BAD NEWS: My Twisted Take on a Western Flyer Newsboy Special

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Lovely bike! I didn't know they made a fat tire one either!
I'd save the original paint if i were you, it is too good to repaint. But that's just an opinion, it is your bike and you are free to do whatever you feel with it :) Just saying, it is only original once, and boy, this one can totally be saved with some BLO treatment.
For the springer part, what do you think about trying some Columbia springer? May look cool with the Columbia bike.
 
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Lovely bike! I didn't know they made a fat tire one either!
I'd save the original paint if i were you, it is too good to repaint. But that's just an opinion, it is your bike and you are free to do whatever you feel with it :) Just saying, it is only original once, and boy, this one can totally be saved with some BLO treatment.
For the springer part, what do you think about trying some Columbia springer? May look cool with the Columbia bike.
Thank you!
I would consider saving the original paint, but considering how most of it is covered up with a lackluster repaint, I'm not sure there's any good way to preserve the original paint. I've heard I could power wash the unoriginal paint off the original paint, but I've never tested that idea to know for sure. I've also never worked with boiled linseed oil before, so I'm sure I want to go that route either. But more than anything, I've already got 2 stock red bikes in my small collection as is, and I don't really want a third. Red's honestly not my favorite color anyways. I want this bike to be a different color than the other ones in my collection, and so far, I would love to have a black bike right now.

As for the springer, I thought about using a Columbia springer fork, but I want to keep the design relatively clean and simple. Columbia springer forks have a very heavy-duty, industrial look that look cool, but they're a little too busy-looking for what I want to do.

That said, I haven't really decided what direction this bike is going to go just yet, so there is a chance I could do a restoration, but we'll see.
 
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Thank you!
I would consider saving the original paint, but considering how most of it is covered up with a lackluster repaint, I'm not sure there's any good way to preserve the original paint. I've heard I could power wash the unoriginal paint off the original paint, but I've never tested that idea to know for sure. I've also never worked with boiled linseed oil before, so I'm sure I want to go that route either. But more than anything, I've already got 2 stock red bikes in my small collection as is, and I don't really want a third. Red's honestly not my favorite color anyways. I want this bike to be a different color than the other ones in my collection, and so far, I would love to have a black bike right now.

As for the springer, I thought about using a Columbia springer fork, but I want to keep the design relatively clean and simple. Columbia springer forks have a very heavy-duty, industrial look that look cool, but they're a little too busy-looking for what I want to do.

That said, I haven't really decided what direction this bike is going to go just yet, so there is a chance I could do a restoration, but we'll see.
I have had some good results removing unoriginal paint using acetone, turpentine and steel wool.
 
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I was going to mockup a few different front wheels, forks and fenders today, but I decided to start with my craziest idea first... and well, now I almost feel that there's no need to mockup the other parts. I took the repop 26" Schwinn-style springer fork I plan to use for my "Poison Apple" trike project, and flipped the steerer tube upside-down so the bike would have a greater rake to it. (Shout-out to @Reallybigtim for the inspiration!) And boy, what a rake! This is that aggressive rake I was looking for ever since I got this bike! Those straight bars that make up the rear rack are almost in-line with the front axle! And the bike has that hot rod/rail dragster vibe I was aiming for! I'm loving it as is, but I think with some refinement, this idea could turn into something awesome!
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That really works. As soon as I saw the first picture, I was like, "REALLYBIGTIM STYLE!!" It is so slammed that the line of the rack almost passes through the front axle! Nice hourglass shape from the rear with the rack and bars too. It works in a lot of ways
 
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That really works. As soon as I saw the first picture, I was like, "REALLYBIGTIM STYLE!!" It is so slammed that the line of the rack almost passes through the front axle! Nice hourglass shape from the rear with the rack and bars too. It works in a lot of ways
Thanks! Yeah, I've got to give RBT full credit for giving me that idea for the flipped fork. What'd be really cool is if I could get the line of the rack to actually line up perfectly with the front axle. It already steers as well as the average lowrider bike, so how much worse could the steering get, right? :21: Yeah, the more I look at this mockup, the more I love it!
 
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I agree... but I love this bike stock even more. Very unique! Must have one!
Did you see the pics with the flipped Schwinn springer? I can understand how a lot of folks feel this bike would look better stock, but when I got this bike, there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to modify it. Maybe the next one I get, I'll leave original/stock, but right now, I really want to tap into this bike's potential.
 
