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Archived: Balloon Tire and Middleweights

AGE / VALUE:   Where can I get long seat posts for old Murrays? posted by: Mike Stone on 12/17/2000 at 3:04:33 PM
Hey, I am looking for seat posts for Murray middleweights with Troxel or Messinger seats. The deal is that those seats took a kind of special post with the business end being rolled to a smaller diameter than the post itself.

Now, the tricky part is that I need a long stem. That is, the standard 9"(?) stem that was standard issue is too short. I like to ride my collection and need to get the seat a little higher.

Does anybody have any ideas?


   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Where can I get long seat posts for old Murrays? posted by Tom Findley on 12/18/2000 at 5:18:46 AM
You could get a seattube long enough, and get the hardware from a seat that fits and put it on the Murray seat.

Spaceliner lenses: You may have to be the project leader for those. Look in the Yellow pages under "Plastics- Molding". This lens would require injection molding, and a mold might cost $500- up. Then there is a setup charge to run them off. Is there a market for 1000 lenses? Maybe over the next 20 years.

I think that trying to cast one would end up looking crude.

Maybe the people at Maple Island Sales could give you some guidance in this. They have had some simpler lenses remade.

There may be more than 1 style of lens. I think there are 2 boys and 2 girls tasnk styles.

For anyone buying a Spaceliner: Get one with a complete tank and unbroken lens.

While putting the Spaceliner together, I found that the light tray screw hole would not line up with the hole in the housing. Assembling like this would cause stress on eith the lens or the housing, causing 1 to break. I made the housing hole longer, so it would fit right.

This message got far from seatposts.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Where can I get long seat posts for old Murrays? posted by Joel on 12/18/2000 at 5:28:51 AM
Any old seatpost should fit the frame. I think the clamp on the seat could be replaced with the larger size to fit a non tapered post. I have several excersize bike seatposts that I use on bikes that I ride. Does Wald still make them ???

   Casting Lenses posted by JimW. on 12/18/2000 at 6:12:23 AM
Casting new lenses is not terribly complicated, and the end result can be as perfect as the original. Using a yellowed original lens, a silicone rubber mold is made of the outer
surface. With the pattern lens in place in that mold, more
rubber is added to the cavity to make the mold for the inside surface. There are books on the process, which is lengthier than I want to get into here. Castolite or a similar clear-casting polyester resin works well for casting lenses.

Micro Mark @ http://micromark.com sells mold-making and casting supplies.

   RE:Casting Lenses posted by Mike Stone on 12/20/2000 at 3:17:32 PM

I have always wanted to try casting lenses as it seems possible. Thanks for turning me on to a possible direction. Have you ever tried this with any success?


   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   Where can I get long seat posts for old Murrays? posted by Mike Stone on 12/20/2000 at 3:22:22 PM
Thanks, Tom Findley for the great suggestions on various subjects.

There are actually several different types of lenses as you mentioned. I have seen at least three different styles.

I will try Jim's approach to casting some lenses. If it works, I will let you guys know and will try to make a bunch of them so we have them available for reconditioning this "Important machine from the bicycle heritage of the USA".


AGE / VALUE:   TURMBERG? posted by: TONY on 12/16/2000 at 6:35:24 AM
I've come across an interesting bike. The decals say Turmberg and it appears to European in origin. (Rims were made in Belgium) Anyone have any info about this bike?

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   TURMBERG? posted by ChristopherRobin@starmail.com on 12/16/2000 at 1:28:53 PM
There is a picture database the guys here at Old Roads.com have been putting together. Please send in a photo of the bicycle with the best description you can. What size frame, what size wheels, what do the tires say on them, who made the tires, what color, e.t.c.
I have never heard of this one, but stay with us here because there are a lot of sharp people who might know about this one. Neat find! Sounds interesting.

