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Archived: Balloon Tire and Middleweights

AGE / VALUE:   Western Auto Trailer Trike posted by: Denise Halse on 1/10/2002 at 10:04:42 PM
Looking for any info re: Western Auto Trailer Trike made in 1950's.
Had a two-wheel trailer permanent attached to back seat of tricycle w/pedals.

Are there any around for sale? Any idea of present value?
Years of manufacture? Thanks much!

AGE / VALUE:   monson ma 2/17 posted by: none on 1/10/2002 at 9:34:18 PM
JIM HUNTINGTONS SHOW WILL BE SUNDAY FEB 17 AT THE MEMORIAL HALL on Main st in Monson Mass. 01057 Dealer setup $20 7am public free @8am. From the mass pike take exit 8 rt 32 south 6miles from I84 take exit 70 rt 32 north about 15-20 miles. 413-283-4113 is Jim's #

BALLOON:   N.O.S. Schwinn 1959 posted by: Drew S.H. on 1/10/2002 at 3:38:02 PM
I always thought that the last DX frames were produced around 1955, I was wrong....take a look at ebay #1059844139, this has to be a pretty rare bike, and it's a never ridden cycle..wow! The cantilever frame gets so much attention, But I feel the DX is the great early Schwinn, after all, they still produce the cantilever. This Toronado would be the center of attention at a show over any Phantom or Corvette!

   RE:BALLOON:   N.O.S. Schwinn 1959 posted by MNSmith on 1/11/2002 at 3:12:13 AM
Look a little closer. Nice bike but not a DX frame. That there is a straight bar frame.

AGE / VALUE:   Master Bicycle posted by: sam on 1/10/2002 at 2:27:42 PM
Anyone know anything on the Master brand of bicycles built in the teens?These are shown in Evolution of the Bicycle but just showed an old advertisment.Where were they built? Was this just a small bike builder that went out of buissness?One model came with Sturmey/Archer 3-speed and tube type tires.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Master Bicycle posted by ChristopherRobin2@starmail.com on 1/10/2002 at 4:30:58 PM
They always show an old advertisement, that's all they ever do. Or else it'nothing at all! Sorry Sam! You know my feelings about it. It isn't your fault I know. Sams one of the good guys!

AGE / VALUE:   Most Valuable Bike to Restore. posted by: Jes on 1/9/2002 at 10:03:29 PM
I would like to start a ballon tire bicycle restoration project and I'm wondering what's the most (or one of them) valuable bike to restore. I want to invest in a bike that worth the time (and money of course) that I will invest on it.
I was told I should restore a stright bar motobike like the Iver Johnson or the Mead Ranger, but could those bikes worth more than a classic ballon tire?
I really need to know cause I don't want to spend my money I prefer to invest it instead.
Any comment will be highly appreciated.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Most Valuable Bike to Restore. posted by Cal on 1/10/2002 at 12:01:43 AM
People are gonna give you (and me) a hard time on this one.
I give you credit for starting the topic and I'll tell you what I do to keep me in beer money and help with car payments, too. This ain't gonna be popular with the some, but I hope this topic stays here for others to read...

I love bikes. The coolest machine ever invented. I like to find a vein (old gold mining term) of bikes to buy and sell to bring in a couple bucks now and then... I ADMIT IT!!

Two years ago it was Stingrays. Two years before that it was the classic balloon tires. Right now it is (from my experience) Weird frames to build a custom on.

Ok, now on to your question. No flipping way would it be a straight bar. The ones that people want now look a lot like those old Peewee Herman bikes. A fat tire 26 inch ballooner with a springer and some gee-gawws.

I'm buyin' the old cantilever frames and putting some accessories on them and doing fine thank you.

And another point. If you are doing a restoration that means a strip and repaint. A decent job with a good paint match will cost you $300. And then, after spending hugh $$$ finding the "correct" parts, no one will want to buy it because no collectors trust a restoration (ever watch Antinque Roadshow????).

You're welcome.

