Originally Posted by sp115
A bit more info: I'm pretty set on having an early RD for him (it was my first road bike and I have a real soft spot for them)...
If the bike runs well, I don't understand why it has a bent crank. Without taking the engine apart, I'm not even sure how you diagnose a bent crank.
Are the folks working on your bike old-bike/two-stroke specialists? Do you really think they know what they're doing? My experience is that it is very hard to find mechanics who know their way around old bikes. And if you're really planning on riding a 40-yo antique, you need to ante up the time/effort to do most of the maintenance/repair work yourself. If you don't have the time, you (or in this case your son) would be much better off riding something more current.
Finally, don't take this too harshly, but are you sure you're not letting your nostalgia and desire for an old RD cloud your judgment about a good first bike for you son? Is it HIS dream to ride an old RD? Unless he shares your desire to want to wrench and ride an antique (in that order), I think he'd be much better served with something a little more current that is reliable (and uses a lot less gas). Not to mention has modern suspension and brakes.
Don't take this as a criticism of old RD's. They're ultra cool. But riding one as an every day bike is a labor of love and not terribly practical.