Some people want to revive their childhood memories and transform their ancient bikes for their own kids. Or in other cases, the objects of renovation are bikes accidentally discovered in attics or barns. It’s always a process when something tarnished and almost defunct comes back to life and brings a lot of happiness to its owner again.
“Even the ugliest duck can be turned into a mint beauty,” says Jiří Svoboda, the owner of Faborit biking company, which started with upgrading the legendary Czech bike brand “Favorit” more than ten years ago, when Jiří added this activity to his official profession of vintage British cars renovator.
On average, Jiří builds and renovates about 250 bikes per year. Vintage bikes can be either returned to the original state or – much more frequently – pimped and enhanced with modern features, stylish elements or useful gadgets, such as new lights.
“I always ask my customers about their price limit and try to keep it. The price for a classic bike based on a common model from the 80’s starts at 300 euros but when we talk about racing bicycles made early after World War II the cost can go through the roof because the original parts can only be found on eBay and the bidder has to accept the auctioned price,” Jiří explains.
Sometimes, the customer brings just a pile of metal parts and components but there’s always a solution. Tarnished parts are polished and renewed, rusty surfaces re-chromed, and scraped tubes repainted. Bike restoration projects are usually less demanding than those of vintage cars and motorbikes, but there’s still a lot to do and some rare historical commissions can take months before they are passed back into the hands of happy owners.
“As the vintage bikes have only a few parts, everything is usually easier than with roadsters such as MG B, MG A or Triumph Spitfire,” Jiří says.
His own collection includes even rare custom bikes made by Czechoslovakian pre-war manufacturers of the likes of Antonín Perič, or racing Favorit bikes built for the Dukla Team in the 50’s. Since Jiří prefers bikes that can actually be ridden to those standing in museum showcases, he only collects bicycles with his own frame size. “I love to ride them all. Without riding, the bikes would be as dead as a mere piece of metal,” he believes.Look at Jiří’s work at www.faborit.cz