An Older Restauration


In July this year I saw a small ad on the net which I found very strange. A ladies bike was offered for sale which I at first thought could not be what it was advertised as: A very old Miele. The typical details which give away a bike of this brand were not in the photos, and the bottom bracket was advertised as being damaged, but the selling price was attractive, so I wrote off to see what it really was.

It then seemed that the seller was right and so my son and I paid him a visit; we were on the return trip from a friend´s place, and the seller and his family were literally leaving for their summer holidays that moment. As I wanted the bike, seeing that it had potential as the very rare ladies sports frame it is, but also aware of the fact that there would be a lot of work, it took only a few minutes to strike a deal with the seller accepting my conservative offer, and off we went.


This of course is an “after” shot, inserted here as a means against optical boredom.

At home the full extent of the catastrophe became clear: Yes, the frame had been made around 1934, which was good, and it was straight, but it had also had undergone what people call euphemistically an “older restauration” – in other words, someone had tried their luck, probably back in the seventies, to make the best of what was available then: Wrong mudguards (with the Miele mascot missing, of course), wrong wheels, a paintwork which was nice but could have been very nice given a little bit more effort, a lost headbadge, a damaged and incomplete bottom bracket assembly, headset bearing likewise, and so on. I didn´t take any photos because I didn´t think this bike was savable after all.

But then luck began to strike, and hard. Five people placed small ads on the self same website where I had found the bike, within weeks: One for a great bell, the next for a wonderful lighting set, one for exactly the right saddle, one for a bike with a damaged frame, but good spares, and another one for another bike I could take some bits off of and squirrel away the frame for future use. All sellers, save the one offering the bell, advertised really affordable prices, too, but as bells have a big fan community it is usually possible to recover the money if one pays a “fair” price, like in this case. Not that I would want to get rid of it in a hurry, but still.


Cast from bronze and with the script logo: 1930s vintage

I had the people send the saddle, the bell and the lighting set, and went to get the two damaged bikes. The 1932 ladies from a place near Düsseldorf was picked up when I went to the area anyway, and it turned out to be ideal: Frame beyond repair, but a donor for the headbadge, the missing headset and b/b bits, and the handlebars. The hubs were quite rare, too. I have to remember to sell them on.


The late thirties headlight, made by Lohmann for Miele (like the saddle)

Now for the bits that I could get hold of easier. They were the rims (straight from the shop), the mudguards (from the stash of a friend; polished, lined and lettered by Heinz Fingerhut´s Velo Classic), and the hubs – bought straight off Heinz. Two decisions had been clear from the very beginning – if I built this bike up, I would not spend any money on new surfaces,


Pre-WWII version: Simple pressed steel chainwheel. Post-WWII version is better for a change

and the bike would have special parts on it. With the bike having no steering damper on the top headlug,

34headnodampermaking it a sports frame, those parts would reflect the less heavy duty purpose the bike would originally have had. There are ladies sports bikes in the early Miele catalogues, too, so that was what I tried to imitate, with the added bonus of a Sturmey FB hub.

MieleDaSpoI think that´s not only what I would have chosen had I built the bike up in the thirties, but it was done in the day, too. Not in the advertisement above, but there are instances of it. In the pic above there is another interesting detai: The most marked difference between sports and utility bikes seemed to be the absence of the steering damper in sports bikes. No damper in the pic, none on my bike.

34frontdoBFyearIt helps greatly that this hub also dates from the thirties – 1938, in fact.

The Doppeltorpedo sale took some convincing and a good swap offer, though, as these are getting rare now.

34yeardoppeltorpOK, 1939 is a few years out, but it´s not too bad. The model had been around in 1934.

34DoppeltorpIn general these little two speed hubs have a good reputation, and once you have gotten hold of a specimen c/w the periphery, some spares should also be avialable if the need arises. They incorporate a rather effective coaster brake, so they do away with the need for finding a rear brake, which is an added advantage.

The hubs were laced in 28 x 1 1/2  (635) rims of a Westwood cross section.

34rimThese are still available from the bike shop, for use on some Dutch roadsters, and look just the ticket.

