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Beach Cruisers Do you love balloon tires and fenders? Do you love riding the simplicity of a single gear and coaster brakes or a single gear cluster? Do you love the classic curves in the tubing of a cruiser that takes you back to the 1950's and 1960's, stylistically? Here's your home! Welcome to the Beach Cruisers and Cruisers forum!

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Old 10-06-17, 04:28 PM   #1
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Cruiser Project: '41 Columbia

Hi, everyone. I drove down to Westfield, MA to buy this old Columbia. I bought it, not because I am particularly fond of Columbia, but because I like the way the frame looks. The kid from which I bought this bike was seriously into old Columbias, and despite his rather young age, knew a great deal. His collection of old bikes was also staggering in light of his youth. As you know, Westfield is the home of Columbia, and this fellow was 7th or 8th generation in that area, and many of his relatives worked at Columbia.



I doubt that the wheels and tires are even close to original. The front has a QR!



He painted it green in an attempt to make it look like an army bike.





So my goal is to clean up the frame, radius (with bronze) the cheesy tubing joints, and then have it powdercoated. I intend to document all of that here. Any comments and suggestions are welcome!
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Old 10-07-17, 02:28 AM   #2
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Best of luck with the restoration. That's going to be a real looker when it's freshened up.
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Old 10-07-17, 09:59 AM   #3
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That frame and fork are awesome.

I am partial to the camelback frames like that. For whatever reason I just prefer them over the traditional cantilevers. And that triple crown on the fork is super cool.

Please post every step of the way. I love watching these things being reborn.

What joints are you going to address? The main ones look good in the pics. Maybe it's the pics, though, or my eyes.

What are you going to do for wheels?

Keeping the skip=tooth drive train?

Do you already have a good source for powder? What color are you thinking of?
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Old 10-07-17, 10:32 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by SquidPuppet View Post
That frame and fork are awesome.

I am partial to the camelback frames like that. For whatever reason I just prefer them over the traditional cantilevers. And that triple crown on the fork is super cool.

Please post every step of the way. I love watching these things being reborn.

What joints are you going to address? The main ones look good in the pics. Maybe it's the pics, though, or my eyes.

What are you going to do for wheels?

Keeping the skip-tooth drive train?

Do you already have a good source for powder? What color are you thinking of?
Thanks for your input, SP. I value it highly!

"I am partial to the camelback frames like that. For whatever reason I just prefer them over the traditional cantilevers. And that triple crown on the fork is super cool."

I like this style of frame a lot as well. I didn't know they were called camelback. Now I know!

"What joints are you going to address?"

The ones on the headtube aren't too bad, but the ones on the BB and the rear dropouts are rather "untidy" shall we say. I'll clean them up a little.

"What are you going to do for wheels?"

I'm going to build a set. I'm having some difficulty finding the right rims for what I want. Right now I'm thinking of 26x2.00 alloy wheels. Its hard to find them in silver, let alone polished, so we'll see. Also, there is not a hole drilled in the fork to mount a caliper brake, so my choices are narrowed up for brakes. Not sure what I will do, and I'm tossing around a few ideas - perhaps braze on some disc brake mounts? That high-tech approach would ruin the classic styling of this bike in my opinion. My friend has an NOS Sturmey Archer drum brake front hub he's going to sell me, so I may use that.

I want to make this a single-speed, freewheel, mounted to a track hub rear, but again, not sure what direction I'll go. Input from you guys would help.

"Keeping the skip-tooth drive train?"

No. I'm thinking a Paul single-speed crankset.

"Do you already have a good source for powder? What color are you thinking of?"

I'm thinking maybe a creamy light ivory white. Perhaps an aged ivory white, and I may have it pin-striped in red - nothing too fancy - just enough to accent.
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Old 10-07-17, 02:25 PM   #5
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The ones on the headtube aren't too bad, but the ones on the BB and the rear dropouts are rather "untidy" shall we say. I'll clean them up a little.
That'll be nice.

Quote:
I'm going to build a set. I'm having some difficulty finding the right rims for what I want. Right now I'm thinking of 26x2.00 alloy wheels. Its hard to find them in silver, let alone polished, so we'll see.
If you want to run 26 x 2.00 tires you can use a variety of rim widths, so it depends on what look you are after and how much weight you want to deal with.

Silver, with eyelets for a very traditional look. Sun Rhyno Lite, or Velo Orange Escapade. Not polished though. Reasonable price

For Polished look at Velocity Blunt 35 or the Velocity Dually 45. Mucho $$$$ or the Velo Orange Diagonale

Get your spokes and nipples from DansComp.com. You will save an absolute fortune.