AGE / VALUE:    posted by: ChristopherRobin on 12/14/2000 at 5:06:03 PM
I know this is a bit late to ask this question but here goes.
I have gotten my wheel back from a pal and this is a 26 X 2.125 Schwinn S-2 with a Sturmey-Archer aw 3 speed hub in the wheel. My question is can I use a Sturmey- Archer hub in this Schwinn Wasp? I don't want to break the axle in the hub and I don't think I will but has anybody ever done this and regretted it? I set the other wheel it came with aside.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:    posted by sam on 12/14/2000 at 8:46:05 PM
Christoper,I don't see a problem,Schwinn used the 3-speed on the early balloon jaguars.Will need hand brakes though.Schwinn offered the S/A with coster or expander brake also ---sam

   RE:AGE / VALUE:    posted by sam on 12/14/2000 at 9:00:15 PM
one other question,didn't you say you had installed a skip-tooth sweethart on the Wasp,do you have a skiptooth that fits the S/A 3-speed?(would be cool)

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:Threaded skip tooth cog fits Sturmey-Archer    posted by ChristopherRobin@starmail.com on 12/15/2000 at 8:39:12 AM
Yes, I do have a skip tooth rear cog that fits the Sturmey-Archer hub. I only found one as I sat on the cold, 100 year old wooden floor in this decrepit old shop. I tried every cog in the place with the threaded driver I brought along. I then decided to bring every cog home with me even though it did not make much sense. I have a cool collection of cogs that I am going to put on my web page (whenever that is) hopefully soon. The wing nuts, that whole bag will not be there long! I intend to liberate them too. Soua, Gripfast, Shimano, a few G.B. nuts also. I have a set of allwhite Kendas left and can get more but they cost me 15.00 each these aren't made anymore I hear.

AGE / VALUE:   Help me I.D. it posted by: John Horsley on 12/14/2000 at 3:43:54 PM
I have an old ballooner without a headbadge. It's serial number is P109388 and is located on the rear fork. It has peaked fenders and a chainguard that says Newsboy Special on it. It has a single bar running from behind the saddle to the rear fork as opposed to the double bar I am used to seeing. The serial number is consistant with Schwinn but thats where the resemblence ends. Any info will help. Thanks. John Horsley Forest Grove, Or

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Help me I.D. it posted by JOEL on 12/15/2000 at 7:18:05 AM
Sounds like a Columbia Newsboy. You can check the Columbia serial # list at this site for the year.

AGE / VALUE:   WESTERN FLYER posted by: Denny Hradecky on 12/13/2000 at 12:05:26 PM
I found a 26" WESTERN FLYER girls bike with good straight frame, fenders, chain guard, buddyrack, but rims and need chromed and spokes replaced. It has no tank or lights. The serial number is 55681. What is its' age, or how could I find out? Curious about the value but with past experience in restoring things, it's the before and after that satisfies me. This is not going to be a show item, just a unique thing for my wife to ride.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   WESTERN FLYER posted by sam on 12/14/2000 at 8:53:34 PM
Western flyers were made by several bike companys,Murray,& huffy both made then.First check the front sproket and compare to other bikes to determin who made the bike , also the tire size might help(balloon or middle/weight)

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   WESTERN FLYER posted by Mike Stone on 12/20/2000 at 3:32:38 PM

Is there any name on the chain-guard? When I think of Western Flyer, I usually think of the '60's bikes of space-age design. Maybe if you send me a photo or describe it better, I can help you identify it.

Sam is correct that the Western Flyers were made by various manufacturers including Murray and Columbia. Though the designs often remained the same, the crank/sprockets and rims were different and unique. Spokes are easy to get - you can buy them at you local bike shop or go to www.nashbar.com.

The good news is that Western Flyers were very popular bikes and there are many of them available at yard sales, flea markets, and estate auctions. I have purchased many for $5.00 and used them shamelessly for part cannibalizing. With good hunting, you can get good rims from other bikes. You can also usually cannibalize the spokes you need from old rims, if you don't want to go to the trouble of replacing all of them with new.


