1990 Slingshot December 2nd ”The 90’s”. Wow, where has the time gone? Some of the bikes and technology that we’re going to show off will seem like they’re still current, but most of it has been gathering dust for twenty years now. Mountain bike suspension, hydraulic braking and elaborate new shifting systems were invented in the ‘90’s.
Results 1 - 48 of 155. Vintage Huffy Pro Thunder BMX bike period in storage for the past 35 years. Coaster brake mag wheels. Serial # C80140 Not sure if it's late seventies early eighties Missing brake lever. Looks original other than rear tire. Brand: Huffy. The serial number on this bicycle is C.
New materials came into play, aerodynamics became a design element, and Paul worked on the international racing circuit in the ‘90’s (so there are lots of stories to tell). We’ll have a couple of special guests.
Logan Owen, who was born in the ‘90’s, is now a racer with the Cannondale-Drapac team. Kiel Reijnen, who learned to ride a bike in the ‘90’s, races for Trek-Segafredo. They should have some great bike racing stories.
Built in honor of Hetchins' finest work I know, this bike is confusing. The label seems to make it too new to belong in a museum, and the components and construction style would suggest that this is a really old bike. Seems like we’re trying to pull a fast one on you. We’ll try to explain.
The most similar analogy to this bike that we can think of is the retro-looking record players available now that have jacks to hook up to your iPhone. Or maybe it’s like an old car that got hot-rodded with a modern engine and suspension.
Unlike a hot rod, this bike has the old engine and suspension but a new body. It’s a remake of a more “historic” bike, and a true classic itself. Imagine how long it took to file and polish these Built in 1999 to commemorate the new millennium, Hetchins offered bike junkies like our friend Jeff a chance to ride around on a piece of history by bringing back one of their oldest and most ornate lug sets. The steel tubing joining those lugs is thinner and lighter weight than what was used in the ’30′s, but the ride quality is similar.
Jeff commissioned this bike to be a replica of the Hetchins that star athlete Tony Merkens rode at the 1937 Crystal Palace six-day race. The knob damps the steering response In 1941, Alf Letourneur piloted his Wastyn-made Paramount to a motor-paced speed of 108.92mph, breaking Frank Bartell’s six year old record in the process. This sturdy relic has some interesting features. Up on the head lug we have a knob that tightens down on the steerer tube of the fork, damping the steering response.
Also unusual for the time are the rear stays that make up the back of the bike, which are built of triangular shaped tubing. Lastly, the top tube has a slight downward slope which positions the racer in a low aerodynamic crouch when gripping the bars.
Al Sellinger’s Brennan We’re the first to admit that there are a lot of plain-looking old track bikes in the collection. If you look carefully, however, you’ll see some real history rolling around on wooden rims. This is Al Sellinger’s Brennan track bike. Al was a member of the U.S. Olympic Team at the 1936 Berlin Games. The bike itself looks like a lot of pre-war racing machines. There are a few details in common with other Brennan bikes in the collection, but there are also details that make this one stand out.
The seat stays and chain stays are much larger in diameter and thicker-walled than any of our other bikes. It’s a sprinter’s rig. Al must have had quite a bit of horsepower to require such stiff construction for the back end of his bike. Brennan front end Al was the U.S. Amateur sprint champion in 1935, a distinction that nearly guaranteed his inclusion on the ’36 Olympic roster.
Al raced with distinction at the “Nazi Games”, finishing in 9th place in the men’s sprint competition (won by Germany’s Toni Merkins) and 10th in the 1000 meter individual time trial (which was won by the Netherland’s Arie Van Vliet). In the tandem sprint event Al and his partner William Logan made it into the quarter finals but were beaten to the line by the Italian team of Carlo Legutti and Bruno Loatti.
Frank Miserndino’s Debacco Special Racer A great old machine, and one of jeff’s most recent acquisitions, this bike was built in the northern New Jersey work shop of the DeBacco brothers Angelo and Joe. This “Special Racer” model was specially built for a racer named Frank Miserndino. Frank was apparently a road guy, so the bike mainly saw the roads of North Jersey and the surrounds. Frank’s name has come up more than a few times while researching the ’30′s East Coast racing scene and Frank frequented the shops owned by both Joe Kopsky and John Brennan. Ted Bendi's 1925 Copper-plated Appelhans This beauty was created by Willy Appelhans, an accomplished bike builder in the Bronx, New York. The bike was originally owned by Ted Bendi, a successful track racer and the president of the Union Sportive Italiano cycling club in the twenties and thirties. Standard track geometry of the era meant that the bike was comfortable for long hours in the saddle, as well as having a nice “snap” for the sprints.
Instead of enamel paint or even chrome plating, Ted asked for copper. It was a real eye magnet. Imagine this bike, seen from the stands, gleaming copper in a sea of painted bikes. 1939 Malvern Star A great bike from the land down under.
This is a Malvern Star. To be specific, it’s a Two-Star model from the Australian bicycle company Malvern Star. The bike is a mid-level model that was meant to be fast and tough but not as pretty or as light as the flagship Five-Star model. I don’t know, this one looks pretty spectacular to us. Like the ’48 Malvern Star and the 1920′s Arrow Racer that we have in the collection, this one sports an impressive finish. The beautifully painted frame details appear to be the handiwork of Ken Dickie. Ken was an artist who lived in Melbourne and applied his brushwork to some of the coolest bicycles we have ever seen anywhere.
Ken worked with a steady hand, a great eye for details and a tremendous amount of patience. Modern shifting, pre war The shifting system is cutting edge technology from 1938. A Cyclo “Oppy” twin wire. Using two cables, the top-tube mounted lever would pull the derailleur, which dragged the chain sideways across the multiple freewheel cogs that were fitted to the rear wheel.
The Oppy, which was named after Hubert Opperman, was an improvement over the popular Cyclo standard derailleur of a few years earlier. The Oppy replaced the standard’s long chain tension spring with a coiled spring around the derailleur piston. It looks like we have a 3-speed freewheel mounted on the Malvern, so with a 15 to 17 tooth spread you would have had it easy compared to your single-speed riding partners. 1937 Claud Butler Tour d’Angleterre Claud Butler made some truly fantastic bicycles, but this is our favorite. There are so many great design elements on this bike that it’s hard to know where to start. There are oil ports all over the bike. There’s an integrated chain lube reservoir.
The shifting system is amazing. The paint is beautiful. The tubing must be awesome because the whole bike is really light. Oh, and the name! The Tour d’Angleterre (Tour of England) was probably a tribute to the bikes that were used in the Tour de France that summer of 1937. The frame angles on this bike are much steeper than was common in the 1930′s, and the bike rides similarly to modern machines.
Fill the reservoir up with chain lube here Reynolds 531 frame tubing made this a surprisingly light (23 pounds with fenders) and responsive bike. In two spots around the head tube and one spot on top of the bottom bracket shell there are ports where you can add oil to the bearings housed within. On the seat tube there is a port that can hold about 4 ounces of chain oil. At the bottom of this reservoir there is a spigot that can be rotated to drip lubricant right onto the the chain. You could even operate this feature as you pedaled! That little fork moves the chain side to side The three-speed shifter on the bike is an “Osgear”, fully known as the Constrictor Osgear Super Champion.
1937 marked the first year that bikes with gear changers like the Super Champion were allowed in the Tour de France. The name ‘Osgear’ was a take on the name Oscar Egg, the designer (and a famous Swiss-French cyclist from the era). The Osgear was light yet sturdy, and fairly simple to operate. Fitted to the chainstay is a cable operated guide arm that moves the chain right or left across the three sprockets. The tensioning arm near the crankset takes up the slack of the chain, and has a guide-loop of metal on the pulley to keep the chain from coming off. Aluminum chain guard and fenders If the sales pitch was successful, that boy would have quite a prize. This Iver Johnson was special.
It had aluminum fenders and a chainguard to protect clothing from road grime. There was a coaster brake hub on the back wheel, so you could enjoy speeding downhills (unlike your friends on their fixed-gear bikes) and still stop with confidence. The wheels looked super fast. They were painted to resemble the wooden rims on an ultra-light racing machine, but were actually sturdy (and less expensive) metal rims.
Adam Brenner's Bengal Special Racer Sure, this bike is a little rough, but let’s see how good you look in a hundred years. This Special Racer was originally purchased from the Progressive Cycle & Auto Supply Company of New York City by a local area man named Adam Brenner. The Bengal was one of Progressive Cycle’s sporting models from the teens or early twenties (judging from the frame angles and tubing sizes) and was probably built by Columbia or another large bicycle manufacturer of the time. In researching this bike, we discovered that the “Bengal Special Racer” model name was later applied to Progressive Cycle’s balloon tire boys’ bikes following World War II. 1907 Racycle There are a lot of names here so lets see This is the Pace Maker model RaCycle, and RaCycles were made by the Miami Cycle and Manufacturing company of Middleton, Ohio. Bikes like this one followed high-wheelers onto the cobbled streets of early 1900′s America.
