Coventry Eagle Touristique: a restoration project
With the cycling in the Olympic velodrome over I have finally got round to (almost) completing a little summer project I had postponed from last year. The frame had been very rusty when I took it for renovation at a West Yorkshire cycle shop several months ago. As with my Raleigh Road Ace, another bike I bought in the 1980s, the frame on my Coventry Eagle Touristique is a size too large for me, but I couldn't see it go to waste. It deserved better.
I tried to keep the cost down to a minimum so got the basic paint treatment (after being "shot blasted to the bare metal, rust proofed, primed, base coated then clear coated for a tough finish"), I decided against any extra braze-ons, and restricted the transfers to the Reynolds 531ST stickers. (Although, disappointingly, they couldn't source the 531ST sticker so it has a 531C one at the top of the seat tube.)
I reused virtually every component and accessory, but bought new bottle cages (I had been swapping the one bottle cage between this bike and the Raleigh); inner and outer gear and brake cables; handlebar tape; and mudguard and pannier rack bolts. I received a birthday present from the in-laws of 28mm Continental Gatorskins and earlier in the week I bought a pair of cantilever brake blocks and four bolts to fasten the brakes to the four bosses that secure them to the frame. (I had three rusty bolts and got Ellis Briggs to drill out another rusted one, the hexagonal head of which I had managed to turn in to a near-perfect circle.)
My only extravagance was to replace the completely rusty – but perfectly functional – original seat post clamp with one from Campagnolo costing £6.95 (less CTC discount) that you see in the first photograph. Another of the few original bits still on my bike is the Specialized saddle (in "chromed leather" – a phrase that came back to me when I fished it out of its hiding place) and those Weinmann levers with cantilever brakes. Ellis Briggs replaced the headset and bottom bracket with square taper axle.
My thumbs are just about back to normal after trying to get those Gatorskins on to the Mavic A2 Argent rims. I knew that trying to get any new tyres on to the Mavic rims would be a challenge. I just hope I never need to replace a tube more than a hundred yards from home. I had the wheels built in the early 90s on Shimano Deore DX hubs with DT Swiss spokes. I'm keeping the Shimano Deore Biopace chainset – for now at least – along with the MT60 Deore front and rear derailleurs from around that period. The classic Simplex friction gear levers were the easiest parts to fit and worked perfectly straight away. Along with the saddle and brakes they are the only survivors from the bike I bought as a teenager nearly thirty years ago for £260. Even Mrs Bailey thinks the saddle doesn't look right and should be replaced with a Brooks B17 standard. So, there is still work to do, but for the moment here are some before and after pictures: