Columbia Cruiser

Discussion in 'Antique Motorized Bicycles' started by urbancombat, Mar 8, 2008.

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  1. urbancombat

    urbancombat Guest

    Ok I got a 1969 Columbia Cruiser all stripped and painted flat black. It's my
    "200 yards to the store bike" it has no motor. I absolutely love the front handlebar rack though, and the thing is such a mellow ride. The frame is stamped, however. This was the "poor man's cruiser". But it's neat to see this thing be born again, and notsitting in a shed rusting away. I'm turning it into "ghetto cruiser". Flat black, no fenders.

    Has anyone ever put a motor on one of these? what type? I'm curious, I'm kinda assuming these frames are not up to the task, but just wondering if anyone has pulled it off.

    OMG I have 5 bikes now, I keep getting them for free. This one will probably be chained up outside though....

  2. RdKryton

    RdKryton Active Member

  3. KilroyCD

    KilroyCD Active Member

    That's my Columbia RdKryton posted the link to. But seeing as yours is a 1969 model, it will have a different frame style. In all likelihood it's a cantilever frame like my Western Flyer (which is the other bike on that link). With the 1" tubing it should be a relatively straight forward mounting job. Oh, and by the way, the frame (unless damaged) should definitely be up to the task. The old Columbia canti frames hold up very well.
  4. urbancombat

    urbancombat Guest


    I am currently using this bike as a "1/4 mile bike" as I live 1/4 mile from the local shops. The front rack is fantastic for carrying beer, etc.

    The frame appears to be a stamped construction, not sure what you mean by cantilever. I have a drum brake.

    There appear to be no welds between the major tubes, it even looks like the larger tubes are "drilled out" and the smaller tube is inserted in the hole. I found a bolt or sheet metal screw at the end of one tube.

    This bike looks pretty gnarly now, I stipped it, removed the fenders and chainguard and brushed the entire thing flat black. Ghetto-cruiser :)

    Any further help/clarification much apprec.


  5. KilroyCD

    KilroyCD Active Member

    Hmm, I've never seen a Columbia with a stamped frame. Is there any way you could post a photo or two? The old Columbias did not have big ugly welds where tubes meet like so many modern bikes do. They are indeed drilled, fitted together and welded, but that style of construction doesn't seem to be used by many bike makers nowadays (probably to keep costs down, also possibly due to unskilled labor in the country of manufacture). The sheet metal screw, where on the frame did you find it? Could it have been used to hold the chainguard or a fender?
  6. urbancombat

    urbancombat Guest

    Thanks, I'll post pics asap. yeah It definitely looks stamped. The droputs are inserted into the frame, which is crimped around the flat steel piece, and a quick weld is put on it. I think the older ones are ok, from what I hear, but if you are telling me yo'uve had no problems, that's a comfort.

    Turns out the screw is for a fender, but I'm, also concerned about other things like the attachment between the bottom bracket and the rear section.

    The guy who gave me the bike said "yeah they started going towards the stamped thing' He worked in a bike shop.

    This bike is such a beater, but it's so beautiful right now in its sheer blackness.

    Oh man I just found the sweetest old Schwinn Cruiser minus seat and bars for 60 bucks. Even has the susp. fork. Brutal.
  7. KilroyCD

    KilroyCD Active Member

    That's been pretty well standard for Columbia since the early days, except the dropouts were brazed to the chainstays way back then. I have a couple of '36 Columbias with brazed dropouts. My '46 (Which is my motorized one) is welded, but cleanly. Plus the chainstays are tapered, not crimped where the dropouts were inserted. They probably got a bit sloppier in later years, as they tried to churn them out as quickly and cheaply as possible to compete with the likes of Huffy and the imports.

    Now THERE is a great candidate for motorizing! It already has a springer, which greatly improves the ride.
  8. uncle_punk13

    uncle_punk13 Guest

    I just finished brazing the 'stamped' dropout connecting points on one of mine (for motorizing) and it should now be up to the task... :)
  9. RdKryton

    RdKryton Active Member

    I wish I could braze. The only thing I can do with a torch is cut.

  10. uncle_punk13

    uncle_punk13 Guest

    Brazing really isn't that tricky- it's like a hotter form of soldering in many ways. I had done some in high school metalshop 25 years ago (give or take), so I kinda had to teach myself over again- So I read up on it a bit at the public library, then purchased one of those cheap (ish) oxygen mapp gas kits in the plumbing section at the hardware store, bought some brazing rod, and some flux (the flux is boric acid = Boraxo). Then just started playing with it on some scrap and stuff, then, once comfortable with the basics of it, I started on some junk bike frames to get the feel for working with tubing. Once you get the feel for how the brazing melts and flows, it's pretty easy and cool.
    Not to mention that fire and molten metal is just good for the soul!!! LOL!!! The oxygen bottles for that little kit are expensive though (7.00 a bottle and it only lasts about 20 minutes), and as such, I have recently purchased a regulator torch kit (I LOVE craig's List), and will be getting my acetelyne/oxygen cylinders soon- it's more cost effective once you start to do a LOT of braze work.
    Wait, where was I? What was I talking about? Oh, yeah- Just kind of play with it with one of those little kits to start with and you'll pick it up in no time flat. It's fairly easy and a lot of fun. :)

    Attached Files:

  11. RdKryton

    RdKryton Active Member

    Thanks Rif
    I'll give it a try. I can solder so I should be able to make it work.

  12. uncle_punk13

    uncle_punk13 Guest

    There's that good ol' fashioned American "roll up yer sleeves and get it done' attitude we love so much here at MB.c!!! Have fun with it!!!