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Also, there is not a hole drilled in the fork to mount a caliper brake,
I have an idea... if you are going to run without fenders. Measure from where the axle will sit in the fork ends all the way to the bottom of the fork crown. I'll bet there is enough room that you could braze a small steel tube/pipe to the underside of the crown. Just get a piece of tubing with the right inside diameter for a regular caliper brake. Once in place, the caliper will hide it and it will look stealthy clean. This place will have what you need if you can't find it locally, and their prices are great. Online Metal Store | Small Quantity Metal Orders | Metal Cutting, Sales & Shipping | Buy Steel, Aluminum, Copper, Brass, Stainless | Metal Product Guides at OnlineMetals.com

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perhaps braze on some disc brake mounts?
No, no, NO, NO!!!

Quote:
That high-tech approach would ruin the classic styling of this bike in my opinion.
Completely. I have no problem with building wacko hybrid adult sized BMX crazy fun bikes. But that's what modern cheapo CHinese TIG welded cruiser frames are for. Your bike is special.

Quote:
My friend has an NOS Sturmey Archer drum brake front hub he's going to sell me, so I may use that
Now that could be very very nice, and keep the old school vibe.

Quote:
I want to make this a single-speed, freewheel, mounted to a track hub rear, but again, not sure what direction I'll go. Input from you guys would help.
I'm a coaster brake guy because of simplicity and looks. But a freewheel with powerful hand brakes would be cool, if that's what you dig.

Quote:
No. I'm thinking a Paul single-speed crankset.
One word. BLASPHEMY! I'm begging you, no, no, and more NO. Inappropriate for a '41. If you don't want to run the skip-tooth, I can understand that. Sorta. But please just use an Ashtabula one piece. New ones are dirt cheap, readily available, come in nice chrome, even in your choice of arm length, and would look proper. Slap on a Sweetheart chain ring and you are styling.

If you want to make a Hot Rod, get 2003 Chinese Schwinn off Craigs List for $30.00

Also. Paul's crank might not work. It's designed for bikes with narrow chain stays. You might have clearance issues. Plus it produces a 44mm chain line. Plus, it being a proprietary design means you can only buy rings from him.

Quote:
I'm thinking maybe a creamy light ivory white. Perhaps an aged ivory white, and I may have it pin-striped in red - nothing too fancy - just enough to accent.
That sounds perfectly wonderful. Tasteful, subtle, and keeping with the '41 period. Pay the extra $10.00 - $20.00 or whatever your guy charges to have the high gloss clear powder sprayed on top of the color. It's well worth it for the massive amount of gloss it adds, plus the UV and scratch protection.

If you need help sourcing any parts, let me know.

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Old 10-07-17, 03:24 PM   #6
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Silver, with eyelets for a very traditional look. Sun Rhyno Lite, or Velo Orange Escapade. Not polished though. Reasonable price

For Polished look at Velocity Blunt 35 or the Velocity Dually 45. Mucho $$$$ or the Velo Orange Diagonale
I want this bike to be shiny yet subtle. Eye-catching yet sublime. The VO rims would definitely fill the bill.

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I'm a coaster brake guy because of simplicity and looks. But a freewheel with powerful hand brakes would be cool, if that's what you dig.
What I want is a powerful, chromed, coaster brake hub, esoteric, and valuable. High end. Is there such a creature? I've been into bikes as a hobby and professionally since 1972, and I might have seen one along the way, but my old blown-out brain has trouble recalling now.

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One word. BLASPHEMY! I'm begging you, no, no, and more NO. Inappropriate for a '41. If you don't want to run the skip-tooth, I can understand that. Sorta. But please just use an Ashtabula one piece. New ones are dirt cheap, readily available, come in nice chrome, even in your choice of arm length, and would look proper. Slap on a Sweetheart chain ring and you are styling.
Perhaps I should have the skipper and crank re-chromed?

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If you want to make a Hot Rod, get 2003 Chinese Schwinn off Craigs List for $30.00
I have an old Schwinn Corvette frame that I've got designated for this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SquidPuppet View Post
If you need help sourcing any parts, let me know.
Is there any such thing as a silver-colored skip-tooth chain? Where would be a good place to get a new skip-tooth chain?
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Old 10-07-17, 05:37 PM   #7
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What I want is a powerful, chromed, coaster brake hub, esoteric, and valuable. High end. Is there such a creature?
Shimanos are chrome and powerful, but not valuable. I thought you wanted a freewheel out back?