   My 2 cents... posted by Stacey on 1/10/2002 at 1:48:26 AM
Well Jes, if you want to "invest"... I'd put my money in Global Small Cap Mutual Funds. Bicycles, IMHO, are like going to AC or Vegas... you pays yer money & you take yer chances. Unless you can find a pristine Elgin Bluebird or a Krate or a... whatever at a yard sale/thrift shop for $5.00, you're taking a gamble with your resources. The more work a bike needs the less your initial outlay should be... however the more time (and Money) you'll have to put in to it. Paying for it is the easy part, the HARD part is finding the proper widget you need to complete your concourse restoration of that beautiful 1923 Needsmore.

Bicycles are (or at least should be) a labor of love. If you can turn a couple of bucks in the process, so much the better. Find something you like, take it home love it, give it a bath, polish it, and make it safe to ride. When the time comes, someone will "Just Have To Have It", let them open their wallet and give you pictures of dead presidents, thank them, and repeat the process. You'll be amazed at the horizons that open up to you in the process.

Leave the Investment Restorations to "The Pro's". But if you really want to play with your money... I have a beautiful island (twice a day) in Flordia for sale :-)

In the wind,

   RE:My 2 cents... posted by Joel on 1/10/2002 at 3:19:16 PM
Stacy's investment advise is probably your best bet...

Collect what you like and try to keep the restoration costs below the value of the bike. Decide what you want before buying and do some research. Nostalgic.net has lots of eye candy. EBAY is a good place to find the current value of a given bike.

The most valuable bikes are also the most expensive to restore and most difficult to find parts for. Best to find a complete bike to start.

   RE:RE:My 2 cents... posted by Jes on 1/10/2002 at 6:22:29 PM
Ok, Ok I got the point, thanks all of you for your kind advices. I think you're right, people should restore what they liked with love, no matter if it's not the most popular thing at the moment. As Cal said, things changes very fast and who knows, maybe the "non-popular" bike now could become a Classic in the future.
I asked the question just because I though that maybe I'll get in the needing of sale it some day and I wanted to get (at least) the money I invest on the bike.
I will definetelly not put all my money in bikes, nor play with my finance that way, but since I like bikes very much, I want to have a "sough after" of "most desired" bikes in the market, but - here we go again - that will not guarantee it will be the same in the future.
Thanks very much for your comments, I've learned a lesson here.

   My 2 cents... posted by Joel on 1/10/2002 at 8:09:59 PM
As for what is most sought after and desired...

Schwinns are probably the most collected brand. Some Schwinns are probably overvalued due to the current demand.

Balloon tired bikes are also popular. Some brands are more collected than others. Bike values can range from $50-$10,000 or more.

Lightweight and english bikes seem to have a large interest group at least on this forum. Values are generally low with many notable exceptions.

Middleweights are creeping up in value. Offbrand muscle bikes too.

And 1800s bikes are huge...check out the Wheelmen website.

Collect what you like. Don't waste time or money on anything less. Enjoy.

   RE:My 2 cents... posted by Jes on 1/14/2002 at 11:49:22 PM
Thanks Joel, I'll exactly do that. I've some Arnold Schwinns around here that I think I can buy for a decent price. One is plain but have the Century name plate, the other doesn't have the name plate but I recognize the sweet heart skip tooth sprocket and the feather chain guard. I will try to get one of those to start. None of them have the tank, but with a little lucky, patience (and money ) I think I can finalize one. Wish me luck, I think this is not gonna be a easy task, but I hope it will worth the efford.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Most Valuable Bike to Restore. posted by Paul Hendrix on 2/11/2002 at 5:30:29 AM
HI Jes you can make a few bucks and restore bikes years ago when I was raising a family I would refurbish bikes for resale at the collage in davis CA. and make a few bucks to restore older models to ride and show just for fun when I was hurt and needed money I sold most of what I had. here I am old and retired and I found a 1934 Hawthorn complete and in good shape so now I will bring the Pearce and two 40s Schwinns up from the basement along with boxes of old parts and for the love of it I will do it again good luck

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   Most Valuable Bike to Restore. posted by Jes on 2/15/2002 at 6:00:17 PM
Hello Paul,
Thanks for the story. Well time has passed since I place this topic for the very first time. At this point I have bought two bikes: one is a very neat pre-war "Emblem" with tank (working delta horn on it), very complete. The other is a 30's Iver Johnson with original rear carrier. I will restore both of them and why not? sell them some time in the future. I'm in the process of rising a two kids family so I may need the cash in the short term.
Good luck in you retirement projects.

