Yesterday I drove to Germany to collect this beauty. It's all original (Altus A10) except for the rear mech, which has been replaced by a Shimano Acera.
The owner (a very nice and friendly guy) didn't know what it was, so his kid used it as a kid bicycle for years.
Unfortunately that means it has also been maintained with all the love and care that most kid bikes get. None whatsoever, that is.
I managed to acquire it for slightly less than £50.
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There weren't many red 503s built, which explains why you only ever see the blue ones and the occasional black one. In fact I dismissed the rumours of the red ones as fairytales until I spotted this bike.
After a close and thorough inspection I am 100% certain that this is the bike's original paint and decals. However this particular example has the "SBIKE" logo upside-down on the left downtube.
So not only is it a very rare colour, it also managed to sneak trough QC and out of the factory with such an error.
My plans for this one? It'll be a spare bike during the summer and my main ride during the winter.
I'm going to take it apart this weekend, de-grease everything and give it a complete once-over with new grease, oil, cables, brake pads etc. Then I'll look into the chain and cogs, as they seem to be completley worn.