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Old 01-24-12, 09:21 PM   #1
Hoss Cartright
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Another yard sale find, Monark Silver King "RAT ROD"

Here's a Monark Silver King I bought at a town-wide yard sale festival in July of 2011 -
Paid the asking price of... .....


After an ethics debate newbie-me "got sucked into" on the CL thread, I'm a little gun-shy on telling the prices I pay. - - Sorry folks, I'm just that way. I'm always "preying on the ignorant" by paying them what they want for their stuff. - My excuse this time is that I'm a Schwinn collector, so honestly I have no idea about Monark values.

Says "Silver King" on the front head badge. Obviously it would have had fenders and a horn tank at one time. I haven't even tried to date it. I figure 1950s since not inch-pitch chain.

Just for grins, I took it all apart and got it going 100%. Even got the frozen bronze front fork bushings free and working. That "cushy suspension" is kind of fun.

It's original paint, has a nice patina. I guess one might call this a "beach cruiser" or "Rat Rod".
(Rear wheel is original with New Departure hub, front wheel is Schwinn.)

Photos as found - after service






I know Monark was a Chicago company and they have their following in the collector hobby. But from my perspective it isn't even close in component/build-quality to a Schwinn. The kickstand on the Monark is bogus as are the butt-welded frame joints which are iffy IMHO.

For example, my same era Schwinn-built B.F. Goodrich Challenger.


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Old 01-24-12, 10:49 PM   #2
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the workingbikes.org co-op in Chicago has a metric buttload of old Chicago made bikes if you are ooking for parts for a restoration
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Old 01-25-12, 10:45 AM   #3
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Cool, but not what I expected - I thought the Silver Kings were usually aluminum with big cast joints and deco styling?
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Old 01-25-12, 11:26 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Chris_in_Miami View Post
Cool, but not what I expected - I thought the Silver Kings were usually aluminum with big cast joints and deco styling?
I thought the same, but the head-badge says otherwise. Maybe the newer ones are like this? Weren't the aluminum ones from the 1930s or 40s?
Mine seems to be from the 1950s era.

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Old 01-25-12, 11:43 AM   #5
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I agree, the aluminum model were from the earlier time range. I spotted one of the "hex bar" versions at an antique show a few years ago, just as another customer was handing over his money. Beautiful bike, but I'm not sure what I would have done with it had I got there first...
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Old 01-25-12, 12:23 PM   #6
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This hex tube aluminum Silver King was at the 2010 Alameda Car Show. I believe the owner said it was from the late thirties. He said the frame is really flexy.



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Old 01-25-12, 12:27 PM   #7
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I think that when collectors refer to a Silver King they most often mean the aluminum models. Monark did use the silver king name on later steel framed models I think mainly on middleweights.
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Old 01-25-12, 04:55 PM   #8
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My Silver Kind was most definitely steel. It was classy enough that I though it would replace the old Schwinn but in the end the Schwinn won out for ride quality.
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Old 02-28-15, 12:46 AM   #9
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Verrrry interrresting. Goto Rat Rod Bikes | A Community of Custom Vintage Bicycle Builders or The Classic and Antique Bicycle Exchange | Collectible vintage and antique bicycle forum
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Old 02-28-15, 07:21 PM   #10
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Since my original 2012 post, I sold it for 50 bucks in the spring of 2013 to a friend in my road bike club. His high school aged son is a tinkerer and now it is powered by a China gas engine and some engineering that is actually very cool. Some of the parts were designed in CAD and made in a 3D printer at the high school - The second image is from September 2014 when I last looked at it. He rides it all over town, it has a Nexus seven speed rear hub.
The front dynamo hub is for the lights and they work very well. The rear derailleur is only used as a chain tensioner.

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File Type: jpg Monark_rat_rod.jpg (91.2 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg Monark_rat_rod_2014.jpg (106.8 KB, 10 views)
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