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Vintage Monark road bike - need help with identifying the model

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Vintage Monark road bike - need help with identifying the model

Old 06-27-16, 02:22 AM
  #1  
noahsmonark
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Vintage Monark road bike - need help with identifying the model

Hi! New to this forum - and new to vintage bikes as well.

I was recently given this Swedish Monark road bike for free, a relative had no use for it. I love the design so even though this one's in a pretty rough condition, I just couldn't pass it up and would like to restore it - might even make it a single-speed and repaint it, haven't decided quite yet.

Tires have no inner tubes (haha I didn't know they even used these things in road bikes) and the wheels are rusty - they are the first thing I'm going to change. I am on a budget though, so I'm certainly not looking to upgrade everything with this bike.

The looks of this bike has some similarities to the light blue Monark 90320 (and 319) of which there are plenty of pics and infos online, but I can't find anything on this particular model anywhere, so if anyone has any ideas or infos I'd just love to hear more!

The only picture with the same frame design that I have managed to find anywhere is here: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/F...1950%27s_I.jpg

The bike's got a steel frame, simplex derailleurs, brooks saddle, tube tires..
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Old 06-27-16, 03:07 AM
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Monark Special Racer
Monark Specialracer

Vintage Swedish bikes in general:
Svenska cyklar och cykelmärken
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Old 06-27-16, 04:21 AM
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Originally Posted by styggno1 View Post

Awesome, thanks so much! Upon first glance, this bike does seem like a nice find and worth restoring (?) with some cool history too (this thing is way older than I thought) although I realize it'll need some love in its current condition. Plenty of rusty bits in there. The original paint job will have to go I guess.

Google translate gives me this: "Clincher tires are a bit special because they are labeled as 28 inches, but larger than usual 27 x 1 1/4 (630 mm) probably corresponds to the dimensions 37-635 or 37-642" - it seems I'll have to pay special attention when trying to find suitable wheels for it..

Still getting the hang of all of this, but the world of vintage bikes is already drawing me in..
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Old 06-27-16, 05:22 AM
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The only issue I can see shows in your last picture. Someone has drilled holes in the seatstays for that bolted on extra bracket above the brake. Depends how big the holes are - how big of an issue.
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Old 06-27-16, 06:08 AM
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Please don't strip it down and do the hipster single speed thing to it. That bike deserves better, even if it isn't a high end model, do some basic maintenance, have those holes that Styggno mentioned looked at first, and pop some fresh tires, tubes, cables and chain on it, look into some Kool Stop brake pads to bring that into better spec, and ride it as long as it fits you correctly. Not a whole lot of money needs to be spent doing this, elbow grease and a good manual would help you go a long way getting things sorted out.

See if your area has a bicycle co-op, they will be happy to help you get things in working order, and teach you something about the mechanics of your bike, as well.

BTW, welcome to the BF C&V Forum, too!!!

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Old 06-27-16, 06:58 AM
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Thanks for the great advice guys. I'll definitely have those holes checked out.

I actually haven't seen the bike yet as my brother just picked it up for me and sent me the pics. He said that while it's dirty and needs to be thoroughly checked up, new brake pads and so forth - the important bits (headset etc.) seem fine and it's a beaut.

Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
Please don't strip it down and do the hipster single speed thing to it. That bike deserves better, even if it isn't a high end model
I hear what you're saying - I agree it would be great to keep the bike (close to) original with all its character and just focus on making it ride really well.

Still a bit puzzled about the rims, tires and tubes though: the rims are rusty (I need to see how much they can be cleaned up, I'd like to get this bike looking pretty nice too..) and they appear to have no "lip/verge" to speak of - this is likely a dumb question but is it even possible to fit anything with an inner tube on these types of rims?

If not, I suppose new wheels would be a necessity. I'd prefer to keep as much of the original parts as I can though. I included a couple of pics here.
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Old 06-27-16, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by noahsmonark View Post
is it even possible to fit anything with an inner tube on these types of rims?
EDIT: Now, upon looking at the picture again, I just realized that when picking the bike up, my brother probably got a regular inner tube mixed up with a solid tire of some sort and if I'm not mistaken, regular tires and tubes ought to fit these rims just fine?

