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Sears Bike from Probably the 50s

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Sears Bike from Probably the 50s

Old 07-20-19, 12:45 AM
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thriftyswift3
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Sears Bike from Probably the 50s

Some years ago, my wife bought a Sears bike at a large antique flea market event.

We've kept it stored since then, as it's not a viably rideable bike on hostile city streets.

We are moving once again and so it has been uncovered from beneath a tarp in a storage area in our house. I posted it for sale once again, but no takers.

Tonight I rode it, my dog running alongside, to our new house so I could deposit it there. It actually is enjoyable to ride!

I searched this site for the word "Sears" and found nothing. I'm just curious about this bike.

I snapped a pic of the number stamped on the dropout tonight.
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Old 07-20-19, 05:14 AM
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I don't know the serial number coding but the chainwheel pattern is consistent with the bicycle being contract manufactured by Murray. A male version of this bicycle surfaced a few week ago with the same dropouts and another member dated this feature from the 1960s though the 1980s. Given the light fairing, I'd place your bicycle to the early end of this time frame. See Old cruiser - reason for extension behind rear dropout?
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Old 07-20-19, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
I don't know the serial number coding but the chainwheel pattern is consistent with the bicycle being contract manufactured by Murray. A male version of this bicycle surfaced a few week ago with the same dropouts and another member dated this feature from the 1960s though the 1980s. Given the light fairing, I'd place your bicycle to the early end of this time frame. See (...)
Oh thanks, T-Mar. I will look at that thread.

Best my eyes can read, the number is 462111 766863

I tried to post a couple pics last night, but I haven't (with this account) made at least 10 posts yet and thus wasn't allowed. FWIW, I have had more activity on Bikeforums in the past, but forgot my password and the process of recovering did not work, so I laboriously and finally was able to start a functioning new account after some failures. Phew.

Last edited by cb400bill; 02-15-20 at 01:19 AM.
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Old 07-20-19, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by thriftyswift3 View Post
...I tried to post a couple pics last night, but I haven't (with this account) made at least 10 posts yet and thus wasn't allowed...
Here's a link to where I found your pictures; https://www.bikeforums.net/g/album/14581735
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Old 07-20-19, 01:23 PM
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Oh, thanks!
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Old 07-20-19, 01:30 PM
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Early to mid 60's Sears branded version of a Murray Missile, here's a page from their 1962 Catalog. With the chrome fenders it might be a year or two newer. I had the red one at the top of the page, I rode that thing EVERYWHERE, hence my user name.

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Old 07-20-19, 10:41 PM
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Wow, Murray Missile, thank you! Looks like that's the bike we've got here!

Okay, this is interesting. Turns out my Sears (Murray) bike is a children's bike?

Thing is, we have another antique bike that was given to us by a neighbor back in Minnesota – a Schwinn Racer. I was really starting to like this bike that we've had for some years and stored away – now that I once again broke it out and rode it around. It's got city registration stickers from Normal, IL – one from like 1967 and one from like 1964. Well, I found out the Racer is a kids' bike too.

I guess my wife's wishes to sell them both just got shots in the arms.

BTW, the Sears (Murray) bike has a sticker on the back of the rear fender that says "Safety Club" and seems to be from the Optimist Club or similar.
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Old 07-21-19, 08:24 AM
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When you say "kid's" bike do you mean they're not 26" wheels?

Back then local organizations would put on bicycle safety courses for school children and you'd get some sort of "prize" for completing it and a sticker to put on your bike. Around here it was usually the Lions or Kiwanis clubs.
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Old 07-21-19, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Murray Missile View Post
When you say "kid's" bike do you mean they're not 26" wheels?

