Vintage Bicycle Parts – Where To Get Them
From the ‘Workstand and Tools’ blog , Gary G asks,”Do you know of any bike shops in the West San Gabriel valley that stock a good selection of bike parts for everyday and older bikes?”.
Not being one to frequent LBSs in search of new parts for vintage bikes, I am poorly qualified to give you a recommendation for such a source in the San Gabriel valley. However, I can tell you what my approach has been. I do not go to an LBS for vintage parts, or parts for ‘everyday’ bikes. I have tried this, but quickly realized the futility of the effort.
“You want a right-hand threaded bottom bracket fixed cup for a 1972 Peugeot UE-8? Just got a fresh batch in yesterday”
You sort of suggested a solution to your problem — mail order! If you have to wait a few days for your LBS to receive ordered parts anyway, why not order them yourself? This is what I do for new bits that I need. Usually these are the small items that are needed to rebuild the various bearing surfaces: axles, cones, headsets, bottom brackets, and brake parts. Other items like wheels, freewheels, stems, pedals, complete brakes and brake levers, I try to salvage from other old bikes. Sometimes new parts for modern bikes can be used for these applications. In which case, your LBS should have them on the shelf.
In the case of obsolete parts that were never highly regarded (cottered cranks, Helicomatic hubs, steel wheels, old French bottom brackets, odd sized tyres, and other weird stuff) you are on your own and must be clever and resourceful if you want to press on with bikes thusly equipped. Believe it or not there are Luddites who relish the challenge. (I am guilty of this myself). Workarounds are key to this pursuit.
“An indicator spindle for a 1970 Sturmey-Archer AW 3-speed hub? I’ll check in the back.”
There was a time when you could walk into a bike shop or auto parts store for that matter (Western Auto) and see bins full of small parts for most bikes extant. Those days are long over. Not enough profit in devoting space to such items. Never again will be. I suggest getting acquainted with mail order suppliers such as Bike Tools Etc, Niagara, and Loose Screws. If they don’t have what you need, you will have to go to Plan C, which is Cannabilization.
Good luck. Let me know if there is a specific problem I can help you with.