Last July, I found a crusty old 80's Univega road bike left out for the trash collectors across the street from our apartment. I'd been considering a project bike of some kind ever since getting and loving the IRO, and this seemed like a low-cost way to noodle with a new bike without breaking the bank. Today, after four months, I bent one of the handlebars back into shape, put on some symbolic tape, and finally called it done:
I've actually been using this thing as my primary bike for a few weeks now, mostly to work and on errands, but also the occasional fun ride.
My original idea was that it would be a utility/beater, so I made sure to get a rack and basket for the back. Doing complete food shopping runs and being able to haul a reasonable amount of stuff is liberating... faster than walking, no time wasted with parking, and loaded with endorphin-producing self-righteousness. I also took the whole thing to Adam at Pacific and asked him to check my work for me... there were a few loose or ungreased bits, and he rebuilt the bottom bracket.
I ended up keeping a lot of the original parts that weren't rusted into lumps. The front brake with giant, goofy lever had to stay.
The original wheels and cranks were garbage. I got these 27" Weinmann rims / Formula hubs from E-bay, and the Sugino cranks from Craigslist.
The first loose build had the cranks on the wrong side. Oops.
Originally I was expecting to keep just the frame. I had also planned to paint it, but I wasn't sure if it was going to be worth keeping. It's turned out to be as good a ride as my track bike, possibly even more comfortable due to the loopy, springy steel frame. I may paint it yet, though I'm certainly not going to drop $200+ to get it done professionally. Ultimately, it'd be nice for it to look like Scott Meyer's Univega on FGG.
Here's how I first found it: