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Hi, I'm new and seeking project bike.

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Hi, I'm new and seeking project bike.

Old 03-21-09, 10:05 PM
  #1  
Annika
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Hi, I'm new and seeking project bike.

Hi everyone,

I'm brand spanking new to the forum. I joined in hopes of learning some valuable tips before I take the plunge as a first-time vintage bike owner.

I've got the itch to buy and fix up a men's 1940s-1950s cruiser/balloon tire-style bike. (I know....me and eleventy million others). Don't need a tank...the frames are beautiful themselves, to me.

In the hunt for a good project bike, I am having more trouble than I anticipated finding the ideal one. I'm hoping for that "forgotten treasure" bike that's brown with rust, but restorable. Many I find are too nice, and therefore too expensive. Or they are too new (I would really prefer a WWII-era bike). Or they are too rust-eaten and I'm afraid it would be beyond repair with my limited resources (would rather scour chrome to a shine than re-chrome it).

I am not interested in prestige or historical accuracy of the "mint 1951 Schwinn Black Phantom" variety. I am interested in the age of the bike and its potential to look good. My paint scheme will likely be of my own creation, but I will hunt for decals. My source of pride will solely be the age of the bike. I want to ride it, not put it on display. I'd love a Schwinn (for popularity and ease of finding replacement parts if necessary) but other popular brands of the era would be cool too.

I'd love advice and opinions. Is ebay a foolish place to look? Is everything there overpriced? Is a bike of the age and condition I am describing too discouragingly hard to find?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 03-21-09, 10:10 PM
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P.S. (ouch! My first post here is a double-deuce!)

I'm currently drooling over this one, because if its gorgeous saddle, age, and general appearance. But in your opinions, is it too nice to fix? Would it be a vintage-bike sin to paint over this almost-intact paint?
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Old 03-21-09, 11:26 PM
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I frequently see WWII era Western Flyers around here in restorable condition for $50-$150 depending on condition. Not quite as desirable as a Schwinn, but very nice looking and much cheaper. There are quite a few old cruisers out there once you really start looking. That's around here at least. There's lots of old farms around, and frequently old bikes are just sitting in barns or back in the trees just waiting to be found.
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Old 03-21-09, 11:36 PM
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I have a couple of balloon and middleweight project bikes for sale in the chicago area,but do not wish to ship,if you are close let me know.
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Old 03-22-09, 12:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Annika View Post
Would it be a vintage-bike sin to paint over this almost-intact paint?
Honestly, in my opinion, yes. Sorry.

I think if you want to do some painting, it won't be a vintage-bike sin to do it to a bike that desperately needs it. I'm sure there are plenty of them out there that really need paint. You'd be doing one of those bikes a favor.

Oh, and welcome to C&V!
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Old 03-22-09, 12:23 AM
  #6  
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I think you could buy a late 50s to mid 70's Schwinn cruiser for $50 or less, in bad shape, and be amazed how easy it is to fix up. The basic shape is the same, and the chrome is great, generally easy to clean.

I've bought a couple of rust buckets for $20-$30 and sold them, after cleaning and polishing only, for $150 plus shipping. Fenders on those things make packing "interesting."
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Old 03-22-09, 07:18 AM
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Annika
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Originally Posted by Bioflamingo View Post
I frequently see WWII era Western Flyers around here in restorable condition for $50-$150 depending on condition. Not quite as desirable as a Schwinn, but very nice looking and much cheaper. There are quite a few old cruisers out there once you really start looking. That's around here at least. There's lots of old farms around, and frequently old bikes are just sitting in barns or back in the trees just waiting to be found.
Wow, I'd love one. The manufacturer isn't nearly as important to me, I just love that era. Western Flyer is a well-known enough name to be satisfying to me.

How do you go about a search like this?? I don't happen upon barns in my area (St. Louis City). Where is it that you see these bikes....literally just sitting out as you are driving down the road? Do I need to make a day-trip to Kansas?

Originally Posted by schwinnderella
I have a couple of balloon and middleweight project bikes for sale in the chicago area,but do not wish to ship,if you are close let me know.
I would love to hear more. I am in St. Louis, but will be in Chicago the weekend after Easter (April 18-19). If you had any info, photos or links, I'd love to see them.
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Old 03-22-09, 07:18 AM
  #8  
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Annika, if you're in the Michigan area, one of the largest antique bike shows in the country will take place here in Ann Arbor, toward the end of April.

https://www.ann-arbor-bicycleshow.com/index.html

April 26.

There will be a load of show bikes, sellers of good and not so great bikes, local stores, and a bike sale corral. You'd at least get a good sense of context.

