I'm building up quite a few bikes just as I'm ending my tenure as a bike shop employee. I'm through two right now and on to the third, and all of them have my stamp on them for sure - steel-framed bikes that ride fast and smooth, and look clean.
First up is an Austro-Daimler bike that my Dad had given to him mostly intact. This bike basically needed only tires, tubes, cables, and bar tape. I also added on a set of aero brake levers as the originals had long ago stopped functioning well, and also a new saddle to cushion Dad's old butt. I wanted to put some nice 700x28 tires on it to smooth out the ride even more, but the 700x25 was as wide as I had ready access to.
The Austro-Daimler Inter-10 is an interesting bike. Austro-Daimler is the US brand name for Puch before they decided A-D wasn't such an awesome name. Made in Austria from butted Reynolds 531, this bike is actually at the bottom of A-D's offerings, which just amazes me. At 23 pounds, it's pretty darn light for a large steel bike from the seventies. It came with a mix of Suntour Cyclone and Huret shifters and derailers, a Nervex crankset, Atom hubs and Rigida rims, all of which is very nice stuff! Thankfully the bottom bracket is in good shape as I'd hate to try to find out what threading it has. It's a fast bike, and well above my Dad's current skill and fitness level, so it's something he can grow into if he wants. It's too big for me, so I won't be keeping it.
My wife's bike is something I've shown before, an '80s Wisconsin-built Trek 560, built originally for road racing but adapted by me with 650b wheels and fast cushy tires for longer tours. She'll be riding it on this year's DALMAC from Lansing to Seault Ste. Marie. I finally got rid of the old Schwinn steel wheels I used for the conversion at first, replacing them with a 105 set from Velo Orange. If you haven't seen their high-polished aluminum rims in person, it's a sight to behold. Another mechanic in the shop today was convinced they were chromed steel from the shine. Actually many of their bike bits are just great in terms of aesthetics and value, and they make many things that nobody else has, from French bottom brackets and headsets to a new T-A copy crank that I'll have a hard time resisting.
I added on older 8-speed Dura-Ace shifters, a Campagnolo front Derailer and modern Shimano rear, none of which should work together and yet does, amazingly. Because she has long legs and a shorter torso than most riders, she needs a funky stem setup (tall rise and short reach) to get comfortable on these frames, which means that someday she'll probably need a custom frame to fit her correctly. Maybe a Sweetpea.
The final bike is an old Peugeot Mixte that needs a bit of work. No photos of that one yet! I have two other friends I want to build up bikes for, but no donor frames yet. Unfortunately this is more a labor of love than a money-making scheme, as bike parts are too expensive to really make any money doing this the right way; I figure I'm happier building bikes I like for people I love, than building crappy bikes by cutting corners to try to make a buck.
Catching Up With My Past
19 hours ago