   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   WESTERN FLYER posted by richard on 12/28/2000 at 5:08:58 PM
Is there any luck with helping me on my Western flyer Mine has A sticker on the frame that says western auto supply co
it has a Tank that 2 headlights go into there a Light switch on the tank and a book rack on the back of the bike with a light at the end tail light.I all so posted my own message with the ser# if that helps thanks

   RE:RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   WESTERN FLYER posted by Mike Stone on 12/28/2000 at 5:27:14 PM
Richard, it sounds like you have one of the Murray made bikes from the '60's with built in lights in the tank.

Common for Western Flyer boy's bikes would be the Cosmic Flyer or for girls would have been the Meteor Flite. There were several others which would fit your description.

These designs became available in the late 1950's, but the light in the tank showed up in the early 1960's (about 1963). Murray made similar design bikes for Montgomery Wards and Sears as well as their own Murray lines of similar design.

In my opinion, these bikes are real treasures of the 1950's/1960's space race age. Their sleak designs and futuristic stylings certainly reflected the tastes if the generation of Americans which watched man first step foot on the moon.


AGE / VALUE:   The "Tulane" posted by: Robin on 12/12/2000 at 11:43:11 AM
I just purchased an old bike, appears to be 50ish style men's cruiser with tank and tail made by Gus Betat & Son, New Orleans, LA. Any idea how old or value of this one? I called the current Betat Bicycle Co. and they said these bikes are no longer around, but was not much help. Thanks.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   The posted by Carl on 12/14/2000 at 7:36:20 AM
What size are the tires? That might help narrow it down.
Also look for similar bicycles in the Picture Database. Most bikes are made by a handful of manufacturers and then re-badged.

AGE / VALUE:   Elite King? posted by: David Skogebo on 12/11/2000 at 11:49:18 PM
I found this bike at a college surplus and would like some help. The serial # is located on the botom of the crank R63058416. The chain guard has been repainted but I can read Elite King and it has a coat of arms on it. Also the chain guard is very square not rounded like most schwinns I have seen. It has 24x1.75 white wheels and has a schwinn grips and seat, but probably are not original. Any Info would be appreciated. Thx Dave

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Elite King? posted by Carl on 12/12/2000 at 6:39:59 AM
Did you look in the "picture database" or "stat and feature database"? You can query them buy model, and that will return the make.

AGE / VALUE:   Where can I get lenses for Spaceliners? posted by: Mike Stone on 12/11/2000 at 7:25:53 PM
Does anybody know where to get lenses for Murray Middleweight tankers? I am talking about Spacliners, Flightliners, Flight Decks (Hiawatha), and other '60's space-age bikes made by Murray.

Are these being reproduced yet? It would be nice to get some that aren't yellowed and/or cracked.


   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Where can I get lenses for Spaceliners? posted by GORDON on 12/12/2000 at 7:50:43 AM
Did they use the same lense on the girls tanks? I have several of the girls models in my storage building but I can't remember what shape the lenses are in. If they would work for what you need I'll go check them out.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Where can I get lenses for Spaceliners? posted by Brian on 12/16/2000 at 9:32:03 PM
Here's something that may help. Look around your local hardware store for some cheap hardware item sold in a plastic bubble pack. Cut the clear plastic to fit the light. Not original but it sometimes will work.

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   Where can I get lenses for Spaceliners? posted by Mike Stone on 12/20/2000 at 6:55:36 PM
You know, Brian, that is not such a crazy idea. I bet with a couple of kitchen tool handles as molds and formers and a hair dryer to soften up the plastic, your idea might actually work.

Does anybody have any ideas for products packaged with appropriate bubble shaped plastic packaging?


BALLOON:   What Is It?? posted by: James Harrison on 12/10/2000 at 4:53:53 PM
I have a man's 26 inch balloon tire that that wheels have been changed. The rest is old, kickstand is on the read drop out, the top two tubes are weilded on each end AND in the middle, has about a one inch tube attached at that center point. The down tube is curved but has large bend near the crank. That area is large enough to put a gas engine in there with no trouble. Numbers on the bottom "C4" and "A54005". Love to know what it is so I can restore it.

