Andrew is one of our neighborhood customers who has an infinity for old steel road bikes. Ethan always manages to rebuild his various bikes into rideable machines. This month he brought in his latest yard sale find, a Kmart bike made in Troy Michigan, for Ethan to assess. This steel road bike of dubious age was missing it’s front wheel but otherwise was mostly intact. Pure Kmart Kamp.
Top Tube Index Shifters
After talking to Andrew about the possibility of getting the Kmart bike rideable again it became obvious that he was invested in this project. Understand that there are always vintage road bikes to be found, many of much better quality than Andrews latest find. This particular bike featured a specific component that struck a chord with Andrew, the hard-to-find top tube shifters. This type of shifter was available in the 1970s and hasn’t seen service for over 35 years.
Pros of the vintage shifters
Indexed shifters are nearly bomb proof
easy to maintain
Andrew’s first road bike featured such shifters and when he saw this Kmart bike at the yard sale happy memories of riding around with his friends as a young man flooded over him. He was immediately inspired to revive this bike one more time.
The Kmart bike had been neglected for so long that it would take a complete overhaul, easily a two day project, to get it on the road. The stem and handlebars had to be changed from narrow drop bars to a more ergonomic hi-rise bar. Other notable components that needed to be replaced included:
Cables and Housing.
The entire cost was $250 in parts and $250 in labor. The result is a reliable steel bike that will provide Andrew with many more years of riding with top tube shifters. Is it advisable to invest $500 in an old Kmart bike? In this case yes, the frame and fork are solid, the drive train and brakes are smooth, and it will bring happiness to our neighbor. A bike often represents more than its actual worth it represents a time, a place, a memory.
People for Bikes’ summary of reviving vintage bikes.
Of course we see it as all pro in this case!