Bike from the Dead's Freshly-Exhumed Finds (Everything I've dug up since 6/15/21)

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I should have posted this earlier, but back in July, I once again met up with my good friend Mr. Belker while I was in Missouri visiting some relatives. He had a few more bike parts he wanted to give me, and I was all too happy to take them home with me. This time, he had a Monark Western Flyer bike (well, it was a Western Flyer, until it was repainted) and a few other pieces and keepsakes to give me. Oddly enough, while I have traded for/sold other 24 inch Monark bikes before, this is the first 26 inch Monark I've ever had, and it even has the rear rack and tank! Sadly, the tank's pretty rough, but I bet I could still hammer it back into shape and use it somehow. I want to build this bike up at some point, but it's probably going to sit on the back burner for a while as I have WAY TOO MANY other bike projects that I've started and not yet finished.

I also got a pair of really nice seats that I want to put on something, but I'm not sure what just yet.

I also got 3 wheels; the 2 I mounted to the Monark for the first picture, and this third Bendix 70 coaster brake wheel. I don't have a ton of Bendix hubs, and I think this might be my first Bendix 70! Pretty neat!

I was also given these two bike decorations, which was pretty cool! The one on the right's already on one of my bookshelves, but I haven't found a place for the small Luxury Liner bike yet.

Okay, now these spoons were not from Mr. Belker, but I did pick them up for $6 on the same trip. I actually got these to replace a spoon I used to mount a "headlight" on another bike of mine. Plus, I've seen others use spoons on bikes in different ways, so I figured they'd be good for trying out other ideas too.
Back in August, as I was making my way down to Arlington, Texas to look after my brother's and sister-in-law's house and dogs while they were on vacation, I picked up this Monster Energy Felt bike I saw on Facebook Marketplace. I had seen the ad all the way back in July, and I thought for sure that at $100 "firm," this bike would be gone in a short time. I mean, a limited edition Monster Energy Felt bike, with the 24"x3" Thick Brick tires, wide wheels, triple tree forks and ape hangers? Sounded like a bargain to me. Surprisingly, not only was the bike still available by the time I made my way down to Texas, but the seller was kind enough to hold it for me for a few days even though his ad said he wouldn't.

Anyway, I get down there, guy shows me the bike and tells me what he knows about it, even pointing out some issues that weren't as obvious in the ad, and while we're talking about the bike he has for sale, I show him the bike I brought down with me to ride, Shoestring. I briefly explain what all I did to it, fixing it back up and then adding custom touches like stickers and paint on the front tire, and he's definitely impressed. After talking with him a bit about the Felt bike, some of the issues it had, and what I planned to do with it, we did a little negotiating, and long story short, I got the Felt bike, plus some extra BMX handlebars he had that weren't even part of the original ad, for 25 dollars. This whole exchange was a prime example of "you don't know unless you ask." And as I later found out, the main reason he sold everything to me for so cheap was because of Shoestring! He saw that I love fixing up and customizing old bikes and was convinced that his Felt bike was going to go to a good home. I made sure to leave him a 5-star review afterwards. I had to take the seat off the bike to load it on my rack, and even then it just barely fit, as my bike rack isn't designed for bikes with longer wheelbases in this configuration. Something I need to remedy later.

I ended up taking the bike apart and loading it into the back of my car before I headed home from Texas, just to make it easier to transport.

Here are the 4 BMX handlebars I got along with the bike. Part of me wants to put the bars with the "m" cutout on the Monster Felt. I mean they're already green and there's an "m" on them, so why not?

Here's the main reason I bought this bike: the 24"x3" Thick Brick Tires on those Felt-specific wide wheels. Unfortunately, they're also the source of the biggest problem with the bike. According to the guy I got it from, his friend had a nasty wipeout on this bike, mangling the rear wheel and chainring. The front wheel is salvageable I think, but apparently one of the spoke nipples snapped in half before I got it. The Thick Bricks are also not in the best shape. They hold air, and only the whitewall appears substantially cracked, but the tires don't really grip anymore. Worse, the rear wheel is WAY out of true, and 2 spoke nipples are broken, with most if not all the spokes themselves needing replacements. I really hope that the rim is salvageable, but it wouldn't surprise me if it's bent completely out of shape. Worst case scenario is I'll have to mount the coaster brake hub to the front wheel.