   RE:BALLOON:   What Is It?? posted by sam on 12/14/2000 at 10:50:22 AM
I'd compair the front sproket to other bikes(data base)and see if a match can be found.This sometimes helps I.D. and old bike--sam

AGE / VALUE:   Firestone bike posted by: Daniel Fielden on 12/9/2000 at 8:51:53 AM
I have a 26 inch Firestone bike & a 24 inch WesternFlyer , I was wondering if someone could help me find out how old these bikes are & what there worth .They both have tanks on them , buddy racks ,& a light on the front fenders . They seem to be in original condition .The Firestone is in really good shape for an old bike . I have pics if someone could help me . Thanks , Dan........ DanFie3@aol.com

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Firestone bike posted by Mike Stone on 12/11/2000 at 7:34:53 PM

Most of the Firestone Middleweights were made by Murray. Check the Murray date codes and you will probably find the date of your Firestone.

How can you tell if it was made by Murray? Well, my quick and unscientific reference is the front sprocket (attached to the crank). In the '60's, Murray almost exclusively used the man-hole cover style sprocket. That is why you will find this sprocket pattern on Murray brand Meteor Flite, Hiawatha (Montgomery Ward), (Sears) Spaceliners, (Sears) Spaceliners, and the many Western Flyer space-agers like the Cosmic Flyer and others.


   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   Firestone bike posted by Rif Addams on 12/12/2000 at 2:31:19 AM
WOW! Thanks for that little tidbit. I had noticed similarities, but didn't know the manufaturer. Right On!

MISC:   Appeal to help a fellow collector posted by: Ray on 12/8/2000 at 5:00:56 PM
An appeal:

I'm very sad to report that, Sam Fitzsimmons is
battling cancer.

Being a lifelong classic and track bicycle advocate,
he isself-employed and without many resources. Sam
has done so much to preserve, promote and educate
others about bicycles. His knowledge of the
SturmeyArcher hub is legendary. Not only has Sam
helped 100's of people find vintage bikes but he has
donated countless hours bringing classic bikes
to community events and gatherings. Sam never asked
for high prices, making little money for himself.
Getting folks matched up with bikes was his
main goal. He has dedicated his personal and financial
life to bicycles.

Please consider helping him now.

I suggest sending him $20 to help out, more if you can
afford it, less if you can't. Some small amount that
will not mean much to you, but will really help him at
this most difficult time. If you have some spare parts
kicking around, auction them on ebay and send the
proceeds, if you do not have access to a digital
camera, you can send the parts to me, and I will
forward all proceeds, including postage paid by the
buyer. My Handle on ebay is BIKE.

Should you have further questions contact me and I
will let you know how you can help or do my best to
answer your questions.

Sam Fitzsimmons
POB 3299
Annapolis MD 21403

Send parts (with description)to:
Paul Genaro
pob 104
Walnutport pa 18088

Thank You,
Paul Genaro

MIDDLEWEIGHT:   A Derby? posted by: drew on 12/7/2000 at 7:18:53 PM
Has anyone ever heard of a Derby brand bike? I think it dates
from the early 60s. Looks it was a budget brand, meaning a
low priced bike.Any info would be great.

WANTED:   Tank for a 1937-41 Mens Elgin posted by: Mike on 12/7/2000 at 10:32:30 AM
Im looking for a tank for this bicycle any condition, thanks

MISC:   Anyone Have Stories To Share? posted by: JOEL on 12/7/2000 at 8:48:54 AM
The discussion below (lost out again) got me thinking about all of the bike hunting adventures I have had over the years. I would like to hear some of your stories....Here's one to get it started :

An old fellow called me and said he had a pile of old bikes and parts that he wanted hauled away. He had been selling used bikes for a number of years and wanted to give away the remaining stuff to someone who could use them. I agreed over the phone to haul away everything in exchange for anything I could use.

