Simply Deelite-ful

Simply Deelite-ful

Today, Audrey and I spent a little while cleaning the Deelite, in preparation for taking it in to get the wheels and fenders fixed and trued. While Audrey was on lemon-and-foil duty, I followed her with  wax, tackled cleaning the chain and chainwheel (lots of low-viscosity biodegradeable lube on a rag did the trick), and tried a couple of new things:

1. Goof-Off, to remove adhesive left behind by early-1970s-era decals, applied sparingly with a rag. It worked like magic, and didn’t seem to change the underlying paint in any way.

There used to be triangular stickers on the front forks, the dirt-encrusted remnants of which could be seen in photos in the first post about the Deelite. The solvent removed the residue completely.

2. a Magic Eraser, where regular soap had failed to remove layers of caked-on yuckiness from the vinyl saddle and the rubber hand grips. It removed the gross layer of dirt (and skin cells and sunscreen and god knows what else) from the saddle, but also some of the colour from the flowers (which were hardly pristine anyway). It could not get into the crevices of the rubber grips.

As you can see in the top photo, the still-nameless Deelite has had a vintage rear-view mirror and some LED flashers installed; the plan is to also put a chainguard, basket, streamers, and spoke beads on to girl it up. I can’t wait to see it finished with my little sweetie on the saddle!

UPDATE: It turns out that the Deelite needs labour-intensive repairs, so on the advice of the lovely guys at United Cycle we bought an already-serviced used bike for Audrey’s birthday instead (which you’ll see in an upcoming post). Here is what they said is wrong with the Deelite: new tire & tube needed for rear wheel; front fender attached in unconventional way and needs replacement (not just truing); rear coaster hub not stopping properly; and, both front & back wheels too wobbly (so, adding washers?).

I now think the Deelite will become a longer-term fix-up-at-EBC project with Dom as the eventual rider – possibly using wheels cannibalized from another, less interesting bike. Audrey loves the flower-power banana seat so it may make an appearance on her new ride.

2 thoughts on “Simply Deelite-ful

  1. Back in 1969, while living in Surrey, BC, my brother and I received Deelite bikes from my parents. It was a typical boys’ bike for the era, what we all called a ‘Mustang’ at the time. It had a banana seat (the long type with the looped bar on the back, which is the only type of seat that can be called a banana seat), high rise handlebars, and different sized tires, smaller on the front, larger on the back. Mine was purple and my brother’s was red, and the seats were “sparkly”. There were some similarities to the bike you show.

    First of all, there were the same metal name badges that you show. The triangular decals you mention were also on our bikes; these were Deeley decals. The pedals were exactly the same as you show, as were the coaster brakes.

    It is my understanding that Fred Deeley imported various bike components and actually assembled their own models out of these various components, rather than importing already made bikes and assembling them and re-badging them.

    The bike you have appears from the type of seat to date to the mid to late 70s. It’s not a “true” banana seat, rather it is a modified banana seat, because it appears to be shorter than what banana seats were like in the 60s. The later Deeley badge (decal, actually) dates from the 80s, and your metal badge places the bike squarely in the 70s without any problem.

    Also, it appears to me that the plastic handles you have on the handlebars are non-original. Deeley handles were more of a vinyl (softer) and were the same colour as the frame.

    Still, a nice bike with potential.

  2. Glenn – thank you so much for your insight!

    It would make sense that the flower-printed seat and white handles are later additions to make a hand-me-down bike suitable for a little sister to ride.

    My plans now, as I mention above, are to fix it up for my son to ride when he’s tall enough – so based on your feedback, I’ll look for blue vinyl grips and a replacement glitter-vinyl banana seat to bring it closer to how it probably originally looked. (This will be cool!)

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