With newly invented roller chain and pneumatic tires, this would have been a luxuriously smooth ride compared to a Penny-Farthing. One of the selling points of the Pace Maker was the massive front chainring (equivalent to a modern 84-tooth ring) that was meant to attract attention and suggest higher speed (but the big ring was actually offset by a big back cog that ended up producing a comfortable gear ratio). Racycle advertisement Check out the old ad that we found for RaCycle bikes. The copy in old advertising and press releases like this one was so earnest. According to the manufacturer, a 1904 Worlds Fair jury “consisting of the ablest consulting and manufacturing engineers in Europe and America, were unanimous in their decision that the Racycle was the most perfectly constructed, easiest running bicycle in the world.” However they were judged, early “safety” bicycles like this one really brought inexpensive personal transportation to the masses. They connected people with jobs and schools, connected rural areas of the country with cities, connected extended families (and liberated family members from one another). This bike was originally owned by Harry Nettleton of Red Wing, Minnesota.
Harry raised the original $16.50 purchase price by collecting clam shells from the Minnesota river and selling them to a local button factory. By the way, if you take a look at the Iver Johnson Truss-bridge bike from the same era, you’ll note that the RaCycle was about a third of the price of the Iver Johnson. 1934 Caminade Caminargent This stunning aluminum racing bike was built by Caminade of Paris at a time before aluminum TIG welding had been developed. Instead of welded joints like we know today, Caminade used socketed joints and glued and pegged each tube into place.
Over seventy years have passed by, and this bike is still rideable (although a bit creaky). The tubing is heptagon shaped, and in places it is drilled out to save weight! A high-tech wonder from the thirties that weighs less than most modern bikes at just 15 pounds. Caminargent head tube The three-speed shifter on the bike is an “Osgear”, fully known as the Constrictor Osgear Super Champion. The name ‘Osgear’ was a take on the name Oscar Egg, the designer (and a famous Swiss-French cyclist from the era).
The Osgear was light yet sturdy, and fairly simple to operate. Fitted to the chainstay is a cable operated guide arm that moves the chain right or left across the three sprockets. The tensioning arm near the crankset takes up the slack of the chain, and has a guide-loop of metal on the pulley to keep the chain from coming off. Tony Soberaski’s Sun Club Racer Despite the name, it’s not really a racer. It’s a Sun “Club” model.
What became the Sun Cycle company was founded by James Parkes & Son in 1885. Initially a brass foundry, the company started manufacturing bicycle frames and parts in 1898. In 1907 the company changed its name to The Sun Cycle & Fittings Company and began making and selling its own line of bicycles. The ’20′s through the ’40′s were good years for the brand, and bikes like this club model were quite popular.
In the late ’50′s, a lot of small British bike labels consolidated through attrition and mergers, and Sun Cycles eventually melted into the Raleigh brand. Extra clothes, spare parts, and some food. Randonneurs are expected to be self-sufficient, so the bikes have to be able to carry extra gear.
The weather can change dramatically over these long events, so fenders and lights are common accessories. Guys in the Seattle Randonneurs Club would still use this bike today. The distances involved in brevets favors equipment that is “tried and true”. Nothing more tried (and maybe still true) than 80 year old parts.
Today, these guys would call the Cyclo Standard shifter “more reliable” than any derailleur with a high-tech return spring. Four gears seems just about right! Modern derailleur systems with 20 or more gear ratios would be derided as “overly complex”. 1915 Crown bicycle We’re making an educated guess on the date here, but we’re pretty close.
This Crown was born about a hundred years ago, and it’s held up really well. Built by the Great Western Manufacturing Company of LaPorte, Indiana, the bike showcases some nice artistic touches and fine manufacturing skill. Great Western became a bike company in 1898 when four small builders combined their labor and capital into one. The merger made a large and successful bike company that continued until about 1920. 1886 American Star bicycle Star bicycles were originally manufactured by the Smith Machine Company in Smithville, New Jersey. The American Star was designed with the smaller wheel in the front to avoid the tendency found in other high wheelers (that have smaller trailing wheels) to pitch forward. The Star pedals ratchet up and down around a flywheel, a design that also incorporates two different gear options.
While a Star rider was less likely to pitch over the front wheel when encountering a road obstacle, care had to be taken not to fall over backward. Franz Duelberg’s 1927 Boogmans Stayer Motorpace bikes, or “Stayers” are pretty rare. It is pretty unusual to find one of these on the west coast of America, and really weird that we have a half-dozen of them on Bainbridge Island. We have a story about that. First, some background Stayers like this are made for an esoteric type of bicycle track racing that involves drafting behind a Derny or a motorcycle (check out the photos for an idea). The reversed fork keeps the bike stable at the extremely high speeds associated with motor paced events. This particular stayer was originally built by the Belgian Boogmans bike company for a German track cyclist named Franz Duelberg.
Boogmans had a reputation for making some of the best racing bikes of the era. A motor-paced track race The bike was displayed on a wall in her house on Kallgren avenue until the day of the Nisqually earthquake, when it fell off the wall and the wooden rims got damaged. Sully brought the bike down Kallgren to her neighbor Jeff (who happened to own Classic Cycle at the time) to see if he could repair it. Not only did Jeff have the 80-year-old-odd-sized rims with which to fix the bike, he had a matching Boogmans stayer built in the same year! Quite a trip for an old bike to make to meet up with one of its dozen-or-so sibblings!
Really neat chain stays The cyclist who originally raced the bike? Duelberg was fast. In his rookie season Franz partnered with another new racer, a young Jimmy Walthour jr., and together the duo won the 1928 six-day races in Detroit and Chicago. In November 1936, a Melborne newspaper exclaimed “Duelberg Brilliant!
One of the finest exhibitions of motor-paced bike racing that has been seen in Melbourne was given by the German Franz Duelberg at the third board track cycling meeting at the Exhibition on Saturday night.” So this bike made a trip to Australia too. 1887 Columbia Expert Is it any wonder that the high-wheel bicycle became such an icon? Beautiful machines like this one have represented both progress and antiquity over the past 125 years. Penny-farthings are an easily recognizable symbol for “bicycle”. A lot of bike shop signs (probably spelled “Bicycle Shoppe”) feature high wheelers.
Store advertisements, historic town districts, and corporate logos often use them to signify antiquity or historical heritage. Microsoft’s home of Redmond Washington identifies itself with a Penny Farthing on the city signage. That creepy village in The Prisoner T.V. Series had these bikes all over the place. The pedals could be moved to fit the rider better To mount one of these, you used the little step just above the rear wheel and hopped up onto the saddle. The large wheel and strong gyroscopic effect actually made these pretty easy to ride around on, as long as you paid attention. To stop, you would slow the pedals with your feet while pressing the spoon brake into the tire.
High speeds and descents were pretty scary. With your center of mass high above the front wheel, an unexpected pothole could easily send you over the handlebars. Note the step just above the wheel. Why ride a high-wheel bike?
Well, at the time it was simpler, lighter, and faster than bikes with smaller same-size wheels. The large wheel rode over cobblestones and road bumps more smoothly than smaller wheels (remember, in the 1800′s hard rubber or metal “tires” had no air in them). Velocipedes of all sizes were direct-drive in this era, so the only way to make the bike faster was to make the driving wheel larger (you were only limited by a rider’s leg length). 1935 Archie Weaver tricycle Arthur “Archie” Weaver was a master craftsman. The Weaver cycle shop on Leyton High street was a magnet for English bicycle racers in the 1920′s and ’30′s.
Tricycle racers too, apparently. A bit of a bike nut, err, trike nut, Mr. Weaver built this magnificent racing tricycle for himself. The rear differential was machined in the Weaver shop, and the fixed gear drives the left side wheel. Riding on the left side of a crowned road would be really tough without a differential or with the right wheel propelling the trike. Archie’s friend in the Glendene cycling club, C.J.
Drayton, set the 200 mile time trial record on this machine in 1935. 200 miles in 11 hours and 46 minutes! Archie Weaver frame detail The head badge states “The Glade”, which refers to the nearby Glendene Cycling Club, a club supported by Weaver’s shop and named after a favorite spot in Wales. The 32nd milestone on the badge most likely denotes a meeting place (or mid-ride sprint) for club members as they ride on the A11 road leading out of London. That milestone is still in place today. We just learned an interesting note about Mr. His grand-nephew Ben informed us that Archie was also an accomplished model and trophy maker.
Among a varied array of cool creations, Archie fashioned the eyeballs for the puppets that starred in the “Thunderbirds” television show. The seat tube is dimpled so the wheel can be pulled in closer Hyram “Harry” Hetchins and his partner Jack Denny developed quite a following at their North London bike shop. Curved tubes and ornate lugwork were only part of their musically inspired creations. The creased “Six Day” seat tube provided room for the rear wheel to be tucked farther forward, making a shorter wheelbase for quicker handling.