BALLOON:   Need 2 Know About My Balloon Tire Skiptooth Tandem posted by: Brad on 1/5/2002 at 8:43:53 PM
This is my second message pertaining to a rare balloon tire skiptooth tandem. I have found little about this bike. Unfortunately the headbadge is missing so I can not figure out who made this beast. Here is what I know...Has the same paint scheme as the colson steer from rear tandem, Wards Riverside Tires, drop center rims, straightbar style front frame, womens style rear, THIS IS NOT AN AMATEUR WELD-TOGETHER BIKE, Two serial numbers on underside of crank case, one serial number is followed by a SWASTIKA stamp, and a C with a W inside it (CLEVLAND WELDING?). I have pictures to send if anyone can help with pinning down what it is. I would love to know so I can get the correct headbadge for it. THANKS A BUNCH FOR ANY HELP GEAR HEADS!

   RE:BALLOON:   Need 2 Know About My Balloon Tire Skiptooth Tandem posted by Stacey on 1/5/2002 at 9:41:25 PM
Sounds like a neat find, Brad. Is there a fade mark or dirt/wax line on the head? Anything that would indicate the general shape of the correct badge? Maybe the folks at nostalgic.net could be of some assistance. They do quite a bit of headbadge restoration there, maybe they've done something similar. Can you post pics to a web site? You can get a free one at www.freeservers.com

In the wind,

   RE:RE:BALLOON:   Need 2 Know About My Balloon Tire Skiptooth Tandem posted by ChristopherRobin2@starmail.com on 1/5/2002 at 9:56:03 PM
Take a few bicycle books out of the library and look thru it and see if you recognize anything similar. Compare your bike against what is shown in the books. Look for clues. I have heard of serial number goofs before, but to have something resemble a swastica is strange. More than one company made skip tooth tandems. If you can post pictures on the web we could help you better to solve the mystery.

   RE:RE:RE:BALLOON:   Need 2 Know About My Balloon Tire Skiptooth Tandem posted by Wings on 1/6/2002 at 8:39:32 AM
What is the design of the chainrings?
What kind of brake(s) does it have?
Are all the tubes straight or doe it have some curved tubes?
Can you email pictures or post pictures?

   RE:BALLOON:   Need 2 Know About My Balloon Tire Skiptooth Tandem posted by Joel on 1/8/2002 at 5:38:20 PM
Email a picture.

   RE:RE:BALLOON:   Need 2 Know About My Balloon Tire Skiptooth Tandem posted by ChristopherRobin2@starmail.com on 1/9/2002 at 12:52:14 AM
Somehow, Brad should e- mail a picture so it can be used for refrence. A good, worthwhile project is to catalog these Skip tooth Tandems and put up pictures and descriptions. "Kind of fill in the gaps" where the Schwinn book and the other balloon tire books and web resources have missed or ommitted this.
I pulled out a lot of old, used tandem cranks from an old shop and it was weird to first, discover these and then to find so many of them at the the same time. I held it up and I said "What the Heck?"
First thing he said was
"Where did you find that?" Finally he said "Tandem, old skip tooth tandem" then silence as he didn't know anything else. I have been interested in these tandems ever since. Please e- mail a copy to or send a mail photo to Vin, here at Oldroads.com with a description.
Hopefully one day we can get a page up about these marvelous skip- tooth bikes for two. The mail address for oldroads is near the bottom of the mail page here.

