The BikeCommuters.com Secret Lab, Phoenix division, is now open and the adventure of building my own commuter is finally upon me.
I like tinkering with bikes and have even had a few opportunities to take apart, paint and reassemble bikes. All of those projects never resulted in anything much – none of the bikes are even in my possession any more. But I am always on the look out for a good “project bike.” Once I started bike commuting, I felt the desire to build a custom commuter – spec’d exactly for what I needed. My road bike is too nice for the crummy roads and my mountain bike is too slow and too relaxed (geometry-wise) for the distance. I like the feel of lugged steel (who doesn’t, really?) and have been on the lookout for a frame for building my franken-bike. And, alas, I have found it.
While making my first visit to the Tempe Bike Saviours – a local bike co-op (aka HEAVEN) – I found this sweet ol’ gal amidst a pile of rusted out Schwinn’s and Huffy’s. I have yet to decipher all of the serial numbers so I can figure out the exact model and year of manufacture – but I do know that it is a pre-1973 Japanese model of the Sekine road bike.
Sekine’s were originally manufactured in Japan until 1973, when they opened a plant in Manitoba, Canada to avoid certain duties and tariffs on importing bikes. Sekine was one of those brands that really profited off of the 70s bike boom – they were self-proclaimed as the “World’s Finest Bicycle” (note that the actual frame decal says “World Finest Bicycle…”).
The head badge has a signature rhinestone at the top – which I actually thought was something added by whoever owned this bike before.
For now, all I have is the frameset: frame, fork and crankset. This merely means that I have a blank canvas to work with and I get to hand pick every piece. I will write periodic updates as the project moves along.