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Fresh From The Barn..

Old 02-11-11, 09:16 PM
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William D.
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Fresh From The Barn..

Well shed, really.


Hello everyone, my name is William, and I live in the small town of Surry, VA. I'm not a bike collector, nor am I a regular rider but I do like the old/antique bikes of yesteryear. Penny-farthings' are just the coolest looking bikes ever. Hard to believe they were so popular.


Anyways, a friend of mine approached me last week, and told me that he discovered a shed on a property he recently bought. It was fairly well hidden in the woods, so it was pretty much found on accident. From the looks of the trees growing all around it (and no obvious path to/from it,) plus an extremely rusty Master lock on the door, it's been unopened for a good while. He told me that he planned on clearing out part of the area sometime this year, and this shed would be going along with some of the trees. He told me if I could get in, whatever was in there, I could have (since I'm a bit of a "collector" of all things old) whatever I found of interest. Brought home a Victorian-era DC current floor lamp, all cast iron, with an "Edison" bulb still in it, some old tools, some other misc. items, and under a bunch of old burlap sacks and boxes, a B.F. Goodrich (Schwinn) Fleetliner II bicycle. It was originally blue/white, and had a headlamp (I suppose, judging by the wiring) and a button for a horn(?) on the "tank." It's in rough shape, the tires still hold air (!!!) although I wouldn't dare ride on them. The chain is still good, the kickstand still has tension, etc.

Here are a few photos of it:

I'm not going to ask "what is it worth?" and then you folks never hear from me again, but I'm thinking of going one of two routes with this.

1. Replace both tires+tubes, replace the seat, replace the chain, Brillo pad all the chrome (working extremely well so far) oil moving parts, and ride it.

2. Everything in #1, plus, repaint it as closely as original as I can.


Here is the thing. Is this bike worth anything? I'm not looking for a specific number so I can rush over to eBay and list it, but would I be destroying the value if I sanded the entire thing (sans all the original labels) and repainted it? Would I be better off just leaving it as-is, or is it worth repainting myself? If it isn't worth much, I might as well go ahead and make it look nice. A professional restoration is out of the question, the money simply isn't there for such a task. I'm restoring my Lincoln Continental currently, and all spare funds (within reason) are going into that.

I really like the bike, I could never see myself buying one like this, let alone having one fall into my lap.


Thank you everyone,

(and yes, I do intend on sticking around.)

William D.

Last edited by William D.; 02-11-11 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 02-11-11, 10:24 PM
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William -
I know nothing about cruisers like this, but I am familiar with old neglected road bikes, - and RUST!
And I can tell you that you ought NOT use steel wool on the chrome, but rather Oxalic Acid - or "wood bleach" available in powder at your Sherwin Williams store. (There are many threads in C&V about it - all you need to do is search.)

Also - your chain is toast. But they are cheap and easy to replace: You just need a non DR chain and a chain tool, and you can get both from Niagara Cycle on-line. They are a good cheap source for a variety of things, including tires tubes grips etc.

You'll need to replace all of the bearings and re-lube the hubs and crank and headset. The Park Tool website is a decent HOW TO resource.

You are wise not to ride the tires if you value your teeth. Old tires are unsuited even for short runs.
The rusted bolts should be soaked in PB Blaster form your local hardware. It is also the 1st thing to try for a stuck stem or seat post.

Good luck with your bike. I am sure with a little effort and persistence you can breath life into it again!


PS- The sort of questions you have are better posed in the main Classic and Vintage forum. It is mostly about road bikes, but there is a pretty good cross section of everything else. ( This is the Appraisal forum.)
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Old 02-11-11, 11:06 PM
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So, hold on a sec. Enlighten me fellows. What is wrong with using #0000 steel wool to "wetsand" the chrome? I did it to my Lincoln Continental when I first bought it, and all the chrome shines like new now. #0000, and in most case #000 doesn't scour the chrome surface. #00 and below will. The chrome looks very good, there is some light concentrated pitting obviously, but it looks really good. Is the chrome plating prone to coming off, or is it just a precaution?

I may be wrong on the Schwinn part, I read something about Schwinn bikes being sold in B.F. Goodrich stores with the little B.F. Goodrich logo on them. I'll have to look it over closely Sunday evening, and see if I see a make anywhere.

crow, thank you for all the helpful advice. Sorry for the miscategorization, I must not have looked closely when posting. Someone told me that soaking the chain in diesel fuel will make it look nearly new, is this true? Or is it really not worth it?
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Old 02-11-11, 11:10 PM
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Chrome on bikes tends to be a very thin coating, much different than a Lincoln Continental. Lots of discussions on cleaning chrome, along with some steel wool horror stories. Hey, maybe you are right on the Schwinn thing, as I don't do anything with cruisers. So if you know it is a Schwinn, great. Back in the 1950s and earlier, Schwinn made some bikes for Goodrich. So if this one dates back that far, you could be in business. I have no idea, looks more like mid 1960s to me.

