For the collector there is always the question of preservation vs restoration. My friend James Allen of Pedalers Bicycle Museum in Springfield, Missouri, gifted me with this beautiful 1902 Columbia Model 92, which had belonged to our mutual friend and fellow Wheelman, Nolan Bay. James thinks that Nolan probably had the new paint and floral transfers added by a bike shop in or around Culver City, California a few decades ago. Do such embellishments improve an antique bicycle? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course, but I have a lot of all-black bikes, and to my eye the bright flowers add a lot. (The Victorians ornamented everything, and I grew up in a home filled with Victorian antiques). It looks as though the front hub is original. The crank and unidentified rear hub with coaster brake is surely an "upgrade" to make the bike more rideable. The steel clincher rims are surely replacements as well. (This allows a modern rider to mount a $25.00 tire, as opposed to a $175.00 reproduction white single tube tire). Bicycle riders have been upgrading their machines with newer and "better" components from the beginning. I imagine Karl Von Drais sought improvements to his Draisienne back in 1817.
1902 Columbia Model 92 ©Daniel Dahlquist