I'd say that ebay on you've showed is a really good one, and no, please don't strip it.

Personally, I'm much more into vintage lightweights than cruisers, but I rebuilt a 1957 Schwinn 3 speed for my wife's friend. The quality of parts in many of those '50s Schwinns is amazing, rivalling Campagnolo.

Here probably Pastor Bob and Bob Hufford are the pre-eminent Schwinn experts.
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Old 03-22-09, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Annika View Post
Wow, I'd love one. The manufacturer isn't nearly as important to me, I just love that era. Western Flyer is a well-known enough name to be satisfying to me.

How do you go about a search like this?? I don't happen upon barns in my area (St. Louis City). Where is it that you see these bikes....literally just sitting out as you are driving down the road? Do I need to make a day-trip to Kansas? .

Believe it or not, yes there are some just sitting around. There's a 60s spaceliner sitting in some people's front yard. But they use it for "yard art" and absolutely refuse to sell it. Then on the other side of town there's a guy with a bunch of road bikes from the 60s chained to trees. Like 20 of them. The trees are literally growing around them. Once again, he refuses to sell them.

Out in the countryside there are some really old ones though. However, most of the time the properties are guarded by aggressive dogs or crazy farmers with guns. They won't even talk to you about selling them.

Craigslist is the best place to look. https://wichita.craigslist.org/bik/1069243041.html
I have too many other projects to buy this one, but I thought it was pretty cool looking. They have other bikes too, though not all this old.
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Old 03-22-09, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Bioflamingo View Post
Believe it or not, yes there are some just sitting around. There's a 60s spaceliner sitting in some people's front yard. But they use it for "yard art" and absolutely refuse to sell it. Then on the other side of town there's a guy with a bunch of road bikes from the 60s chained to trees. Like 20 of them. The trees are literally growing around them. Once again, he refuses to sell them.

Out in the countryside there are some really old ones though. However, most of the time the properties are guarded by aggressive dogs or crazy farmers with guns. They won't even talk to you about selling them.

Craigslist is the best place to look. https://wichita.craigslist.org/bik/1069243041.html
I have too many other projects to buy this one, but I thought it was pretty cool looking. They have other bikes too, though not all this old.
Thanks! Actually this morning on Craigslist I found this very bike and daydreamed about it all through church. I am going to email this fella and ask for a few more pictures. This one appears to fit my needs perfectly, the price is right, the style is right, it looks like a great summer project bike.

Thanks to those who honestly told me I should not strip the blue Hornet. Deep down I know that I would rather rescue a bike who "needs me" than repaint an already-lovely bike. Especially since I am amateur and will be attempting to do this myself!
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Old 03-22-09, 07:15 PM
  #11  
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Here's one in Madison. Send me a PM if you are interested.
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Old 03-22-09, 07:49 PM
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I practically gave away a bunch of cruisers over the past few weeks. I had two groups that I bought over the past few years (a batch of 30 and a batch of 20) and got tired of selling parts or packing bikes to ship.

I would not pay more than $50-100 for one that needs a complete redo. If you go pre-wwII you would pay a premium, and I think you can get what you want out of a post war 40's or 50's bike. Even the early 60's had the really cool spaceliner things still happening.

You might want to check out thecabe.com and ratrodbikes.com -- two other bike related forums which give you some leads on what you seek.
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Old 03-22-09, 09:14 PM
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Welcome to the forum.The bike your looking at on e bay looks to be very original.Dont pay for "original paint and decals"then strip them off to paint the bike.Better to look for a bike in a rougher condition but complete.If you find one that is complete but rough you dont lose money buy repainting it and you save money by not having to find and purchase sometimes expensive replacement parts.Most of all have fun with whatever way you decide to go.
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Old 03-22-09, 09:32 PM
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ANTIQUE/VINTAGE BIKES FOR SALE - $50 (FESTUS, MO. 63028)

Reply to: see below
Date: 2009-02-20, 12:27PM CST



I HAVE A NUMBER OF ANTIQUE & VINTAGE BIKES FOR SALE @ $50 EACH. I HAVE BOTH MEN'S & WOMOEN'S MODELS. THERE ARE SEVERAL LATE 60'S & EARLY 70'S WESTERN FLYERS, TED WILLIAMS/JC HIGGINS SEARS BIKES, & OLD SCHWINNS. ALL ARE SERVICEABLE AS REGULAR RIDERS. ALSO HAVE AN OLDER RANS RECUMBENT $200.

PLEASE DO N-O-T WASTE MY TIME OR YOURS, BY CALLING IF YOU ARE NOT SERIOUS ABOUT BUYING.

