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  1. #1
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    Western Flyer Special Edition

    Hi! I'm new here, and I dpn't really know anything about bicycles. But I'm posting a question I have about a bike that a friend wanted me to sell on eBay for her. She told me it's a 1950 Western Flyer Special Edition bicycle. So I got several photos and listed it on eBay today as a 1950 bicycle, but then someone sent me a message telling me that the bike was just a reproduction made in the 80's or 90's.

    If this is true, then I will have to redo the whole listing. I did a little bit of research, and it seems like it really is just a reproduction. But the friend that wanted me to list the bike told me it was really from 1950, and that it had been sitting in her garage for years and years. So I want to know if the one I have is really from 1950, or if it's just an 80's reproduction. So I'll post a link to the eBay listing:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...8537&rd=1&rd=1

    Please reply ASAP!

    Thank you!
    Last edited by Jesse; 01-30-07 at 03:49 PM.

  2. #2
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    I don't know the Western Flyer bikes in particular, but speaking from the perspective of 50's bikes in general...

    One aspect caught my eye as not being from the 1950's and that is the reflectors... all of them look out of place for the 50's... In general the front reflector, wheel reflectors and pedal reflectors wouldn't have been on a bike from the 50's at all, and the rear wouldn't have been likely to be square if the bike even had one.

    Also, even in a garage there would be more of a patina than there is on that bike. To be in that sort of shape, I would think a more controlled climate would be needed... Like a temperature and humidity controlled vault in a museum.

    In my non-expert opinion, I would say it is a reproduction.

  3. #3
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    Reflectors = Repro

  4. #4
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    Ok, thanks for the quick replies. I did some more research just now, and now I'm about 95% sure it's a reproduction - so I edited the eBay listing. But it could still really be from 1950. Anybody else know about this bike?

  5. #5
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    No, it's really a reproduction.

  6. #6
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesse
    But it could still really be from 1950.
    Two vintage bike folks have chimed in with the soundest advice as to what it is, and you're still holding onto that rapidly fading glimmer of hope that it IS from the '50s? Are you trying to delude yourself of the facts?

    I realize this may sound harsh, but I say this as false claims (usually someone's belief about the bike substantiated with no fact whatsoever, mainly their own manufactured thoughts and ideas) made by people who have recently aquired an older bike - and are ignorant about it - is the surest way of ticking off any knowledgable bicycle collector.

    This is particularly true when the newbie proceeds to doubt the collector.


    But enough of this - back to the bike:

    All the "Special Edition" models are repops, and there's no question as to that. It is known that these are 1980s reproduction by Columbia (have yet to find out exactly when in the '80s they were produced - the Columbia serial chart is not available for these years) - same tooling as various original Columbias.

    Incedentally, I have yet to find out if there was a Western Flyer model produced by Columbia back in the '50s or '60s which actually resembled the reproduction closely - both the decals and the general design are similar to the Columbia 3-Star.

    My own Special Edition:




    I should note that your friend, besides being a bit absent-minded regarding how old this machine is, is a tad too optimistic regarding price. I don't know what your reserve is, but I've seen these basic Special Editions (there was a black/red one made with a springer fork and built in horn in the frame tank) fail to sell on eBay for $120. I bought mine for $125 myself, and did so only as a good friend of mine was moving and desperately trying to unload it - and couldn't. $100 seems the max for these things, if that.

    Sorry to burst any bubbles, but the facts are the facts.

    Take care,

    -Kurt
    Last edited by cudak888; 06-27-10 at 05:24 PM.

  7. #7
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    Look for "made in Taiwan,Japan,Korea,China"

    If you look hard, you will find some parts marked "made in Taiwan,Japan,Korea, or China"-Check the bottom of the frame.
    Old bikes-especially the rubber (very little plastic on a genuine 1950's bike) will look and feel very old no matter how it was stored. This was stored in a garage, so it would be a little rusty(the chain for sure, and probably the undersides of the fenders) after 50 years.
    Paints in the 50's weren't as "shiny" as paints in the 80's-90's(especially on a cheap bike).They "flattened" this paint to make it look original, but it is still too shiny for a relatively cheap 50's bike.On an original 50's bike the metal-stampings like the chainguard-will seem to be heavier than they needed to be.The bike would have been pretty heavy-40 lbs easy-in the 50's.
    Old stuff looks old-always.
    Bikes in the 50's absolutely never had reflectors like that on on the front(that was a fed regulation from the late 70's early 80's). They never had reflectors in the spokes( kids put playing cards in the spokes held on by clothes pins). Heck,I can't remember ever seeing a reflector on a bike in the 50's. The had extremely dim headlights run by batteries, and even dimmer headlights run off the front tire by a generator.I can't remember seeing any tail lights, but maybe there were.We-USA-didn't use bikes for adult transportation in the 50's like Brits and other Euros did, so we didn't pay much attention to bike safety.
    I'm running on. Cute bike, but recent vintage.
    Luck,
    Charlie

  8. #8
    California über Alles!! Radfahrer's Avatar
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    I'm no expert, but just a brief glance at the photos tells me that this bike is not from the 50's, but recent manufacture, for many of the reasons already mentioned. I'd say your eBay listing is correct and the pricing probably fair. Good luck!
    To wat du wüllt, de Lüüt snackt doch.
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  9. #9
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    Thanks for the replies, guys! They were really helpful - now I'm positive the bike is a reproduction. I also lowered the starting bid price a few dollars for the bike.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mattface's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesse
    But the friend that wanted me to list the bike told me it was really from 1950, and that it had been sitting in her garage for years and years.
    20 years is years and years. If it were really from the 50s, it would have been sitting there for decades and decades. Although 20 years may seem like a long time to have something sitting in your garage, definitely long enough to have forgotten just when it got put there, there is a big difference between 20 years and 50 years.

  11. #11
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesse
    Thanks for the replies, guys! They were really helpful - now I'm positive the bike is a reproduction. I also lowered the starting bid price a few dollars for the bike.
    Incedentally, everything IS original on yours, save for the saddle and mirrors.

    The original saddle and handlebars are shown in this earlier photo of my own WF Special Edition. I changed the saddle as it hurt like hell - I ended up mounting a 1950's Troxel that so happened to have the same white/red paint scheme.

    The handlebars, on the other hand, were made out of insufficently thick steel, causing them to bend easily. As a matter of fact, it looks like the ones on your example have bent on the straight sections on each side of the handlebar stem. Might be advisable to change those bars.



    Take care,

    -Kurt

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