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The Renaissance Man

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When you think of Muscle Bikes, the 1940's and 1950's 26" balloon bikes immediately comes to mind right? Maybe not.

However, the birth of muscle bikes can be traced back to 1958 with the kustomizing of balloon bikes by stripping them down and adding 'riser' bars. Much like the origins of mountain bikes being attributed to 'klunkers', the eventual muscle bikes started with kustom 'high risers' built by kids in California and then catching the eyes of bicycle manufacturers looking to cash in on the trend.

Even though it is likely that very few (if any) of these earliest high risers where built from a girls bike, it is possible. I can say that at least one late fifties Evans girls bike received the high riser treatment (much later in life) and it now belongs to me! I picked this bike up a couple of months ago (mainly for the fork) but have sense grown to really like the look of it more and more. Ape hangers is not something that I normally gravitate to, but in this case it just seems right!

211831-Evans-800.JPG


The bike has several issues that need to be addressed before it is ridable but for the most part I'll be keeping the overall look intact. :cool: This bike is a tribute to the early kustoms that were 'bound for muscle'.
 

The Renaissance Man

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The coolest fork in the universe may well be the Evanaction.
Okay, well it is up there pretty high in my opinion and I've been on the hunt for one for many years.:)
IMG_4003.JPG

IMG_4345.JPG


When I picked up the bike we attempted to remove the apes so it would fit in the back of the station wagon easier. The stem bolt came loose without any trouble and the stem and wedge knocked down easily but the stem refused to come out. I gave it several swift blows underneath with a rubber mallet but nothing, Twisting it didn't offer any relief either. So I folded the apes over and crammed it in the car and headed back to Alabama. Then on the final day of building the Speedline Brat I needed that stem desperately so I tried again with no success. I finally removed the stem bolt and got it out minus the wedge. The wedge was replaced and I proceeded ahead.

This week after soaking it with PB Blaster I threaded a stem bolt back into the wedge along with a couple of fender washers and a spacer and was able to pry it out with an old flathead valve tool. It finally shot out like a champagne cork! After that I removed the fork from the bike and discovered that the steer tube was bulged out from someone over tightening the stem. o_O I also noticed that someone (with no knowledge of how bearings work) had assembled the fork with the bottom race on top of the bearing. I could see where the bottom cup was had been riding on top of the fork.
IMG_4777.JPG


Because of the bulge and oval distortion of the steer tube, the race would not slide off of the fork. I couldn't find any tips on the web at all about how to shrink the tube back to its intended shape. [If anyone has any experience with this please post it here!] At this point I began weighing my options and considered cutting the tube off and grafting another one back in place. But then I had an idea.

I secured the fork in my vice, slid a steel stem that I found inside and tightened an adjustable wrench over the narrow side of the distorted tube. Then while spinning the wrench around the tube it compressed the tube on the high sides as it passed over. It worked!
IMG_4739.JPG


The bearing and race slid off easily and the stem and wedge can now be installed and removed the way it was intended! Problem solved!
IMG_4778.JPG
 

Captain Awesome

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The coolest fork in the universe may well be the Evansaction.
Okay, well it is up there pretty high in my opinion and I've been on the hunt for one for many years.:)
View attachment 211979
View attachment 211975

When I picked up the bike we attempted to remove the apes so it would fit in the back of the station wagon easier. The stem bolt came loose without any trouble and the stem and wedge knocked down easily but the stem refused to come out. I gave it several swift blows underneath with a rubber mallet but nothing, Twisting it didn't offer any relief either. So I folded the apes over and crammed it in the car and headed back to Alabama. Then on the final day of building the Speedline Brat I needed that stem desperately so I tried again with no success. I finally removed the stem bolt and got it out minus the wedge. replaced the wedge and proceeded ahead.

