Proposed new bike and seats from Emory/Aerofast.....

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I've just recently acquired some current info from the company who made the Emory's, which is now going by Aerofast. They also made the Western Flyer replica bikes. I've been looking for a new seat for my Phantom repop. It had to look new, but have the proper vintage styling. I bought a seat from an Ebay seller who turned out to be from Cmith Manufacturing. They were selling some NOS Persons seats, and some similar looking unbranded seats. After inquiring about the origin of the seats, the seller passed along my questions to somebody who could better answer them, who just happened to be Clayton Emory Smith II. He shared with me info about their seat manufacturing, as well as a new bicycle in the works!



Here's some interesting Q&A from our correspondence:

Sorry to be the curious type, but when I saw the name "Cmith Mfg" on the Paypal transaction, I did some googling and came up with some fascinating info/history on your company, and now I have a better idea of the origins of your great seats. My curiosity stems from wondering why nobody today makes a decent bicycle seat that closely replicates the seats from some of the early balloon bikes.

We do, however there are a few problems some as esoteric as the fact that our 5,000 sq. ft. roof, wherein all the machinery for the seats resides, was leaking so bad we are now having to replace it completely. We are doing the job ourselves and it should be finished next week.

Also some of our most iconic seats are "saddled" <smile> with the Schwinn logo that users insist on and of course we don't own the Schwinn name. The original banana seats are a prime example.

Except for that leather seat we can make all the others plus some excellent seats (see attached) that are rotation molded. Here of course the price is the thing. People at the moment are more willing to buy a plastic Chinese seat often more than a couple of times instead of our long lasting seat. That could be about to change however and we are soon going to come out with our first new bicycle in years.

We started manufacturing in 1976. Using the old Rollfast tooling we made the first (production) beach cruiser in the US and the last Western Flyer. (you might catch a glimpse of our bike in the movie Richey Rich). Anyhow we found it impossible to make the bicycle in competition with the Chinese. You can't compete when your adversary has a time machine that affords him 1909 wages. Our main problem would have been being forced to use Chinese parts. Originally all parts were strictly American made; that industry simply no longer exists.

So we're getting back into the bicycle business......here's how I intend to do it:

We have all the equipment, tooling and expertise to make a bicycle as shown on our site. However all the parts would come from China as I mentioned. As this is and was unacceptable to me I opted to step back from bicycles for about the last three or four years. Instead we concentrated on contract stamping and tool & die work. USA made is what we stand for; or at least over 60%. Still I want to use the finest components no matter where they are made, even China if that were only the case. Why not make your own parts you might ask?

Well, we intend to make the best bicycle ever made and start selling it the first of next year. I know what you are thinking. Allow me to explain why I'm saying this and sharing the future with you by so doing: We will use a stainless steel frame with amazing tubing (only available the last two years) made in the USA and finished in England. We will use the Gates belt drive system instead of a chain (four times more durable than a steel chain without grease and dirt - never needs lubrication) and all the bearings will be made in Germany by SKF. The head set bearings are the exact proprietary bearings used in the Ducati motorcycle. The BB components will be ISIS. The 6061 CNC machined patented stem and the SS handlebars will be made by us as well as the fork. The seat will be your choice of the English brooks or our own comfort saddle made here by us with Stainless Steel throughout (including the springs). The front hub will be made by us with SKF roller bearings. The rear hub will be Shimano seven speed or a hub of your choice. Everything on the bike will be Stainless steel or anodized aluminum. We will give you a forever guarantee which means as long as the bike is in your family it is under warranty. If you sell it the warranty reverts to 10 years. The price will be between $ 1800.00 and $2200.00. The second offering will be made with mild steel; cantilever frame (the first bike with it's special Stainless Steel tubing is stronger than titanium and cannot be bent) and will be similar in appearance to the "Mojave" and sell for under $ 1000.00.

If you or your friends are interested in this spectacular new direction and would you like me to add you to the list of people who are following the development of this: The Best Bicycle Ever Made you can write me with an e-mail address (for our records) and even your phone number if you like and I will keep you abreast of our progress:


I guess one might even consider such a bike as "The Last Bicycle You'll Ever Buy".

Dude........the last bicycle your family will ever buy........we are going to offer a bike that as long as it stays in your family the guarantee holds and if you sell it that person gets a ten year guarantee. Of course to be honest the warranty is worded as defects in workmanship so if after fifty years a bearing wears out that would of course have to be replaced but still it is conceivable that this bike could last for hundreds of years.