Err.. Newbie-alert, sorry.. I initially thought the rim should have more of a verge on the sides, similar to mountain bike rims.
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Old 06-27-16, 09:12 AM
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Those are tubular rims, or sew ups. The tire is one piece and you glue it on the rim.
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Old 06-27-16, 09:40 AM
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styggno1 -

Thanks for all this great information about the bike!

It appears to me that the bicycle is fitted with a Briga chainset. Is this correct? I would expect frame to have a metric/french threaded shell.

Owned an early '70's Monark with one of these chainsets. Frame was lugless with Huret forged ends.

noahsmonark -

Will look forward to following your progress as you work with the cycle.
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Old 06-27-16, 09:57 AM
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As Sloar has said, your tyres are tubular not clincher. These fit on special rims, which you have. Standard tyres and tubes will not fit on these rims. The inner tube is sewn inside the light tyre casing, which is glued onto the rim with tubular cement "Colle a boyeaux" (If the brand is labelled in French). The rims will be aluminium not steel and the only parts which could rust would be the eyelets around the spoke nipples. You can carefully clean these up with a small piece of silicon carbide abrasive paper and/or steel wire wool. The tubular wheels and tyres give an amazing ride and are well worth keeping and looking after.


Except for the non-standard holes drilled inside the seat stays your bike looks like a real classic. Please don't repaint it or convert it to a fixie/single speed, that would turn it from a rare and interesting item to an 'old, messed around with and not worth keeping' piece of junk. It's only original once, keep it that way. The paint looks to be in fine condition with a normal patina of use for its age.


And having told you what to do with your own bike (sorry!) - Welcome to C&V Forum!
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Old 06-27-16, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by sloar View Post
Those are tubular rims, or sew ups. The tire is one piece and you glue it on the rim.
Ah, that cleared it up, cheers!


Originally Posted by juvela View Post
styggno1 -
Will look forward to following your progress as you work with the cycle.
Thanks for the support, it will take a month or so until I have time to work on this properly but once I do, I'll make sure to post updates and pictures here.


Originally Posted by Oldpeddaller View Post
You can carefully clean these up with a small piece of silicon carbide abrasive paper and/or steel wire wool. The tubular wheels and tyres give an amazing ride and are well worth keeping and looking after.
Very useful information! Think I'll just stick with tubular then.


Originally Posted by Oldpeddaller View Post
Except for the non-standard holes drilled inside the seat stays your bike looks like a real classic. Please don't repaint it or convert it to a fixie/single speed, that would turn it from a rare and interesting item to an 'old, messed around with and not worth keeping' piece of junk. It's only original once, keep it that way. The paint looks to be in fine condition with a normal patina of use for its age.
I'm beginning to agree with you - it would be great to keep the appearance as original as possible. Would make for a real eye-catcher. Then again, the top tube (=a very visible spot on the bike) has a lot of rust here and there (especially right below the saddle - see the attached pic), which is something that could admittedly bother me a bit - I suppose patch painting a few of the most visible rust spots on there would be one option (if I found a close-enough color) but I'll sleep on it.

Great stuff. I'm already loving this forum.
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Old 06-28-16, 05:58 AM
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The tubular tires and rims can be a problem for folks not familiar with them, gluing the tires to the rims correctly is important. Find some of the You tube videos on installing tubulars, or sew ups as some call them, so you have some idea of how to go about this task. Here is one, nothing in particular special, just an example:

It isn't really complicated, or difficult, and I love the feeling I get riding on mine.

I'd say to take your time with getting this one cleaned up, thoroughly, replace what needs replacing, and generally get it back into good, safe riding condition. I believe it will be a nice riding bike, nothing spectacular, but a good, comfortable, reliable bike you can take pride in restoring. Best of luck on choosing what to do with it.

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Old 06-28-16, 07:37 AM
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Not to be negative but I'd really think on this project before getting too involved in it. Tubulars are a lot to deal with, there's a reason very few people ride them. Also restoring a bike in that condition is a LOT of work. Many people start similar projects and give up quickly after realizing just what's involved. And onto Craigslist the bike goes.
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Old 06-28-16, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
Find some of the You tube videos on installing tubulars, or sew ups as some call them, so you have some idea of how to go about this task. Here is one.
Nice! Very useful pointers in that video. Working with glue does seem like a pain - but still doable and once installed, I bet these would last long (a large portion of my riding is all-terrain anyway so I use another bike for that).


Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
I'd say to take your time with getting this one cleaned up, thoroughly, replace what needs replacing, and generally get it back into good, safe riding condition. I believe it will be a nice riding bike, nothing spectacular, but a good, comfortable, reliable bike you can take pride in restoring. Best of luck on choosing what to do with it.
Thanks! I'd have some space and tools available to work on this, so I'd strip her down and do a part by part clean. I'd like to keep the whole project within reasonable limits and not get too carried away, so I wouldn't be redoing everything on it - no re-chroming of parts or anything like that.

Still, it would be great to make it look pretty, so I guess a steel wool would be a nice, hassle-free option on most of the metal parts. And something for the leather on the saddle. As for the original paint job.. Still really undecided with that one.. Would look much more looked after with some fresh paint.


Originally Posted by exmechanic89 View Post
Also restoring a bike in that condition is a LOT of work. Many people start similar projects and give up quickly after realizing just what's involved.
Well.. Thanks for the heads up, I know what you mean - from experience, haha. It's true I really don't want this to become one of those endless projects on the to-do list. I really hate those. On the other hand it's not rocket science, I don't have any option to actually buy a bike (yup.. broke..) - then this one happened to come along for free, there seemed to be no real serious issues with it and (speaking on a very general level) I'm pretty handy, like to restore things and would even have a bit of extra time for working on this later this summer.

And once you get the image stuck in your head, riding a classic race bike into the sunset, it's hard to shake it off. I'll have to think about it.
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Old 06-28-16, 11:37 AM
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I think this is the first bike I've seen with a one-piece crank and tubular tires.
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Old 07-29-16, 01:29 PM
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Just stumbled on this thread, looking on Google for other Monark racing bikes. It's quite a find, this one. Probably from the mid-50's, and in pretty good shape, I think - the rust on the frame doesn't look serious to me. This was about as fine a bike as you could get in Sweden in that era, though some of them were fitted with Campa gears from 'round -56. In spite of being build with non-butted tubes, it probably weighs no more than c. 10.5-11 kg, which is more than decent in comparison with other high-end bikes of similar vintage.

For a lot more information, post your bike on the FB group Cykelhistoriska.

Oh, and please remove the "pie plate" from the crankset!
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Old 07-29-16, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I think this is the first bike I've seen with a one-piece crank and tubular tires.
The Fauber Special was used on Monark racing bikes untill c. 1956, on Crescent racing bikes until c. 1962, and on almost all Swedish standard bikes until c. 1994!
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Old 08-01-16, 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by hagen2456 View Post
It's quite a find, this one. Probably from the mid-50's, and in pretty good shape, I think - the rust on the frame doesn't look serious to me.
Thanks so much for the reassuring words - yeah the rust shouldn't be Too bad, it's been hanging from the roof of a dry space for a long time so most of the roughness is just superficial.

Anyway, this is still work in progress (I don't own a car so just getting the bike on my workbench seems to be the most time consuming part haha) but I'll be sure to post pictures here as soon as I get further.

I'm probably going to end up doing a blue repaint to get it looking cleaner, but keep everything else as faithful to the original as possible.

Still not quite sure which size tubular tires would be a match (I hope they are still available in these non-standard sizes?) but I'm getting there step by step and it's going to make for a real beauty in the end.
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Old 08-01-16, 04:08 AM
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Are you sure it's non-standard? Being tubulars from that era, they would normally be plain 622 mm.
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Old 08-01-16, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by hagen2456 View Post
Are you sure it's non-standard? Being tubulars from that era, they would normally be plain 622 mm.
Nope not sure - first time dealing with tubulars for me so you could be right.

Pic of the markings on the old tire below.
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Old 08-01-16, 08:44 AM
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Various countries had various designations for tubular tire sizes, but they are all the same. That is there is only one tubular size at around 700c.

The 'rust' you think you see on the rim is old dried glue. I would try to clean most of that off, but don't get too OCD about it.

Tubulars aren't really any more hassle than clinchers if you know what you're doing. Biggest mistake people make is cleaning the old glue off the rim every time they get a flat. Don't bother. Put thin layer on to refresh the old glue and it will stick fine. I prefer the italian mastic type glues. (ie vittoria)
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Old 08-01-16, 11:59 AM
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Wow... 27" tubulars... never seen that before. However, this thread may have the answer: https://www.bikeforums.net/bicycle-me...s-27-inch.html - seems that you can run regular 28" tubulars on those rims. But I'm not 100% certain.

