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Old 03-04-07, 09:26 PM   #1
Mos6502
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American Bike Spotters Guide.

I thought it'd be cool if we put something like this together, to help us with our bike spotting. A guide to the construction details of various American manufacturers to help you identify the manufacture of that old bike which is a store brand/missing headbadge/in an old photo.
While things like fenders and chainguards are characteristically different from maker to maker - not all bikes have them, so I'm disregarding them in favor of things which all bikes generally have.
Starting with the frame joining method, most bikes are welded, here's what a welded frame joint looks like:

Welded bikes include Huffy, AMF, Iverson, Murray, and others.
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Columbias up until some time in the 70s were brazed together, a frame joint in a brazed columbia looks like this:

You'll note that the join is much sharper than that of a weld. Only Columbia bikes were made this way to my knowledge (edit: Murrays were "hydrogen brazed" up until sometime int he 70s - older Rollfasts are also brazed). You will see Columbias sometimes branded as Vistas and Western Flyers.
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Schwinn electro-forged joints:

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The Ross frame building proccess probably rivals that of Schwinn's for it's uniqueness by the way. If somebody could provide us pictures of Ross and Schwinn joints, that'd be excellent.
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Most American bikes use a fork crown which is fabricated from three pieces of metal. Columbia and Murray commonly use a crown made like this:

Columbias also came with forged forks like those on Schwinns.
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AMF, and occaisionally Huffy used a crown like this:

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Huffy commonly used this crown, it is also usually capped with a piece of chromed metal (which is not here, because this Huffy was sold by Sears):

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One type of Schwinn fork crown looks like this:

Sometimes there is a chrome cap on these. The forged forks have a different crown.
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Rollfast/iverson use a different style of crown.
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Lastly, Dropouts - they're all different from maker to maker and are a sure way to tell one manufacturer from another - they have however changed from time to time, but generally, 60's 70's vintage ("lightweight") bikes will have these types:
AMF:

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Huffy:

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Columbia:

Columbia changed to a different style sometime in the mid 70s.
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Murray, Ross, Iverson, etc all have their own types too so if anybody can supply photos, that'd be great.
Also, Murray used frame tubing which was tapered, and I think was unique to Murrays - anybody got a good photo of it?

Hope this can be usefull to somebody.

Last edited by Mos6502; 12-28-07 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 03-07-07, 07:22 PM   #2
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Cool stuff............ always good to learn more
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Old 03-07-07, 09:02 PM   #3
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Mystery Cruiser - distinctive rear drops

In the Classic/Vintage Rides thread, Funrover posted this photo of a distinctive-looking frame with no decals:

http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...entproject.jpg

I have a frame of the same make, and the fork I got with it, in my basement, where I am slowly, slowly (over years), sanding it down for a repaint. It had already been repainted when I got it. No decals, no original paint, no headbadge (though two steel rivets remain in the head tube). I been trying to identify it for quite a while, with no luck.

Note the rear dropouts with their multi-position fender/rack mount holes. The frame is neatly brazed, like the Columbias in the photo Mos posted.

The fork--I'm not saying they were original mates--meanwhile, looks like the AMF/Huffy fork with the three parallel plates in the crown.

What the heck is the main frame? And does the fork really go with it? I'd love to do a restore.

Eric
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Old 03-07-07, 09:06 PM   #4
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And another thing...

I forgot to mention the, er, rats, what's it called? Oh, yeah. The "Y"-style seat stays as well.

http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...entproject.jpg
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Old 03-07-07, 09:16 PM   #5
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Thanks for putting it together, But can you put a line between the photos and descriptions?
It's hard to figure out which description goes with which photo.

Example:
----------------------------------------------------------

description #1
[photo #1]

-----------------------------------------------------------

description #2
[photo#2]

-----------------------------------------------------------

And so on.
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Old 03-07-07, 10:43 PM   #6
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I think the black frame is a Rollfast. I initially thought Columbia, but the dropouts look like rollfast, and the chainstays are different than those of a Columbia.
not the best picture:
http://oldroads.com/pqdb_img.asp?p=f...e&mak=Rollfast
but you can try and compare.
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Old 03-07-07, 11:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mos6502
I think the black frame is a Rollfast. I initially thought Columbia, but the dropouts look like rollfast, and the chainstays are different than those of a Columbia.
not the best picture:
http://oldroads.com/pqdb_img.asp?p=f...e&mak=Rollfast
but you can try and compare.
The frame has a lot of potential, I like the double top-tube.

Mos, thanks for the add of the lines.
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Old 03-09-07, 01:11 PM   #8
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I guess you're only allowed ten photos per post, so I have to put this here instead of in the original post:
Schwinn dropout:
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Old 03-09-07, 02:57 PM   #9
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Nice start.

What about Trek, Serotta, Raleigh USA, etc?
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Old 03-09-07, 07:57 PM   #10
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I was going to limit it to 60s and 70s lightweights. But it would be cool if we started another thread for mountain bikes, and balloon tired bikes too.
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Old 06-02-07, 12:16 AM   #11
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Bump, if anybody has stuff to add, it would be cool.
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Old 06-03-07, 07:02 AM   #12
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I think 'cuda's on that!

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