This week after soaking it with PB Blaster I threaded a stem bolt back into the wedge along with a couple of fender washers and a spacer and was able to pry it out with an old flathead valve tool. It finally shot out like a champagne cork! After that I removed the fork from the bike and discovered that the steer tube was bulged out from someone over tightening the stem. o_O I also noticed that someone (with no knowledge of how bearings work) had assembled the fork with the bottom backwards with the race on top of the bearing.
View attachment 211977

Because of the bulge and oval distortion of the steer tube the race would not slide off of the fork. I couldn't find any tips on the web at all about how to shrink the tube back to its intended shape. [If anyone has any experience with this please post it here!] At this point I began weighing my options and considering cutting the tube off and grafting another one back in place. But then I had an idea.

I secured the fork in my vice, slid a steel stem that I found inside and slipped an adjustable wrench over the narrow side of the distorted tube. Then while spinning the wrench around the tube it forced the tube in on the high sides as it passed over. It worked!
View attachment 211976

The bearing and race slid off easily and the stem and wedge can now be installed and removed the way it was intended! Problem solved!
View attachment 211978
Crafty 😉
 

kingfish254

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For some very interesting history on muscle bikes, Click Here.

It starts with 1958 but there are links at the bottom for subsequent years.

@krate-mayhem started building some of the bikes from that Illustrated history right here on RRB years ago.


Also John Brain has a lot of that info on History of Kustom Biking Facebook group.


Great resources for knowledge and inspiration.
 
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kingfish254

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Can't wait to see your rider / pig bike vision come to life from this Evans.
So glad you were able to get that bike.
 

The Renaissance Man

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Can't wait to see your rider / pig bike vision come to life from this Evans.
So glad you were able to get that bike.
Thanks KF, I'm really glad it landed on me! :thumbsup:

There's really no vision to bring to life. I had briefly given thought to typical muscle bike attributes like color, tire/wheel size, polo seat, stick shift, etc. but at this point I'm really looking more at the roots of the muscle bike era more than the results of it. Think early rebel hot rods verses gleaming show cars. If I were building a modern take on the muscle bike, it would not be with this 1950s girls bike for sure.

The truth is that I've been walking past this bike in my shop for a number of weeks now and wanted to get her out on the road. I would be doing this right now regardless of the mbbo but it just happened to come along at right time to start a build journal here for the fun of it.
 

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I'm loving this bike! The style is amazing and I enjoy the historical aspect as well. Looking forward to seeing what you do with it!
I'm loving it too. Sometimes the girls bikes just really have a better style than the boys version. This is one of those bikes in my opinion.

IMG_4344.JPG

evanaction-jpg.146454


Great story and ingenious steer tube work, TRM!

It will be fun to see what you do to add your other 'muscle bike' touches, while still retaining this cool old bike.

RaT oN~!
Thanks OJ, probably not going to add much. I would however love to find a checker board saddle like the one on that boys bike. ^ :cool:
 

GuitarlCarl

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Nice, I saw someone posted Brain's artwork in the Muscle Bike Inspiration thread... Love your work brother, looking forward to seeing it.
 

The Renaissance Man

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Nice, I saw someone posted Brain's artwork in the Muscle Bike Inspiration thread... Love your work brother, looking forward to seeing it.
LOL I guess I need to check in on some of the other threads more often!
#greatmindsthinkalike
 

kingfish254

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. I would however love to find a checker board saddle like the one on that boys bike. ^ :cool:

Those are hard to find. I had one on Rockafella and currently have a different one on Speed Demon.

1665232087111.png


1665232134126.png
 

The Renaissance Man

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Next up is the seat post.
One of the previous owners of this bike decided to glue a section of steel pipe inside of the seat tube. At first I thought they had cut off the seat tube to make it shorter, but from what I can tell from other pictures that I've searched, these bikes came with a quill seat post. So again who ever had worked on this bike in the past didn't have much bicycle knowledge and improvised with what they could find.

IMG_4789.JPG


Luckily I was able to keep twisting it until the construction adhesive failed enough to get it out.

IMG_4790.JPG


Now I have a scrap piece of threaded black pipe and I'm on the hunt for a 3/4" (22.2mm) quill seat post. :)
IMG_4795.JPG
 

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