Like the curvy tubing (which was originally meant to make unlabeled Hetchins racing bikes identifiable to spectators) the dimpled tube was originally done for track racing star Tony Merkins, and became a regular feature on the Hetchins bikes sold to the general public. 1947 Conloy Osgear derailleur Does the rear derailleur look a little advanced for the 1930′s? It should. It’s a Conloy Osgear, and it came out in ’47, but it looks and works really neat, and would have been the kind of thing a Hetchins owner would have upgraded on a 10 year old bike. The Conloy Osgear rear derailleur utilized a modern parallelogram design and a single shift wire. Unfortunately it only had a single pulley, so the total gear difference could only be about six teeth. The shift cable runs up and along the top tube, which puts the lever in a nice convenient spot. 1930′s Emil Wastyn This bright old bike was originally owned and raced by Ed “Killian” Williams.
An active cyclist in the ’30′s, Ed was a successful racer who earned his nickname from a blistering sprinting style that mimicked the great track racer Gustav Killian. Look closely.
Interesting features will poke out on this otherwise simple chrome bike. Check out the head tube lugs that wrap around the steerer tubes like chrome fingers, holding the tube in place. There’s the drooping handlebar stem up front and the drilled-out crank arms down low. Those BSA cranks were drilled out after the fact No factory warranty on those. 1916 Mead Ranger Imagine that you were born a bicycle.
Born a Mead Ranger bicycle in 1916. Born in Chicago, but ready to ride anywhere! You grew up rolling down cobbled streets and dirt roads, taking little trips and having a good time. Road racing through the roaring ’20′s. All of the miles you covered in the 1930′s! Everybody was suffering from “depression” except you. You were out going places on new roads and were meeting new bikes from all over. World War Two was a busy time, with gas rationing going on you did your duty and kept everyone moving.
Hung up in the back of your owner’s garage in the 1950′s, you thought that your days of adventure were over. You would spend the next few decades hanging from the rafters, trading stories with an old wooden canoe.
You kids and your stickers! Get a real head tube badge! In the ’80′s your family decided to sell your garage (along with their house) and you were given to a guy named Jeff who seemed to like your kind. At Jeff’s Classic Cycle shop you met a bunch of old timers like yourself, and you talked about the old days The cobblestones, racing around, snaring dresses and trouser legs with your chain It was a good retirement. Then one day you were roughly woken from a nap and brought into the work room at Classic Cycle. You were being tuned! Fresh grease?
That hadn’t happened in years! 70 pounds of pressure in your tires? Hey, what’s going on? You are a display bike now, not a rider.
Before you knew what happened you were being crammed into a cardboard box and loaded onto a UPS truck. This is no way to be treated! Unpacked and reassembled in Colorado, this young fella starts riding around on you. Is the air here a bit thin? First ten miles, then thirty.
You haven’t rolled this far in decades! Look at those hills! Grand Junction, Colorado? Isn’t Palm Springs a better place to spend your golden years?
You and that crazy fella Tristan racin’ like in the old days at L’Eroica Before the week is up you find yourself at the start of what looks like a race, no doubt about it. There are some old timers like yourself, along with some of those young upstarts like those you met back in the Classic Cycle storage room. They all look excited and freshly overhauled, some with new tires even. Someone fires a pistol and that young fella starts you rolling.
He doesn’t stop. Ten miles on fresh pavement. Twenty miles down a long descent. At thirty miles there was a bit of gravel, just like in the old days. You keep going, even through a rain storm. Through hail. Your coaster brake hasn’t ached this badly, ever.
On a long stretch of gravel after seventy miles you start to loose your dentures (er, axle nuts). That crazy young fella catches them just in time and tightens them back on. He must be slow, doesn’t know about those new bikes with quick releases (and gears and disc brakes)! You think longingly about that spot above the Harbour Pub bar where you sat last summer, with people lifting their drinks to you and admiring your “lines”. The ride doesn’t stop.
After ninety miles that crazy fella slowed you down to a more sensible pace, but he didn’t stop. One hundred miles rolled under your tires that day, one for each year of your long life. Your springs haven’t been ridden that hard since the War. Finally all of the nonsense comes to an end, and the young fella stops pedalling and gets off your aching saddle.
One of the other bikes tells you that you just got second place at some old-timers race called L’Eroica! Well how ’bout that? That’s really something.
Ninety-seven years old and you can still give ‘em hell! Heck, you think, wait until I tell all of the new bikes back at Classic Cycle. All smug with their carbon fiber and high technology. Why, let’s see some of those new guys try this in a hundred years. Bill Honeman’s 1932 Brennan racing bike Tough old racing steel. This racing bike saw hard mile after mile in its years of service. Raced, crashed, trained on and played with by a cyclist named Bill Honeman, it served with distinction.
John “Pop” Brennan built bikes like this one in his Newark, NJ workshop for many of the best racers of the day. Bill “Willie” Honeman raced sucessfully for years and was the junior national champion in 1924, and national champion as a professional in 1934, 1935, and 1936. Original blueprint for one of Honeman’s Brennans Willie broke a lot of ground for other cyclists to follow. He was the first American to wear a stars-and-stripes jersey as the national champion (before Willie they just draped a flag over the riders shoulders at the podium ceremony). Willie also lobbied for head protection for his fellow professional riders (ineffective as the available helmets were at the time), and was the first to regularly wear a helmet outside of motorpaced events.
Willie achieved an interesting little bit of immortality in bronze. He was the model used in making many early racing awards. Look closely at some of the trophies on display at Classic Cycle and you’ll find Willie’s likeness on the top of all of the ABL and NCA racing trophies. Frank's 1928 Brennan Sometimes the most beautiful aspect of an old racing bike is the mileage that it proudly displays.
This old Brennan has more than a few turns around the track under it’s green enamel paint. Frank Turano raced this bike throughout the 1930′s.
He converted it to a regular road rider with an Osgear shifting system after the war (we have converted it back to original condition), and he continued to pile on the miles for decades. Frank’s long career with a total of 55 Six Day races suggests that this particular bike has at least 150,000 miles on it. Alf Goullet's 1923 Spencer Special This Spencer track bike was built for the greatest six-day track racer of all time, Alf Goullet. The bike was constructed with an extremely high bottom bracket, which was meant to keep the pedals from striking the steeply banked velodromes of the day.
The fork tubes and seat stays were made with stout oval tubing, all to resist the twisting forces that Alf could generate. Pop Brennan made custom handlebars in a shape that Goullet prefered, and springy wooden rims spun everything up to speed. Pop Brennan and Alf Alf Goullet, the owner of this bike, was an Australian-American cyclist who won more than 400 races on three continents, including fifteen six-day races. He set multiple world records racing various distances, and still holds the record for the furthest distance ridden in a six-day race. Alf was a superstar. At a time when the average factory worker brought home $5 a day, he earned six figures a year racing his bike (dwarfing the salary paid to Babe Ruth). A real winner off the bike as well, Alf retired from cycling in 1925 and lived in good health and prosperity to the ripe old age of 103.
That's an oil port at the center of the hub This track bike is a “Stayer” (also known as a “Steher” or a “Gangmaker” depending on your nationality). A bike that was built to be ridden behind a derny or motorcycle driver in motorpaced events. The reversed fork and smaller front wheel makes the bike handle like a shopping cart, it just wants to go straight ahead. A roller bar on the back of the motorcycle keeps bad things from happening if the front wheel of the bike bumps it. This is important, since the speeds involved in most motorpaced events average around fifty miles an hour. Tommy Smeriglios Dick Power You. At the back of the class.
No snickering. Dick Power made and sold some great racing bikes in the middle part of the last century. Dick Power cycles was located in the Sunnyside neighborhood in Queens, and was a center for New York City and the Long Island racing community. Sometime in the 1940′s Dick made this trusty racing bike for local star Tommy Smeriglio. While not one of the prettiest bikes in the museum collection, this battered and bruised bike probably has the most race wins of any of our bikes stored up in its old tubes. Stoker bar and springy captain's seat Fabulous features include BSA drum brake hubs, which were built to stop reliably (regardless of the girth of Daisy and her boyfriend).
Springy leather saddles were added to the tandem, an upgrade over the stock saddles that BSA offered, but clearly the right choice for a guy trying to make an impressive bike for his sweetie. The generator light system on our bike was added more recently, but there is a fork mount designed to carry oil lamps or early battery powered lights. Full fenders, a bell, Dunlop tires (ours have since rotted away), and cellulose bar wrap made this bike top of the line. 1936 BSA catalogue page The real marvel of this bicycle built for two is the Trivelox shifting system.
The funky design pulls the cogs side to side under a stationary derailleur. A good choice for a tandem, where weight is less of an issue, and where the Trivelox’s widely spaced hub bearings supported the axle more evenly.
The Trivelox unfortunately did not withstand the test of time. If you can imagine holding a pen over a piece of paper, and writing by moving the paper underneath it, you can understand the limitations of this system. The more gears it was asked to shift between, the wider and heavier the rear wheel had to become.
1940 Lance Claudel Lance Claudel was a skilled frame maker and he built hundreds of stunning racing frames over his long career. Claudel apprenticed with Willy Appelhans in the 1920′s before setting up shop and working for himself for over a decade. After years on his own, wanting a shorter workday, Claudel closed up his Bailey Avenue shop in the late thirties and was hired by Henry and Kay Damerell to build frames and wrench in their Bronx bike shop.