Edit: This https://www.amazon.com/Continental-G.../dp/B002SR7LIM seems to confirm that they're the same in tubulars.
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Old 08-03-16, 01:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
Various countries had various designations for tubular tire sizes, but they are all the same. That is there is only one tubular size at around 700c.
Originally Posted by hagen2456 View Post
Seems that you can run regular 28" tubulars on those rims. But I'm not 100% certain.

Edit: This https://www.amazon.com/Continental-G.../dp/B002SR7LIM seems to confirm that they're the same in tubulars.
Very much appreciated guys! To be honest, I find this whole rims 'n' tubulars business really confusing, so it's good to know this bike doesn't use some no-longer-available-anywhere -tubulars and I can just go to my local bike shop to find a decent set.


Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
The 'rust' you think you see on the rim is old dried glue. I would try to clean most of that off, but don't get too OCD about it.
Awesome, thanks. Yeah OCD is actually a long time friend of mine. Over the years I've learned to "work around" it a bit though so I'm just going to work the rims with fine steel wool I think - as well as all the metal parts with some rust on them (rougher grade wool when there's more rust). Should bring some shine overall.

Regarding the repaint - I think I have access to a place which can both sand blast (I know, I know... But they should be professionals and do a careful job...) and do a repaint on that frame pretty cheap (important... I wanna keep the total cost of this project as low as possible) but I don't know yet what would be the best method for protecting the chrome. I don't wanna have that blasted. Is it best to remove the fork altogether - or just cover it somehow?

As far as I know though, those rear parts of the frame are not actually chromed, just painted with regular silver paint (it says so at cykelhobby.com -page on this bike).

And I'll lose the fenders, pie plate and pump to get a light/simple look going.
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Old 08-03-16, 06:06 AM
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The small parts like the pump mounting should be spared, as they're probably original to the bike. Same definitely goes for bar end plugs and bottle mounting.

Before repaint (which I think is a pity, really - better clean and sand the paint very gently, then a good quality clear coat paint) make sure to remove all parts like crankset, bottom bracket, fork, headset bearings etc. You may need professional help for that as well as for reassembly. All threads must be protected, and before reassembly they should be re-tapped.

Edit, by the way: You may find that the brakes are very poor, even with modern brake pads. In your place, I'd change them for a set of MAFAC "Racer". They're relatively cheap on Ebay, more or less period correct AND almost as good as modern brakes (if not better). Remember that you'll need a set of brake cable hangers, too, and you may need new brake pads (also easily available).

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Old 08-03-16, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by hagen2456 View Post
The small parts like the pump mounting should be spared
Ok, will do.

Originally Posted by hagen2456 View Post
Before repaint (which I think is a pity, really)
Me too - I would certainly have preferred keeping the original paint, but it's pretty full of cracked bits and rust, the other side of the top tube is really rough, some of the stickers are shredded etc. Just doesn't look too hot in its current state.


Originally Posted by hagen2456 View Post
better clean and sand the paint very gently, then a good quality clear coat paint
Yeah I'm not completely set on actually having it sand blasted yet, although I feel regarding the actual finishing paint, I will probably get better results if I have that done at an automotive paint shop.

So I might do the stripping and preparations myself instead of having it sand blasted somewhere, then look into what possibly should be applied on it before the final paint job, lastly have it painted to a matching blue somewhere by pros.


Originally Posted by hagen2456 View Post
headset bearings etc. You may need professional help
For the most part I could probably do it myself, but headset bearings could be tricky indeed. I don't know what needs to be considered there so will need to dig some more info on that.

Originally Posted by hagen2456 View Post
Edit, by the way: You may find that the brakes are very poor, even with modern brake pads. In your place, I'd change them for a set of MAFAC "Racer". They're relatively cheap on Ebay, more or less period correct AND almost as good as modern brakes (if not better). Remember that you'll need a set of brake cable hangers, too, and you may need new brake pads (also easily available).
Great tip right there, cheers. Will see how they work and feel and if needed, replace to a new set at some point. Though in case they feel -OK- to me with new pads, and no serious safety issues, I'll probably hang on to them for pretty long. You know, change one part in there to a shiny new one, the rest starts looking old...
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