PLEASE CALL 636-933-0369, BETWEEN 5 & 10 P.M.; I AM NORMALLY THERE @ THOSE TIMES; PLEASE LEAVE MESSAGE IF I'M NOT THERE. ALSO, I HAVE NO CAPAPBILITY TO RETURN LONG DISTANCE CALLS. SO, IF YOU ARE CALLING FROM OUTSIDE OF THE FESTUS AREA, KEEP CALLING TILL YOU REACH ME. THANKS
  • Location: FESTUS, MO. 63028
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
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Old 03-22-09, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by IceNine View Post
Here's one in Madison. Send me a PM if you are interested.
That's a nice one too! I'm definitely keeping that one in my back pocket.

Originally Posted by sonatageek
I think you can get what you want out of a post war 40's or 50's bike. Even the early 60's had the really cool spaceliner things still happening.
That's very true, but I'm a sentimental gal and get a huge kick out of knowing things are older. The WWII era just tugs at me. Why? I'm only 28, I have no idea. My house was built in 1934, I have a baby grand piano from 1942, an RCA Victor wood radio from 1939, an oscillating fan from 1916...

I'd definitely consider a 1950s bike if the 1940s one proved too hard to come by.

Originally Posted by vincev
The bike your looking at on e bay looks to be very original.Dont pay for "original paint and decals"then strip them off to paint the bike.Better to look for a bike in a rougher condition but complete.
I'm not looking at it any more, for the reasons you described. It's too nice....not a good project bike for my amateur hands.
I'm currently in love with this one, and waiting for an email response.

Thanks so much for the continued advice.
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Old 03-23-09, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Annika View Post
I'm currently in love with this one, and waiting for an email response.

Thanks so much for the continued advice.
You're just lucky I don't have the time or money for that one, or else it wouldn't still be for sale. I really like the old Western Flyers. I had one similar to that that got burnt severely, but it was so far gone I sold it to someone for yard art.
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Old 03-23-09, 06:00 PM
  #17  
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check out www.ratrodbikes.com for the old school bikes...most are customized, but hey, why not.
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Old 03-23-09, 06:46 PM
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Lots of options...there are even reproduction bikes out there...

1952 Columbia Five Star Balloon Tire Bicycle - $700 (Cortlandt Manor)

Reply to: sale-ayjhh-1088535383@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]
Date: 2009-03-23, 4:21PM EDT



1952 Columbia Five Star General reproduction made in the early 1980s from Columbia original tooling. Fender light has been replaced with a original nos columbia fender light. Original Carisle lighting tires. All original paper work. I've had this since new. It used to hang on the wall in my bicycle shop. Excellent condition. $575.00 Days 914 241 9377 ask for John.

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Old 03-23-09, 06:54 PM
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If you're just going for the look you can go here and design your own for a decent price.
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Old 03-23-09, 06:58 PM
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Man, I love that Columbia
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Old 03-24-09, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Marrock View Post
If you're just going for the look you can go here and design your own for a decent price.


Haha, VERY cool, but nope. I want AGE here. I want to ride that bike knowing it's freaking OLD.

STILL waiting on a response for the Western Flyer. How long to wait before calling? I sent an email...I don't want to bug the guy...who knows what his schedule or his internet connection is like...I WANT that Flyer!
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Old 03-24-09, 06:52 AM
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That Columbia is awesome, but I'm more in the market for a $100 bike that's pretty much brown all over with rust, but restorable, an original from the 40s or 50s. Something to keep me out of trouble this summer!
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Old 03-24-09, 02:53 PM
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Guess it's time to hit some garagesales then. When the sun comes out, so does the old bikes.
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Old 03-26-09, 05:10 PM
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1957 schwinn (phantom) - $275 (ellenville ny.)

Reply to: sale-xzxmf-1092163801@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]
Date: 2009-03-25, 8:13PM EDT



---Fender light works--all orig. but luggage rack not. fenderlight now has lens.
  • Location: ellenville ny.
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Old 03-26-09, 05:42 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Annika View Post
Haha, VERY cool, but nope. I want AGE here. I want to ride that bike knowing it's freaking OLD.

STILL waiting on a response for the Western Flyer. How long to wait before calling? I sent an email...I don't want to bug the guy...who knows what his schedule or his internet connection is like...I WANT that Flyer!

well there ya go. If you really want it, get it. Thats the #1 reason to get something like this, because you fall in love with it. Just make sure that there's nothing seriously wrong with the frame and you're all set. Everything else can be replaced or fixed (if you've got the time) as long as the frame is good.

I think its way cool.
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