I also got this bike for the triple tree forks. This is the first triple tree fork I've ever had, so I'd like to use it on a bike. Not sure which one just yet, but it's in good shape. I just wish I had the headset bearings for it, but the bike didn't have any installed, unfortunately.

I'd like to keep the Monster graphics on the frame, especially since this is supposedly a limited edition bike that was never sold in stores, and I guess was a promotional item or something. At least, that's what I've heard. Problem is the decals are fading and cracking, so there's not much I can really do there. The frame looks to be solid and straight, and while it's not the sort of vintage I prefer, I love the lines on it, and I want to build something out of it. This is my first and (so far) only Felt bike, so it'd be nice to do something with it! Maybe I'll make up some new Monster-inspired decals for it, or something else. I don't know, I'll figure it out.

Well, I'm all caught up on my freshest finds. I'm not sure when I'll get around to building these last 2, but I've already got a few ideas brewing in the back of my mind...
Back on October 6th, there was a swap meet in Claremore, OK that I decided to check out. I didn't bring a lot home from it, but for $30, I was pretty happy with my haul. I picked up this miniature Schwinn OCC Stingray for $10, which will not only make a great parts donor, but also a good template for when I build an adult-sized version down the road! I also grabbed a pair of 24 inch wheels and tires for $15, and 2 Hot Wheels and a few tools for an additional $5.

Literally the day after that swap meet, I was at the 2nd Annual BMX Vintage Nationals with @billn where he gave me a ton of ideas and inspiration for my 24" BMX cruiser I had on the backburner. After checking out some early '70s-era BMX bikes, it got me charged to take that bike a whole new direction... and to try mocking up a few of the parts I just acquired. Turns out that mini Stingray fork fits perfectly on that twin-tube 24" Free Spirit frame! Sometimes all it takes is one piece to change the entire direction of a build. That triple tree fork was just that piece for this bike!
Earlier this month, I checked out another swap meet in Dewey, OK. Like the Claremore swap meet, there was a lot of cool stuff, but this time, I didn't take anything home from the swap meet. What I did take home, however, was another Marketplace find that happened to be in the same town.

I picked up this sweet AMF Pilot bike for $20, solely to use its parts to help me fix up my grandpa's 1962 AMF-built Western Flyer Sonic Flyer.

As much as I like this bike, it's going to be a major help getting Grandpa's old Western Flyer back together, especially since it has two correct matching wheels, identical (but not bent) handlebars, AMF-specific bearing cups and bearings, and a bunch of hardware and other small parts that will fit right on that Sonic Flyer. Still, I wanted to get a number of good "as-found" pics of this bike before I completely disassembled it.

It's a shame that basket's as smashed as it is. I would have loved to use it on another project due to its size.

I managed to disassemble this bike pretty easily. I barely even used any PB Blaster to loosen up the handlebar stem! The only part I couldn't remove from the frame was the rear fender, whose hardware was rusted stuck, impossible to work with the tools I had on hand, and even had a never-before-seen round bolt with no Phillips or flathead slots! Oh well... maybe I can get that fender off later when I really want to mess with it. For now though, I got all the parts off this bike I need to save my Western Flyer. That said, I really do like the lines of this frame, and it'd be fun to build something out of it down the road.
Turns out that mini Stingray fork fits perfectly on that twin-tube 24" Free Spirit frame! Sometimes all it takes is one piece to change the entire direction of a build. That triple tree fork was just that piece for this bike!
Haha that's hilarious, as soon as I saw that stingray you scored, I started thinking about how the fork would look on Duck Norris! I think it looks great on the free Spirit, that's a sweet build
A little later on the 14th of November, I drove 2 hours north to Thayer, Kansas to pick up an exercise bike I saw on Marketplace for free. Normally, I would not drive 2 hours one-way for an exercise bike, even if it was free, except this one had a veeeeeery exciting part that I just had to have.

