Re: [CR] WAS "sympathetic restoration" - NOW Restoration / Repaint

(Example: Framebuilders:Mario Confente)

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Date: Sun, 19 Jul 2009 13:01:42 -0400
From: "George Hollenberg" <>
To: <>
Subject: Re: [CR] WAS "sympathetic restoration" - NOW Restoration / Repaint

What better topic in vintage cycling is there than this? It's the one that everyone thinks about and tries to resolve in his/her own way. Some decide it by reason, some by emotion, and yet others by finances. Some are truthful about restoration, while others make a career of confabulating about it. Some can't stand to have it discussed since they've resolved the matter for themselves and don't like to have their conclusions threatened-even in the abstract. Before starting out it's wise to recall that all the words, i.e. original, restored, etc., are words-words that reflect ideas. These ideas are the products of human thought and are subject to all the caprices of the human mind and of the people that use these words. Essential to the topic is the definition of "original." It seems to me that original means pristine, as a bike was when it came into being. However, given the time period of the vintage bikes in this forum, no bikes would be original since time has had its effects on them all. Therefore, the collector is faced with a series of mental compromises. If "original" is that which is most desirable in a vintage bike then the bike with no changes at all from its original state is the best. I doubt that many such bikes exist. Therefore, one commences with a series of compromises-what can be considered original, 1% restoration, 20%, etc.? How to measure the percentage of restoration is difficult in itself. As far as I can see, any changes made to a bike prevent it from being "original." In any event, I'm not sure how it was decided that "original" is best. Who decided this issue and how was their decision made? Before even considering judging a group of bikes, one has to decide whether one really wants a real bike concours, or whether a given event is really a social get-together of collectors or a swap-meet, etc. As far as judging a group of bikes is concerned, this is easy enough-categories of bikes have to be set up, recognizing that they will be imperfect and somewhat subjective. All judging is rather subjective as well. If collectors don't like the classification or judging, they can't be forced to display their bikes. An alternative to this is to have a bike show without judging, and have a group "vet" the bikes to be displayed, having decided what kind of a show is desired. Therefore there are no winners or losers, just a group of interesting bikes. A big part of the issue of "originality" in vintage bike collecting has to do with honesty. Most owners know what state their bikes are in. I think that should be a part of any issue of exhibiting (or selling for that matter). Each owner should declare what the condition of their bike is and declare it honestly. If, on examination before exhibition, this is found to be untrue, the owner will be faced with the decision to withdraw their bike or have it placed in its proper category. Again, no one can be forced to exhibit their bikes. George George Hollenberg MD CT, USA

