Another day, another bike saved from land fill. This time we have been commissioned to restore a 1938 step through Raleigh All Steel.
As you'll notice from the comparison photos, when it was brought to us the bike wasn't in bad shape. It was showing signs of wear but for an 81 year old bike it was beautifully preserved - a testiment to the quality of Raleigh bikes during this period.
One of the reasons we've decided to feature this bicycle in a blog is that it demonstrates that despite a bike being in good condition, if we are commissioned to return a bike to "new" then the processes and therefore the cost, remain the same. That isn't to say that we can't preserve and improve a tired looking bike but if we are aiming for perfection (as in this case) then the only option is to rechrome and re paint everything.
You'll also notice that we changed the colour from black to a shade darker than British Racing Green. This bike's future is as a film and theatre prop, and as there are so many black Raleighs still in circulation it was decided this would fill a gap in the prop world.
Here's a quick breakdown of what was involved in this project.
We researched the history of the bike and photographed all markings, decals and signwriting so they can be recreated at a later date.
The bike was stripped by our restoration specialist Nigel and we created a schedule of works. The number of different processes involved with a restoration of this level is pretty high so it's useful to plan what treatment each element needs and when it needs to be done by.
Chrome - We are partnered with a chroming company who have shown to apply the highest quality plating and everything gets sent off to them.
Paint - The frame was then shot blasted, primed and then had three coats of enamel applied.
Restoration of small parts - Every part needed to be stripped, cleaned, serviced before being chromed or painted.
Wheels - Both wheels had to be stripped, the rims chromed and then rebuilt using a new set of spokes around the hub.
Decals - We replicated all original signage and lettering.
We undertake every level of restoration at Bell's from a thorough clean, polish and service to a complete A1 restoration as seen here with the Hetchins tandem. Typically we restore 20th century vintage and classic bikes but we also work with museums to preserve antique 19th bicycles, penny farthings and tricycles.
If you have a similar project in mind then we'd love to hear from you. We'll happily talk through the process in more detail and if you provide us with some detailed photos we'll supply an estimate.