The Restoration of Brian's Norco Monterey March 03 2015
Sounds like the title of a novel. And there is a wonderful story behind this bicycle. I met Brian at the Alderney Landing Market in the summer of 2014. I had several restored bicycles on display and he asked if I do restorations and I said "yes!", of course. He told me that his bike was in need of paint and it was a bicycle he had for some years and didn't want to replace it. Brian is a very tall man (~6'6") and his 65cm Norco Monterey Frame is not easily replaced. He had already invested in having it converted from its original Sport Touring set up to a more relaxed upright commuter; something I would encourage many more owners to do once their road bicycle becomes uncomfortable to ride.
The Norco Monterey was an entry level Sport Touring that was simply great value. The frame was built by Yamaguchi Sports in Sakai Japan of High Carbon Tange Seemless Steel Tubing. It has a really nice Sugino 52/42 crank but most of the original parts were swapped out for index gearing. I previously restored a Norco Monterey SL which was the slightly more expensive and better equipped model. This bicycle rides smooth and fast. The steel frame is flexible yet snappy when asked to go fast. The shifting is smooth and the geometry is comfortable. It is unfortunate that more attention isn't given to these bicycles by the average rider. There is a great deal of pleasure to be had in riding a steel bicycle that delivers on both character and performance.
The paint on Brian's bicycle was severely damaged. We blasted the frame, primed it and painted it a metallic red. It wasn't entirely apparent until the finish was set that there was a fair amount of "pitting" which caused some slight irregularities in the finish. In hindsight, powder coating my have been a better option, but we wanted to go with paint to keep with the look and feel of the original finish.
A set of decals was created that was close to the original, but without the black border around the font. The gold down tube bars and the script Monterey were printed in vinyl and look quit dashing against the Red metallic. There were no mechanical issues to fix and no upgrades to install. The corroded chrome headset was replaced with a necco sealed 1" threaded set and looks and feels great.
The best part of restoring bicycles like Brian's is knowing that a great bicycle has been spared from the landfill; that others recognize the value in restoration. By keeping an existing bicycle rather than purchasing a new one, the environment has been spared the cost of production (in terms of energy and materials) and the waste produced in the process.