1990 Orbit America 531c 30th anniversary refurb & rebuild

Scrunch

Retro Newbie
I'm embarking on a refurbishment and rebuild of my 30-year old Orbit America. I bought it in 1990 as a student, heavily discounted in a sale from Harry Hall Cycles in Manchester having had two previous bikes nicked in under two years (my first love, a Mercian I built up, and then an F.W. Evans).

I've just had the frameset refurbished by Bob Jackson Cycles in Leeds. They've done a superb job (photos attached), including gorgeous paintwork (flamboyant burgundy with gold lug lining - inspiration from Mike Muz's thread), new decals (from H Lloyd), realigned the rear triangle and tidied up some duff brazing (both defects from new, hence original discounted price), re-spaced the rear dropouts to 130 mm to accept modern hubs, drilled out corroded rear dropout screws and supplied all new s/s screws and bolts. [Thank you Donald and colleagues for a quality refurbishment. You're skills will be missed, but enjoy your impending retirement!]

The bronze colour in the new head tube and seat tube decals go nicely with the Reynolds decals and gold lug lining, whilst the font of the Orbit name matches the font on the downtube. I think it's an improvement on the original 1989-90 decals. I'll post separately a photo of the frameset before it was refurbished so you can tell me if you disagree with the change of decals!
 

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Scrunch

Retro Newbie
Re: Orbit America 531c - 30-year anniversary refurb & rebuild

And here's the frameset (and components) with its original decals and two-colour (white and silver) paintwork before it was refurbished.
 

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Scrunch

Retro Newbie
Re: Orbit America 531c - 30-year anniversary refurb & rebuild

Here's the full spec for the refurb and rebuild:

Frameset: Orbit America, bought in 1990, refurbished in 2020 by Bob Jackson Cycles, rear dropouts re-spaced to 130 mm
Tubing: Reynolds 531c tubing, 531 forks
Paint: Flamboyant burgundy, gold lug lining
Decals from H Lloyd Cycles

Original components to be refurbished and reused:
Handlebars: SR Sakae Road Custom, silver
Stem: Unbranded (remove black anodising and polish silver alloy)
Brake levers: Shimano 105 (1051), black hoods, silver levers
Brake calipers: Shimano 105 (1050), silver
Front derailleur: Shimano 105 (FD-1050), silver
Rear derailleur: Shimano 105 (RD-5501 short cage), silver and black
Cranks: Shimano 105 (FC-1050), 170 mm, silver
Chainrings: Shimano 105 Biopace, 42-52 (or possibly Specialized 39T inner chainring)
Seatpost: Unbranded, fluted, silver

Other spare used components to be used in the rebuild:
Wheelset: DT Swiss Tricon rims and hubs (RR 1450?)
Cassette: Shimano 10-speed, 12-27
Tyres: Continental Grand Prix 4000
Pedals: Shimano SPD

New components/accessories:
Headset: Tangle Levin CDS, silver (from SJS Cycles)
Bottom Bracket: Shimano BB-UN55
Gear levers: Shimano Dura Ace (SL-7900) 10-speed downtube shifters, silver (£51 from Spa Cycles)
Chain: Shimano 10-speed CN-6701, silver
Saddle: Selle Italia Turbo, white (£50 from Condor Cycles)
Bar Tape: Ritchey WCS Race, white
Cables: Shimano DA 9000 brake cable set, white
Bottle cages: alloy, silver

Comments welcome!
 

sjcprojects

Old School Hero
I second that - a lovely colour combination. Good decal choice too - as with many late 80s/early 90s designs, those originals look like they left a bit to be desired. This is going to look lovely...
 

Scrunch

Retro Newbie
I gathered everything for the rebuild
 

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Scrunch

Retro Newbie
It’s coming together. Just need to adjust the saddle and fit the chain and pedals.
 

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Jonny69

Senior Retro Guru
Lovely colour! I feel like it deserves to have the rims de-stickered!

Edit: good to see the 10-speed dt shifters going into action. I love mine and this is the perfect sort of build for them. Should match the older 105 parts perfectly.
 

Scrunch

Retro Newbie
Jonny69":3q8q5sgo said:
Lovely colour! I feel like it deserves to have the rims de-stickered!

Edit: good to see the 10-speed dt shifters going into action. I love mine and this is the perfect sort of build for them. Should match the older 105 parts perfectly.

Good idea about de-stickering. I always thought they looked a bit garish but hadn’t realised they are just stickers that peel off easily. Also, good to hear you think the 10-speed down tube shifters should partner the old 105 mechs okay. I’ll provide another update shortly.
 

Scrunch

Retro Newbie
After a bit of a hiatus I finally finished my rebuild of the Orbit and have taken it for a spin. It’s nice and light and the gears work crisply. The new Dura Ace downtube shifters work perfectly with the old front and rear mechs.

Here’s how it now looks with pedals and partial de-stickering of the rims. I need to fit a shorter stem as my reach is not what it was.
 

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