What is it that you want? You have a Bertin or perhaps are intrigued by them and are looking for one. Do you want to just tidy up some obvious deficiencies like dirt, paint chips or peeling decals? Are you looking to restore the correct equipment for the bike’s era and get rid of the failed “modernizations” which are themselves obsolete? Perhaps your goal is to take a rusting, peeling, beaten up bicycle or frameset and return it to the exact appearance that it had the day it came out of its shipping box. Regardless of the path you take in renewing your Bertin, it is vitally important to know what your final goal is going to be. If you do not, there will be disappointment and unanticipated costs ahead!
A couple of examples spring to mind. When I restored (we’ll talk about that term some more in another installment) my 1960s black C 37, I was looking for a functional, fun, randonnee capable machine. That’s exactly what I got and I was satisfied that my goal had been met. If, however, I had been looking for a perfect, flawless restoration there would only have been grief. The reason for that would have been the dropouts. Look at the photo to the right . Nothing wrong with that dropout. Well, if you popped the quick release, the wheel would drop out and you would see the pale grey primer where the black paint flaked off when I checked the wheel fit in the painter’s shop. Completely. Front and rear. Perfectly excised by the QR clamping. Gone. $600 worth of frame and paint work.
If perfect was what I was after then grief would have ensued. As it was, I had a frame with sound, functional paint everywhere else and the frameset went home, was built up and gives me solid service and enjoyment even today.
The other example occurred when Tim M. was restoring his Bertin C 35 which included a fork transplant. Part way through the process, Tim decided that a half chroming of that fork would look lovely. Turns out he was right as the photograph to the left clearly demonstrates. However, this spontaneous addition to the process took extra time to accomplish as well as extra dollars. Chroming in a time of ecological awareness and regulation is no simple thing and was a pricey addition to the process. Tim admits that the chroming “increased … cost substantially”.
So, basically, as the project manager have a clear concept in your mind of what you hope to achieve in the final product and have an equally clear idea of the approximate costs of the undertaking. Perhaps, leave a certain amount of time and money uncommitted to allow for the inevitable unplanned delays and your spontaneous moments of genius which will cost you more than you think they will. In future installments, I will address specific methods for doing both.
I will be posting again later this week on the issue of restoration and will follow that with the condition survey of my C 37 as promised in Part 1.