J.C. Piggins

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Jan 3, 2022
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One day while running errands last summer I noticed the antique mall/flea market across the street from the office was having an outside yard sale with what looked like an old bike in the middle. I stopped for closer inspection and found a late 50's middleweight J.C Higgins for $50. I only had $43 after running errands & she accepted! Having 24" tires it's a bit small for me at 6' to ride comfortably so the perfect candidate for a Pig Bike!!


All it needs is a few parts swapped or removed. I have plenty of handlebars & banana seats but not an early seat before Schwinn started selling the Stingray. I happened to take a peek on CL and saw a girls Murray with the perfect seat about a week later....

I was also lucky enough to find a fat rear tire at a shop with big inventory shortly after finding the bike. A Maxxis Hookworm in 24"x2.5" to stuff under a middleweight fender out back. (No pic yet. Will include with update later today.) May require cutting. Or may go fenderless.🤷‍♂️

The only issue & what has caused me to wait so long to get started is the early Bendix hub (1946-1961) may have issues. I finally confirmed this morning that I have a parts hub that will work if it's ok. So this is the starting point in just a few minutes.....

Since I'm getting a late start & no big plans for Christmas I will try to finish this over the next few days. Everything will be overhauled, cleaned & detailed. Nothing crazy with this one other that trying to stuff a fat tire under the back fender. Should be fun!
Stuff the critters with strings of christmas lights.
Stuff the critters with strings of christmas lights.

But then they won't oink when I squeeze 'em! 😂 The pink one glows in the dark but the other is just Santa Pig.🎅🐷

Got it into Napoleon form (Blownapart) & started running parts through the ultrasonic cleaner.


It came apart pretty easily but the grease is solid, like shellac. The rear hub didn't want to come loose as the grease had hardened like glue & the driver wouldn't release from the drive clutch. Would not come loose. Stuck the heat gun inside the hub that was apart on the brake side & after a while it softened the grease enough to spin itself out with gravity!:thumbsup: Will finish cleaning parts tomorrow & start polishing parts to get the wheels together & trued if time allows. After the cold snap & 4" of snow the past couple of days it's supposed to be in the mid 50's so going for a ride in the afternoon. Time to check the next round of parts in the bin. More tomorrow...

And the moment you've all been waiting for.........

Rear tire

Suspenseful, wasn't it!😂😂😂
There is the Bacoon ride in Iowa. Mascot is a pig, theme is bacon.
scroll down to see photos.
That looks awesome!! I wonder how many bacon strips fit in a jersey pocket. 🤔🤔 Then multiply by 3 pockets...🤩😍🥰
I spent the afternoon yesterday with the tedious task of cleaning internal parts. My ultrasonic cleaner was invaluable in this since all the grease in the bike was rock hard.

I cleaned a few other parts but didn't take a pic.

I got the hubs & half way up the spokes polished. First generation Bendix rear & Mark VII front hubs.

I will clean up the rims & other half of spokes & rims after I assemble the hubs & true the wheels.

While trying to clean some sticky residue from around the head tube using Simple Green, some of the paint came off the head badge!:oops::13: I've never had Simple Green do that. Not sure what the residue was but you can see some still around the badge & bearing cups. Not sure what to do about that yet. Don't have another badge like this...

On the plus side, the front tire is in great shape & will likely be reused.:)

Next is to finish getting the wheels done. Most time consuming & tedious part of the build but probably most important.
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Thanks @Palepainter & @Dr. Tankenstein ! I contemplated using a Sharpie or 2 & turn the 'H' into a 'P'. 🤔
I have little confidence it would look good even though there's a ghost image to guide me. I may give it a go later just to see what happens. If it doesn't work it could probably clean off easily enough. But not with Simple Green.🤪🤪🤓
I've been pecking away at getting more parts cleaned up here & there this week. Hubs were assembled(nailed the rear hub adjustment on the first attempt!!:13:
Found a spoke to replace one missing from the front wheel & got them trued. Removed a spot of house paint from each rim while trying to figure out how that happens, then just kinda rubbed around. Was able to save all pinstriping on rims & gave them a good scrub with a scrubby sponge.

Rear wheel cleaned up next to front awaiting scrubbing.....

I used my heat gun to melt the rock hard grease out of the bottom bracket & headset cups & wiped the frame down with an oily rag to help loosen hardened grease to get ready for deep cleaning, polish & protect. The layer of dust left from when the bike was found leads me to believe it came from Western Colorado where I grew up(in age) as it has the same smell, color & taste. Cool!

You can see that there was almost as much grease on the frame as in the bearings!😳

Since the girl's Murray that had the Deluxe Persons Solo Polo saddle & squareback sissy bar for this build has a longer crank & bigger chainring I grabbed those with hopes the longer crank will work. The parts are in better shape & add 2 teefus to the chain ring for 46/20t gearing. I grabbed the chain as well since it will need to be longer now & it cleaned up to near new condition in the ultrasonic cleaner.(no pic yet. Sorry)

I case you are wondering, the little guy in the sombrero is Jefe Carnitas, my Guardian Angel of Tacos! (I am very blessed with many guardian angels that keep an eye on me.😉) I loooove tacos! My record, BITD at a bar that had do it yourself tacos for happy hour, is 18. The reason I didn't introduce him in the first post is because Jefe has an alter ego when he drinks too much named Russell. Russell is a nudist. I didn't mention this earlier to keep from encouraging his behavior........

So, the J.C. in J.C. Higgins in this case is for my friend Jefe Carnitas I guess. He will be overseeing operations from now on......
I had time yesterday to work on cleaning, polishing & protecting chrome & other exposed metal bits yesterday which thrilled Señor Jefe. Chrome is his favorite color!

During his inspection he had to point out some light peppering left on some pieces. Once I reminded him that when this bike was built some manufacturers were starting to find ways to boost the bottom line of sales was cheaper finishes on chrome parts. This is a 60+ year old bike that was ridden, Dude. He dubbed it 'Acceptable', turned and walked away while grumbling.......🤷‍♂️

I'm sure when the bike is assembled he'll be ok with it. Today will be spent cleaning, polishing & protecting paint. Hoping to start assembly to get this pig on wheels today as well so I can stare at it while thinking of details to add. I think I will try to use the head badge snafu to my benefit. I was thinking of using a clear tape for masking & carve out panels using the ghost image & fresh paint. But for now, time to work on paint detailing.

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