Lance worked as a mechanic in their shop, “The Wheel”, until he retired. Purchased at 'The Wheel' in the Bronx Claudel built this particular bike for a guy named John Orth, and it was probably the last frame that he built before the war. It is a beautiful piece of work, but you can see that there are differences from his earlier bikes. Not quite as detail-oriented, this bike may have been made for a more modest price, or it may show that Claudel was just getting a bit tired. The lugs aren’t quite as crisp as his earlier bikes, and some of the finishing touches (like a head badge) were skipped. Charlie Logan's 1932 Brennan track bike John “Pop” Brennan made some of the most coveted racing bikes in the world in the 1920s and 1930s. All of the top professionals rode a Brennan, and those who didn’t have the bikes sought out Pop for his custom-shaped handlebars.
Jeff has quite a few Brennans in his collection, but none are quite as cool as Charlie Logan’s fully restored 1932 beauty. The rich enamel paint highlights Brennan’s precise (and fairly modern looking) lugs. The BSA components and beech wood rims were as fast as anything at the time. Gus 'Augie' Juner's 1930 Appelhans This beautiful Appelhans originally belonged to Gus Juner. We have a few Appelhans racing bikes in the museum.
Frank Bartell’s speed record bike is certainly impressive, and Ted Bendi’s copper-plated bike is a rare jem, but nothing preserves and displays Appelhans craftsmanship quite like this bike. The lugs are neatly detailed with gold pinstriping, the finish and components are original and in excellent shape, and the bike is not nearly as battle-scarred as some of our other surviving Appelhans machines. The contrasting colors highlight Appelhans' style Gus, a.k.a. “Augie” was one of three cycling brothers in the Juner family. Born and raised on City Island in the Bronx, New York, the Juner brothers are royalty in bike shop culture. They were the keepers of secret old-world bike knowledge and lore, and cycling advice given by a Juner brother was treated like it was gold-plated.
Brother Oscar was immortalized in Maynard Hershon’s 1989 book “Tales from the Bike Shop” as the crusty but wise shop owner and mechanic. Gus may not have had the success on the bike that his brothers did (Adolph won the Tour of Somerville and Oscar was a successful six-day track racer), but he certainly was a big influence on his brothers, and in turn, they fostered thousands of aspiring cyclists.
Oscar started American Cyclery in San Francisco in 1941, while Adolph had a bike shop on City Island in the Bronx. 1930's CCM Flyer Canada Cycle and Motor company was established over a hundred years ago when four major Canadian bicycle manufacturers amalgamated. At the dawn of the twentieth century, many smaller bicycle builders shut their doors and C.C.M.
Soon became Canada’s industry leader. At C.C.M.’s peak they made up around 85 percent of Canadian bicycle production. This particular bike came out of C.C.M.’s factory in Weston, Ontario sometime in the 1930′s.
While the construction methods used for the frame are fairly simple and unadorned, the bike came out at a feathery weight and has great ride characteristics (particularly for a bike of this vintage). Cycling Legend Victor Hopkins, in 1924 Worth Mitten, from Davenport, Iowa, was a small production bike builder who supplied a few great cyclists of his era. The couple dozen bikes that he built were all well engineered for the rough roads of the time with long wheelbases and extremely raked forks.
This redish-brown color was a Mitten trademark, and all known bikes have this enamel finish. Among the notable riders on his bikes was Victor Hopkins, 1926 National Champion and Olympian at the 1924 games. 1937 Monark Silver King L537 Another beauty from Monark (check out the ’48 Hex Bar and the ’36 boys Silver King too), this time a more modest version built for the girls. This bike doesn’t have the over-the-top chrome fenders, lights and accessories, but it still has style to spare.
There are some great details on this Monark. Check out the art deco design on the handlebar stem. How about the wonderful sand-cast hub shells with the crazy cooling-fin type design? The kickstand folds up into the rear fender, and the wire laced into the rear fender acts as a guard to keep skirts and dresses from getting stuck in the wheel.
The Arrow “Racer” bicycle from Australia This is an awesome and unusual racing bike from Australia. The tubing sizes and frame angles suggest that it was a mid-level racing bike bike from the 1920s.
The paint is more ornate than what would have been original, and it is fairly likely that the same painter who worked on our purple Malvern Star, a man named Ken Dickie, did the marvelous detail work on this bike. Ken, a talented artist whose bicycle detail work spans decades, was crazy. Hours and hours of painting are on display here, and it is clear to us that Ken could not have been paid adequately for his masterful brush work. Doris Kopsky's 1933 Kopsky Special Doris Kopsky was a pioneer in womens cycling in America.
In 1937 at the age of fifteen Doris won the first womens division race at the ABL of A National Championships, held in Buffalo, New York. Doris raced up and down the east coast, her father Joe bringing her to races all over. She was good at it. Doris won numerous regional and national dirt track titles, as well as indoor roller races from 1936 to 1941. She was the New Jersey State Sprint Champion in 1937, 1938 and 1939. The saddle leather has rotted away Admittedly, we don’t know much about this bike. Built by an unknown manufacturer, this is the missing link in the evolution of the bicycle.
This bike design comes from a time when various designers were independently moving away from the hobby-horse style velocipedes of the 1860s to the direct-drive Penny farthings of the 1870s and 80s, to the safety bicycle design that stayed with us until today. Most likely this bike was built around 1890 and is one of the first chain-driven bicycles in existence. A spoon brake pressed down on the hard rubber tire In a span of just a few years bicycles went from costing the average worker months of his salary to being a means of travel that anyone could afford. They helped connect villages and town in ways that other means of transportation (walking, horses, & trains) could not.
Roadways were built or improved to help connect cities and make travel with these bikes easier. All sorts of inventions and technology leaped forward from these bicycles. The invention of the motorcycle, the automobile, and the airplane can all be attributed to people who got their start with high-wheelers. Ernie's Appelhans The cycling world in the early part of the twentieth century revolved around New York and New Jersey, not Paris or Milan. This is Ernie Landis’s Appelhans.
Ernie raced for the Unione Sportiva Italiana cycling club, which was based in New York, and one of the biggest cycling clubs in the world at that time. This bike from the twenties was primarily a track bike, but the front brake shows that it was used occasionally for training or racing on the road.
BSA or Birmingham Small Arms provided the components. They were the Campagnolo of the day. Willy Appelhans was a builder in the Bronx, New York. Besides Ernie’s bike, we have a couple other Appelhanses in the collection, including a rare and striking copper-plated bike.
Take a photo from the “drive side” in front of a neutral background To make the appraisal more accurate, prepare the bike and take photos like you would if you were going to sell it. Clean the bike, remove any broken or rough-looking accessories and put some air in the tires. Take pictures straight on in front of a blank background, and take close-up photos of areas that may generate interest (or confusion). There is no “Blue Book” value for bicycles.
Bikes are simply worth what someone else is willing to pay for them. Bicycle values tend to be highest when the weather is warm, in places where it’s pleasant to ride, and wherever there are a lot of people who like bikes. Close-ups of the parts tell a lot about your bike You know more about your bike than we do. If you just bought a bike for $50, you have just established the value of the bicycle (and you are not likely to be able to sell it for $2000 to somebody else).
You know when you bought it, so you have a good idea of the age, and you know if it was a high-end racing model or a basic bike from Walmart. Rarity rarely helps determine value. If you have a one-of-a-kind bicycle, it may mean that no one has ever heard of it and/or nobody is looking for one. Popularity is no indicator either. Bikes that were sold in large numbers could fall into one of two camps. You could have a bike that will never sell (Schwinn Varsity) because there are still thousands of them out there, or you could have a bike that will cause a bidding war (Bridgestone MB-1) because people rode them into the ground and they want another one. If what you’re really after is to get rid of an old bike, keep us in mind.
While we don’t buy bikes outright, we’ll likely take your old bike as a trade-in for something new. About our museum The bikes featured in this museum section are privately owned by Jeff Groman, as well as other employees and friends of Classic Cycle. We display them in this space to share their beauty and showcase the skill and creativity that went into making them. This website is not intended to be a research archive.
While we like to be accurate in our descriptions, we don’t really care if a particular bike was made in 1952 or if it was 1953. A bike built today could be labeled a 2016 or 2017 model. It could be exactly the same as a 2014 model, and may not get sold until 2018.
In 50 years it would be really nice if folks just went out for a bike ride and didn’t bicker over the exact vintage of their Classic bike. In other words, if you’re really concerned about dates and serial numbers, figure it out yourself. To the serious bike collectors out there: We don’t care if the saddle on our 1972 Colnago isn’t “period correct.” Enjoy looking at the collection or don’t. Plenty of brand new bikes roll out the doors of modern bike shops sporting saddles or bottle cages that were new during the Reagan administration. Likewise, this museum section is meant to be interesting and entertaining, and we would never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
1990 Slingshot December 2nd ”The 90’s”. Wow, where has the time gone? Some of the bikes and technology that we’re going to show off will seem like they’re still current, but most of it has been gathering dust for twenty years now. Mountain bike suspension, hydraulic braking and elaborate new shifting systems were invented in the ‘90’s. New materials came into play, aerodynamics became a design element, and Paul worked on the international racing circuit in the ‘90’s (so there are lots of stories to tell). We’ll have a couple of special guests.
