3-Star Delusion - finally an actual ride...

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Mar 25, 2011
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Rochester, NY
OK, here's my hat in the ring. I'm starting with a Columbia 3-Star Deluxe, in decent patinaed shape, but missing the fenders and with an (incorrect) bent fork. See below:

I don't have a consolidated plan like I did last year, and no sketch to point to my direction. Just some loose ideas, and I'll let it go where it wants to go. My goal, though, is to be done by mid-July and to bring it to the show/swap meet at the end of that month in Howe Cavern, NY. I have this headlight that I'll find a way to use:

And a set of 3G wheels:

Other than that, I'm in the dark as the rest of you as to how it'll turn out...
Re: 3-Star Delusion

Neat headlight
Re: 3-Star Delusion

Cool, we can have a 3 Star sub-build off.
Good luck buddy!
Re: 3-Star Delusion

erichitscar said:
Man, that frame looks perfect as-is! Nice start!
I may not change it much, I kinda like the original paint and graphics as they stand. This build might just be about adding on...

CCR - its a red set, staggered 26" front and 24" rear. I'm planning a 24x3 rear.

kingfish, you're on! Of course, that might mean I'll have to try to be more creative than I was planning, if what you built last year is any indication... :mrgreen:
Re: 3-Star Delusion

A quick search by way of google (inspired by the differences between this bike and kingfish's) seem to point to this being from the late '40s. The tank and chain guard seem to be consistant with '48 & '49 models I've found pictures of, but that's based on comparing to mostly 5-Star Superb models. Most of the 3-Star Deluxe photos that come up in a search that have the same type of tank as mine are, in fact, my own photos of this bike that are posted on this site. I'll have to try to make out the serial number. The first half of it had been ground down (the opposite side dropout has also been ground), which contains the characters helpful for identifying the year...
Re: 3-Star Delusion

I am no Columbia expert, but I think that they had multiple tanks. Does yours look like the 1954 Columbia Westfield that I traded?
:arrow: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=67298&hilit=+1954
Re: 3-Star Delusion

Looks like the same tank stamping, different graphics. The bike in the link looks like it has the newer "swoosh" graphic on the earlier tank. The chain guard is different too. That bike has the same style as the one you're building now. It's more streamlined, has more wrap around. Mine is more feather-shaped.

It kind of looks like 3- and 5-star models got the tank with the "swoosh" in the side about 1950, but perhaps the previous casket-shaped (sorry, best description I can think of) tank continued on lesser models. It certainly wouldn't be unprecedented for a manufacture to keep using tooling that's paid off, just shuffled down the range a bit...
Re: 3-Star Delusion

I was rooting around through the parts I have stashed away. I dug out this set of Higgins skirts that I'd very much like to use:

Although I'd prefer to do so using the original chain guard rather than the Higgins piece. I'll have to test fit them to the bike and go from there. I haven't found a fender to go with them yet. I do have the Higgins fender, but I'd like to use something a little wider if I can. This frame has the room for it...

I've got this fork from a Murray Meteorflite.

It more or less matches the frame in color, not to mention patina. I think I'll use this as well as the truss piece. I should be able to stuff a 2.125 tire up into it, as it measures about 2.5" under the crown. I am not planning on using a front fender, so all is good there.

I definitely want to use this speedometer. I like the reverse sweep face with 0 on top, kind of reminiscent of Shelby Cobra gauging. This speedo is a Stewart-Warner piece.

I am not going to use the Schwinn saddle that's on the bike currently. That's going onto a straight-bar Schwinn Goodrich bike that I have which is currently saddle-less. My intent has been to use a banana seat. I'm not sure why, but it strikes me as fitting. However, I haven't come across one that I like yet. If nothing else, I can use this red and white Mesinger saddle:

It at least matches the color combination in play here.