What is on the bike now? It looks like maybe a Bendix red band???



Quote:
Perhaps I should have the skipper and crank re-chromed?
If money isn't a problem, go for it. On one of my bikes I wanted everything to match, but didn't want to spend the money for chrome plating so I powder coated all the components a faux stainless steel color.


Quote:
Is there any such thing as a silver-colored skip-tooth chain? Where would be a good place to get a new skip-tooth chain?

I don't think there ever were silver skip tooth chains. But there are plenty to be found on fleabay. Some are two-tone, which I think looks cool.
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Old 10-07-17, 06:47 PM   #8
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Yes, that is a Bendix. I still need to count spoke holes and check it out. As far as freewheels go, I'd only do that if I could go all-out on a full modern components build. I think that you are right, @SquidPuppet - this bike deserves a little more than that.

After I wrote that about chroming the crank and chainwheel, I noticed that the right pedal was welded to the crank from the inboard side. It was probably stripped or perpetually loose, so a previous owner had it welded on. I'll try to find a replacement.
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Old 10-11-17, 10:06 AM   #9
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Its been nice weather so I've been concentrating on finishing the staining of my house siding. Consequently, I didn't get much time to work on the Columbia. So far I've removed the wheels, fenders, seatpost, and the fork. Bit of a problem with crank removal, however, because someone in the past has welded the pedal to the crank. Its nothign that a cutoff wheel wont cure, but I would have hoped to have saved the part. Oh well.

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Old 10-11-17, 09:05 PM   #10
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Man, that's gonna be a top-shelf, fine classic cruiser, NoControl!
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Old 10-12-17, 06:57 AM   #11
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Sadness.



At least with the kickstand and the fork removed, we can determine the original color.



I'm fiddling about with this right now because its 48F outside, and I don't feel like standing on a ladder with a paint brush in my hand right now. The hot cup of coffee I have here at my desk is telling me to stay put for a bit.
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Old 10-12-17, 07:02 AM   #12
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Look at the very first photo in this thread. I like how the fenders give much more coverage. Its a classy, old-school look. If any of you could tell me where I could find new similar fenders, I might think of doing fenders on this build.
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Old 10-12-17, 07:30 AM   #13
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yIt was RED. Cool.

I don't know of a source for fenders, but I do know a good place to ask. Go to Ratrodbikes.com and ask in their forum. That place is pure old school and cruisers only. It's filled with knowledgeable, talented and helpful guys. Lots of them fabricate stuff too.


EDIT: I'm not a fender guy so I didn't know any sourced off the top of my head, but it turns out that I do know a place. My favorite place to shop for grips.

They even have a few different styles, including flared ends, and different sizes for middleweight tires and balloon tires. You could have them powder coated to match, or a complimentary color for a two-tone scheme.

PARTS & COMPONENTS - FRAMES, FORKS, FENDERS - Fenders - Page 2 - Beach City Bike

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Old 10-13-17, 12:50 PM   #14
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Very nice frame. very cool. So, the bike never ran in its current configuration since that 60s-70s bendix is for a standard chain! If it were me, I could see going either with sticking with an old school bruiser look, string a Morrow on the back to a steel rim, heck with the weight, keep the fenders. Or go a performance route, lose the fenders, alloy rims, run an reliable shimano coaster brake...

In any case just glad you are giving it new life!
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Old 10-15-17, 06:05 AM   #15
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Very nice frame. very cool. So, the bike never ran in its current configuration since that 60s-70s bendix is for a standard chain! If it were me, I could see going either with sticking with an old school bruiser look, string a Morrow on the back to a steel rim, heck with the weight, keep the fenders. Or go a performance route, lose the fenders, alloy rims, run an reliable shimano coaster brake...

In any case just glad you are giving it new life!
There's an NOS Morrow on eBay right now for $200 obo. I'm very tempted, but to get this old girl up and running, I think I'll build the wheels with alloy rims, stainless spokes, and shimano hubs with the coaster brake rear. My first instinct was to put all high-end modern stuff on it. It would be like a classic car with all modern brakes and computer-controlled engine, suspension, etc. Squidpuppet's strong argument to keep it with an Ashtabula crank got me thinking to drop the hotrod theme and just build a nice bike out of it.