+1 To below, I had a JC Penneys bike, made by Murray, that had identical details: chain guard, crank, etc.




https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-B.F.-Goodrich

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Old 02-12-11, 12:10 AM
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That's not a Schwinn. The crank is a Sears/Murray/AMC type and it has pressed-in dropouts. Schwinn did make many bikes for BF Goodrich stores, but other manufacturers did too. Although that bike is not really worth anything to collectors (condition+(non)rarity+it being a women's), it's still really cool, and since all the parts are pretty simple to work on and common to replace, with some elbow grease it could be an awesome personal project. Paint isn't worth saving--spray bomb it as detailed as you want.
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Old 02-12-11, 05:48 AM
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William D.
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Gotcha. I was kinda starting to lean towards it being a Murray, seeing how I discovered they had a Fleetliner model.


Are replacement decals available for bikes like this? Could anyone tell be about how old it is? I was thinking late 50's, but I may be wrong there as well.
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Old 02-12-11, 11:20 AM
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Since value restored would not be much, I'd ride it as is. Replace the needed items for safety and grease everything and done. Cleaning or polishing any parts will take away from its nice uniform weathered look. I think it looks great as is.
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Old 02-13-11, 01:15 AM
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/\/\+1
Patina only happens once. Myself, I'd take some Mother's to the chrome (works GREAT), clean up the paint with Simple Green or something and then shoot a coat or two of clear over the whole lot.
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Old 02-14-11, 09:49 AM
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^^ That's likely what I am going to do.

I ordered some new WW tires for it today, 2 tires, plus tubes, and tube protectors (they go between the inner rim and the tube to prevent the end of the spokes from puncturing the tube) for $45 shipped UPS Ground. I need to replace the seat as well, as the original is nothing but rusty steel, but I'm not sure how difficult finding a proper replacement would be. I also need to tighten up some of the spokes, but I am not sure how to do that, or if they would even tighten up, as they are fairly rusty.

Here's the main thing. I'm what you would classify as a "Clydesdale" I suppose. I'm 6'1, and about 300 pounds +/- and even though my mountain bike I have supports me just fine, would this one? If I inflated the tires to 40-45PSI, would that be enough pressure in the wheels to support me without them being nearly flat? I don't want to blow the tires out, and even though my other bike supports me fine, those tires can go up to 60PSI. I'd love to ride this bike around, but I don't want to damage anything. I sat on it the other day fully) and, even though the tires looked flat (only have around 10 PSI in them, don't want to put much internal stress on the original tubes+tires) the bike fully supported me, no "quivering" or anything. I suppose the fact that it is a 26" adult bike helps, as it's designed for someone who weighs more than a 10 year old kid.

What are your opinions there fellas?
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Old 02-14-11, 02:04 PM
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My opinion is that I'm flabbergasted someone actually took my advice and admitted to it!!

45lb seems low, try for 60. If you bottom out on a pothole or something, you not only risk dinging the rim but also shockloading the spokes and breaking them out. As far as the saddle goes, any competent upholsterer should be able to help you figure out what can be done, eh?
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Old 02-14-11, 02:37 PM
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Yeah, for 300 lbs you need some PSI in those tires. Scary thing is sometimes tires blow off those rims kinda easily but usually that happens during inflation. Just take it easy. No 40mph curvy downhills.

On my late 50s cruiser one wheel was stout as can be, but the other had spokes rusted down to nothing - I reckon one wheel wasn't under the tarp so exposed to the elements or something like that. My wheels had huge spokes which should hold up well. If yours don't look so hot, lowrider bike shops can get you pairs of wheels for $100 if those don't hold up. There are probably other sources, but I'm just giving you an idea of cost.

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Old 02-14-11, 04:10 PM
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William D.
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Well, they aren't rusted bad, they are just rusty. I hit them up with a brillo pad and they look much better.

60psi? The tires are only rated for 45PSI max. FWIW, I put 40PSI in both of the tires on my old mountain bike this AM, and rode it around briefly. They didn't look flat at all with me on them, although I definitely need to get a bigger seat, the one on there seemed to do more jarring than cushioning.
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Old 02-14-11, 04:16 PM
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Hard to tell in the pics, how big are the tires? If they're 2" or close to it 45 might be fine. Skinnier tires need more PSI than wide ones to support same rider weight.

I always put more air in back than front. road: 90/100 MTB 30/35 for example.

Thing with cruisers is they keep your butt planted so easier to waste a rear rim. I wasted a rim trying out a suspension seatpost on my MTB once. So make sure you lift your but on the bumps.

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Old 02-14-11, 08:09 PM
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William D.
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The tires are 1.75". The ones on my mountain mike are 1.95"

Thank you for the advice on the bumps, there is no suspension on this bike, save for the 2" of tire or so that seperate rim from road.
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Old 02-16-11, 02:57 PM
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Got some fresh whitewalls in today, popped them on (plus tubes and rim strips) and took it for a ride. It was rather fun. Two people pulled over during my ride and made me an offer for it, which I felt was a good sign Plus all of the original equipment actually works! I should probably get the seat re-upholstered, but believe it or not, riding on the rusty metal seat was actually more comfortable than riding on the padded one on my mountain bike. I enjoyed the ride, even though I only rode about 2 miles. (Surprised I went that far, haven't ridden in close to 8 years)
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