TRADITIONAL DILEMMA

Rat Rod Bikes Bicycle Forum

Help Support Rat Rod Bikes Bicycle Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Joined
Mar 7, 2013
Messages
1,685
Reaction score
4,084
Location
Tucson, AZ
Here's my dilemma: Yesterday I found two pretty good deals on Craigslist; a vintage ladies' J.C. Higgins cruiser complete with truss rods, tank, rack, and both fenders for $80, and a American made Murray canti, not complete, for $25. I bought them both. I'm thinking I could build a "full dress" step-through e-bike out of the Higgins, OR a BMX-style klunker/strandie out of the Murray. As we all know, ladies bikes aren't all that desirable, and I'm not particularly enthralled with canti frames, they're just sort of ordinary. So I'll have to think about which one I will enter. I'll be changing the name when I decide; either LOL "'Lectric Ol' Lady," or "Murray the K(lunker)' after Murray the K, a New York radio disc jockey from my youth. I believe I have all the parts I need for either of the two. Here are my two candidates.
20240515_114425.jpg

20240515_114146.jpg

I'll figure this out soon!
 
Here's my dilemma: Yesterday I found two pretty good deals on Craigslist; a vintage ladies' J.C. Higgins cruiser complete with truss rods, tank, rack, and both fenders for $80, and a American made Murray canti, not complete, for $25. I bought them both. I'm thinking I could build a "full dress" step-through e-bike out of the Higgins, OR a BMX-style klunker/strandie out of the Murray. As we all know, ladies bikes aren't all that desirable, and I'm not particularly enthralled with canti frames, they're just sort of ordinary. So I'll have to think about which one I will enter. I'll be changing the name when I decide; either LOL "'Lectric Ol' Lady," or "Murray the K(lunker)' after Murray the K, a New York radio disc jockey from my youth. I believe I have all the parts I need for either of the two. Here are my two candidates.
I'll figure this out soon!

I concur with your feeling towards cantis. They just don't do anything for me because there are so so so so many of them. That one is even more common. It appears to be from the 70s or newer similar to the Murray Monterey. Still it's a workhorse frame that can fit the bill for a klunker too.
Even though ladies bikes don't thrill everyone, that one has a lot of old coolness to it. I think it's Monark made (at least most of it). Lectric Ol Lady Land is an awesome build name too.

1715819997386.png
 
I went to my storage unit way, way early this morning (it feels like yesterday) and found more cool parts.
For the JCH, I found these;
20240516_072853.jpg


Yep, parade bars!

And these:
20240516_072142.jpg

Yeah, boi- Old school reflectors, an ostrich-skin covered, period correct, ladies snub-nosed saddle, old school lights, vintage reflectors, an old speedometer with real metal parts, and some handlebar braces.
20240516_083631.jpg

And somewhere, somewhere, I think I have a set of CRASH BARS!! I do have to dig deeper to find them.

On the Murray side, I found two sweet wheel sets in my storage unit. Both are coaster braked, which is a must for a true klunker. One is a three speed Nexus and one is a seven speed Nexus.
20240516_072339.jpg

20240516_072457.jpg

I love 'em both.
 
So while Parliament, and my man George Clinton, are singing, "We need the klunk, gotta have that klunk," encouraging me to build that Murray, I do believe I'll go with the JCH girlie-girl step-through, (especially if I can find those crash bars (though I may have sold them off.)) And you guys influenced my decision!
 
Last edited:
Looking forward to you taking this to Full GeeGaw level with your doodaddery!
 
Nice parts pile. I've never built a step through but may put one together later this summer. I like the direction you are going here.
 
I'm a bit biased towards Murrays, but that JC Higgins has awesome character to it! Still, I think that Murray would make for a great BMX/klunker/standie build, so either way, I think you've got 2 good candidates there!
I’m biased towards Murray’s as well (Although there’s a Higgins in my den that needs finishing) and I love the curves of a cantilever. I’d just mash the two up and ditch the step through but different strokes for different folks. Really keen on seeing how this will turn out 🙂
 
Yesterday was all about disassembly and making certain I can fit front and rear disc brakes.
20240517_081935.jpg

20240517_090517.jpg


What may look like a mess to some looks like a good start to others. Now to remove that stubborn fork, in hopes of fitting a disc brake adapter. With my trusty 2 by 4 and some penetrating oil, it finally gave:
20240517_100340.jpg

. . . just not the way I'd hoped it would. NOTE TO SELF: next time- more penetrating oil, less 2 by 4.
This travesty made me change direction. I did have a new dual-spring, disc ready fork in the wings, but, alas, the steering tube was too short, even after shaving a half inch off the head tube.

So, off to the storage unit I drove, in search of a fork that could accept a disc brake, one way or another. On my fork rack, while I didn't find an appropriate fork, I came across these babies! I knew I had them somewhere.

20240517_123357.jpg

On my way home from the storage unit, I stopped at my neighbor's home, remembering I stashed a bike frame with a disc-ready fork in his garage. I found it and took it home.

Using my trusty 2 by 4, (I know, I'm kinda dangerous with that tool,) I carefully spread the rear triangles, just enough to accommodate the motor wheel. I also pre-fitted a disc brake assembly, just to see if it looks like it'll work. Yes! It looks like it WILL work.

20240517_111548.jpg


On to the front fork. It's practically brand new, shiny and the wrong color, but it works.
20240517_162913.jpg

My plan is to make the fork match up nicely with the frame, reattach the fender and truss rods, plus the addition of parade bars. The front wheel is a quick release style. I'm not sure how I'll attach all the parts to the axle. It may take some ingenuity. I'm taking the weekend off; I have a garage to clean up, a strategy to develop, and a back that aches.
 
Back
Top