as a way to spend time with and teach your bro about bikes but that paint job was a classic. ridiculous but classic and I say that even though I grew up in the 80s and unlike the hip kids have no desire to bring them back.

    Centurians are quite good bikes. I’m rocking the identical one (with maybe more pink in it?) at 46cm and 650c wheels and I love it. these bikes often came with shimano 600 or Exage components. were either of these still on the bike? worth keeping minus the biopace chainring.

    here’s my ride: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ranae/sets/72157601951490684/

    good luck with the rest of the rebuild.

  2. bibliosk8 says:

    cool bike. I’d love to see it when it is finished.

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