Logan Owen, who was born in the ‘90’s, is now a racer with the Cannondale-Drapac team. Kiel Reijnen, who learned to ride a bike in the ‘90’s, races for Trek-Segafredo. They should have some great bike racing stories. Schwinn Black Phantom “My new Phantom sure is a beauty — All the fellows say it’s the swellest-looking bike in town.” Sure is the swellest.
Built between 1949 and 1959, Schwinn Phantoms were the most bodacious, luxurious, and feature-filled bicycles on the road. There was the deluxe leather saddle, the patented spring fork, built-in horn, streamlined tank, Schwinn fender lights and an automatic brake light, an integrated lock, kickstand, and a luggage rack. “The most beautiful bike in the world” included whitewall tires, pinstripes and sparkly paint, with chrome all around. Phantom chainguard and paint detail These bikes were so coveted and awe inspiring that no kid would even consider riding the Black Phantom on his newspaper route. The bike was the prize that two years of saved route money bought in the first place! The Phantom was the ride for sunny days and impressing the other guys in the neighborhood.
This wouldn’t end up a “work” bike, that job would still belong to the rusty old Roadmaster in the garage. Black Phantom bike production was discontinued in 1960. Balloon tire cruisers had lost favor with America’s youth, and the increasing popularity of “English Racers” (the generic term given to any bike that had thin tires and a few different gears) meant that Schwinn’s 67 pound Phantom was too heavy and inefficient for modern tastes. Ted Smith’s Claude Butler Olympic Sprint In the bike shop we sometimes get questions about this old bike racer named Claude Butler who seemed to be so famous in the 1940′s and ’50′s.
We’ll try to set the record straight with this example. Claude Butler is the guy who built this bike and Ted Smith is the one who raced it. Ted Smith was quite an accomplished track racer, winning the Omnium at the National Championships in 1945, ’47 and again in 1948.
Additionally, Ted was a member of the U.S. Olympic Team at the 1948 London Games. Olympic Sprint front end Ted was slated to ride the road race as well as the team pursuit at the London games. Politics and personal conflicts have derailed many Olympic plans over the years, and Ted’s experience in 1948 was no exception. National team coaches dropped Ted from the road race roster after he competed in local pre-Olympic British races against their instructions Ted, primarily a track guy, complained that he merely needed some miles on his road bike to get used to operating a derailleur. Claude Butler drivetrain Ted did end up racing in the 4000 meter team pursuit event, with the U.S. Squad getting 9th place with a best time of 5:22.
To give you an idea of how aerodynamics, bicycle technology, training and even the technology involved with modern helmets and clothing has progressed in bike racing over the years, here is a comparison: The U.S. Womens team did the 4000m team pursuit in Rio in a time of 4:14. That’s fast enough to lap the ’48 mens team 4 times on the 250 meter Rio velodrome. Flying Straight Ahead This bike has a Cyclo twin-wire gear changer with a four-speed freewheel. All of the running gear remains the same as ordered in 1949. The Stoker’s and Captain’s handlebars slide on beautifully constructed and chromed stems.
While the brakes work horribly by today’s standards, they look great and stop pretty well for 1949. The frame construction, with the short wheelbase and custom lug work is unique and really extraordinary. The craftsmanship is top of the line. The box lining, panels & pin stripes are great, the decals are intact after all of these years and the stove-baked enamel finish is unbelievable. With adult bike wheel for scale Aw, isn’t this a cute little bike? Perfect for the first-grader who wanted to beat the school bus home. This was the race-ready rig for the rider who wanted to keep up with all of the older kids in the neighborhood.
It can be difficult to find a good little road bike for kids, even today. In the late ’50′s and early ’60′s kids typically had to choose between small balloon-tire bikes and mid-weight “English Racers”. The kid who originally owned this one was pretty lucky, considering that his bike weighed about half as much as other options and boasted some fine features. Campione Gian Robert Derailleur We aren’t sure which parts were available off the shelf and which of this stuff was custom.
Actually, the handlebar stem was obviously custom as it sports a nice Wilier crest. The handlebars, stem, saddle, brake levers, pedals and crank arms are all reduced in size and perfectly proportional. The drivetrain is a 4-speed, with a Campione Gian Robert rear derailleur and a single shift lever.
The 22″ wheels run on tubular (sew-up) tires like any real racing bike, and the bike even came with a matching pump. Wilier Triestina is an Italian brand that was founded in 1906 in Bassano del Grappa. Since the beginning Wilier took racing bikes very seriously. Offering a junior-sized racing bike would have been a natural choice for a company that has backed bike racers for 100 years. Today it’s the U.S.
Based United Health Care team, but 20 years ago it was Marco Pantani, and in the ’40′s it was Giro d’Italia winner Fiorenzo Magni. Chain guard Built with light steel (for a 1950′s era bike) and sporting thin tires and three speeds, this Norman would have been considered a fast bike. Compared to the big and heavy (but popular) balloon-tire bikes of the American ’50′s, English bikes seemed to offer something different. A quick look at the back pages of a Schwinn catalogue of the era would show a few American versions of this style on offer, but American bicycle brands (like their automotive counterparts) didn’t want to sell practical or efficient. American brands wanted to sell you something with white wall tires, fins, and a lot of chrome. Omelenchuk road bike This is another bike that was made by George Omelenchuk for his wife Jeanne, an Olympic-level champion cyclist and speedskater. Check out the other two Omelenchuks in this museum section.
Notice a trend here? It probably goes without saying, but Jeanne must have been pretty special to George. Nothing looks easy on any of these bikes. It seems that George went out of his way to fabricate every last bit of Jeanne’s bikes from scratch, or at least give everything a custom touch or two. Campagnolo crankset The wheels are customized for Jeanne and very hand-made.
Not just pick-out-the-parts-and-lace-them-up hand made either. George cast the aluminum hub shells himself, producing hubs that were extremely wide by the standards of the day (heck, they’re wide by today’s standards, and we pack 11 cogs onto modern rear hubs). The rims were drawn or rolled or whatever the term is by George himself, and were lightened up for Jeanne with 32 half-inch holes machined out of the rim walls between each spoke eyelet. The spokes may be off the shelf (George made his own spokes for Jeanne’s track bike), we can’t be certain. We are certain that the spokes are wire-tied at each crossing and soldered for extra rigidity. Rims with weight-reducing holes We have seen a lot of really great work by bike mechanics and wheel builders over the years. Cees Beers did some amazing things with his ADA wheels starting in the mid ’90′s, building custom carbon-fiber wheels for clients like Bjarne Riis or Jan Uhlrich.
Master builders (and former race circuit pros) like Calvin Jones at Park Tools or Ric Hjertberg from Wheelsmith were the best. But these guys all look lazy compared to George Omelenchuk. George would take materials that were already on the cutting edge of technology, re-work the material and design from scratch, just to squeeze a little more performance out of them for just one rider. 1945 Schwinn New World When you have an American-made bike and name it the “World Traveler” you conjure up images of trips taken abroad. You make people think about exploring the countryside and seeing new things. The “World Traveler” was a great bicycle name to sell Americans in the latter half of the 20th century. In the 1930′s and ’40′s, however, Schwinn wanted potential bike buyers to think American.
The “New World” meant America. As in “Take this bike and see what America has to offer”. As in “Don’t buy any Old World brand, buy something American-made and ride it on your own streets”. Before there was a Schwinn World Traveler model, Schwinn offered a bike called the New World. Arnold Schwinn and Company Schwinn’s New World models were a great attempt to get American adults on bicycles, and to get them on something other than a British Raleigh. Robert Schimmel Unprotected Raritan.
The New World models featured comfortable upright riding positions and lots of user-friendly touches. You had light but robust wheels. Coaster brakes for the back wheels and drum brakes up front.
There were chain guards and matching fenders. On this particular version you had two speed shifting with the New Departure rear hub and its top-tube mounted control lever. New World There isn’t much chrome on this bike. A few people have asked us if the blacked-out parts on a war-era bicycle were an attempt to avoid being spotted from above during air raids. No, those parts had a dull appearance for more mundane reasons.
The chrome plating process for shiny bicycle parts uses chromium, nickel, and copper. All materials that were needed in manufacturing other items for the war effort. For American bicycle manufacturers, World War II meant streamlined model offerings and no catalogs.
It meant stripped-down models that used less metal. While Schwinn wasn’t worried about sparkly bicycles being seen during air raids, they did modify their production. Some bicycle builders actually constructed items needed for the war effort. Some manufacturers like Schwinn maintained their core business but worked around rationed, scarce and restricted materials while the war was going on.
Saddle detail The wheels are really hand-made. From forging the hub shells to fabricating axles and rims, these wheels were made from scratch. The rims are real beauties.
