Turning Collector bikes into replica track board racers

Discussion in 'Antique Motorized Bicycles' started by ridercam, Sep 12, 2009.

  1. ridercam

    ridercam New Member

    Does one turn a true collectors bicycle into a motorized replica?

    I have a good condition Cleveland bicycle from the early thiries...

    I am at mixed thoughts. How about you all?

  2. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Well-Known Member

    I'd keep the Cleveland Welding original if possible.
    It's unique, like the burning river.
  3. Hawaii_Ed

    Hawaii_Ed Member

    I would say no. There are plenty of later bikes that can be used for that purpose. A bike from the 30's is a rare thing!
  4. AussieJester

    AussieJester Member

    I think the same question is asked alot with vintage cars...should we turn it into a hot rod/street machine or restore it too original, some cringe at the thought of cutting up old steel and others jump right in...my line of thought is this, if your going o keep it for years to come, what will give YOU more enjoyment? All fine doing it up as original to sell as such but if you plan on keeping it will this satisfy you? Personally on this occasion i would restore it to original and flog it on EBay vintage bicycles (eg. vintaqge 80s BMX get a **** load of $$$ more than they were in the day anywayz..im sure something from the 1930 would eget you enough to finace a motoered build PLUS alot of change) and do as two above posters suggest grab a cheap to make into a boardtracker....my two cents...either way best of luck mate

  5. meatwad

    meatwad Member

    If its got a tank and all the fancy parts or is a rare frame model would I not do it. Otherwise I would.

    If you watch ebay you'll see that many of the base model balloners often don't sell at 150$. Many good mens frames don't get sold at 50$ or less.

    The way I see it the old bikes are much sturdier and a better platform for motors than the bikes nowadays with the thinner wall tubes and small welds.
  6. AussieJester

    AussieJester Member

    Just a thought here but metallurgy wasn't close to what it is today back in the 30's, those heavy walled tubed bikes from back then prolly needed to be that thick to to get the strength of todays bikes that use superior grade steel? Just because its thicker doesn't always mean its stronger only heavier :: wink ::

    Last edited: Sep 18, 2009
  7. toddjlyons

    toddjlyons Member

    I've wondered the same thing... however if I've found that a bike that is pretty much original I wouldn't use it as a donor. I have a 1942 Firestone Pilot that's pretty trashed...it's gettin' an engine! TJ
  8. Esteban

    Esteban Active Member

  9. meatwad

    meatwad Member

    Just a thought here but metallurgy wasn't close to what it is today back in the 30's, those heavy walled tubed bikes from back then prolly needed to be that thick to to get the strength of todays bikes that use superior grade steel? Just because its thicker doesn't always mean its stronger only heavier :: wink ::

    You have no idea what you are talking about but thanks for the response.
  10. try1897

    try1897 Guest

    Hi , I got my latest bike at a yardsale for 20 dollars . I got it cause it was a beach cruiser type frame and had some life left on the tires. When I got around to riding it however it was a bear to ride. Man it was like riding a bike that weighed 2 tons . It felt like pedaling a ten speed starting out in tenth gear . So I got a front sprocket thats 40 tooth and a rear 22 tooth for the wheel and now you can actually ride the thing. I decided to motorize it and was in the process of striping off 7 coats of paint when I found the numbers and discovered that it was a 1953 Columbia tri star deluxe. All I had was the frame forks and seat so it's not like I was taking apart a classic far from it I was saving one from the junk pile. Today it rides and looks like a dream. And it all started when an old bike caught my eye at a yardsale......Tom
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 27, 2009
  11. DougC

    DougC Guest

    I think a typical bike from ~50 years ago is probably better than a typical <$100 department store bike now, but then, that <$100 department store bike is the worst kind you can get, the cheapest, with the flimsiest parts. So that doesn't say a whole lot for the old frames.

    Is an old frame better than a modern MTB frame, in terms of durability? Probably not. MTB frames are built for pounding by adults, to put it simply. The old-time bikes were never really meant for that.

    The wildcard with old frames is how much rust damage they have. Frames that sit upright with the seat tube open (no seatpost inserted) can collect rainwater and bad things can happen where you can't see.

    As for rarity: if I came across something old that I wanted to use, I would certainly try to value it before I did anything it; there is always a chance that it might be worth a large amount of money (there's Indian and Harley-Davidson bikes floating free out there, some of these regularly sell for $2000+ even un-restored) ...... but honestly,,,,,,
    most aren't.
    Go look on the RatRodBikes forum, you'll read plenty of stories of people pulling 1930's frames of all kinds out of trash bins and even the drop-off point at the city dump.
  12. give me vtec

    give me vtec Active Member

    I wouldn't... motorize a cheap modern reproduction or a cruiser. Dont destroy something that cannot be replaced. I cringe when somebody motorizes a cool 1950's schwinn... let alone something from the 30's.

    If you really like the frame... take it to a good welding/fabrication shop and have them reproduce it for you.... but dont kill the original.
  13. give me vtec

    give me vtec Active Member

    I do like what doug says here... especially about having it valued first. Sounds like good advice.
  14. try1897

    try1897 Guest

    I thought so too but now I'm begining to have second thoughts. I've seen newer bikes that have lost welds and also snapped clean in two at the rear H/time engine mount area (seat down tube). Also older rims / spokes hold up better than there newer counterparts. First the mountain bike frame are worse than any beach cruiser and then it seems with the beach C's the older seems to do better . Don't ask or tell me about metalurgy and such I'm going by what I've experienced . I ride a 53 Columbia Beach/ Tri Star two summers now with no problems. Just stripped and inspected prior to paint and was clean and clear of any cracks and such...Tom
  15. twofoot

    twofoot New Member

    Go for it! Do you want a shiny shelf warmer or a cool vintage style motor bicycle?


    I say it depends on the bike.
    My 58 Spaceliner was to far gone to restore so......
    Then a 55 Rollfast. Just a frame and fork.....(not finished yet)
    I have no excuse for the Phantom, it was crying for a motor and can be put back to original with little work.

    Attached Files:

  17. Hoodoo

    Hoodoo Member

    Your bike, your call. Me, if I had a "collector" bicycle I would restore it if necessary to it's original past glory but if you motorize it, I suggest it is just an ordinary modern motorized bicycle and loses it's collectors luster (unless that is you have a kit from thirties to turn it into a motorized bicycle from the thirties). I would think a bike of this vintage, while originally strong, might still be a bit rickety after seventy years and for me, I want to be riding on new wheels at 35 mph.

    What I and my cuz (he can weld) are having great fun is with taking a very strong, modern industrial bike (husky) that retains old style styling and doing a retro look on it. I am going for the 1909 Indian "look". Being a modern bike, I can retain most of the brand new parts (with the factory 12 gauge spokes) while modifying the lower front of the frame and moving the seat post back and downward (and adding a new commerical purchased (20 bucks) underhang tank (with a cover to make it look like the old tanks) and a
    rear axle stand. The amazing thing is that we have put about 20 hours total in it (some of that time correcting our mistakes) and should have it running with the mods (except the rear stand which hasn't come in yet) with about 10 hours more of work (will still have to paint it that vivid and crowd pleasing "Indian" Red). Thought about Indian blue, but I want something that is going to be "recognizable" as an Indian to the average joe.

    I think it is going to be a hoot to ride and show off and will help bring back the old days...without messing up something that is actually historical.

    I'll be posting pics as soon as it is up and running (hopefully tommorrow) to show the structural changes prior to painting. Of course, after painting, the all white tires go on it...