When I got there, wearing shorts & T shirt, he took me to the back of his garage and pointed to a field of blackberry bushes and honey suckle vines and told me the bikes were out there. I spent 5 hours pulling rusty scrap metal out of the vines and briers, I saw two snakes and my arms and legs were a mess. I found only a rusty folding bike frame and a trashed Sprint Fastback with a couple of usable parts. Then he showed me the parts he had stored inside. There were about a dozen big boxes of odd and broken pedals, rusty chains, single grips, rusty hubs,............ Nothing older than the 70s and nothing usable.

The parts I found were not worth the time I had already spent digging them out but I had agreed to haul the stuff away for him and it was getting late so I started to load my van. At this point, he decided that he wanted me to pay $100 for everything in addition to hauling away the junk. I just shook my head and drove away.

   RE:MISC:   Anyone Have Stories To Share? posted by Jay on 12/9/2000 at 8:45:24 AM
Here is the reason that I started to look for old bikes.
I moved in with a couple of buddy of mine a while ago.
They were both getting into old bikes. One guy has a western
flyer and the other a jc higgins or something like that
They have them fixed up pretty good. They are not full restos
but still were good looking bikes. Pretty much they got me
keeping an eye for an old bike. Whereever I would go Id keep
an eye out. Well one day during my luch break I saw a guy on
the side of the road selling firewood and some misc, stuff
He also had a couple of thrashed bikes propped up against
his truck. I stopped by a couple of days later, and I saw a
bike that my buddies called a double d. I asked him how much for the
bike and we settled on 10 bucks. I threw it in the back of my
truck and took it home. When I showed it to my buddies they
couldn't believe it. After a little research in some bike
books, I matched it up with a 1936 Schwinn Motorbike.
Most of the trimmings were gone but I still was able to make
a pretty fun bike out of it. Well thats it........

   RE:MISC:   Anyone Have Stories To Share? posted by sam on 12/9/2000 at 10:07:59 AM
On my way to work,at a stop sign,a truck passed with a load of junk headed to the scrap yard.Sticking out of the back was a phantom.I chased down the old truck a block from the crusher and got the bike for $20(they would have taken less but all I had was a twenty)Most was gone but did get a good tank ,frame,and hubs.With the help of our friends at Maple Island I'll get it back in shape soon---sam

   RE:RE:MISC:   Anyone Have Stories To Share? posted by jj on 12/12/2000 at 6:45:51 AM
There used to be an old guy in my town who sold used bikes. I went in and made him an offer on everything. He sold it all to me for less than my offer because it had gotten to be too much work for him.

I ended up with 10 ballooners, 20 musclebikes, 40 english bikes, mountains of NOS Carlisle tires, a moped, some folding bikes, NOS and used fender lights, etc etc. 2 small barns full of stuff. There were probably 100 of what I considered junk bikes at the time: Collegiates, Suburbans, etc. Over a few years I made those ridable and donated them to local Church and Synagog groups.

This was about 4 years ago. I'd love to make another score like that!

   RE:RE:RE:MISC:   Anyone Have Stories To Share? posted by ChristopherRobin on 12/30/2000 at 8:41:50 AM
Two barns full... This is the stuff dreams are made of!

AGE / VALUE:   Cogs anyone? posted by: ChristopherRobin@starmail.com on 12/5/2000 at 9:48:44 AM
Take a look at E- Bay item #518962769 World War 2 Elgin Bike Mussleman hub. I have one of these hub shells and the skip tooth cog on the hub I have a lot of these cogs this exact pattern. They were everywhere but I picked up every one and if you need a shell or these crazy cogs let me know. ChristopherRobin@starmail.com

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Cogs anyone? posted by JOEL on 12/5/2000 at 2:31:46 PM
If the hub shell is chrome, I could use it.

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   Cogs anyone? posted by ChristopherRobin on 12/9/2000 at 9:20:24 AM
The shell is chrome $5.00 PLUS SHIPPING