First Time Build, GI inspired bike

Hopefully this is the right place to start this thread. I am building a bike that was inspired in part by the bike in this post here, and also the bikes here. However, I am not trying to build a complete replica, just something with that kind of flavor.

Here is what I have so far:

1950 Columbia 5-Star Superb frame (early Columbia WWII bikes had the curved bottom bar like mine, most had a straight bar, but again I am not being exact).

Correctish fenders that are a little dented up.

WWII Army surplus handlebars (the item that basically started this project off)

Old olive drab canvas handlebar bag

Reproduction Columbia rear rack (not found on army bikes, but needed to hold the....)

Old olive drab canvas saddlebags

Old olive drab mechanics bag (will hold tools/parts and be on the top of the rack. About the size and shape of a shaving kit).

I was trying to think how I'd attach the bags, and I came across a bag of random hardware at an estate sale for $1.50. There were old sash window hangers in the bag and they will work perfectly. You can see them in the shot of the rear of the bags.

I haven't photographed the rack or handlebar bag, plus these are cellphone shots. I will use a proper camera as we move along.

edit: Forgot to mention that I got an old metal Russian Army canteen in a canvas holder. I am going to try to figure out somewhere to mount it and use it for reserve fuel. I'll stencil GAS + OIL on the can, just to be 100% nobody drinks it.
 

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D_M

Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2008
Messages
38
Here are the basics that I still need (by my reckoning, I am sure there are things I am forgetting.)

Wheels
Tires
Run flat tubes
Slime
Stem
Fork
Bearings (bottom bracket/head)
Crank/Chainring
Pedals
Seat
Engine

I originally noticed the frame wasn't that expensive and thought "Why pay Spooky Tooth a lot of money (no offense to them, I like their bikes a lot), when I can build something cheaper and more unique." Everything else is adding up fast though. If I were to re-do this from the beginning I would try to buy a complete bike. Finding straight fenders is a pain in the rear, and someone offered to sell me a suspension fork with fender for that bike for $160. I'd like it, but $160?? Hmm.
 

D_M

Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2008
Messages
38
I ordered a couple cans of Jeep restoration paint from TM 9 Ordinance, but his latest batch from his supplier did not meet his standards, so he is refunding his customers money.

While that says a lot about his business, I still need some paint. So I am going to try this.

Here is my list of things I have thought about for a bike. Some of it is just half formed, some of it is 'nice to have', some of it is useless, some may appear on a later bike.

Exhaust
I think I will probably put a long pipe on it and paint it BBQ black. But I have looked into the X-Can, which apparently can fit these engines and looks cool, but is noisy. You can fit an external silencer, but the X-Can wouldn't go with this bike anyways. Maybe the next bike......... People who run 1/5 scale R/C buggies sometimes run an X-Can into a silencer. There are also silencers that could maybe piggyback on an HT pipe, but this stuff is all made for smaller motors. I keep trying to think of the stuff that is out there that could be adapted to these bikes. I am sure these are thoughts a lot of people have had though.

Wiring
You can order vintage looking cloth covered wire for motorcycle restoration, and it isn't all that much money. I don't know how the gauge compares to HT wire, but I'd like to learn more about electrical systems in this build. Which brings us to...

Lighting
HT can supposedly run one light ok off the white wire (what I gather from reading here anyways.) I have wondered about running the wire to a brake lever with switch from a scooter, so I can have a brake light. For a front light, it would be cool to somehow fit a modern LED into an old fixture. I have looked at the expensive "bottle battery" lights. I could put the "bottle" in the OD canvas handlebar bag and run the wire down to the light.

I did see this Cat Eye system on eBay (hopefully that works), and it got me thinking about ways to run lights. The rechargeable battery looks a lot like my old R/C batteries. If I could create a set-up that operates off a hidden R/C battery (in the saddlebag or something), I could have a couple in the bag and switch them if I need to. I have batteries, connectors and chargers in a box in my basement.

Tank: I don't really love the bicycle motor tanks, so I am keeping an eye out for other types of tanks. I haven't found anything amazing, but it is possible I might come up with something different than stock.
 
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H

HoughMade

Guest
Looks like you have a really good plan and have done your homework. For the tank, I would consider a small cylinder attached behind the seat.

Good luck and please keep us updated.
 
H

HoughMade

Guest
Those all look great. If you are up for a challenge, I noticed that those military bikes often had an I.D. plate or some sort between the upper and lower top bars. You could fabricate a tank to mimic that look- it could be flat on both sides and if it was only a couple of inches thick, it would still hold plenty of fuel. Just a thought.
 
L

Large Filipino

Guest
I have thought about that too. There are some old Briggs and Straton tanks (see here and here) and even old chainsaw tanks but that one has a separate chain oil compartment, so it is configured weirdly.

But it is something to keep in mind.

DM,do you know how much this information has been so needed here?
Those are some awesome tanks. Would ge perfect behind a seat.
I'm keeping an eye on this thread.
WELCOME to MBc!!!
 

D_M

Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2008
Messages
38
DM,do you know how much this information has been so needed here?
Those are some awesome tanks. Would ge perfect behind a seat.
I'm keeping an eye on this thread.
WELCOME to MBc!!!

Thanks Large, you led me here, which I mentioned in my intro thread.

By the way, regarding old tanks, one thing I remember the instructor telling us in a small engine class I once took - if you have gunk or rust or are just using an old tank, a good way to clean it up is to put mineral spirits and pea gravel inside and shake the heck out of it.
 

D_M

Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2008
Messages
38
Those all look great. If you are up for a challenge, I noticed that those military bikes often had an I.D. plate or some sort between the upper and lower top bars. You could fabricate a tank to mimic that look- it could be flat on both sides and if it was only a couple of inches thick, it would still hold plenty of fuel. Just a thought.

That is a good idea, but my metalworking skills consist of some things half remembered from an autobody class years ago. I did try working the dents out of my fenders with a hammer, with very minimal success.

I can imagine exactly what you are talking about though, and it is a good idea.
 
H

HoughMade

Guest
Thanks Large, you led me here, which I mentioned in my intro thread.

By the way, regarding old tanks, one thing I remember the instructor telling us in a small engine class I once took - if you have gunk or rust or are just using an old tank, a good way to clean it up is to put mineral spirits and pea gravel inside and shake the heck out of it.

Very true, but if there is more than loose rust and varnish, use toilet bowl cleaner with hydrochloric acid in it- diluted a bit, and let it sit in the tank and hour or so. It will take the surface rust right off. However, you have to rinse, rinse rinse, then follow with a wash with a phosphoric acid solution (Jasco Metal Prep is one). It converts any remaining rust to a phosphic oxide that will not rust and coats all the steel with a layer of phosphic oxide that will not rust. On exterior sheetmetal, the phosphoric oxide is a great base for primer, in a tank, it can be left as is.

If you don't follow with the phosphoric acid, metal etched by hydrochloric acid will flash rust in minutes to hours depending on the humidity.
 
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