Friday, June 9, 2017

A Happy Ending

Last time this bike was photographed, it was in sorry shape. But now ...

This was one of the pair of late 1960s Falter Star Rider folding bikes that I bought last September. One of them was turned into a 3-speed and modified to my taste, and the other was stripped and refurbished for a quick sale.  It was pretty sad.

Come to find out, it wasn't a quick sale. Nobody wants a bike in the color of dead meat. A friend of a friend was forwarded to me because there was some desire to purchase a bike, and I offered the Falter as one of the options, including a repaint if there was interest. We settled on a sort of aquamarine green, similar in shade to the Seafoam Green that Ford used on the flathead V8 engines used in the 1953 Mercury.

I disassembled the Thompson bottom bracket and not only did it come apart with zero trouble, but I noticed that the cotter pin was reusable. Luckily, in the event that it was not, it was a 9.5 mm pin just like the ones I stock to fix old Raleighs. Notice the cork in the seat tube to hold the lighting wire in place. I think this is also the reason why there were no stink bugs in the bottom bracket.

Upon disassembling the headset, I discovered 50 year old fingerprints in the paint on the steerer tube. I also removed the stickers on the frame, finding beautiful, undisturbed, deep candy apple red paint. I can only imagine how stunning these bikes were when they were new. It's a shame that red laquer fades to such a disgusting shade.

As I was examining the frame and prepping for primer and paint, I noticed how messy the brazes and welds looked and thought there was no way the new paint would look good if I left this as it was. I went over all of the joints with a hand file to smooth everything out. The top face of the fork crown took an especially long time because that area was previously covered with a white plastic cap, which I removed because it was yellow and warped.

So here's how it looks now, ready for the new owner. I re-attached all of the original accessories (or replaced them with better ones) since I had no use for them on other bikes anyway.

I gave the bike a Dia Compe front hand brake because the original Altenberger Synchron had a plastic piece that broke. I also replaced the tail light and generator with "Schwinn Approved" units from 1983 because the bearings in the original generator were trashed and the tail light was dented with no core (same with the other bike - I replaced the core in that one). The headlight is original because the Schwinn one had a hole drilled in it. I simply polished the chrome finish and it brought it to life. The rear wheel lock also went back onto the bike.

For whatever reason, I had one brand new 26x1-3/8" Kenda K40 tire sitting around - I didn't pay for it, and I didn't strip it off another bike so I don't know where it came from. Anyway, I simply bought another tire and gave this bike a pair of new shoes to make it safer. The Centrix coaster brake hub was overhauled previously, and it was the first single speed coaster that I ever did. The innards were interesting, not like the usual Bendix, New Departure, and Sturmey-Archer coasters that I'm used to seeing.

The part of this bike that I am most proud of (although not completely) is the head tube detail. This bike originally had gold lining on the lugs so I lined them with a paint pen after painting the middle area white. However, when I was laying down the white paint, which was many days after the green was applied, I got a small crinkle on the front right area. I was mad, but I was also ... done. Enough paint work for the summer.

I'm glad I had the reason to make this bike nice again because I really felt bad leaving it the way it was. I was not proud to show it and I was ashamed of what I had done. But that is the past. Off it goes to the new owner.