Tank cruiser

Discussion in 'Bicycle Repair' started by upshifter, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. upshifter

    upshifter Member

    My grandson wants to give me this old bike, found in a garage sale. It looks like a J.C. Higgins from the late 1950s, or early 1960s. Is that right?

    It's not a retro look; it is retro. Probably a good restoration project because it is mostly all there. I'm worried about no front brake. What do you think of this bike; is it worth the effort? What would you do with it?


    Attached Files:

  2. seca40

    seca40 New Member

    That bike is a gem. Your grandson must like you a lot. Repack the headtube bearings, crank , rear hub. Have your local bike shop rebuild the front wheel using one of these beauties:


    (shop around. You can find it ten dollars cheaper if you don't mind waiting for backorder. )

    Or if you can find an old vintage drum hub that would be better. I saw someone on these forums who dug up a 36 hole moped drum brake from a junkyard for 3 dollars! But hey you seem to have good luck so why not look.

    Install an in frame engine kit from a reputable supplier. And watch all your buddies drool as you cruise in style.

    I would suggest painting and mounting the kit supplied fuel tank on the rear rack so you don't have to remove the cool tank that's on the bike. Like this.


    Whatever you do have fun.

    Just my two cents.

    Edited to add link.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009
  3. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    Seca is right; that bike is a gem.

    I wouldn't hesitate. You'll have a very cool bike. Adding a front brake would be so simple.
  4. skyl4rk

    skyl4rk Guest

    I would not put a motor on that bike, it is too classic.
  5. JemmaUK

    JemmaUK Guest

    Its lovely and in really good unrestored condition. I would also suggest going the drum brake route for the front. So far as I know some of the modern drum brakes have a dynamo built in as well... so judicious removing of modern fittings and decals could give you the old fashioned look with the modern safety and convenience.

    Im not sure about motor-ing it either - unless you are willing to take the time and do the work to make something really special it would probably detract from the bike itself.

    That said - a frame mount 60/67 with a faired in shifter kit - retro'd pipe and 3/5 speed hub transmission done properly would make for a really nice MB - the paint schema would also be important with this one - maybe a black engine with chromed fishtail cover for the pipe - or maybe put on a high back rack and route the exhaust underneath that...

    Probably on balance I would go with keeping it as a cycle.
  6. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    that's a loving grandson you got there

    that would make a very cool looking motor bike with some work

    just another thought
    build it all up pretty and motor bike strong
    sweet motor and all
    then give it right back to your grandson -- little surprize

    all can ride those THINGS
  7. upshifter

    upshifter Member

    Thank you to everyone for the interesting and valuable comments on this bike. After reading the comments and thinking it over, I believe that the best thing would be to keep it original and not install a motor. After all, there are a lot of newer bikes around just screaming for a motor.
  8. upshifter

    upshifter Member

    My grandson is 25, and has several motorcycles and cars already. He's not interested in motorbikes that much. Yet, it was nice of him to offer it to me. That's his garage floor in the background. To the left in the picture, you can see motorcycle wheels sticking out; and on the floor are motorcycle parts. His dad, my son-in-law, and his uncle are all into this sort of thing. I have bicycles and small motorcycles all over my garage, too. My wife calls it all "Junk". There is some junk there, but it's good junk.
  9. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    yes -- I know what you mean

    I just have to keep an eye on my sweet little Lady

    that she does not -- throw any of my good junk away

    I may need that junk someday !!!

    so as to ride that thing
  10. srdavo

    srdavo Active Member

    Very nice bike!!
    good decision.... that bike is clean & appears to have been well cared for.
    It would be fun to just pedal around, ones in a while!

    I vote... add it to your "good junk" collection!!
  11. upshifter

    upshifter Member

    JemmaUK, where can I find brake/dynamo combinations? I had forgotten those. After you mentioned it, I remembered having seen them many years ago.
  12. fetor56

    fetor56 Guest

  13. upshifter

    upshifter Member

    Thanks for the information about the V-brake, fetor56. It looks like a good option.
  14. seca40

    seca40 New Member

  15. upshifter

    upshifter Member

    Thanks, seca40. That's a very interesting site with much information.
  16. bikebum1975

    bikebum1975 Member

    What a prize find!! I think a bike like that would be a dream find to almost everyone here. Looks like the bike is in fine shape without restoring it. What a sweet ride that will be.
  17. hillofbeans

    hillofbeans New Member

    I wholeheartedly volunteer to adopt your bike, and give it a cozy place to live, with lots of attention and care.
    It's not to vintage to motorize. Seal the tank and use it. A roundhead would look good.
    I'll pay a finders fee if your grandson would scout around for any others of similar vintage. I missed out on a deal last week for two 50s AMC tank bikes for 250.00$.
    So many collectors out there buying them up, and placing ridiculous prices on them.
  18. MotorMac

    MotorMac Member


    Im no expert but Ive seen bicycles similar to yours in the same shape going on E-bay for $1000 to $2000.