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Jun 7, 2015
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In the Mitten
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For many years I kept this hand-me-down mountain bike in the garage left over when my son moved out on his own. It was a decent enough bike and I kept telling myself it was good enough and that I would get used to riding it.

But I never did like the riding position and I'm just not a mountain bike person. I grew up with cruiser type bikes and in my older years would just be happy with a decent, comfortable single speed cruiser. With a little hot rod style of course.
So I picked up this older Raleigh mens 26" two winters ago and started buying a few parts I wanted and forming in my mind the basics of color combo and final style. Here's a picture of it basically as I got it except with a trial fit of some huge ape hangers I had ordered. As you can see the garage was pretty full of "stuff" that winter so the bike stayed stored on one side until better weather.

The red paint was only partly original but had been touched up in many places by previous owners and had to be re-painted. I was not going for the original red color anyway. Aluminum wheels were in good shape and I planned to retain those along with existing usable tires. The seat was not ripped and comfortable enough for my fat behind so that would stay too. Crank assy and mechanicals were usable and are all retained.
Once the weather got warm enough the bike was stripped and hung up for complete sanding of the old paint surface. The original paint was solid as a base it just needed a good sanding to smooth out the touch up spots, runs, drips etc. Also to give the new primer a good grip.

Next came a couple coats of gray primer.

Then my chosen color applied in the form of matte black. The fenders I left in their original paint scheme because the metallic gray with small pinstripes went well with the basic black. I don't think they are original to the bike but they suited my needs and the color works for me. Topped off with the ape hangers, some real leather grips, a salvaged Schwinn tank purchased from CL and, a vintage headlight that I found in an antique shop.

A couple additional small mods were to bob the rear fender and re-use the original chain guard but to scuff its surface with some 3M pad to just take the shine off the cream color paint and give it he same matte gloss finish. It pays homage to the bikes origin with the cream color paint and I could not bear to lose that original "Retroglide" decal.

Some future updates to be accomplished are to build a new seat post that will lower it and move it rearward just a little and, a better tank mounting which I have not yet had the vision for. I'm still looking for just the right mounting bracket design. Since reading through this thread and seeing all the possible goodies available for bikes I might change out the rear tire for something slightly more hot rod looking. But it's basically ready for some summertime street cruising.

Here it is parked with its big brother, my other street cruiser.

So now that this simple build is done I'm already planning the next one. I got a decent old skip tooth bike at a local garage sale for the sum of $15. It's old and caked with years of bad paint jobs but its all there and will has just the right frame style to make a classing board track racer clone. I hope to start that build later this year.