On Sun, Jul 19, 2009 at 10:08 AM, R.S. Broderick <> wrote:
> Jamie,
> ...usually, but not necessarily always - it is a topic with definite shades
> of gray to be found along the spectrum from black to white.
> For example, does the term "repainted" itself apply to the whole bike?
> What
> about those circumstances where only a portion of the bicycle in question
> has been repainted (...for example the fork or perhaps the top tube) while
> leaving the remainder in its original finish? My own 1971 Gitane Super
> Corsa would clearly fall into this category given that I have had the front
> fork repainted and all of its various components have been replaced with
> like originals over time. The frame itself, however, retains much of its
> original paint (...although I suppose that one might argue that I have
> through the years performed enough brush touch-up work to call even that
> claim into question). I can easily see where one might construe this
> bicycle to have been "restored", although I am of the personal opinion that
> the term "refurbished original" is more appropriate.
> Furthermore, I would suggest that it may well be quite legitimate to call a
> bicycle "restored" albeit not repainted in those circumstances where the
> object in question was stripped bare, the frameset and its original paint
> refinished (...i.e. cut with rubbing and/or polishing compound, touch-up
> paint applied, new decals affixed, finish polished and waxed), and then all
> new or completely restored components thereafter affixed. This is exactly
> what I did with my Pino Morroni given that the paint on the frameset itself
> was in outstanding original condition. Again, I am of the opinion that
> this
> bicycle falls into the category of having been "restored" even though its
> paint is original. This is because very few of the components which came
> on
> it remain (...only those which were Pino specific items such as the bottom
> bracket assembly, stem, headset spacers, etc.) while the remainder are
> essentially NOS apropos a 1983 build date and in almost all cases decidedly
> different than as originally equipped (...for those who might find my
> actions offensive, please know that I set aside every last nut and bolt
> that
> was original and have full intention of retaining same in conjunction with
> the bicycle).
> Looking past the simplicity of the original question you posed in an
> attempt
> to perhaps divine just where this thread is heading, I am going to assume
> that you are nobly attempting to make some determination as to judging
> classification and/or criteria or provide input for future bicycle display
> events. Let me state right up front that my own experiences in the world
> of
> automobile Concours d'Elegance lead me to the firm conclusion that one will
> NEVER be able to satisfy ALL of those who might wish to participate in such
> events - no matter how hard you might try. It is, however in my humble
> opinion, rather simple to set up "reasonable" guidelines which all but the
> most extreme will find to be an agreeable compromise. To a large extent,
> the very definition of such arbitrary categories will and should be
> dependent upon the venue itself. This is to say that a small and informal
> gathering of enthusiasts are not likely to appreciate a rigorous code of
> standards being inflicted upon their beloved machines. However, as the
> size, scope, and diversity of the entrants increases, assuming that any
> judging at all is to be done, so too does the need to clearly define
> classifications that allow for consideration of like objects to the
> exclusion of those which bear little or no direct relation by dint of
> vintage, intent, construction methodology, etc.
> I would posit the following somewhat arbitrary "loose guidelines" to
> consider when attempting to define and describe vintage cycling categories
> which are to be judged:
> 1) Original - original is original is original is original - no fully
> repainted framesets and any repainting that has occurred should constitute
> less than twenty percent of the total surface area - touch up paint is fine
> - all componentry should be as originally specified by the manufacturer or
> constructeur (...baseline or optional) or consistent with contemporary
> norms
> in those instances where the bicycle in question was sold as a "frameset
> only" - sorry, no allowance for "...but that is the way that the LBS
> originally sold the bike to me - if you could not get it directly from the
> builder that way, tough luck ... AND ... the onus is upon the entrant to
> prove that any "non-standard" equipment was a legitimate option upon same
> being questioned by a judge).
> 2) Refurbished - framesets here may or may not have been fully repainted -
> but in any event, the bicycle can no longer be considered "original" by any
> reasonable standard - the primary distinction of this category would be
> that
> the individual componentry, while roughly contemporary to the original date
> of manufacture for the frameset ( or minus three to five years, say)
> might well not be that which was originally specified by the builder
> (...think Motobecane Grand Jubile with a full Campy Record group, or a
> Raleigh Team 753 outfitted with SunTour Superbe Pro).
> 3) Restored - the expectation here is that in all likelihood the frameset
> WILL have been completely repainted and detailed, although it need not be a
> requisite for consideration into this category - again, the preponderance
> of
> componentry should be as originally specified by the manufacturer or
> constructeur (...baseline or optional) or consistent with contemporary
> norms
> in those instances where the bicycle in question was sold as a "frameset
> only" - however, greater latitude and license ought be allowed with respect
> to individual flourishes that may appear (...custom paint infill,
> individual
> parts stripped of their original anodizing and polished to high luster,
> existence of complimentary pantograph components, etc.).
> 4) Altered - anything goes - certainly most (...although not all - think of
> a Hi-E Cosmopolitan or a Peugeot PY-10/CP) of the true vintage race rigs
> would fit into this category (...where the rider / mechanic has generously
> modified their bike to extract maximum performance) - moreover, this
> category would also encompass those "home brew" machines where the owner
> has
> seen fit to adapt their bicycle to their specific needs and/or tastes
> (...brifters on a Masi Gran Criterium, a Mondia employing a Campy 10s
> drivetrain, a 45 speed touring Takara having a triple crankset in
> conjunction with a five speed internal rear hub supplemented with three
> fixed cogs of differing size which are shifted using a rear derailleur).
> Is there a bit of overlap to be found in the aforementioned delineation of
> classifications? You betcha - and I am of the opinion that a bicycle owner
> them self ought be given latitude to select their preferred category where
> such overlap does occur (...with the clear understanding that a Head Judge
> has full discretion to amend such self-identification "on the field" when
> the selection is found to be clearly out of bounds). Of course, it may
> well
> also be appropriate to break at least some if not all of the aforementioned
> categories into further discrete sub-sets based upon the size and field of
> entries - by production date range, or intent (...touring versus racing),
> or
> manner of construction (...steel versus aluminum versus composite), to name
> but a few examples.
> Finally, there is yet another strategy which may be employed to
> differentiate the serious show bike zealots from the more casual
> enthusiasts
> who still wish to compete in a less demanding environment (...and one could
> argue that this bifurcated approach also provides a meaningful "training
> ground" for those who might eventually seek a more stringently defined
> competitive venue). Designate one or more "people's choice" award
> categories where entrants themselves, or those who are simply spectators,
> or
> even a combination thereof, may cast ballots in recognition of their
> favorite bicycle ( this way, everyone gets to use their own highly
> subjective standard of judgment). You can easily use this "people's
> choice"
> methodology to supplement one or more formal "judged" classification(s),
> even allowing for complete overlap should you see fit.
> Let the debate begin....
> Robert "judge not lest ye be judged" Broderick
> ...the "Frozen Flatlands" of South Dakota
> Sioux Falls, USA
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> [] On Behalf Of James Swan
> Sent: Sunday, July 19, 2009 5:50 AM
> To: Marc Winnikoff
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: [CR] Ciclo Locomotiva - "sympathetic restoration"?
> On Jul 18, 2009, at 11:57 PM, Marc Winnikoff wrote:
> > I am
> > going to embark on a sympathetic restoration, not a rebuild/repaint.
> Hi Marc,
> I apologize for hijacking your thread, but IMHO it's for a good
> cause. I like your use of the phrase "sympathetic restoration".
> I was asked to be a judge this year at the Brooklyn Bike Jumble and
> also at Le Cirque. In both cases I was vested with the responsibility
> to give awards for "Best Restored".
> I'd like to take a poll. Who thinks that the term "restored" means
> the bike has been repainted?
> No debate about the relative merits please: just answer the question.
> Thanks.
> Jamie Swan
> Northport, NY, USA
> _______________________________________________
> _______________________________________________

-- George

George Hollenberg MD