Cottage Indusries

I was swapping private messages the other day on a Cycling forum with a n other member who said he keeps thinking about starting up a little “ cottage type” industry selling retro bikes .

This is something myself and my partner have often discussed from time to time , but we have never taken the jump to actually doing it whole heartedly . Several people would say that after buying and selling retro road bikes for the last 7+ years and having completed over 150 transactions in that time we are almost there anyway .


The main reasons that stop me are I have no dedicated work space , I don’t have enough experience of doing certain jobs and the lack of specialist tools.  Over the years I have bought tools as and when I feel the need to obtain them for certain jobs , a recent bike purchase came with a selection of bike tools that will be used if a job requiring them arises .


A lack of space is a harder problem to sort. Although my current facility is ok, it’s far from ideal, mainly due to not having an allocated work space where I could leave a bike partly dismantled without having to move another bike around it , at the moment I like to try and make sure each job is finished before getting into this situation .

The easiest answer would be to have a bigger unit or a completely separate working unit , both have their own issues more space could mean more room to put clutter in rather than have a clear workspace and a separate unit would mean having to move bike from place to place each time I wanted to work on said bike .

I have even approached my local bike shop a couple of times about having a couple of finished bikes on display in the their shop area , but this has never been met with much interest mainly due to them only selling Bike Shaped Object’s rather than what I call nice bikes .

 Claud Butler Legand

So for the time being I will continue as I have and make do , but I need to learn to do a few more jobs myself rather than relying on others doing them for me , and with this in mind I have purchased a few framesets so I can have a go at doing more of a complete bike build myself .

 Unknown Frame

I look forward to showing you these projects as and when I start them never mind finish them .


8 thoughts on “Cottage Indusries

  1. It’s very satisfying feeling riding along on a bike you’ve built up yourself. Good luck with your project looking forward to seeing it finished

  2. Hi folks,

    Wheel building isn’t all that difficult if you are reasonably, mechanically inclined. I started repairing and rebuilding wheels that my family, friends and I had damaged in the late 70s. After a few attempts I got a cheap Minoura truing stand and was able to actually build some decent wheels. I was using Gene Sloane’s book on bicycling. After Jobst Brandt’s book came out, I really got serious about wheel building. I moved up to a Park Home truing stand (couldn’t afford the pro model) which I still use with a dial micrometer. Over the next few years I built many set of road and mountain bike wheels. My best set was a pair of fast road wheels for our Santana tandem. It came with 27″ wheels, 40 spoke front and 48 spoke rear. I built 700cs with 36 spokes front and 40 spoke rear. These carried 300+ pounds and were still true after over 2000 miles.

    A couple of months ago I was sorting through some vintage parts and found a nifty hour class shaped ACS front hub. At the local bike coop I found a 700c Rigida 1320? alloy rim that was in decent shape. The wheel had been left out in the elements, so the spokes and the bearings were rusted. Stripped off the rim, cleaned/polished it and with some spokes I had, built a new front wheel. Since I haven’t built a wheel in about 20 years, I couldn’t find my Brandt book. I downloaded the wheel building guide from This is a excellent step-by-step procedure that is easy to follow. The site also references a very good spoke length calculator.

    Using this information, I built a very nice wheel in a couple of days. It’s been de-stressed and adjusted a couple of times after the initial build and is +/- 1mm both side to side and radially. I haven’t mounted a tire and ridden on it yet, but am confident that it will stay true. Not bad for a bunch of used parts.

    Brown is also considered the American guru of light weight bicycles. He’s written several articles on English light weights. Although Sheldon passed away a few years ago, the site is maintained and update regularly as a tribute. There is a lot of good information on the site.

    Good luck,


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