The frame takes them, easily, and as such it also is a bit sportier than usual. In 1934 there would have been balloon tired bikes, and in sports versions, too, but again: The 635 version is what I would have chosen, so I went ahead with that.

It then took a while to find the time to assemble the bike, and while wrenching earlier today I noted the sun had come out. There was the choice of finishing the bike (shift wire, rear mudguard protective netting) and taking the photos in the rain, or shooting the unfinished bike in better weather – you have the results in front of you.


The polished alloy rims and mudguards make the bike look so much more elegant and lightweight

34cockpitThe cockpit with the Doppeltorpedo actuating lever next to the regulation bell.

34WeltkugelThe Weltkugel (“globe”) mascot was taken off the 1938 gent´s bike I bought to have the frame for another project.

Pre-WWII Weltkugeln have bolts that are screwed into threads in the alloy (or bronze in a yet earlier version) of the mascot itself,


while post-WWII mascots have threaded bolts protruding from them.


Three post-WWII alloy mascots; red, black, and green, according to their former frames colours, and the pre-WWII bronze one (lwr l/h corner)

Also the feet and the letters of the older versions are more clearly defined, and the whole cast gives a much cleaner impression. The cut of the letters is slightly different, too.


An early thirties chromed bronze mascot

34RearreflThis reflector also came off the 1938 gents. If you look closely, you can see the Miele script between the alloy rim and the covered hole. I know it´s worn and ugly, and it´s also the cheap version on an expensive bike, but I´ll have to wait for the real thing. There were two versions of this, one a complete lamp with an insert where the covered hole is (RM 1.50), and the reflector with the hole shut.


There is no price in the catalogues for this, but one for a set to convert it to a rear lamp: RM 0.90.

34saddleThis is the saddle which came from Eastern Germany. It´s in a remarkable condition and only took some cleaning and repainting of the black parts. Also note the original angled seat pin.

34DynamoschildSame maker as the saddle: Not Miele, but Lohmann in Bielefeld. Imagine my joy when I unpacked the parcel from a remote place in (once more) Eastern Germany. I actually bought the headlight sight unseen as only the dynamo had been pictured in the small ad.

34headbThe headbadge that came off the donor frame. It´s a 1932 Melior badge, the first year this line was sold. Look great, it´s a Miele, that´s all that counts for the time being.

34mudguardstayMiele Original post-WWII mudguard stays look nice, but they tend to break where the tube has been flattened. Early thirties stays looked slightly different – but again, as with the headbadge – is waiting for hen´s teeth an option?

34downtubetransfmannetjeHere´s what made me look twice when I first noted the small ad on the net: The straight bridges between “top” and down tubes. Post-WWII, even late thirties means they are curved. The hand painted script is coming off again. It might be 40 years old, judging from the bits I took off the bike which gave away the time when the first restauration might have taken place.

34forkcrThe fork crown – not very finely cut. The first restorer didn´t do too bad a paintjob, and colourful shaded embellishments (geflammter Strahlenkopf) had been all the rage in the early thirties.

34reardoThe typical Miele bolted dropout end/seat stay connection.

34reartrianglemudgliningTypically German: The bridge between the two seat stays.

So, more or less done with a project that I nearly hadn´t started. Of course, a number of things need to be put right, but I can do that when/if spares turn up.

A tool pouch – that would be a great thing.


A big “thank you” to Heinz and Frank at Velo Classic for parts, help and advice. The two illustrations from Miele catalogues are courtesy Miele & Cie. KG.



  1. christine P. Ashworth
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 5:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    What a wonderful restoration, very time consuming but well worth the effort.

    • Posted January 25, 2014 at 11:00 am | Permalink | Reply

      Well, actually it was less time-consuming than some restorations I´ve done.
      What I sometimes battle with for a long time is getting all sorts of measurements right in the area of the b/b, chainline and so on – no problem this time as the original b/b was still very usable, and Miele bikes were built for Fichtel & Sachs hubs, so they all work perfectly in a Miele, be it single speed coasters or two speeds. Also wheelbuilding was straightforward as rims and spokes were new.
      Of course I was extremely lucky with the spares as all I needed came up within the same summer, and affordably so.

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