Dead Rats Cycles specialise in lovingly restoring vintage machines back to their former glory, some of which have been ridden at Eroica and other vintage cycling events.  I also build custom retro-modern bikes based around vintage frames and can create pretty much anything to order from new and/or used parts.  I’ve developed strong skills & contacts in the following:

Sourcing & restoration of vintage parts
Paintwork & frame restoration
Thread-cutting & repair
Chromeplating
Leather saddle recovery
Singlespeed & geared conversions
Wheelbuilding
Decals & transfers
Customised parts
Bespoke accessories
Handlebar, drivtrain & controls conversions
Retro-modern builds

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After a consultation I’ll give you a free estimate to strip down your bike down and lovingly rebuild back into a fully restored machine with 100% of its parts thoroughly cleaned, serviced, repaired, polished and lubricated.  This includes thoroughly overhauling all drivetrain, brakes, bearings, truing wheels, removing corrosion, metal polishing and final set-up. Plus I can perform any upgrades or customisation work you wish to undertake. Parts costs obviously vary but expect to pay a lot more for new paint or chromework, upgrades etc. Restoration can very time consuming and labour intensive, so if your bike is a wreck expect to pay well over £1,000.  I currently charge £35 per hour for all work.

I’ll give you my honest, educated opinion as to whether the bike is worth the cost of restoration. I don’t make a lot of money on the parts sourced for these projects – I charge for my time and expertise. Much like any other craft discipline, restoring a bicycle requires a broad combination of skills – attention to detail, knowledge, experience, contacts, zen-like problem solving ability, patience, brute force and manual dexterity – this is what you’re paying for. Plus I have the correct tools, lubricants, cleaning and polishing products, and have amassed an arsenal of rare and unusual components, one-off tools, equipment and… bits & bobs.

So if it’s a rare or high-end bicycle – or just a bike that you’ve become very sentimentally attached to – why not consider having it professionally restored? If the bike is not rare or high-end you do risk paying far more than the restored bike is worth, however this is not really the point as it will be a beautiful machine and I can guarantee you will be happy with the results based on the success I’ve had over recent years. Most of my work comes through word-of-mouth recommendations and I deliver a top class service.  I like to maintain a bike’s originality and often recommend a very thorough rebuild/service also known as an ‘oily rag restoration’ rather than a respray.

The aim is to make your bike look and work perfectly.  I lavish bike with my fullest attention and they are handbuilt in an artisan workshop as opposed to being mass produced in a factory or carelessly retailed.  I tune bicycles down to the last ball bearing and pore over such details as brake pad toe-in, indexing perfection, decal placement, tyre pressure, which washers to use…  If you’re a mechanical geek you’ll understand – if not, know that your bike will simply look and feel ‘right’.

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Two wonderful old sayings I find very appropriate to restoring vintage bikes are:

“A poor person cannot afford to buy cheap things”
if you’re going to the expense of getting a bike restored for you, spend as much as you can on the parts; it won’t affect your labour charge and with bikes – up to a point – the more you spend the better value for money you get

“Cheap, light, strong – pick two”
don’t just take my word for it, that’s a Keith Bontrager quote; and with vintage machines you need to consider how authentic and period correct you want the bike to remain as well

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Use the parts list below to help you to budget & plan your restoration (you can leave all this to me).  It’s pretty comprehensive but you will not need every single part, it’s to makes sure we’ve thought of everything before rebuilding and helps me stick to your budget – and if there’s anything you’re unsure of just ask.  For each part on your budget spreadsheet I enter the price, add notes and details, record the source and log the receipts – this helps with your insurance. Each item can be new or used, supplied by you or me, or be original to your bike – in any case I’ll make sure it’s immaculate before re-fitting it.

– Frame *
– Forks *
– Decals
– Headbadge
– Paintwork / Frame Treatments
– Fasteners
– Headset
– Top cap assembly *
– Seatpost
– Shim
– Seatpost clamp
– Saddle clamp
– Bottom bracket
– Cranks
– Crank bolts
– Cotter pins
– Chainrings
– Bashring/Chainguard
– Chainring bolts
– Chain
– Saddle
– Pedals *
– Toe clips & straps
– Stem *
– Ahead spacers
– Handlebars *
– Brake hangers
– Rim rear *
– Rim front *
– Hub rear
– Hub front
– Freehub
– Spokes
– Nipples
– Quick release skewers / Wheel nuts
– Tyres
– Tubes
– Rim tape
– Valve caps
– Gear shifters
– Front derailleur
– Rear derailleur
– Cassette / freewheel
– Brakes
– Blanking bolts / rim brake bosses
– Cable clips / guides
– Disc rotors & mounting bolts
– Brake adaptors & mounting bolts *
– Brake levers *
– Hoods
– Brake pads & carriers
– Straddle cables & yokes
– Grips / handlebar tape
– Handlebar end plugs
– Handlebar extensions *
– Gear & brakes cables
– Cable crimps & ferrules
– Chainstay protector

+ optional extras:
– Rack *
– Panniers
– Basket
– Lights
– Mudguards *
– Chainguard *
– Reflectors
– Kickstand *
– Saddle bag
– Pump
– Lock
– Extras (such as saddle recovering, dynamo mounting etc)
+
LABOUR

* it may be possible to paint this item to match or contrast the frame