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All of your
Did you see the pics with the flipped Schwinn springer? I can understand how a lot of folks feel this bike would look better stock, but when I got this bike, there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to modify it. Maybe the next one I get, I'll leave original/stock, but right now, I really want to tap into this bike's potential.
I hope I didn't sound discouraging somehow. All your work looks great!
I'll be watching your progress and taking notes.
 
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Decided to mock up a few more parts earlier this morning. I tested out a few different fenders for the rear, swapped the bottom bracket parts out for the correct chainring and a shorter crank, lowered and leveled the seat, and I made some adjustments to the fork and handlebars. Normally, I like having at least a bobbed rear fender on my bikes, but this frame just doesn't look right with fenders, at least not when I've got this wild fork setup going on. So, I think I'll just leave the fenders off of this bike.
BftD_BAD_NEWS_Newsboy_Special_more_mockups_1.jpg


I liked how the fork looked on the previous mockup, but the way it was assembled, I had no suspension travel, and the handlebars had to be set behind the frame because the stem wouldn't clear the front tire. I had an idea of how to at least remedy the first issue, by simply flipping the... spring... collar? I have no idea what that piece is called. Regardless, I flipped the spring hardware around, and not only did I get my suspension back, but as a bonus, it kicked the front wheel out a little more, giving me more than enough room to rotate the handlebar stem so the handlebars could sit ahead of the frame. It also had another unintended side-effect of increasing the rake of the bike, making the straight bars of the frame point just under the front axle, as opposed to pointing a little above it earlier. More importantly, due to the increased rake, the pedals on the shorter crank arms sit at about the exact same height as the pedals on the original longer crank arms when the fork wasn't quite as raked. The pedal clearance is even worse this time though, since the fork spring compresses when I sit down on the frame, making the pedals bottom out. Oops.
BftD_BAD_NEWS_Newsboy_Special_more_mockups_3.jpg
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As I keep mocking up this bike, I keep finding new things. For instance, these 2 holes under the back of the rear rack, and the 2 holes at the base of the rack braces. They look factory, but I don't understand why they exist. Anybody else with a Newsboy Special or Firebolt know anything about this?
BftD_BAD_NEWS_Newsboy_Special_more_mockups_4.jpg
BftD_BAD_NEWS_Newsboy_Special_more_mockups_5.jpg
BftD_BAD_NEWS_Newsboy_Special_more_mockups_6.jpg


Ok, this looks much better. That fender really took away from the overall look of this bike. I still need to do something about the fork/pedal clearance problems, and I need some taller handlebars so I can actually take this bike for a proper test ride, but overall, I think this is the look I want to go with for this bike. It's kind of got a "lowrider bike" stance, but the aggressive rake of the frame, especially at the straight bars, gives me some serious "funny car" vibes. Kind of fitting, since this bike is better for straight-line riding in this configuration than it is for regular riding.
BftD_BAD_NEWS_Newsboy_Special_more_mockups_8.jpg
BftD_BAD_NEWS_Newsboy_Special_more_mockups_9.jpg
BftD_BAD_NEWS_Newsboy_Special_more_mockups_10.jpg
BftD_BAD_NEWS_Newsboy_Special_more_mockups_11.jpg
BftD_BAD_NEWS_Newsboy_Special_more_mockups_12.jpg
BftD_BAD_NEWS_Newsboy_Special_more_mockups_13.jpg
BftD_BAD_NEWS_Newsboy_Special_more_mockups_14.jpg
BftD_BAD_NEWS_Newsboy_Special_more_mockups_15.jpg
BftD_BAD_NEWS_Newsboy_Special_more_mockups_16.jpg
BftD_BAD_NEWS_Newsboy_Special_more_mockups_17.jpg
BftD_BAD_NEWS_Newsboy_Special_more_mockups_18.jpg
BftD_BAD_NEWS_Newsboy_Special_more_mockups_19.jpg


So, what's next? Well, I really need to get this bike rideable so I can decide whether or not this is the direction I really want to go or not, and that means either getting or making some longer handlebars I can reach comfortably, and solving the fork/pedal problem. At the same time, I'm trying to figure out the sort of paint scheme I want on this bike. Originally, I was thinking of painting it satin black, with gloss red scallops and white pinstripes, but nothing is set in stone yet. Plus, now that I've got "drag racing" on the brain, I feel like this bike needs less of a "traditional hot rod" vibe, and more of a "nitromethane-burning funny car" vibe. I'll try to sketch up some ideas this week, but I've got a few other things going on this week, so we'll see.
 
