The perfect bicycle?
August 20, 2012 2:34 PM   Subscribe

Help me build (and paint) my perfect bicycle. Or get the next best thing. Or go with something cheap. In London.

I live in London, and want to get a new bike. I could gumtree it, but I don't want a stolen bike. I could ebay it (same problem). I could go to a second-hand store, freecycle it, or just go to my local bike shop and get something passable.

But I want my perfect bike. Something I'll be...well, attracted to. I don't mean in a sexual way, I just mean that every time I look at it I'd like to take it out to dinner and a movie.


• A hybrid
• In my mind I see it as something with vintage values but a little more streamlined than the old fashioned bikes. I don't care how much it weighs (of course light is better, but whatever).
• Three gears on the back (an internal hub if possible), with only one on the front
• Calliper brakes
• Toe clips
• Bike rims that look like this
• A comfortable 'taint-friendly bike seat.
• Sturdy, long-lasting components.

Here's the most important part — I want as many or the components as possible to be the same colour.

Now, I'm colour blind, so I shouldn't be the one who chooses the colour. But I'm thinking "vintage colours" if there is such a thing.

What are my options for repainting a bike? Can I repaint the components? Would I save a ton of money if I just went for an all-black bike, and chose all-black components? What about painting over the logos and branding on components? Spokes, chain, brake cables... can any of these be painted?

I reckon I can spare £1,200. If it's more, I'll just go with gumtree or go to a nice bike shop. Which leads me to my next question — anyone know a really friendly, warm bike shop who I should give my money to in London? I don't want to go with a chain store if I can help it, I'd rather a coop or somewhere that recycles bicycles. Somewhere that won't make me feel like a square.
posted by omnigut to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total)
I've just found out that I want to take this bike out for dinner. So that's the kind of style I'm looking for (not so keen on the handlebars). Apparently that's a 1970s bike. So that's the decade I'm going for.
posted by omnigut at 2:36 PM on August 20, 2012

It's unclear from your question whether you want a new retro bike, or an old rejuvenated bike, but I think Full City Cycles might suit your tastes!
posted by roofus at 3:02 PM on August 20, 2012

They sound amazing. Thank you roofus!
posted by omnigut at 4:07 PM on August 20, 2012

Remember that "paint" can mean various things.

The cost of a spray can paint job might only be ~$10, but for a proper powder coat finish it costs about $120, at least here in Australia.

I only mention it because powder coating an old frame can be a significant proportion of putting together a cheap/recycled bike
posted by trialex at 4:46 PM on August 20, 2012

Many fixed-gear bikes have deep-V rims (the style you like) & color-coordinated parts. It's a relatively easy job to fit a 3-speed wheel to one; you can probably find a fixed gear you like and ask your bike shop to rebuild the rear rim to a 3-speed hub. You probably want to look for one with room for wide tires & fenders.

This bike has a truly vintage look:

I ran into this bike Googling around:
It's color-coordinated, in a way, though the color is grey. Very tasteful, though, and already equipped with a 3-speed and deep V rims.

I've heard London is pretty awful for bike theft, so be careful with a flashy bike.
posted by akgerber at 5:07 PM on August 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

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