After a month and a half of blood, sweat, toil, tears, interruptions, errors, disappointments, misinformation, heartache, and persistence, I am (sort of) finished with the Viking 5 Star American! This project has been prolonged primarily by my own ignorance, and although I have reached a fairly acceptable result, there remain opportunities to do a better job. In other words, it’s like every project I undertake – compromises have to be made in order to finish the job.
Had I been possessed of an unlimited budget, I would have had the handlebars, stem, fenders, crank and chainring re-chromed. The bike would then have looked approximately as it did when new, although sans decals.
However, I had almost no budget for this job, so those items that couldn’t be de-rusted and shined up were painted, with the hope that some day in the future, I can get around to doing the job more permanently. I settled for a complete mechanical overhaul, replacement of the brake cables and pads, complete rebuild of the rear wheel, stripping and painting of wheel rims, fenders, and chainguard, repair and refinishing of the original grips, and a teardown, cleaning and polishing of the original saddle.
I was able to replace the handlebars with a new Wald 8095 Touring bar, which resembles the original, but is wider (I really needed the extra width).
All in all, I’m pretty pleased with the results of this one, and today I took her out for a ride around the block. The 53-year old Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub and shifter worked perfectly, as did the brakes, so it’s safe to ride, at least. I’m really pleased with overall look of the bike.
Everything I replaced is period correct, although the color scheme is a completely imaginary one, and I think the bike will be fun to ride around the neighborhood. It should keep me in shape, since the gearing is high, and the bike weighs 39 and a half pounds!