I'm excited to start in on this project again. It's been a long and crazy summer, and I've been doing all of the things that I would have done all of last summer but didn't get a chance because I was helping my kids move to a new house. Yes, its did take all summer because my son in law has vintage cars and trucks, and they ALL needed some form of work in order to be moved. Not only did he have all these old cars, but he also managed to hoard a sh*t-ton of vintage parts. Like I said, I was busy, so the house didn't get stained. So yesterday I dabbed on the last bit of stain, and the house is finished! I'm on cloud nine!
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Old 10-15-17, 06:16 AM   #16
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yIt was RED. Cool.

I don't know of a source for fenders, but I do know a good place to ask. Go to Ratrodbikes.com and ask in their forum. That place is pure old school and cruisers only. It's filled with knowledgeable, talented and helpful guys. Lots of them fabricate stuff too.


EDIT: I'm not a fender guy so I didn't know any sourced off the top of my head, but it turns out that I do know a place. My favorite place to shop for grips.

They even have a few different styles, including flared ends, and different sizes for middleweight tires and balloon tires. You could have them powder coated to match, or a complimentary color for a two-tone scheme.

PARTS & COMPONENTS - FRAMES, FORKS, FENDERS - Fenders - Page 2 - Beach City Bike
Thanks for that link, SP. Right now I am thinking of chromie fenders and having them PC'd with the same creamy ivory as the frame. I'll try to line up someone to pinstripe them for me. I have to call the powdercoater and see what he recommends. Ideally, I'd like to have the bike media-blasted, then powder-coated, then pin striped, then gloss clear PC'd after. I think that would be seriously hot.
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Old 10-15-17, 10:30 AM   #17
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Thanks for that link, SP. Right now I am thinking of chromie fenders and having them PC'd with the same creamy ivory as the frame. I'll try to line up someone to pinstripe them for me. I have to call the powdercoater and see what he recommends. Ideally, I'd like to have the bike media-blasted, then powder-coated, then pin striped, then gloss clear PC'd after. I think that would be seriously hot.
Do you already have a powder coater that you know and trust? A good powder shop will want to do their own sand blasting and all prep work. I'm pretty sure the pin striping will have to go on after the clear. They usually prefer to shoot the clear on top of the color while the color is still warm from the oven, for adhesion reasons. Unless..... you are dealing with a super custom powder shop that specializes and does the striping themselves. The special paint has to be able to endure the heat of the oven and the +400 degrees of melting powder. There are some shops out there doing some insanely creative stuff now. But, besides making a living from the trade, these guys are hard core enthusiasts and artists. There are even companies making decal material that can endure the baking process under the clear.






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Old 10-18-17, 07:52 PM   #18
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A new wrinkle in the case.

The kid that I purchased this bike from was... well, SEEMED knowledgeable, but this bike is a 1947 and not a 1941. As I have been shagging off all of the pathetic old paint, I did the bottom bracket shell, and the serial number starts with an "L". That's a 1947 according to the serial number charts.

Still a nice bike, and it will not deter me from giving it all I got. I'm just a stickler for accurate info concerning whatever craft I am into at the moment.
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Old 10-19-17, 09:17 AM   #19
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this bike is a 1947 and not a 1941.
Rejoice. Celebrate and be happy. The "Story" that will accompany the bike further into it's life is now a more magical tale.

"Way back in 2017, for it's 70th birthday, I decided to restore this little gem."






Or are you bummed about the status distinction between Pre-War vs Post-War?
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Old 10-19-17, 11:15 AM   #20
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Or are you bummed about the status distinction between Pre-War vs Post-War?
Absolutely not. Its the frame that I like most about it, and I'm not a serious vintage bike collector... yet.
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Old 10-19-17, 12:37 PM   #21
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Sadness.



At least with the kickstand and the fork removed, we can determine the original color.
Ouch....
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Old 10-19-17, 05:27 PM   #22
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Squid Puppet please stop trying to post Photo Bucket photos (post # 17) they will no longer work unless you pay a great deal to use the service. You reference to them makes no sense without the actual photo. Roger
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Old 10-19-17, 06:31 PM   #23
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Squid Puppet please stop trying to post Photo Bucket photos (post # 17) they will no longer work unless you pay a great deal to use the service. You reference to them makes no sense without the actual photo. Roger

In my defense, I pulled it from a different site and didn't know that it was linked to PB.

Plus, it worked for a few days.
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Old 10-20-17, 07:01 AM   #24
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Not mad about it but it is frustrating and never worked for me. I assume at this point that most things from another site will not work. Roger
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Old 10-20-17, 08:05 AM   #25
tds101 
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PhotoBucket is bloody EEVL!!!
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