Finally after a few weeks, and some time at the framebuilder to get some eyelets put on for the rear rack my frame, forks, mudguards and chain cover are back from being powdercoated. Luckily this happened just at the beginning of a long weekend so I had 3 days of bike building to look forward to. I got it powdercoated in RAL 5014 Pigeon blue, the colour reminds me of my first car which was a VW Beetle painted in a similar colour called Dove Blue. I'm quite delighted with the finish as it was a lot nicer than other frames I have had powdercoated before. I chose to get it with a lacquered glaze on top which gives it a nice gloss, it almost looks like porcelain.
You can even make out the roughness of the castings in the lugs as well as the stampings, such as the PO stamping in the head tube lugs. I didn't notice these before! However I was slightly confused by the colour when I picked it up, in bright daylight it appears like a bluish purple, however in slight overcast conditions or indoors it is blue.
Now for assembly, I repacked the headset with new balls and reused the old cups and races as there isn't really any new headsets that would fit without ruing the vintage looks. It's interesting to note that the old headset uses axial bearings rather than the standard angular bearing which most headsets are nowadays. Also the design uses a large amount of smaller loose balls rather than larger ones in a cage.
A quick mock up... luckily I didn't encounter any major problems.
And a quick ride after assembly... The bike handles different to when I last rode it, mostly due to the different handlebar position which puts more weight on the front. The front fork has a lot of rake, somewhere about 80mm+ which means the trail is quite low which gives a very light front end. Presumably this is to counter heavy loads being put on the front rack, the original handlebars exacerbate this feel which the lower more forward bars I have now make it feel a bit more stable and less twitchy. One odd thing I also noticed that it isn't that easy to ride no hands, I guess this is probably because the low trail means it doesn't want to recenter the steering as readily as most other bikes.
During the first ride I did have one minor issue, I felt a slight bit of play in the crank when I was pedalling. Initially I thought it was a loose cotter pin however I confirmed that it was the bottom bracket, the non-drive side had a bit of play so each time I pedalled I could feel it move. I'll have to investigate to see why. The netting for the rack is still underway as well, and I still have to install the dynamo lighting. Stay tuned for more.