Imagine 50 years from now, scrounging through an old barn and finding a forgotten vintage 2011 Aerofast (insert model name here). You peel back the spider webs, blow off the dust, and lo and behold it still looks near showroom fresh! It's amazing how many people spend hard earned money on nice bikes, neglect to maintain them properly, and let them rust and oxidize away. With many of today's bikes, all it takes is to leave it out on the patio during one off season, and the bike looks like crap.

Right.

I can see how a near maintenance/trouble free bicycle would appeal to many, but I guess the real question is how many people can you convince that it's better to buy a single expensive bicycle that may last throughout their lifetimes, as opposed to buying the inexpensive disposable cruiser from Wallmart, that they can simply, and affordably replace, once a year, or so. Although, I think even in today's cost sensitive consumer's world, the "Made in America" concept still holds a lot of water. There's also a huge difference in how well a properly built bicycle will ride, when comparing to a flimsy, cheaply built bike, but many people can't seem to understand the difference, or maybe can't afford the upgrade in ride quality.

Well we are convinced there is a market. How large a market we don't know. However even now there are bike rental businesses up and down the East coast that think nothing of buying a bike for $ 650.00 and replacing it each season or two at the most while our bike could last for years and years. On the "civilian" side of things our bike should appeal to the same folks that would buy a BMW over a Ford Fiesta. In the past we offered quality and a lower price than our competitors that's no longer possible so we need to "double down" on quality and like Mercedes' founder said "Die Beste oder nichts" ours should be "Die alle Beste ist nicht gut genugen! Not just the best but the very best is not good enough! This bike will be made to tolerences of thousands of an inch not hundreds.

So, if I understand correctly, Cmith made the Western Flyer reproduction bikes in the 90's? I see that those used the Persons seats, like you're selling.

Yep. Those seats are now our seats plus if you look at the bike in the treasure cave of the movie "Richey Rich" you will see our bike there.

What about the vinyl version, like I bought? were those maybe used on some of the Aerofast bikes, which by the way, I've didn't know of the existence of the Aerofast line of bikes, till now.

It is the same except without the Western Flyer logo which we don't own.

Did Cmith have anything to do with making the seats, or were they outsourced. I see that you are also selling some seat components. I had actually bought a set of springs from you for a Schwinn Phantom seat that I have. Did Cmith have anything to do with the making of the seats for Schwinn's 95 Phantom project? My phantom seat has a "Permaco" sticker on the bottom, but the rail is stamped "Mesinger". I'm at a total loss as the who's who of seat manufacturer's, and who made what, for who?

Here's that history: First.....all the tooling and manufacturing capacity from Persons, Troxel, and Messinger was bought by us and now resides here.....of course the spring manufacturers make our springs and our molds are with the folks that have giant molding machines for the covers. We purchased all this from Jackson Canvas in Ohio who in turn had taken it over from Faulhaber who is or was Person's. Charlie Person's has stayed in the bike business and is the distributor for Brooks saddles from England. And that's the history. So anything they made where the tooling was handed down we can make.

BTW, did Cmith have any part in the reproduction Columbia bicycles in the 80's and 90's? I've read different things about the Columbia's.

We made all their fenders. Other parts including earlier runs of fenders were made by McCauley of Buffalo NY and we bought all their stuff as well.

As far as the tooling for the seats, are you planning to market various vintage reproduction seats, at all?

Yes. In fact we do now make this seat and make no mistake it is not a reproduction as all the prts are identical to the original made on the same machines with the same tooling. Look at it this way: Lets say for what ever reason the US mint decided to reissue the $ 500.00 bill. The "new" bills would be exactly the same as the "old" bills. Our "new" seats are made identically to the "old" seats and therefore or genuine original seats. The problem is we would have to first sell our Schwinn branded seats to a licensee of Schwinn and we really don't want to do that because it takes all the profit out of it. If the current owners of the Schwinn name will license us then we would offer the original Schwinn seats again however the other leather seats are good to go we just have not advertised. We will after I get this "forever" bicycle off the ground.




Well, That's about it. I realize that many here are not the types to go out and spend 2k on a new cruiser, but figured the concept may be interesting, to some of you.

Btw, here's some pics of the seat I bought. Looks good on the bike, although I ended up reshaping the crash bar, so it's positioned closer to the seat pan. This is an old stock seat, so the chrome on the springs looks aged, but I'm hoping Aerofast does continue producing seats like this, for people looking for "new" vintage styled seats.