Can you guess which part caught my eye?

That's right, the near-mint condition black and white banana seat! Sure, it's got a couple small tears near the sissy bar holes, but they were hidden behind the sissy bar anyway, so it's fine. Normally when I see these types of banana seats on bikes, especially ones for sale, they're always torn at the seams, discolored, and dried out. This one is in such good shape it's almost new-old-stock! I actually hit the seat with some leather upholstery cleaner after taking these photos, and it shined up the white and black vinyl/leather really nice, though I'm going to need something a little stronger to removed those stains on the white. Maybe a Scoth-Brite pad or a Mr.Clean Magic Eraser might help...

What's funny about the trip to get this seat and the bike it was attached to is that it was actually faster and cheaper to drive up to Kansas and back to bring the whole bike home than it would've been just to have the seat shipped through the post office! It would have cost about $20-$22 to ship the seat in a week's time, and it only took about $18 of gas in my car and a few hours to just get the thing myself!

I don't know which bike I'm going to throw this seat on just yet, but I definitely plan to use it at some point. I may even build another bike around the seat itself! That'd be fun!
Haha that's hilarious, as soon as I saw that stingray you scored, I started thinking about how the fork would look on Duck Norris! I think it looks great on the free Spirit, that's a sweet build
Yeah, I knew I'd find a use for those triple tree forks pretty quickly! Triple tree forks are always cool. They're not the easiest to come by, but when you see them come up for cheap, GET 'EM! Thanks! I'm excited to start working on it after the holidays are over.
It's a shame that basket's as smashed as it is. I would have loved to use it on another project due to its size.
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Those baskets bend back into shape quite easily with a hammer, an anvil or a big vice, some care and a little time. Even cleaning one up when it is a little rusty is less bother than you would think.
Those baskets bend back into shape quite easily with a hammer, an anvil or a big vice, some care and a little time. Even cleaning one up when it is a little rusty is less bother than you would think.
It's rough enough that I wouldn't mind learning how to bend it back into shape. If I mess up, it's not like I made it any worse, right? And yeah, cleaning rust off a basket isn't too hard.
I was trying to avoid buying anything for myself until after Christmas, but yesterday I saw this bike pop up on FB Marketplace for for $20, and I just had to have it. It's a Firestone Pilot according to the head badge, but I don't know the year or the manufacturer. My guess it's from the late '30s to early '40s, but I don't know for sure. I couldn't find a serial number, so it's probably buried under a few layers of paint. What I do know about the bike is the seller bought it years ago as it looks for $20, and whoever had it before him basically turned it into a rat rod bike probably before the website existed!

Someone installed this wild Shelby springer fork, which I can't remember ever seeing in person before, and they stuck a chainring from a 10-speed bike on it, possibly as a conversion from a skiptooth setup. It's got matching New Departure-hubbed wheels, mismatched handlebar grips (which oddly match the 2 colors of paint that are flaking off the bike,) and a dried-out seat cover. There's even been some repairs done to the seat stay, based on the welding globs I see where the seat stay and seat tube meet. The tires look to be the newest part on the bike, though they certainly aren't that new. They're still good enough to ride on though! In fact, as soon as I got this bike home, I aired up the tires and took it for a spin around the cul-de-sac! It's obviously not flawless, but the fact that it's functional is pretty cool!

After I took my "as found" photos, I swapped out the kickstand (which kept hitting the crank as I pedaled; note the "dent" on the one I removed,) and seat, and took it for a couple short laps around the neighborhood. It'll definitely need some fresh grease and a general tune-up, but it actually pedals and stops pretty well all things considered. The springer fork worked especially well; I was surprised at how much it softened the ride!

Honestly, I'm not quite sure what I plan to do with this bike. This was more of an impulse buy than anything else, as I already have more than enough projects as it is. On one hand, I'd love to keep it and make it my own, or at least do something with the parts, but on the other hand, I honestly don't need it. I already have a massive backlog of bike projects as it is, and I don't even know if any of the bikes I have can make use of the parts on this bike, even the springer fork. I think I'll try and find out more about the bike before I make any final decisions on it.


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