George lightened up the already svelte extrusion with some precise drill work (by the way, the wheels are still true). The laced wheels were then tied & soldered at the spoke crosses. The front hub has the same super-wide stance as the rear wheel (130mm front and back, which is outrageous for a track bike). The dual-plate fork crown looks great as does the gracefully curved handlebars and stem. Hey, check out the Campagnolo model Brooks saddle!
This is one of the rarest saddle models you can find. 1940′s Grieder Flyer Tricycle Your first bike was probably a trike.
If you were a lucky little kid in the 1940′s you may have had a tricycle like this one. If you were really lucky, mom would let you cruise around your block (No crossing the street! Stay on the sidewalk!) on your own. This Grieder Flyer would have been a pretty sweet ride. Built with care and precision in Bowling Green Ohio, The Flyer was deluxe.
The solid wheels must have made this trike super fast, what with aerodynamics like a modern carbon fiber disc wheel. Sure, it’s hard to get a tricycle going over 4mph when your legs are only 18 inches long, but with this spoke-less design you had the added benefit that with no spokes you were less likely to get your shoelaces stuck. 1959 Rickert “Ric Super” German master frame builder Hugo Rickert fabricated this speedy rig. For a while Hugo named his bikes “Ric” for short, probably wanting to cash in on some of the great name recognition enjoyed by cycling stars Rik Van Looy and Rik Van Steenbergen.
Rickert was a cagey businessman, but his plan didn’t last long. About a year after this bike was made, Hugo renamed his bikes Rickert after going through a little trademark dispute with the makers of Rik Super children’s kick scooters. John and his bike in 1955 When not working for the Navy, John raced at the amateur level (pretty well too, as he just missed making it onto the 1956 U.S. Olympic team). He and his Peugeot tore it up in the Chicago area and on the west coast. Bill Jacoby coached John, and considered him to be a good sprinter.
Besides racing, John kept bicycle wheels spinning even when he wasn’t riding. John served the sport by managing the velodrome in San Diego and sitting on the American Bicycling League and United States Cycling Federation boards.
This old Peugeot is a good one. Outfitted with Simplex’s LJ543 derailleur (named for Simplex chief Lucien Juy), a rod-actuated front derailleur, light weight racing wheels with Super Course rims and silky smooth hubs. The bike has some solid equipment from a time when performance and reliability were suspect qualities for road bikes.
1953 Schwinn Panther These are the bikes that every successful paperboy in the country aspired to own in the mid 1950′s. Schwinn Panthers. There is a funny story about collecting things that goes along with these bikes. Jeff Groman, who owns these bikes and much of the rest of our museum collection, didn’t realize that he had two Panthers. Jeff had bought the first bike sometime in the early 1990′s and had it on public display for years.
The bike was up on a wall in a Kingston, Washington pizza parlor and Jeff simply forgot about it. Descargar Bible Show 4. 1954 Schwinn Panther A decade later a lady asked Jeff if he wanted to buy the old bike she had kicking around in her garage, and what do you know? It was a Panther. Another decade goes by, the pizza place remodels (giving Jeff his bike back) and now two nearly identical bikes are hanging from the rafters in Jeff’s barn.
This past December Classic Cycle held a museum night event and we wanted some balloon-tire bikes to show off. Jeff grabs one of the Panthers for us, but a mystery had sprung up. Where did the 2-speed hub come from? The 2-speed was a deluxe option that he was pretty sure he never had! 1948 Roadmaster Luxery Liner replica The Roadmaster Luxury Liner was a pretty popular bike in the late ’40′s and early ’50′s.
Built by the Cleveland Welding Company (who happened to make bicycles for a number of different brands), the Luxury Liner was a fine bicycle produced by skilled builders and marketed by some of the greatest minds the advertising world has ever had. This bike was so iconic that a replica was produced in the late ’90′s (seen here) to capture the imagination (and dollars) of the adults that had wanted one of these bikes as children. Luxury Liner Another advertising campaign suggested that the Luxury Liner was “The bike for leaders” and that a kid could rise to the top of the neighborhood hierarchy by riding one. For the girls model, the folks at Roadmaster went straight to the parents. The Luxury Liner ads for the girls version told mom and dad “How to give that young daughter a thrill”. I’m guessing that the girls’ Luxury Liner was thrilling because they omitted the “bumpers” and let the girls out onto the streets with boys who were crashing into everything.
Warren Bare’s Claud Butler This bike was originally owned by a cyclist from Reading, Pennsylvania named Warren Bare. An excellent regional level racer, Warren won a national amatuer title, and won the Pennsylvania state championship multiple times. The frame builder, Claud Butler, first opened his bike shop in London in 1928.
Claud was an innovator, and he pioneered many of the designs that we still use today. Butler modernized frame design by shortening wheelbases and shifting the bike more upright from standard 69 degree seat tube and fork angles. He developed a short wheel-base tandem in 1935 (check out our version elsewhere in this museum section) and he engineered a ride able three-speed adult tricycle. Nice wrap around seat stays This model, the Avant Coureur, first appeared as a stock model in 1948 and featured ”bi-laminate” lugged construction. What is a bi-laminate lug? Glad you asked.
I think Claud Butler actually preferred to bronze weld tubing together when he made frames. Tubing angles could be custom, the joints were smooth and plenty strong. Problem is, everyone thought that the more ornate tube-brazed-into-fancy-lug construction was better simply because it was fancier or more expensive. So for this Avant Coureur model, the customer would get a frame that was welded together, and then had fancy flat steel “lugs” cut and wrapped around each joint.
Extra strong, extra fancy, more money. 1940′s Colson Flyer The restoration project.
Everybody loves good before and after photos. A bicycle restoration project is great at showing the damage that the decades can do, and you get to watch as that damage is erased with fresh paint or new chrome. A while back, this balloon-tire cruiser came to us as a rusty old relic.
The years were not kind to the old Colson. While the rust was not deep, it was everywhere. The owner, a fellow named Gerald Taylor, had a history with the bike and wanted to return the Flyer to its former glory. The head tube “before” Jeff, who started collecting balloon-tire bikes decades ago, dug up some great matching wheels and tires from a “donor” bike. Fresh grease for the hubs and some new spokes made them roll and look just right. Now, I’d like to say this was a quick project.
But it wasn’t. Sometimes it takes a while to find the right parts. You have to get on a painter’s schedule (some have months-long backlogs), and it takes a while to get chrome done (Art’s is actually quite fast). You may have seen the car and motorcycle restoration shows on television where things move lightning fast.
They use an editor. Anthony Brothers Convert-O Trike Relatively unchanged for 65 years, the Convert-O-Tricycle is one sweet ride (and still available). Made top to bottom out of cast aluminum, these tricycles are built to last. The rear deck can be removed quite easily and replaced with just one of the rear wheels, creating a tough little bike.
Pedaling and balancing in bicycle mode is a bit tricky given that the pedals are directly attached to the front wheel (pedaling action will fight steering input and vice-versa). Industrial engineer Tony Anthony (his parents really did name their son Anthony Anthony) developed his invention in the late 1940′s while working for the family refridgeration business. 1957 Raleigh Lenton Gran Prix Raleigh made the Lenton collection of club-racer style bikes for fifteen years. Promoted by Britain’s greatest cyclist of the era (and Raleigh spokesman) Reg Harris, the Lenton was a popular ride.
Club racers like this one represent a great era in British cycling. Earlier road models, typically outfitted with 3-speed hubs, handled slowly and were great for touring, but not for racing. Later eras saw British bikes that were more specialized. You had racing bikes with stiff upright frame geometry or stretched out touring bikes like those found on the continent.
Club racers like the Lenton could do it all. 1951 Hercules King Apparently, the brand name “Hercules” didn’t sound grand enough. This is the King model Hercules bicycle, built to be as strong as it’s namesake out of seamless high carbon steel tubing. The equipment choices made this a bike for someone with regal tastes. Typical for a British touring bike from the early ’50′s, the frame angles are extremely relaxed. The saddle is positioned well behind the crankset, which made it a little easier to leverage the pedals when pushing a hard gear.
The fork sweeps way out front, a design meant to flex up and down as the bike rolled over rough surfaces. 1963 Dick Power track bike Seriously? If you can’t get throught this post without making crude jokes maybe you should skip ahead and look at the Schwinn Stingray instead. Dick Power was a bike shop owner who made and sold some great racing bikes. His store was located in the Sunnyside neighborhood in Queens, and it was a center for the New York City and Long Island racing community in the ’40′s, ’50′s, and ’60′s.
This is the most unusual design we have seen come out of Dick Power’s frame shop. Built for a tall rider with a pretty powerful sprint, extra seat stays made for a rock solid rear “triangle”, and limited any top tube twist. 1960 Schwinn Continental Brand new for 1960!
“The finest sports equipment you’ve ever seen. The first really new bicycle in years. Rides so smoothly, so fast, so responsively, that you’ll have to ride it to believe it. Smooth action gear shift gives you 10 gear combinations for every riding situation.” Only 86.95 with easy terms!
