Assorted Adventures in bodges and Frankenbiking: GT Palomar/1960s Sun

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  • So as long as I've been alive my dad's had this gorgeous old Sun that's been slowly rusting in the shed, and after slapping on a crappy wheelset and using it as a single speed beater last summer I've really taken to the thing. However, it's in fairly poor shape and I've decided to restore it to some level. At the very least I want to make it a roadworthy rat/pub bike, but ideally I'd return it to its former glory with a full re-spray, and the campy groupset that it allegedly had from new.


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  • First bike i got when i moved to London was a Sun, the headtube snapped after three years, was heartbroken! Subbed

  • Step 1. Seat tube crack

    At some point in the distant past, some muppet has put an undersized seatpost in, tightened the hell out of the clamp to get it to hold, and made a lovely little crack in the seat tube. I'm half tempted to try and weld it up myself but I feel like that might end in disaster. Equally I don't want to just leave it as-is because I don't want it to get worse. Anyone know of any reputable frame builders/repairers in the Bath/Bristol area who would tackle this?


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  • Take a look at Classic Lightweights for some info/inspiration...

  • Repair and paint: Argos are in Bristol.

  • The cheap fix (Argos aint cheap) would be to drill a hole where the crack stops, to make a sort of upside down keyhole.

  • I've heard of Argos, they seem great but are pricey/have quite long lead times.

    I'm not unapposed to drilling a hole to reduce stress concentrations, every other bike I've owned has been built that way. I'll see what I think after getting a quote from Argos.

    Cheers for the advice!

  • Update:

    I've stripped the paint off to reveal that beautiful 50 year old metal underneath, it's in surprisingly good shape considering the abuse its had.

    I've also concluded that I'll have to go to Argos - nobody else around here has the expertise to make that sort of repair, and I want to properly fix this rather than bodge it. Right now the seat tube is slightly ovalised and so it's impossible to get the correct size of seat post in, so I do really need to get this fixed properly.

    My next dilemma is what I do with the paintwork. The chrome front and rear is totally buggered, and I know a pretty cheap chroming place... But it almost feels wrong to make it look like new again. This thing has such great patina. I'm almost tempted to treat all rust, clear coat the frame, and call it a day. Thoughts?


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  • I'd go for the full restore personally.

    Also where be this cheap chroming place?

  • Silvabronz in Alton, they'll electroplate virtually anything. I say they're cheap, I just know that they're cheaper than some of the insane quotes that I've seen from frame builders for chrome work. I intend to get a quote from them for re-doing the stays and forks and let you know what it comes to.

  • Either way it will look beautiful as a patina'd rat with Skully's cheap fix idea or full restore. Spend your money on some nice vintage wheels/groupset, clear coat and enjoy it.

  • Yeah getting a fork re-chromed at Argos is almost as much as getting the frame resprayed.

  • I got some rechroming done at a place near surrey quays called Douglas Metal Finishing. You walk in with it, they give you a high price, and you bargain them down. Overall I think I paid £120 for a front fork, two cranksets, and various other bits and bobs.

  • Mini update: checked the frame into Argos, they're going to fix the ovalised seat tube, grind off the mangled seat clamp and braze a new one solid one onto the lug that should hopefully stop the problem from happening again.

    With paintwork etc, what I'm going to do is clearcoat the frame and run it as a ratty fixed gear pub bike for the summer to see how I like it. After that once I've got some money and I'll set about properly restoring it.

    I'll post pics of the repairs when I've got the frame back in a few weeks time!

  • Proper update: sent to frame to Argos, they brazed on a new seat clamp and re-tracked the slightly wonky rear end. Sorted.

    Onto the painting. I've decided to paint it myself with the intention of making the bike look "old". I'm using old cellulose BMW paint to get that flatter look that old paint has, and I'm deliberately not being too fussy with my spray painting. If I get wrinkling, I just flat it off and the resulting blemish becomes patina.

    I've just finished the forks and I'm pretty pleased with them. My colours of choice may be divisive...


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  • A close-up to show that the paint is far from perfect


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  • Yes! That looks really, really, good!
    The new-old paint effect works well.

  • Nice looking bike. I’ve got an earlier Parkes lightweight that I’m doing the same sort of resto on. I agree that perfect paint looks out of place on these, even when you have good chrome.

  • Also, have you seen this thread if you don’t know the exact year?

    http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewtop­ic.php?f=12&t=344162

  • Cheers guys - I'm aiming to be done by the end of the month so I'll post moar pics then

  • Cheers man, good to know that there are more people out there who aren't obsessed with overly restoring stuff. I see it all the time with classic cars that have the soul ripped out of them by making them better than new, it breaks my heart.

    Regarding that thread, I know my bike is newer than that as it's got a Worksop badge, So it's basically a Carlton/Raleigh. The frame number is Bxxxx (I can't remember the numbers off the top of my head), and I couldn't match it to any frame numbering conventions that I could find for Sun/Raleigh/Carlton. So it's age has remained a mystery!

  • Forgot about this thread as well, a couple of Parkes’ (Sun) relatives popped up on here a couple of years ago and told some good stories.

    https://www.lfgss.com/conversations/1702­21/

  • Great job on the paint. Those forks are wonderful!

  • That thread is nuts! It's a small world

  • Great job on the paint. Those forks are wonderful!

    +1, excellent stuff. Following!

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Assorted Adventures in bodges and Frankenbiking: GT Palomar/1960s Sun

Posted by Avatar for Slappingpythagoras @Slappingpythagoras

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