AGE / VALUE:   Firestone Monark posted by: Mark Baer on 1/5/2002 at 4:41:29 AM
Thank you for the opportunity to learn about this recently purchased, clean bicycle. Some of the details follow;
1. It is a Speed Chief Model girls bicycle.
2. The tires have wide whitewalls and they read "Firestone Speed and Cushion: 26x1.75. They are in nice shape with a great deal of tread and minimum cracking.
3. There is a portion of a sticker that reads, Built by Mona
4. There is a light that is about 8 inches long, one end is tapered to a point and the other has a lens. It has a little switch on the bottom back.
5. The rims are white painted steel I believe.
6. The Carrier has 5 ribs running the length.
7. It is equipped with a siren and button switch marked "Hyper Siren"
8. There is a tank type affair on the downstrut coming from
the handlebars.
9. It is primarily blue, with red and white accents, names, pin stripes throughout
10. It has a light brown/beige seat that is not torn.
Any thoughts? I am trying to get a digital camera to take pictures.
Thanks for your help,
Mark Baer

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Firestone Monark posted by Joel on 1/5/2002 at 2:33:26 PM
The 1.75" tires came along in the late 50s. The sticker should read Built By Monark. The features sound 50s to me. Post a photo if you can.

AGE / VALUE:   Coupe de Ville/Silver King by Monarck posted by: John on 1/5/2002 at 1:27:19 AM
INFO NEEDED! I have a Silver King Mfd. by Silver King / Monark. It has a white frame and black fenders. (with red and white stripes). It also has a black and white tank with COUPE DE VILLE on it ...Tire size is 26x1.75 .There is a small number that is (I think) ((9k(or x)20-6))SPACE 3358001,I think!? Any idea of how old it is? Like to keep it stock. (Though I need a stand and front head light.) Is there a special COUPE DE VILLE or Silver King SITE??? THANX JOHN

AGE / VALUE:   Coupe de Ville/Silver King by Monarck posted by: John on 1/5/2002 at 1:27:19 AM
INFO NEEDED! I have a Silver King Mfd. by Silver King / Monark. It has a white frame and black fenders. (with red and white stripes). It also has a black and white tank with COUPE DE VILLE on it ...Tire size is 26x1.75 .There is a small number that is (I think) ((9k(or x)20-6))SPACE 3358001,I think!? Any idea of how old it is? Like to keep it stock. (Though I need a stand and front head light.) Is there a special COUPE DE VILLE

BALLOON:   U.S. made cruiser's posted by: Drew H. on 1/4/2002 at 8:34:14 PM
I've noticed that the new ballon cruiser's from Taiwan have become very popular. I'll admit they are nice having alloy rims and components. If there is a U.S. made one, I'd like to know the brand? I encourage everyone to ride their vintage Balloon bikes instead of storing them, nice examples can be purchased for less the the $250-$350 for a new import. I've been riding my '51 Schwinn DX w/tank to work, and it get's noticed, and questions asked about it often. It's amazing that just 30 years ago some 10 million bikes were made every year in the States, and today that number is down to about 10,000 - mostly high end models.

   RE:BALLOON:   U.S. made cruiser's posted by sam on 1/6/2002 at 12:29:12 AM
TRY www.aerofast.com

WANTED:   Schwinn Decals posted by: Randy on 1/4/2002 at 6:16:32 PM
I'm looking for any or all the decals for a 1962 Jaguar. Also, the matchstick rack for same. Thanks.

   RE:WANTED:   Schwinn Decals posted by Tom Findley on 1/8/2002 at 11:59:44 AM
Memory Lane Classics sells the decals. (419) 832-3040. The original racks had 4 reflectors. They sell on ebay for about the original cost of the bike.