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Are those red lights on the back of that van body going spare? Who has large red lights on the back of a bike, like fire...?
 

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As bizarre and funky as this may be, I LOVE the way this is coming together. Keep rolling along the path the bike is taking man. This is killer!!!
I believe those little holes are drain holes. It's not unusual to see them underneath different sections of frames. They are to prevent water accumulating and either rusting from the inside or freezing and expanding in the frame.
 

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Decided to mock up a few more parts earlier this morning. I tested out a few different fenders for the rear, swapped the bottom bracket parts out for the correct chainring and a shorter crank, lowered and leveled the seat, and I made some adjustments to the fork and handlebars. Normally, I like having at least a bobbed rear fender on my bikes, but this frame just doesn't look right with fenders, at least not when I've got this wild fork setup going on. So, I think I'll just leave the fenders off of this bike.
View attachment 175233

I liked how the fork looked on the previous mockup, but the way it was assembled, I had no suspension travel, and the handlebars had to be set behind the frame because the stem wouldn't clear the front tire. I had an idea of how to at least remedy the first issue, by simply flipping the... spring... collar? I have no idea what that piece is called. Regardless, I flipped the spring hardware around, and not only did I get my suspension back, but as a bonus, it kicked the front wheel out a little more, giving me more than enough room to rotate the handlebar stem so the handlebars could sit ahead of the frame. It also had another unintended side-effect of increasing the rake of the bike, making the straight bars of the frame point just under the front axle, as opposed to pointing a little above it earlier. More importantly, due to the increased rake, the pedals on the shorter crank arms sit at about the exact same height as the pedals on the original longer crank arms when the fork wasn't quite as raked. The pedal clearance is even worse this time though, since the fork spring compresses when I sit down on the frame, making the pedals bottom out. Oops.
View attachment 175235View attachment 175234View attachment 175239

As I keep mocking up this bike, I keep finding new things. For instance, these 2 holes under the back of the rear rack, and the 2 holes at the base of the rack braces. They look factory, but I don't understand why they exist. Anybody else with a Newsboy Special or Firebolt know anything about this?
View attachment 175236View attachment 175237View attachment 175238

Ok, this looks much better. That fender really took away from the overall look of this bike. I still need to do something about the fork/pedal clearance problems, and I need some taller handlebars so I can actually take this bike for a proper test ride, but overall, I think this is the look I want to go with for this bike. It's kind of got a "lowrider bike" stance, but the aggressive rake of the frame, especially at the straight bars, gives me some serious "funny car" vibes. Kind of fitting, since this bike is better for straight-line riding in this configuration than it is for regular riding.
View attachment 175240View attachment 175241View attachment 175242View attachment 175243View attachment 175244View attachment 175245View attachment 175246View attachment 175247View attachment 175248View attachment 175249View attachment 175250View attachment 175251

So, what's next? Well, I really need to get this bike rideable so I can decide whether or not this is the direction I really want to go or not, and that means either getting or making some longer handlebars I can reach comfortably, and solving the fork/pedal problem. At the same time, I'm trying to figure out the sort of paint scheme I want on this bike. Originally, I was thinking of painting it satin black, with gloss red scallops and white pinstripes, but nothing is set in stone yet. Plus, now that I've got "drag racing" on the brain, I feel like this bike needs less of a "traditional hot rod" vibe, and more of a "nitromethane-burning funny car" vibe. I'll try to sketch up some ideas this week, but I've got a few other things going on this week, so we'll see.
Those holes are either drains or vents.

When welding sealed, capped, or abutted tube you need to leave venting for the hot gas and smoke or you run the risk of blow back out the end of your weld. Usually more prevalent on smaller diameter tube
 
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As bizarre and funky as this may be, I LOVE the way this is coming together. Keep rolling along the path the bike is taking man. This is killer!!!
I believe those little holes are drain holes. It's not unusual to see them underneath different sections of frames. They are to prevent water accumulating and either rusting from the inside or freezing and expanding in the frame.
Thanks Kingfish! The moment I put the flipped Schwinn springer on, it was love at first sight! I know it may be polarizing for some folks, but I when I got this bike, I got it specifically to tap into its customizing potential, not to leave it stock. It's just got such such a cool line to play with, I just couldn't leave it alone! I really appreciate your support man! I'll do my best to make the final product live up to the hype!

I bet you're right! I had a hunch that they were for the welding process, but given how I know next to nothing about fabrication, I wasn't sure. Thanks!
 

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