Yep, the new Continental was pretty sweet. A great bike for just under 690 of today’s inflation-adjusted dollars. A simplex Tour de France model rear derailleur managed five gears on the back wheel, while the Simplex Competition lever-style derailleur managed two chainrings up front. 1950′s Sid Patterson track bike This elegant chrome track bike is named after Sid Patterson. Sid was one of the greatest cyclists to come out of Australia. He represented Australia at the 1948 Olympic Games in London.
Sid won world championship titles on the track while an amateur and as a professional. In 1949 he won the world amateur sprint championship in Copenhagen, and in 1950, the world amateur pursuit championship. In 1952 and ’53 Patterson won the world championship in the pursuit again. By his final year of racing in 1967 he had 12 consecutive Australian championships titles to his name.
1960 Schwinn logo This Paramount was most likely built by Ovie Jensen, the frame builder that Schwinn had in the Paramount division during this era. Unlike most tandems that you see today, this bike was built with the timing chain on the same side as the drive chain. We aren’t exactly sure of the reason for this little touch, but it’s possible that it was merely a bit of track racing superstition (like not having tire labels on the right side of the bike). Then again, tandems are rare enough that there are relatively few “standards”. Quite a few layers of paint to scrape off before restoration It is a little confusing.
There have been three different Moultons making custom bikes over the years. There’s the British Alex Moulton who made neat small-wheeled bikes with suspension designed into them. There’s Dave Moulton (also British I think, but he moved to the States), who sold bikes under the label “Fuso” (which means ”molten” in Italian). And then there’s Mike Moulton, a Californian who made some great track bikes in the ’40′s and ’50′s like this one here.
1940′s Bates Best All Rounder This is the Bates Best All Rounder, a bike that could do it all. Bates was one of the most highly regarded bike brands in mid-century England. Started in 1926 and famous in their time for their riders’ racing victories, today they are better known for some of the weird and unique features found on their bikes.
This particular Bates incorporates the bulging “Cantiflex” frame tubing and curvy “Diadrant” fork. These features seem like gimmicks, but were in fact actual improvements.
Like the frame shapes on modern carbon fiber bikes, the unusual Bates tubing gave the lightweight steel frame some nice rigidity. The curvy fork absorbed road shock and made the front end more compliant. These designs first showed up on sub-20 pound bikes back in 1935, putting the Bates company on the cutting edge of modern bicycle technology. 1960 Cinelli Model B This fabulous bike is a Cinelli model B from 1960. More economical than the Super Corsa (or model “A”), this Cinelli still shows off all of the Italian flair that made Cinelli great. Sold by Ace Cycles in Vancouver B.C., this classic steel rig would have turned heads as it rolled down the street.
The cool fastback lug at the junction of the seat stays and top tube looked sleek. The flat-top fork crown made the front end of the bike feel just right, and the chrome sparkled in the sunshine. The bright red finish was anything but subtle, but I’ll bet it brightened up many grey Vancouver days.
1964 Carlton Catalina Fred Hanstock founded Carlton Cycles in the North Nottinghamshire village of Carlton-in-Lindrick in 1898. A bike brand that spanned the better part of the twentieth century, Carlton’s heyday began after World War Two and lasted through the late 1950′s, with the company selling lightweight hand-crafted bikes under their own label and secretly supplying bikes to other manufacturers as well.
The company was purchased by Raleigh in 1960, and continued under Raleigh ownership until the early ’80′s. 1953 Schwinn Varsity The Schwinn Varsity is probably the most important bicycle ever made in America. You may remember the Varsity as that heavy old bike you used for basic transportation during the oil crisis of the 1970′s, or the hand-me-down that you took to college without fear of it getting stolen in the 1980′s.
The Varsity should be remembered for more and better reasons than these. Schwinn produced the Varsity as far back as the early 1950′s. Feeling an obligation to at least try to keep people riding bikes past their teenage years, Schwinn made adult bikes for a nearly nonexistant U.S.
Market during the bicycle bust decades of the 1940′s, ’50′s, and 60′s. Profits from sales of kid’s bikes supported their attempts to get adults riding. Schwinn kept advertising their adult bikes, and produced some great models.
Eddie Barron's Flash Cycles This Flash bicycle is part of the legacy of Eddie Barron, a champion for the sport of cycling in general, and of bike racing in Western Australia in particular. Following his service in World War II, Eddie returned home to Midland, a suburb in the Perth area of Western Australia. Across the street from the old track was Ajax Cycles, and it was for sale.
Eddie bought the store, changed the name to Flash Cycles, and proceded to become one of Australia’s greatest cycling boosters. 1952 Fiorelli track bike The great Italian champion Fausto Coppi once rode on a Fiorelli. When Fausto set up the Carpano-Coppi team, he equipped the squad with bikes labeled with his own name, produced by the Fiorelli Brothers (Rinaldo, Mario and Lino). The brothers’ shop was based in the beautiful Piedmontese town of Novi Ligure, which Fiorelli helped turn into an Italian cycling capitol in the ’30′s and ’40′s. The Fiorelli name lasted into the 1990′s, when the brand was purchased by Fratelli Masciaghi manufacturers, primarily for the rights to the Coppi name. Tommy Smeriglios Dick Power You.
At the back of the class. No snickering. Dick Power made and sold some great racing bikes in the middle part of the last century. Dick Power cycles was located in the Sunnyside neighborhood in Queens, and was a center for New York City and the Long Island racing community.
Sometime in the 1940′s Dick made this trusty racing bike for local star Tommy Smeriglio. While not one of the prettiest bikes in the museum collection, this battered and bruised bike probably has the most race wins of any of our bikes stored up in its old tubes.
Oscar Juner's Flying Scot bicycle In 1900, David Rattray and his sister Agnes opened their bicycle shop in Glasgow, Scotland. Over the next 83 years, their business would become famous for producing Scotland’s premier lightweight bicycle, “The Scot”, sometimes better known as “The Flying Scot”. In-house bicycle production started in 1928, and was quite brisk leading up to the war, when the shop was contracted to produce pins for Bailey Bridge construction. In post war Scotland, Rattray’s cycle shop grew under the stewardship of Rattray’s partner Jack Smith to become a focal point and meeting place for cyclists from Scotland and afar, the Scot name representing what was considered to be the best in hand built lightweight racing and touring machines. Andy Hamel Andy Hamel, a well known bike racer and craftsman from Long Island, built this unique bike. The crazy design is based on the 1936 Baines ” Whirlwind”, sometimes called the “Gate”, and made popular more recently by British builder Trevor Jarvis as “The Flying Gate”.
The ideas surrounding this design is that if you interupt the seat tube you can make the wheelbase extremely short, speeding up the handling. Also, if you can create a bicycle that makes people ask “Hey, what kind of bike is that?” every time it is wheeled out into public, you can sell more bikes.
Custom dropouts to manage all those tubes Since all of the tubing sizes, angles, and junctions are each a little unique, Andy brazed the tubes together without using custom lugs, as Trevor Jarvis would later utilize on his more ornate Flying Gates. Check out the saddle on this bike. The owner went a little crazy with a drill, customizing the seat to make it lighter (or more flexible and comfortable, not sure the actual motivation). Andy Hamel built this bike in his Glendale, Long Island workshop sometime in the late 1940′s. 1955 Schwinn Hornet For most of the 1950′s, one out of every four bicycles sold in the U.S.
Was a Schwinn. This was the era in which Schwinn created an authorized dealer network and broke away from department stores. To be a Schwinn dealer really meant something.
Schwinn dealers received training on everything from repair and bike assembly to what parts to stock, suggested store design, service area set-up and selling techniques. Authorized Schwinn bike shops flourished in the fifties and around 500,000 bikes were sold each year from 1950 to 1959. 1955 Schwinn Hornet catalogue entry The Hornet, the mid-level balloon tire bike in the line, was everywhere.
The brochure said it all: “Here is a fully equipped bike at a price that’s hard to beat — and you get famous Schwinn quality and styling, too! Features include tank with horn, chrome truss rods and torpedo headlight. Sturdy luggage carrier on 26-inch models.” What more could you want? I would have wanted a lighter bike. Mid-century Schwinns were beasts. This bike was hefty enough to keep you safe in the event of a tornado.
The 1955 Schwinn catalogue listed the boy’s Hornet at sixty and one-half pounds, so if a twister was threatening to carry you off to Oz, you simply had to hold tight to your handlebars and everything would be fine. The front end is as wide as the back Take a close look. The brilliance is in the details. Up front we have a custom front hub and fork, built as wide as the rear end of the bike, a design that must have been quite a bit more rigid laterally when ridden on banked velodromes. Next, check out the rear wheel.
Built with a specially extruded rod rim, with a tubeless tire casing glued directly to the aluminum. The spokes, having been soldered at the rim, are adjusted with little turnbuckles halfway down their length. From handlebar stems to hubs to pedals, the Omelenchuk shop made their own equipment, and they made it well.