AGE / VALUE:   Schwinn with 1" pitch chain posted by: Mike on 1/2/2002 at 10:28:33 PM
I've got a prewar schwinn with a 1" pitch chain on a sweet
heart style chain wheel and an "autocar" brown and cream
paint job paint with black pin striping. Can anyone tell me
what year this would be? Mike

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Schwinn with 1 posted by ChristopherRobin2@starmail.com on 1/3/2002 at 12:05:21 AM
There is a book that mentions this and I think we see a picture of this bike in the book. Schwinn bicycles by Pridemore and Hurd. (hardcover) I don't think they tell us the exact year in the book, I might be wrong. Take a look at the book. Library or bookstore

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Schwinn with 1 posted by sam on 1/4/2002 at 12:26:11 PM
The Brown makes me think of a schwinn Mead Ranger.Go to the links and try Bunch of Bikes web site,this is Mark Smith's page.He's good on pre-war schwinns.And FYI to date schwinns built before 1947 you must guess at age by little things like how the rear drop out face or how the seat clamp is made,etc.Mark can help-----sam

MIDDLEWEIGHT:   Re-paint posted by: Thomas on 1/2/2002 at 4:59:43 PM
I have got some great information here thanks everyone!
The new qes. is how do I find out what color a bike was prior to fading so I can have it painted and how do most restorers handle the tank graphics and chain gaurd art?

   RE:MIDDLEWEIGHT:   Re-paint posted by Stacey on 1/2/2002 at 5:09:15 PM
Find a place that wasn't exposed to the elements... inside steering head or bottom bracket, under the seat clamp or head badge, behind the chainguard brackets or the inside top of the chainguard. Seek & ye shall find... Easier said than done, eh?

In the wind,

   Graphics posted by Joel on 1/2/2002 at 9:32:16 PM
Some decals are avalable from Memory Lane. Some things must be painted. Be sure to take some photos and measurements before stripping.

   RE:MIDDLEWEIGHT:   Re-paint posted by sam on 1/4/2002 at 12:39:48 PM
I'll add that under the restoration discussion "A Friend" told me how to use mylar to cut paint masks.After trying this I'm sold.Would not think of repainting with out first cuting the mylar paint masks for the bike.Makes the repaint a snap.(Don't skip the first two replys Correct color and be-fore photos are always needed)

AGE / VALUE:   bike identification posted by: Don Maxey on 1/2/2002 at 12:36:07 AM
I've been restoring a ladies bike. It has 28" rims, ducktail fenders and a steel overlay on the shoulders of the forks and downtubes in almost a flame pattern. The S/N on the bottem of the frame is 317348. It has a single speed Torpedo coaster brake rear hub. There are holes drilled along both sides of the rear fender(to string a skirt guard I am told.) When I removed the Rear reflector housing from the fender it revealed a small patch of preserved original paint(Chinese red W/ wide white pinstipe down the center of the fender bordered in a thinner gold pinstripe. The frame, fenders and rims have been sandblasted down to steel. I,ve completed the primer and am ready to paint deep pearl purple. Would this be a mistake? Would it affect the value of the bike enough to go with a color I find less appealing? The headbadge reads ILER or IVER Borlange Maskinaffar Borlange.(with the two hyphenation dots over the A's) Is it an Iver Johnson??? Also, I am trying to locate all white 28" X 1-1/3 tires for it. I would very much appreciate any info. I can send .jpg Thanks, Don

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   bike identification posted by JimW. on 1/2/2002 at 9:27:17 PM
It's not an Iver Johnson, that much I can tell you. Based upon the Torpedo rear hub and the Umlauts on the maker's name, it's European. Iver Johnson may have imported bikes, but I doubt it. It may be rare, possibly worth money, but maybe not. If it's restorable, maybe you should recreate the original paint scheme on the sandblasted parts. It sounds like it would be pretty cool-looking. However, it's your bike and you should have fun with it any way you want.
KustomBikes are rapidly developing a collector base of their own, so you aren't automatically trashing it if you get creative with it; just do a really nice job on it. Bad repaints are called "housepaint" by preservationists. Really good repaints are called Kool, at http://bikerodnkustom.com

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:  posted by ChristopherRobin2@starmail.com on 1/3/2002 at 12:14:41 AM
28 x 1 1/3rd? not 1 1 1/2 but 1 1/3 ?? Ye- gods, never heard of it. All white tires, OOHH!
Keep asking, perhaps take some pictures and post it someplace for us to see.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   bike identification posted by freddie on 1/4/2002 at 11:11:46 PM
I thought I saw the tires you want in a recent memory lane catalog so I checked. They do have them for $185.00 a pair. OUCH!!! Black wall are $12.00 ea. Hope this helps.