Back then local organizations would put on bicycle safety courses for school children and you'd get some sort of "prize" for completing it and a sticker to put on your bike. Around here it was usually the Lions or Kiwanis clubs.
In the 1960s a 26" wheel bicycle could be considered adult or junvenile. If it was coaster brake with a camel back top tube, it was typically considered a junvenile bicycle. If it was 3 speed with a straight top tube, it was generally considered an adult bicycle.
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Old 07-21-19, 09:28 AM
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Schwinn did offer the Racer in a tall frame, 23" I think, but you don't see many today. Bikes were pretty much considered kids toys back in the 50s and early 60s, at least where I grew up in NJ. I think many adults considered them a relic of the depression and war years that they were happy to move away from.
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Old 07-21-19, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
In the 1960s a 26" wheel bicycle could be considered adult or juvenile. If it was coaster brake with a camel back top tube, it was typically considered a junvenile bicycle. If it was 3 speed with a straight top tube, it was generally considered an adult bicycle.
Yeah, I remember, I was there . I guess it's a matter of perspective, here in Podunk in the early 60's diamond frame bikes were quite a rarity, I don't think anyone in town had a 10 speed until '67 or '68 although the preacher's kid did have a 3 speed "English Racer, he was a spoiled brat, we couldn't stand him LOL. When an adult did ride a bike they usually borrowed their kid's bike but an adult on a bicycle was also a rarity, now sadly it's the other way around. So to me a "kid's" bike would be a 20 or 24 inch, once we got big enough to ride a 26 inch bike we didn't consider ourselves "kids" any more even though we were.
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Old 07-22-19, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Murray Missile View Post
When you say "kid's" bike do you mean they're not 26" wheels?

Back then local organizations would put on bicycle safety courses for school children and you'd get some sort of "prize" for completing it and a sticker to put on your bike. Around here it was usually the Lions or Kiwanis clubs.
I say "kids'" because in looking into it online, it was said that they were kids' bikes. Our Schwinn Racer has 26" wheels. It is a rather short bike.

I also see that in the old advert. that you posted here (thank you, by the way!) it lists those Murray bikes as boys' and girls' – including the 26" wheel ones.
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Old 02-15-20, 12:53 AM
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Here's a question: Where is a good place to buy caged bearings? I need some for the front hub of this bike. Thus far, I've only gotten them from the co-op. I would love to have my own source for parts so I'm not dependent solely on the co-op.

Shifting focus to the front hub today: I realized as I rode that the front hub really needed attention. I know, not surprising. So, I opened it up tonight. What a simple setup!

The nut that locks the bearing adjustment is the mounting nut!

So, this hub really needed service! One of the caged bearings came apart as I opened things up.
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Old 02-15-20, 06:23 AM
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The oldest bike shop in your town probably has hub rebuild kits compatible with the hub you're talking about. The manufacturer is Wald. If no one has them in stock, the shop can order them from a distributor.

However, the only advantage to using caged bearings is that they reduce assembly time in factories. Most experienced bike mechanics replace caged bearings with free bearings. Using free bearings usually means that you get to increase the number of bearing balls per race by at least one. More ball bearings = better.
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Old 02-15-20, 05:09 PM
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Forget using caged bearings for wheels. Just use loose ball bearings instead. Typically a front wheel will take 3/16 bearing balls and the rear 1/4. 10 front per side, 9 rear per side. I buy them in balls of 144 at a time for around $3.
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Old 02-18-20, 12:22 AM
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Thank you, Trakhak and wrk101 !! So, where do you buy those loose bearings??

I am a slow and cautious kind of guy when learning, so I pretty much knew I should ditch the caged bearings but my hesitant side said "find exactly what you took out." I have seen the RJ the Bike Guy video on replacing caged with loose and it makes total sense why it's better. So...

...tonight I hunted around my very disorganized parts stash on the off chance I'd find a few ball bearings. Lo and behold, I found two of them! The front hub on this Sears bike had 7 bearings in the cage. I was able to fit 10 loose ones in. These are small bearings. So now I just need to come up with 4 more from somewhere and I'll be good to put that hub back together!
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Old 02-18-20, 06:33 PM
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Okay, Ace Hardware! Picked up some ball bearings. Now, my question is: Is it okay that they are "Chrome Ball Bearings?" Is this standard naming? It seems to me chrome is a plating, and one wouldn't want a plated bearing in their hub because plating comes off. Or, are all ball bearings considered chrome ball bearings?
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