Beyond those things, I haven't made many other decisions yet. The bike is still up in the loft over my garage; I've got to take care of some housekeeping issues down in the workshop before I bring it down. That'll have to wait a bit though - I'm going to be Japan on business all next week, so I won't be able to do much until I return...
Re: 3-Star Delusion - now with more parts

Sweet parts and I see what you mean about parallel ideas. Sitting in my shop are a set of Higgins skirts and that same meteor flite fork and truss in blue. This is gonna be cool to watch.
Re: 3-Star Delusion - now with more parts

kingfish254 said:
Sweet parts and I see what you mean about parallel ideas. Sitting in my shop are a set of Higgins skirts and that same meteor flite fork and truss in blue. This is gonna be cool to watch.

We'll have to go to extra lengths so we don't look like we're copying each other. :mrgreen: Hopefully, we won't come up with the same ideas! Or, we could call this a "3-Star Deluxe fraternal twin mini build-off" :lol:

I had thought I had my handlebars picked out - Soma Fabrications "Lauterwasser" CroMo bars.

A little pricey, but a really cool shape. However, they don't seem to be currently available. I could buy the aluminum version, but I don't want to spend that much on them. So, I'll have to think of something else. Don't worry, kingfish, I won't use ram's horn bars. But inverted ram's horns do sort of vaguely resemble the Lauterwasser bars in an exaggerated way...
Re: 3-Star Delusion - now with more parts

You're right, they are both super curvy drop bars. I dig those bars!
I am sure that our builds will look more like distant cousins than siblings.
I know from previous BOs that you have wicked skills, a good eye, and cool parts, so this is gonna be fun.
Re: 3-Star Delusion - now with more parts

I still haven't gotten the bike out of the garage yet, and won't until after I return on the 11th. But in the meantime, I can do some work with the parts that easy to get to. I might have only vague ideas where I'm going build-wise, but I knew what I wanted for a wheel & tire combination right away when I saw how much room was between the stays. I've already posted about the 3G wheelset. I finally got to unwrap them (I'd patiently left them in the original packing so as to not be tempted before the start of the build off).

Funny, the angle makes the hubs look off center, but obviously they aren't. So, after inspecting them, I taped over the spoke ends. Due to the double row of spoke holes in the rims, I needed two bands of tape. I also taped over the small holes in the rim tubing that were just below the bead, just in case.

All this time, I had actually already been wondering where I'd put the ratrodbikes.com sticker on this bike. I was inspired, though, when I saw how wide the space was between the spoke rows. So I did a bit of early detail work:

Regarding tires, at the time I'd bought the wheelset, I also ordered a pair of tires from Felt.

A 24x3 Berm Master for the rear and 26x2.125 Circuit (Blue Dot) tire for the front.

Here they are mounted on the 3G wheels:

It is interesting to note that on the wide rims, the Berm Master does measure a full 3" wide. However, the Circuit tire isn't 2-1/8" wide - its actually stretched out to about 2.5" across. That means that it will not fit in the Meteor Flite fork. A quick test of dropping the fork over the wheel and tire showed that the tire gets wedged in between the fork legs before the axle hits the fork ends. So, I have to find another fork. I think I have a couple balloon tire Schwinn flat blade forks on hand somewhere. I might have to go with one of those. The tire will definitely fit the Surly 1x1 fork I've got, but that's for a 1-1/8" threadless headset. And its destined for a Kona frame I've got. I'll have to experiment with what fits later.
Re: 3-Star Delusion - wheels & tires

Tire/rim selection looks awesome! Love the red and the RRB sticker!
Re: 3-Star Delusion - wheels & tires

Thanks man, I hope the rest of the bike is worthy of the wheels. I thought about sticking them on my Surly LHT just to see what they'd look like, but wouldn't be able to without striping off the fenders. They might not fit even then. I might try on the kona however...
Re: 3-Star Delusion - wheels & tires

Wow! That's a wicked cool wheel set :shock: Really has a hill climb look to it :wink: Nice touch with the RRB decal :p