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Old 05-12-06, 06:29 PM   #1
mswantak
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Balloon-tire J.C. Higgins

Picked up a real oddball today. Late '50s or early '60s womens J.C. Higgins Spaceliner. Semi-mixte style frame -- all chrome except the blue-painted tank, which houses twin headlights. Odd-looking trailing link springer front end, full fenders, sprung saddle, and the piece de resistance: a Sears child seat complete with seat belt, safety panels, and plaid upholstery!

It'll need a trip to the chrome plater's; it's all blistering, but the thing is complete and original. Not as graceful as a Schwinn Hornet perhaps, but better looking than a Columbia. It's got a 10 or 12 digit serail number on the left dropout, if anybody can decipher it.

I won't be refurbishing this one -- too far outside my baliwick Better I should find her a good home, so if you guys know any balloon-tire fans...

I'll post some pics this weekend.
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Old 05-13-06, 12:18 AM   #2
pragueinspring
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That sounds like a great find! Can't wait to see the photos (I'm not kidding, I love tanked bikes)
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Old 05-13-06, 06:32 AM   #3
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Yes Id truely like to see the pictures of this. Also may I ask where you found the info on the jc higgins I got one and possibly will be buying another and I cant find any info on the particular one I have.
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Old 05-15-06, 11:31 PM   #4
mswantak
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My mistake; the model name is Flightliner, not Spaceliner. I took some pics today and as soon as I figure out how to access my webspace from my wife's PC (mine's having a snit today) I'll post them.

Corwin -- any info I have I got from direct observation of the bike. I'd like to find some more online info myself.
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Old 05-16-06, 03:23 AM   #5
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I'm still fighting with my PC, but this '59 from Old Roads is almost exactly it. Only differences are mine is chrome plated and either lost the twin taillights for the kiddie seat or never had them.

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Old 05-16-06, 04:36 AM   #6
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Okay, finally -- here's a few snaps of the old rustbucket.





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Old 05-16-06, 05:46 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by mswantak
I'm still fighting with my PC, but this '59 from Old Roads is almost exactly it. Only differences are mine is chrome plated and either lost the twin taillights for the kiddie seat or never had them.

Oh, man!!! I had that bike in the boy's version. My folks gave it to me for Christmas in about 1961. Mine was red and had a mud flap that said "Have Bike, Will Travel."

I was humiliated. All my friends were getting "English racers" and I was stuck with this dinosaur. Over the next several months I stripped everything off of it I could and rode the daylights out of it.

My brother-in-law put baskets on the back of it and took it to the University of Kentucky medical school with him. Last time I saw it, the carcass was rusting away in the bike rack outside their Shawneetown apartment.
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Old 05-16-06, 11:03 AM   #8
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Those bikes were popular in america in the '60s indeed, the whole space thing was in flight, all the bikes had some space like name. That ones a sears sold one, its not a balloon tired bike, as they faded out in the 50s sometime, that ones called a "middleweight", the 1.75 tires.

I have some parts from a JC higgins like that, i think mine was older though. Does yours use a komet hub?

Cool bike! Dont even clean it up, its too good! Just clean up and tune/regrease the ever important internal guts and ride it as is, freak the neighborhood out, that child seat is classic!!
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Old 05-16-06, 03:40 PM   #9
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I knocked off a lot of that rust with a brass wire wheel in my 3/8" drill, and just picked up some new whitewalls. Too bad that luggage rack got dumped for the kiddie seat though -- twin taillights and fins!

I've got to flip this one; too heavy to lug up the stairs to the apartment anyway. I saw some similar JCHs fully restored selling for $400 and up, so once it's rideable I guess I'll put it up on CL for about $125 and see if anybody's interested.

Turns out there is a Spaceliner model, too. It's waaaay radical; I had no idea Higgins built anything like that. They'd gotten pretty mundane by the time I got mine in '63.
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Old 05-16-06, 09:53 PM   #10
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I had a men's Spaceliner, which got me back into biking since retiring, that is a "Colson springer fork" You have to use 26 X 1 3/8 tires or else they will hit the fender, no big baloon jobs. I also put a 2 speed (kick back) Bendix rear hub on it. Had about $50 invested in it, sold it for $ 20 to a guy who was really needing a good "old time" bike, not one of those new fangled shift things!!! He was happy, made me feel good!
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Old 05-17-06, 01:48 AM   #11
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LOL! I found out about the tires the hard way. I ran down to K-Mart and grabbed a couple 26 X 2.125s, mounted 'em up, and no way, Jose -- wouldn't fit under the fenders. It had 26 X 1.75s on it; I guess that's about the limit.
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