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Rooski said:
I guess one might even consider such a bike as "The Last Bicycle You'll Ever Buy".

Dude........the last bicycle your family will ever buy........we are going to offer a bike that as long as it stays in your family the guarantee holds and if you sell it that person gets a ten year guarantee. Of course to be honest the warranty is worded as defects in workmanship so if after fifty years a bearing wears out that would of course have to be replaced but still it is conceivable that this bike could last for hundreds of years.

With many of today's bikes, all it takes is to leave it out on the patio during one off season, and the bike looks like crap.[/i]


Properly maintained about any bike should outlast it's owner. I ride a huffy that has been rattlecanned, I beat the bike every day towing a trailer, and I have not had a problem with it.
 
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For a bike of quality such as is described, the price range is about right. The biggest hurdle is that most of modern day America gets bored with the "same old thing". We've become a throw away society and after a year or two, people want something new. Up until the last couple of years a lot of people traded in their cars every 4 years (or sooner) or they leased. Kids especially think they need a new bike every year, most adults either buy new every couple years or upgrade their older bikes.
With all this being said, I really don't see much sales growth for this high end bike. I really wish them all the luck in the world, it's gonna be an uphill battle.

Focusing on building bikes for rental shops, factories or even the military/law enforcement is definitely the way to go. The average Joe will look for something cheaper and scrap it when it breaks.

If they are produced and i had the money, I would buy one just because I believe the company will be short lived. It's almost gonna be a collectors item as fast as it is built. Hopefully they prove me wrong!

Thanks very much for sharing your conversation. It was very interesting!
Chainsaw
 
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One thing that has to be kept in mind is that a lifetime warrenty doesn't always cover the life of the bike, just the lifetime of the company that built the product. I hate to think that another quality American company won't be around for a lifetime, but in today's economic situation....
 

CCR

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Those are nice seats, I would buy 1 or 2 if my lbs had the them. Only way I can get them now is if they're on the bike I drag home. I dont know about buying any bikes from them but I would sure like to have some parts they can come up with.
 
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I have two Emory Beach cruisers for sale from original 1976 year should anyone be interested in a purchase. Frames are good condition everything else needs replacing.
 

kingfish254

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When I was swapping with FATMAN a couple of weekends ago he heard a similar story when he visited the shop in Jacksonville a year or two ago. It will be cool to see if this ever comes about.
 
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zombie thread here, but I had a few emails back and forth with this guy Clayton, from Aerofast---maybe about 3 years ago. He's really passionate about the idea, but I'm not too confident that his plans will ever come to fruition. It'd be awesome if it did happen, though.
 
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I too had been in contact with Clayton a couple years back. Just the other day, I wondered what has happened with the Aerofast. So I checked in. Sounds like they have a lot going on. Have been concentrating on tool and die last several years but still planning on building the Aerofast. The new bike will have a model built from the latest English stainless steel, light as titanium but stronger. It will be belt driven with the internal shift Nexus hub. Headset will have tapered roller bearings such as on a Ducati motorcycle.
 
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Roller bearings in headsets, BTW, are nothing new. The French made several (eg TA Zephyr, Stronglight A9 back in the day; they've moved to cartridge bearings now...) and you can buy a Tange-made IRD Rollerdrive today, which has balls in the upper race and rollers in the lower...
http://www.interlocracing.com/headsets/roller-drive-threaded-headset$80; will fit your road or mountain bike, but too scrawny for most cruisers with a 1" head....
 
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It would appear as if the bike is still in development. I happened across this topic while trying to hunt down and exact match for a 1935-ish McCauley fender set. and as usual there's tons of sidetracks in searches. LOL

Anyways, I found a CAD image of what they're doing, it's past September (depute time) and no photos to be found..

And I sugest they're not funded because they are advertising inside of a few Crowdfunding spots.. The newest and suposta be hottest way to get investor cash, investor pool on the net..

Anyway, here's their dream bike, which also hints links of 3-D printed in Russia. Not sure if it will be 3-D printed frames but sounds really cool if so. 1st 3-D printed bike?/ 3-D print cool but nothing for nostalgic enthusiasts.

Albeit, I guess if the frames were 3-D printed, they'd be screaming that out awfully loud. Well at least it's 3-D cad currently, which is a start. Interesting,, bearing caps for fork is molded in the frame.. must be, because the new super hard stainless steel can handle it and, it's a plus for cost cutting!

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