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Old 10-21-09, 07:14 PM   #1
zebede
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3 speed Dana bottom bracket on a Western Flyer

My neighbor bought this bike from a retired guy at a local trailer park for $20. I told him I would post it hear to see if we could find out anything about it. Can you tell me any background on the bike or it's unique gear box and the potential value?



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Old 10-21-09, 07:49 PM   #2
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I believe the Dana 3 speed was added to the bike.The Dana units are unusual,uncommon but certainly not rare,in used condition i believe they are worth perhaps $25.00 - $50.00.
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Old 10-21-09, 08:06 PM   #3
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Thanks Schwinnderella, FWIW the rear fender has two "factory bends or crimps" one for a normal chain height from a chain ring and a lower one for the low chain for the small front chainring hidden behind the unit and not shown in the photos. Therefore I beleive that Western Flyer may have offered the Dana unit as an option. The model number underneath the bottom bracket starts off with G60. Would you think this bike is from 1960?
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Old 10-22-09, 12:13 AM   #4
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As posted above, the Dana transmission was sold separately. My Dad installed one on his Schwinn Varsity, which made it weigh probably close to 50 pounds. It worked very well. I remember the low gear being ridiculously low and the same with the high gear. Came and went very quickly, though.
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Old 10-22-09, 05:20 AM   #5
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The bike is probably much older than 1960. I say this because the dropouts for the rear wheel face backwards - most companies discontinued this practice shortly after WWII. Also, the bent seatpost is another thing that dissapeared shortly after the war. I would hazard a guess that bike is probably from the early 50s or older.

Got any more pictures of it?
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Old 10-22-09, 03:23 PM   #6
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Thank you all for enlighting me (us) attached are some additiona pics I have. Some of these show the factory bends in the fender I was refering to.









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Old 10-22-09, 03:39 PM   #7
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The bends in the fender were for the chain-guard.

The red band bendix dates from at least 1961. But is probably a later addition.

Edit: Looks like the frame was made by Cleveland Welding, this example dates from 49/50:


Yours is probably of similiar vintage,

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Old 10-22-09, 04:00 PM   #8
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Talk about a Q factor!
-Gene-
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Old 10-23-09, 12:13 AM   #9
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I believe the Dana 3 speed was added to the bike.The Dana units are unusual,uncommon but certainly not rare,in used condition i believe they are worth perhaps $25.00 - $50.00.
Wanna bet?!? I've been trying to find one (or more) for 4 or 5 years now! They were only made for one or two years or so!
They were an after market item. I put one on my 1950's Western Flier back in '75. Bike weighed almost 58 pounds BEFORE I put it on, (what can I say? it had all the "goodies" - tank, lights, springer front end, rear rack, fenders) and prob. close to 70 pounds after, that 3 speed conversion weighs about 10 pounds by itself. BUT, I was able to RIDE up the steepest hill in town (1.3 miles @ 15% grade) after it went on! Riding is better than pushing.
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Old 10-23-09, 03:22 AM   #10
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I dunno, I've seen them come on ebay every now and then. I wouldn't call them rare either.
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Old 10-23-09, 05:09 PM   #11
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I picked up a complete one with a bunch of other parts cheap,still haven't decided what to do with it. I was thinking about using it in combo with a three speed rear hub.
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Old 10-23-09, 05:37 PM   #12
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Talk about a Q factor!
-Gene-
You forget the horizontally offset saddle - sold seperately!
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Old 10-25-09, 11:04 AM   #13
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I have a couple of the Dana transmissions... interesting stuff but I wouldn't put one on my vintage road bike!

I have used them on my crazy HPV creations and they work great... but they weigh a million ounces.

They are not rare if you are really searching for them. Few people remember them so you can sometimes get them cheap. I got a nos set in the box once.

Gosh... I have to sell some of my stuff... I can't see the walls anymore.
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Old 10-25-09, 11:25 AM   #14
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Would they work with a fixed gear rear hub?
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Old 10-25-09, 12:20 PM   #15
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I don't see why not... they work with any rear hub.

The action is internal to the Dana Transmission, so the chain does not move like with a derailleur.

But why would you want to have a 3 speed fixie? That's just crazy talk. (I like it)
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Old 10-25-09, 09:10 PM   #16
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It's just that I have this drum brake rear hub that would make an easy skiptooth fixy conversion. (-:><:-)
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Old 10-26-09, 07:00 AM   #17
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I don't see why not... they work with any rear hub.

The action is internal to the Dana Transmission, so the chain does not move like with a derailleur.

But why would you want to have a 3 speed fixie? That's just crazy talk. (I like it)
If you have to ask why, you don't understand! But combined with an ASC hub, you could have a 9-speed fixie.
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Old 10-26-09, 06:13 PM   #18
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A 9 speed fixy ladies Western Flyer!
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Old 10-26-09, 08:23 PM   #19
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If you have to ask why, you don't understand! But combined with an ASC hub, you could have a 9-speed fixie.
If you read very, very closely... you can definitely see some "irony" there.
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Old 10-26-09, 08:25 PM   #20
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You know, "IRONY"... like twenty-somethings wearing trucker's caps.
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Old 10-26-09, 08:33 PM   #21
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A good multispeed fixed gear is a great idea, which is why Sturmey-Archer is finally reintroducing one, but a 3x3 setup with 9 properly-spaced ratios would be really cool! Another option is the 3-speed sliding gear bottom bracket transmission found on some German Adler bikes from the 1930s -- that is one rare bird (literally, since "Adler" = "eagle").
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Old 10-27-09, 06:07 AM   #22
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If you read very, very closely... you can definitely see some "irony" there.
No worries, your "(I like it)" had you covered!

Could you tell us more about the ratios? So far all we have is memories of

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the low gear being ridiculously low and the same with the high gear.
Maybe it would work in conjunction with an ASC or the modern version thereof!
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Old 10-27-09, 03:41 PM   #23
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This thread could drive the price of Dana 3 speeds through the roof.
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Old 10-28-09, 11:59 PM   #24
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I did some poking around in my special {bike** place... It appears that I have 3 Dana Transmissions.

Two seem to be missing the sprocket and of those one is missing the crank assembly.

I would say that they made them for more than a couple of years only because there are some differences between each of the ones I have seen. The photo above shows a decal that seems newer than mine which is without a decal. I have a patent pending example and one with two patent numbers

I have also located the original installation instructions that came with one of them. Exiting, yes.

It has what I take to be a date code on it reading 5/73. I will assume that is the month and year.

There is no gear ratio information, however, the final instruction is that "The range of the transmission can be modified by changing the size of the rear sprocket. A larger rear sprocket will result in easier pedaling and better hill climbing ability. While a smaller rear sprocket will result in more speed." Apparently physics in 1973 have changed little when compared to today. Maybe global warming isn't as bad as we have been told.

All in all: it is a pretty heavy and impractical gearbox... more of a novelty, even though it is well made. The fact that it moves your drive side pedaling leg over another 4-5 inches has got to have some drawbacks.

I will leave you with this final tidbit taken from the instructions:
"WARNING For reasons of safety the cranks and pedals must be on tightly or they will gradually work loose and come off."

Amazing we ever made it out of the cold war.
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Old 10-29-09, 06:02 PM   #25
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Are those real cotters on the cranks or just pinch bolts?
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