The Omelenchuks had quite an influence on athletics in the midwest. Together with coach Mike Walden and the Wolverine Sports Club in Detroit, the “Michigan Mafia” took home countless national victories in cycling (and speed skating).
Jeanne Omelenchuk won 16 national speed skating titles, five cycling national champion titles (the first women to win the national championship in two major sports), and competed on three Olympic teams. Charlie Bergna's Urago 'Hill Cycle' This is Charlie Begna’s 1940s era Urago track bike. Sometimes history isn’t pretty, as this bike proves.
An ugly saddle. Road bars on a track bike. A brake bridge that has been hastily added to the bike, so it could be used on the road. The components and design are tough and well used, but not very elegant.
For example, the aluminum-clad wooden welt meister rims were strong and fairly light, but don’t show off the beauty of the wood or a shiny refined extrusion of the metal. Hill Cycle made it possible to use a brake for road rides Repaired and repainted by Jerry Casale at Hill Cycle in Philadelphia, this bike is historically significant not by what it is, but by who owned it and who worked on it. Charlie, the rider, and Jerry, the shop owner, helped to keep bike racing alive in this country during some otherwise dark decades for the sport. Charlie was the national champion in 1937, and had a professional career that spanned the war and into the late 1940s. Charlie won numerous six-day races, including the Winnepeg Six in 1948 and Cleveland in 1949.
After his cycling career had finished, Charlie was one of Raleigh bicycle’s first two traveling sales representatives. His vast sales territory included the entire eastern half of the United States.
Butch Neumann is the one with the waterbottle on his handlebars This is Erhard Neumann’s Schwinn Paramount. A beautiful green track bike built for a racer who primarily tasted success on the road. “Butch” cycled as part of an Army athletics program, and along with George van Meter (see photo) was a member of the U.S. Olympic team at the 1956 games held in Melbourne, Australia. Butch competed in the road race that year, and later made the U.S. national team where he raced the 1957 World Championships. From a time when Huffy made quality bikes Huffy was founded in 1887 when George Huffman purchased the Davis Sewing Machine Company and moved its factory to Dayton, Ohio. In 1894, Huffman adapted the factory to manufacture bicycles, and sold them for the next sixty years as the “Dayton” brand. 1953 is the first year that Huffman’s company made bikes with the “Huffy” name.
Over the decades, Huffy Bicycles has had factories in California, Oklahoma, and Ohio. At their peak, they produced over two million bicycles (or as some of us called them, bicycle-shaped objects) per year and were the largest bike company in the western hemisphere.
The Paris Roubaix shifter. Sometimes known as the suicide shifter This particular Galetti is a classic Italian road racing machine from 1949. It is equipped with Campagnolo’s famous Paris Roubaix shifting system, made famous by the fact that you had to disconnect the rear wheel while the bike was moving in order to operate the derailleur (it was lovingly nicknamed the suicide shifter). The 1949 model year of this bike also happens to be the same year that Carlo Galetti, the bicycle’s namesake, passed away. BSA drivetrain, wooden rims This BSA racing bike was built in the mid 1940s and is an amazing example of the craftsmanship this huge industrial concern took with each of their products. This one is considered a “Path Racer”, meaning that it would be equally at home on the velodrome as it would riding on the roads or dirt racing ovals.
Nearly every part of this bike was built in-house. The frame, fork, handlebars, hubs, and crankset are all Birmingham Small Arms. Unlike, say, Colnago bikes putting a “Colnago” labeled handlebar on their bike that was actually made by Cinelli, BSA meant BSA. Viking SBU Tracker reproduced by Trevor Jarvis This interesting track bike was made by Trevor Jarvis, and is a replica of the Viking SBU Tracker from 1953. Trevor is well known for his ability to cut intricate and ornate custom lugs, and for reviving unusual designs like this SBU and the Baines-style Flying Gate (check out our Andy Hamel bike for an idea). Alfred Victor Davies founded Viking Cycle Company in 1908 in Wolverhampton, England.
The company fortune ebbed and flowed with the World Wars and demand for their bicycles. This model is from a high water mark in the 1950s. Advertisements used to be a bit wordy. This tandem showcases the true engineering genius and artistry of Claud Butler. This short wheelbase tandem rides like a dream both on the road and on the velodrome. By building this tandem with clamp-on brakes, and tucking short chain-stays under the stoker, this bike handles great when raced on steeply banked tracks, and is still safe and comfortable to leisurely ride on the open road.
The fillet brazed joints and gracefully curved tubing were some of the finest examples in craftsmanship of the era. Claud Butler started as a London bike shop owner and frame-builder in 1928. His company was one of the most successful of the inter-war era with his racing bikes grabbing attention at World championships and Olympic games in the 1930s. Ultimately the brand failed in the 1950s as changing British lifestyles and a changing economy took their toll.
1959 Raleigh Bluestreak bicycle Raleigh bicycles of Nottingham, England designed this bike as a tribute to the British Blue Streak ballistic missile. Armed with Huret derailleurs that managed eight stages of propulsion (gears), the Blue Streak had quite a long range. A Brooks saddle stabilized the trajectory. Cold road warriors aboard this missile were shielded from water attack by the matching Bluemels fenders, and an integrated guidance system (the head lamp) delivered the Blue Streak to its target every time. Late 1950's Frejus road bike Don Hester was one of the most prolific American bike racers in the 1940s. He was the winner of the 1942 “To Hell With The War” unofficial national championship race held at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco.
Don’s bike racing career, like many of his fellow sportsmen, was interrupted when he was subsequently called to active military duty. After the war Don left the Navy and picked up right where he left off, winning every race he entered in 1946, including the official national championship. Ideale flat rail saddle This green beauty has a lot of cutting edge features for a bike in its sixties. It features thin walled steel tubing resulting in a twenty-one pound racing bike. It has internal cable routing for a nice clean look, Campagnolo’s two lever Roubaix shifting system for a few different gear options, aluminum rims, a unique flat-railed saddle, and a tiny front fender to control spray off the front wheel.
This Legnano has been around the world. It was found in Attilio Pavesi’s shop in Buenos Aires.
Under Juan Peron, talented young Argentinian athletes were given bicycles to race for their country This bike was probably ridden by several of them. It was restored to new condition in the ’90′s. Bertrands Racing Trike, 1960's Racing adult tricycles in the 40′s, 50′s and 60′s (when they enjoyed modest popularity) must have been a hoot. When going around corners at speed, the bikes tended to tip up onto 2 wheels. The riders would lean to counterbalance the bike like sailors leaning out over the edge of their catamaran. Heavily crowned roads posed a problem, as the drive wheel on these trikes would sometimes lose contact with the roadway. Beware the British-made (meant for the left side of the road) adult trike when riding on the right side of the street, as the differential won’t work to your advantage.
Take a photo from the “drive side” in front of a neutral background To make the appraisal more accurate, prepare the bike and take photos like you would if you were going to sell it. Clean the bike, remove any broken or rough-looking accessories and put some air in the tires. Take pictures straight on in front of a blank background, and take close-up photos of areas that may generate interest (or confusion).
There is no “Blue Book” value for bicycles. Bikes are simply worth what someone else is willing to pay for them. Bicycle values tend to be highest when the weather is warm, in places where it’s pleasant to ride, and wherever there are a lot of people who like bikes. Close-ups of the parts tell a lot about your bike You know more about your bike than we do. If you just bought a bike for $50, you have just established the value of the bicycle (and you are not likely to be able to sell it for $2000 to somebody else).
You know when you bought it, so you have a good idea of the age, and you know if it was a high-end racing model or a basic bike from Walmart. Rarity rarely helps determine value. If you have a one-of-a-kind bicycle, it may mean that no one has ever heard of it and/or nobody is looking for one.
Popularity is no indicator either. Bikes that were sold in large numbers could fall into one of two camps. You could have a bike that will never sell (Schwinn Varsity) because there are still thousands of them out there, or you could have a bike that will cause a bidding war (Bridgestone MB-1) because people rode them into the ground and they want another one. If what you’re really after is to get rid of an old bike, keep us in mind. While we don’t buy bikes outright, we’ll likely take your old bike as a trade-in for something new. About our museum The bikes featured in this museum section are privately owned by Jeff Groman, as well as other employees and friends of Classic Cycle.
We display them in this space to share their beauty and showcase the skill and creativity that went into making them. This website is not intended to be a research archive. While we like to be accurate in our descriptions, we don’t really care if a particular bike was made in 1952 or if it was 1953.
A bike built today could be labeled a 2016 or 2017 model. It could be exactly the same as a 2014 model, and may not get sold until 2018. In 50 years it would be really nice if folks just went out for a bike ride and didn’t bicker over the exact vintage of their Classic bike. In other words, if you’re really concerned about dates and serial numbers, figure it out yourself. To the serious bike collectors out there: We don’t care if the saddle on our 1972 Colnago isn’t “period correct.” Enjoy looking at the collection or don’t. Plenty of brand new bikes roll out the doors of modern bike shops sporting saddles or bottle cages that were new during the Reagan administration. Likewise, this museum section is meant to be interesting and entertaining, and we would never let the facts get in the way of a good story.