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A very little girl…A very small beginning.

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A very little girl…A very small beginning.

Old 01-07-20, 12:38 PM
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A very little girl…A very small beginning.



Sorry, I know, no drive side picture....


While introduced in the early 2000s this is both a vintage as a first of kind and I believe a break through bike.

It is of course an “Early Rider” balance bike and as near as I have found sort of a rarity with the “Pink” seat cover, and yes she’s a two year old granddaughter, and there’s a lot of room to drop the seat and get the fit right.

Other than a cleanup and having the bearings in the axels lubricated I will leave this stock. It has that great used, but loved by a child feel to it. Few scratches and nothing broken. Even the rubber bumper handlebar grips are still soft and not torn or cracked.
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Old 01-07-20, 12:42 PM
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It's funny, for a production bike, there's hidden touches of quality.




Fork ends that are finished with a very nice radius, rather than just left as blunt square corners.




Felt bumpers in the head tube.




Seat and fender details.


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Old 01-07-20, 12:46 PM
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Then there's this, a real surprise. As I ran my finger over the flame side panels, there was an edge.

Yes these panels were stamped and then a veneer insert of the flame design inserted into the stamping. This isn't paint or a decal, it appears to be a real wood veneer insert.

Color me impressed.




Similarly, on the, ahem, "chain stay", the "Early Rider" isn't just inked on the wood, but was also first stamped and then inked in.



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Old 01-07-20, 12:47 PM
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She is the last one of four sisters, her oldest sister got her Grandfather bike two years ago, and her two other older sisters will get their Grandfather bicycles when they visit from France this summer, and all I could see was sad eyes when there was none for her.

Now I await the gift of the look on her face and in her eyes when she sees her first bike.

Priceless.
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Old 01-07-20, 12:54 PM
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all I can say is those grandkids have a fantastic grandfather
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Old 01-07-20, 01:09 PM
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Looks like a miniature Fat Bike. Awesome way to learn to ride.
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Old 01-07-20, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by since6 View Post
​​​​Next thing you know, she'll be getting arrested for parading without a permit in New Mexico. Tell her to watch out for rednecks...
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Old 01-07-20, 01:35 PM
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That's wood inlay and may be more complex than you realize. The little logo in the middle of the flame; does it have the look of the same grain as the frame piece continued past the flame, or does it look like a second insert of different wood? Imagine the steps required for one version, then the other. I would guess different grain, different light-colored piece.

Really neat little bike.
Originally Posted by since6 View Post
Then there's this, a real surprise. As I ran my finger over the flame side panels, there was an edge.

Yes these panels were stamped and then a veneer insert of the flame design inserted into the stamping. This isn't paint or a decal, it appears to be a real wood veneer insert.

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Old 01-07-20, 01:51 PM
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Soon...

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Old 01-07-20, 02:13 PM
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Steel is real, but wood is good!

I know this will give both you and her big, big smiles.

Love it.
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Old 01-07-20, 03:37 PM
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Thanks all, I'll look closer at the wood veneers to see if I can see the grain.

When they grow up I hope to pass on several of my smaller steel frame bikes such as my 72 Katakura-Silk Nishiki Professional, 76-77 Tommasini Prestige, Panasonic Team America Custom.

My plan is to down size my collection to grandsons/granddaughters as they show interest/desire. The best way for a bike to grow old.

Meanwhile it keeps me training as I'll have a passel of grandchildren to keep up with this summer and then a year from now in France on our tandem.
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Old 01-07-20, 03:46 PM
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Cool.
Better buy her an Ironman now.
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Old 01-07-20, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
Cool.
Better buy her an Ironman now.
I know a guy who can fix you up LOL
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Old 01-07-20, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by since6 View Post
Then there's this, a real surprise. As I ran my finger over the flame side panels, there was an edge.

Yes these panels were stamped and then a veneer insert of the flame design inserted into the stamping. This isn't paint or a decal, it appears to be a real wood veneer insert.

Color me impressed.




Similarly, on the, ahem, "chain stay", the "Early Rider" isn't just inked on the wood, but was also first stamped and then inked in.

borrowed one of these 10+ yrs ago, thought those markings were laser engravings
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Old 01-07-20, 11:05 PM
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Tamiya I don't know how the surface layer of plywood was removed so that the dark wood appears in the marine grade plywood, but when I looked closely again, I could easily see and feel in places the edge/lip where the top layer of the plywood had been cut away and then the dark work put in place. You can just feel the edge between the blonde wood and the dark wood in places where the dark wood is not flush with the light colored wood and that slight edge/lip remains.

It makes me think of what we called a "Raymond(?)" machines in the plywood mill I worked in summers during college. This machine would stamp down removing from a sheet of plywood veneer a knot hole replacing it with a clear wood biscuit, upgrading the grade of the plywood sheet. But in the case of this balance bike only the surface layer of the plywood has been removed with the dark wood put in its place.

The light wood design inside the dark wood is another mystery as I cannot feel a lip between it and the dark wood, perhaps the dark wood with light wood in it was a pre-made insert?