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   bike identification posted by ChristopherRobin2@starmail.com on 1/5/2002 at 7:06:48 PM
185 a pair? I have smelling salts in my pannier bag, I'm gonna need a favor from you!

AGE / VALUE:   Columbia & JC Higgins Serial #'s posted by: Frank on 1/1/2002 at 6:33:11 PM
I have a couple of bikes that I a m wondering about the age of. First is a Columbia Torpedo that belonged to my mother. Judging from her recollection of it, I figured it to be made somwhere in the late 40's or early 50's. After consulting the Columbia SN chart on this site, I came up with a mfg date of 1937. The # is B 84828. Does anyone know if Columbia made the Torpedo this early? I never figured the bike to be that old.

The next is a JC Higgins that I recently aquired. I couldn't find any serial number info anywhere, and I was wondering if anyone here had info on JC Higgins's SN's.
Not sure which of these is the serial number, I suspect the last one, but all of the following are located on the bottom bracket shell: MOS-S, next line:MOD 502 295, last line:65226. Any help on either would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Columbia & JC Higgins Serial #'s posted by sam on 1/2/2002 at 12:33:52 AM
Most J C Higgins were made by Murray.On the Columbia is the name Torpedo on the frame or on the rear hub(or brake arm)?Compair the JC Higgins to other Higgins/Murrays in the data base on this site.---sam

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   Columbia & JC Higgins Serial #'s posted by Frank on 1/2/2002 at 6:24:27 AM
Thanks for the info. On the Columbia, the headbadge says "Torpedo", and on the chaingaurd it says "Columbia Built".

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Columbia & JC Higgins Serial #'s posted by goob on 1/3/2002 at 12:04:19 AM
Colimbia serial numbers started over in 1955. Yours could be a 1956.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Columbia & JC Higgins Serial #'s posted by goob on 1/3/2002 at 12:05:57 AM
Columbia serial numbers started over in 1955. Yours could be a 1956.

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   Columbia & JC Higgins Serial #'s posted by Frank on 1/4/2002 at 1:38:45 AM
I wondered about his in my search for the bike's age, but I noticed on the chart on this site that in '56 it skips directly to the numbers with a "C" prefix, bypassing the "B" prefix altogether. Could this be an error in the SN chart on this site? I feel that this bike is newer than '37, but from my mothers recollection I got the impression that the bike was a bit older.1956 sounds reasonable though.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Columbia & JC Higgins Serial #'s posted by goob on 1/4/2002 at 11:25:42 PM
The antique bicycle classic bicycle list shows 1/2/56 b-5001 but shows no ending date. 1/14/56 c=5001 with no ending date and c104021 until 12/12/57. This is by far the best list I think. So your bike could be and early 56 model

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   Columbia & JC Higgins Serial #'s posted by Frank on 1/5/2002 at 6:14:17 AM
Thanks a lot for the info. Do you have a URL for this list?

   RE:RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   Columbia & JC Higgins Serial #'s posted by Frank on 1/8/2002 at 6:33:40 AM
A bit of an update on the Torpedo: I spoke to my mother again and she insists it must be a '37 and could not be a '56. Her father gave it to her used several years before he died in '54. Would it have different serial #'s than other Columbia's? It says "Torpedo" on the headbadge and "Columbia built" on the chaingaurd. It has an automatic chain oiler on the rear of the chaingaurd consisting of a felt block the chain runs through with an oil cup on top of the chain gaurd. Otherwise it's a standard ballooner with original looking blue paint, 26x2.125 kelly springfield tires, a New Departure front hub and a Bendix rear coaster brake hub. In good shape except for the wheels which are quite rusty, appearing never to have been either chrome plated or painted(any ideas on how these were originally finished? Were they just bare steel?). Anybody familiar with these and could help me acertain the year of it's make? Thanks again.