The Old West

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Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
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Going to do something a little different for this year's Build Off. Normally I'd build something custom, as that's what I like to do, but right now none of my custom projects are ready for the Build Off. I haven't figured out how I'd like to build some of them yet, and most of the bikes that I do have a plan for require outside help, help that may not be available this summer. So, I'm going to do a mild "rustoration" on my 1962 AMF-built Western Flyer Sonic Flyer I got from my grandpa 5 years ago.
BFtD_The_Old_West_before_1.jpg


This bike is actually the 2nd bike that I added to my collection. Technically, you could say this bike started the collection. It was also the first rider in my collection, as my only other bike at the time, Schwinn Dixie, was in pieces at the time. I had tinkered with it a bit that first year, shining up the chrome with #0000 steel wool and the paint with rubbing compound, and I even added a rear basket and some cupholders for practical use. I even nicknamed it "The Old West," in reference to it being a Western Flyer, and because my grandpa, who gave me the bike, loves watching old western movies and TV shows. As fun as it was to ride back then, it needed a complete overhaul. The coaster brake barely worked, the wheels weren't exactly true, and the grease was all about gone. I took it apart back in 2020, thinking I'd have it all fixed up that year, but instead, I've only made small bits of progress finding a few missing pieces for it. Otherwise, it's just sat in the corner, hanging from a rotisserie and gathering dust.
The_Old_West.jpg
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So, I'm going to finally do what I should have done years ago and get this bike back to riding condition. I don't know if I'll have the headlight functioning or not, but as long as I can ride it again, that's really all I care about right now. I'll also see if I can shine up the paint any better than I did before, now that I know what rubbing compound is really capable of, but that's not my main goal. My main goal is to get this bike riding once again. I might try adding a few small custom touches along the way, but I won't be adding anything that can't easily be reversed.

First things first though, I need to clean up my workspace out in the garage. I went a little crazy trying to mock up all the parts I had on some of my future projects, and really all that happened was that I made a pretty substantial mess. I can't even get to the Western Flyer with everything where it is! So, I'll start cleaning that up tomorrow morning when the weather's at its coolest.
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I love all the rust, and the repainted saddle combination. Hopefully you are not going to paint this. Just some linseed oil and a chain guard repaint would make this pop.
 
I love all the rust, and the repainted saddle combination. Hopefully you are not going to paint this. Just some linseed oil and a chain guard repaint would make this pop.
Thanks! I don't think the Saddle's been repainted, but the fenders look like someone spilled some red paint on them a while ago.

Don't worry, I'm not going to repaint this. I'm just going to hit it with some rubbing compound and a little wash & wax. I don't mess with BLO.
 
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Thanks! I don't think the Saddlers been repainted, but the fenders look like someone spilled some red paint on them a while ago.

Don't worry, I'm not going to repaint this. I'm just going to hit it with some rubbing compound and a little wash & wax. I don't mess with BLO.
oh is that leather on the saddle... It looks like the pan,and it has been painted to look newish,,, It looks good, maybe some retouches. But the the rust is mighty fine.
 
oh is that leather on the saddle... It looks like the pan,and it has been painted to look newish,,, It looks good, maybe some retouches. But the the rust is mighty fine.
I don't if it's leather, but it's not a bare pan thankfully. I doubt this bike had been retouched at all before I owned it, unless desperately trying to wipe the red paint that splashed on the fenders counts! Yeah, the patina is nice. Kind of wish that there wasn't a rust hole in the side of the tank, but eh, it give the tank character.
 
Took a few days, but I got my workspace in the detached garage all nice and tidy once again!
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Now I can easily get to the Western Flyer with no issues.
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So that's the good news, but there's a bit of bad news too. Problem is that it's feeling like summer here in Oklahoma, and not in a good way. The past few days have been so hot and humid that I can only handle being out in the garage early in the morning. It gets way too hot way too fast! But that's not even the worst of it; we're supposed to be getting rain for nearly an entire week starting possibly tonight, which will prevent me from making much progress on the Western Flyer this week. I need to clean parts first, and I can't really do all that inside the garage. I'll still try and get something done in the meantime, but I won't be able to do much until I can work outside without getting rained on.

Good news is, I might still be able to make some progress this week on another bike that could be a perfect "entry-level" build for class 2...
 
Well, it turned out to be a pretty dry day again here after all, at least until sunset.

I decided to give most of the parts a good wash earlier this morning to help clean up any dust that had gathered on them while they sat for the past 3 years, and to clean up any parts I missed before. I even took apart the seat to clean up some parts I couldn't reach normally.
BftD_The_Old_West_wash_1.jpg
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Since the weather looked like it'd stay dry for most of the day, I started going through my stash of bearings, bearing cups and races to make sure I had everything I needed to get this bike rolling again. I was hoping to put everything in my ultrasonic cleaner so I could start putting the bike back together this week, but I ran into a snag. While I have bearing and bearing cups for the headset, and while I should have all the bottom bracket pieces, I'm missing one critical piece: the lower crown race for the fork. I don't know where the original one is, but I remember it being worn out. Sadly, every other lower crown race I had at home was either the wrong size and shape, or they were completely worn out.

I wound up going back to my dad's storage building where I keep all the other bikes and parts I'm not currently messing with, and looked for another crown race. I pulled some bikes and forks apart to rob them of whatever crown races I could find, and thankfully, I might have one or two that'll work. I need to hit them with the brass wire wheel to know for sure, but if it turns out I don't have the right part, I'll need to see if anyone here or on the C.A.B.E. has what I'm looking for.
 
The seat color looks original, somehow it kept it's bright color. Was there a cover on it?

Maybe that little blue AMF bike has the same crown race.

View attachment 231907
Yeah, the seat's not in bad shape for its age! I don't remember there being a cover on the seat, but Grandpa normally stored this bike inside his open boat shed, so it at least wasn't getting rained on or baked out in the sun. Still got a few holes in the cover though.

I took that bike apart earlier to help with this one. Unfortunately, the race on that blue bike is grooved pretty badly. The bearings and bearing cups from that bike look salvageable though.

I have another AMF bike that might have the part I need, but the fork hardware is stuck on tight. I'm going to have to let that part soak in PB Blaster for a bit before I can get it off. I'll also tinker with the torch too, but that fork nut is putting up one heck of a fight!
BftD_2_western_flyers_13.jpg
 
Good news! I found a race in my stash that'll work for this bike!
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Now I have everything I need to get this bike in a rideable state! Granted, there are still a few parts that will need work or replacing to really complete this bike, but thankfully I've got all that I need right now to get this bike rolling again by this weekend. I want to get the Western Flyer riding by this weekend, as the Springfield, Missouri bicycle swap meet is on the 21st, and my grandparents live just a short drive away from there. I want to take The Old West up with me this weekend to show Grandpa all the work I've done to it, and take it out for a cruise on the Springfield Frisco Highland Park Trail. As long as the weather cooperates this week, that should be no problem.
 
Great base for your build. Can't go wrong with a star chainring. I think I've used one on 3 or 4 of my builds
 

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