As with all vintage things, always some mystery.
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Old 01-07-20, 11:10 PM
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Be sure to get the serial no. for T-Mar

There’s a smaller trike version that converts to a bike, and a tadpole bakfiets that looks like a hoot. Just the thing for a kid to fill with sticks and rocks
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Old 01-07-20, 11:14 PM
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the girl in this one rocks it.

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Old 01-07-20, 11:16 PM
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Didn't read every word, but - Is that a recent CL acquisition? edit: the one i've been watchin is still there.

I need to buy one soon. First birthday in 6 weeks. Maybe we get her on skis this year, too.

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Old 01-07-20, 11:28 PM
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My son in law, running like he was being chased by a bear down a hill, catching up with my grandson as he did a little half slide in the dirt. What's the problem, dad? Lol, I was impressed.
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Old 01-08-20, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by since6 View Post
Tamiya I don't know how the surface layer of plywood was removed so that the dark wood appears in the marine grade plywood, but when I looked closely again, I could easily see and feel in places the edge/lip where the top layer of the plywood had been cut away and then the dark work put in place. You can just feel the edge between the blonde wood and the dark wood in places where the dark wood is not flush with the light colored wood and that slight edge/lip remains.

It makes me think of what we called a "Raymond(?)" machines in the plywood mill I worked in summers during college. This machine would stamp down removing from a sheet of plywood veneer a knot hole replacing it with a clear wood biscuit, upgrading the grade of the plywood sheet. But in the case of this balance bike only the surface layer of the plywood has been removed with the dark wood put in its place.

The light wood design inside the dark wood is another mystery as I cannot feel a lip between it and the dark wood, perhaps the dark wood with light wood in it was a pre-made insert?

As with all vintage things, always some mystery.
follow the grain, is usually a good tip.

With the tank flame... pic looks like the grain runs thru the darker wood...? It would be near impossible to cut a veneer with exactly the same grain to matchup at every junction.

On a used bike, I'd say it'll have fair chance of having seen rain or needed mud/dirt washed off. Even with marine-grade beech Imho glued on pieces of wood will eventually peel off or shrink leaving gaps at the joins.

Laser can be programmed to engrave (=char) just on the surface or they can burn to a specified depth, or all the way through if you want it cut. Lasers also cut with negligible swarf so they can do fine detail... but the big telltale is they'll char every edge they've cut. If you don't like the look of the charring you'll need to shave or sand it off afterwards.

Woodworking laser cutters (well "affordable" ones) appeared in the 1990s afaik so they've been around a while.
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Old 01-08-20, 10:05 AM
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Thanks for tutorial Tamiya, and after looking I could not see char on the edge, but you make a good point about moisture and raising veneer and/or splitting glue joints with micro cracks from impact. So I'll start some research on what could be put over the existing finish like a clear coat on a steel frame to create a new moisture barrier.

Any suggestions from forum members/wooden boat owners very welcome. I did contact Early Riders and it will be interesting to see what they recommend as I'm sure not to be the first to have raised this question.

Wildwood no this isn't the CL it came up on Shopgoodwill so yours is still in play.

LOL serial number, I'll look

Loved the racing and yes we have several families with these bikes and the balance bike siblings more than keep up with their pedaling siblings, at least on the flats, now hills, that could be a different proposition. Along with stopping

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Old 01-08-20, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by since6 View Post
Thanks for tutorial Tamiya, and after looking I could not see char on the edge, but you make a good point about moisture and raising veneer and/or splitting glue joints with micro cracks from impact. So I'll start some research on what could be put over the existing finish like a clear coat on a steel frame to create a new moisture barrier.

Any suggestions from forum members/wooden boat owners very welcome. I did contact Early Riders and it will be interesting to see what they recommend as I'm sure not to be the first to have raised this question.

Wildwood no this isn't the CL it came up on Shopgoodwill so yours is still in play.

LOL serial number, I'll look

Loved the racing and yes we have several families with these bikes and the balance bike siblings more than keep up with their pedaling siblings, at least on the flats, now hills, that could be a different proposition. Along with stopping
outdoor rated, waterbased poly urethane, in several thin coats would be my recommendation. I like Varathane brand
LIght sand as prep
waterbased as it is much easier to work with, especially with multiple coats, drys fast and way less smell, over all much better result IMHO

I use this approach on longboard skateboards I have made from Finnish plywood and Maply/walnut glued
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Old 01-08-20, 04:40 PM
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Thanks squirtdad I will check your suggestions out.
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Old 01-08-20, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by since6 View Post


Sorry, I know, no drive side picture....
Um, that _is_ the drive side, isn't it? (As well as the other side, that is?)
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Old 01-08-20, 10:54 PM
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Yes Madpogue I was just having fun and pulling your leg, as the video of the little girl racers show these balance bikes have bi-lateral drive sides and WOW do those little girls make them GO.

Wife and I had quite a chuckle watching them, could just see the youngest going for broke to keep up with big sisters.
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