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November 29, 2012 No comments

Patrick Siebert's Diamant Rebuild.

Friends Bicycles Stories
Patrick Siebert's Diamant Rebuild.
Patrick Siebert was in touch recently with us from Berlin. He posted to our Facebook page a couple of pictures of his freshly refurbished, vintage Diamant. We were curious to know a little more, and to this end Patrick has kindly supplied some more photos of the work in progress, as well as the full story behind his machine's rebirth... When my father moved to another town last September, I decided that I would take two old, trusty things with me from his garage: an old wardrobe, and an old 1962 G.D.R. Diamant bicycle. My father had ridden this bike for thousands of kilometers and I had always loved it for its classic appearance, however it was in a very bad condition and desperately needed a bit of tender loving care. "Anybody got a mint condition, fifty year old East German bottom bracket handy?" I took the Diamant to my girlfriend’s grandma’s place, together with the wardrobe and stored it in her garage, in a wonderful, secluded place in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (north-eastern Germany). This was just the inspiration I needed for what I called the "Projekt Diamant". Work restraints meant I could only work on the bike during the weekends, as I live and work in Berlin and “Projekt Diamant” was sitting, patiently waiting for me, 150 kilometers north. I spent hours and sometimes whole evenings researching bike parts and components, and was constantly pondering the design and possible outcome. Due to the fact that it can be very difficult to find 50 year old parts (with endless hours spent sourcing a bottom bracket and crank) I decided to add in a couple of modern day eye candies and give ‘Diamant’ a shot at glory. The real trigger point was an old Brooks B135 saddle I saw on a flea market at Mauerpark in Berlin. It sparkled in my eyes and I could already see it on my Diamant. "Take me with you! Please!" it seemed to be saying. The market seller must have been thinking “No need to worry about haggling with this fellow.” It seems on this occasion that a black cat brought good luck. At this moment I could see my finished bike in all its glory, appearing as a vision maybe not unlike the visions Kerouac used to experience. Of course, mine was appearing without the help of benzedrine, but nevertheless... The saddle needed some care; I polished the metal, washed it with some gentle soap and gave it about ten layers of beeswax to make it look magnificent again. Then I found out that Brooks also offers some stunning handle grips which they call ‘Plump Leather’. I managed to get a pair of used grips and as I embraced them, I felt like riding on an old motorbike through some good old times. The finished article on the banks of Lake Passow in north east Germany. You can feel the big, fat, warm leather in your hands and they gave “Projekt Diamant” a perfect match with the saddle. Under the saddle I let the old clothes-peg have a rest. Just to pay homage to my father, as he used this to protect his trouser leg from the chain all the time. Patrick used lots of Ballistol while at work, but plenty of Lübzer too. Both of them fine lubricants. During October and November this year I put hours upon hours of work into this project, getting a lot of help from some fine neighbours with, for example, welding to get rid of the old bottom bracket, abrasive cutting of some chain links, heating and oiling to loosen the old headset, and of course grandma bringing me some beer and honeyed words with the black cat huddling around. I finished “Projekt Diamant” by attaching the saddle, like the marriage of an engine with the chassis of a car. The feeling riding this piece of 50 year old history for the first time after the restoration was glorious, with all the moments from start to finish running through my mind like a breathless beat. I went down the village to Lake Passow with a camera taking some shots. As I saw the foggy lake in this sombre day in autumn, I was thinking about Henry Thoreau and the thoughts he must have had after finishing his hut at Walden. All is well Patrick