• Please take a moment to read the new post TRADING SAFETY. It contains important information for those who use the classified ads for buying and selling.

Advice sought - Pierce Racer

Most Recent BUY IT NOW Items Listed on eBay
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture

Leadheavy52

Look Ma, No Hands!
Hello fellow enthusiasts. I am reaching out in hopes of some advice. I recently purchased this Pierce Racer off CL locally. Not knowing much about this era of bikes, I spoke with the seller, did a little research and pulled the trigger. I picked up the bike the next day and was able to finally get it home and asses it’s condition a bit more completely. In open disclosure, and for context of this thread, I am into the bike $1000.

Once home, I began to disassemble it. First thing first, I noticed the saddle, pedals, stem, crankset, rear sprocket, front wheel and possibly the handlebars are incorrect from what would have been installed at the factory. Secondly, after looking at many pictures, advertisements, threads in the CABE, and historical articles, I have not seen another frame like the one on this bike.

The serial number is: 195749. According to he research that you fine folks over here have assembled, it puts the bike between 1916 and 1918. The bike has a very well designed arch running from the down tube to the corner of the top tube and head tube. In addition, it has a gusset between the chain stays near the seat post. Additionally, the forks are unique to other Pierce racers I have seen. They look very similar, but have some slight arches in the center of the fork. The bike has a silver Buffalo, NY headbadge and also has a smaller one below it that says “Racer”.

My predicament: I have grown attached to this bike. I love the history it tells, though still largely unknown. This bike has been ridden hard and seen better days. The nickel on the forks it trashed and has large flakes of it coming loose. The nickel on the head tube looks ok and might clean up well. The original maroon paint is the worst of it all, with well over 50% of it being rusty metal. Someone coated the whole bike in dried, brown lacquer. The steel is sound all the way through however and fortunately, the bike has come apart easily (so far). The forks have a crack on the top of the left fork, presumably from a wreck. Most likely what also parked the bike. The saddle (Brooks) is so dry rotted that it is beyond redemption. The left crank is different from the right, which is marked Bianchi. The chainring is Bianchi. The front wheel is a Lobdell and the rear is the correct Fairbanks.

I have been disassembling and cleaning (gently) this bike and going over in my head what the best route of action is. I have lots of experience with 60s-80s road bikes and would not consider myself a novice to bicycle maintenance, but this is I know waters for me.

Should I clean it up and put it back together in its Frankenstein state? Should I take it apart, source the original parts, and restore it to factory fresh?

I looked everywhere I could to see if this was some famous World Champion’s old bicycle, but judging from the mid-matched parts, I highly doubt that it was anything more than just some nameless amateur rider from the 20’s or 30’s.

Primarily, the frame and forks have me baffled. Could this be a rare custom order or possibly a new Poe goal design being real-world tested prior to the end of the Pierce Cycle Co.?
I am looking for some advise on other places I may look for research or some guidance on whether I should preserve the life of the bicycle by a good cleaning/reassembly or should I plan on ditching the old mid-matched items and returning this bike to its original appearance?

I have attached some reference photos and would be more than happy to take any additional photos.

Also, I am not looking to sell this bicycle. This is not to say that it wouldn’t change in the future, but I am simply looking for the opinions of better educated persons than myself.

Sorry for the long post and thank you in advance for the help.

-Austin

19BF4A8D-AD70-4A6D-86C3-A018F59492AB.jpeg


FAD7C173-7FD2-400B-90BB-C0DB64E296F8.jpeg


6A34FABC-A241-48B7-AF10-E34B785B0113.jpeg


6C382122-5846-49C8-80E7-298228967249.jpeg


C9369BCF-7D8A-43AB-BB25-3164C6D18BD0.jpeg


D2D5F9B7-BEEF-40C3-B79F-4F619A23F1A8.jpeg


895B7BA9-D957-4B25-8BE7-41D47194237D.jpeg


5ECAE1D0-A478-43D5-9311-D6876FA61A50.jpeg


57707AE8-C0D4-41AB-B7F4-46101E26CBA0.jpeg


661601C3-7685-4564-8733-4877EC873029.jpeg


B8344221-E436-4CEE-9B5D-73E1F5B914C9.jpeg


B16E618F-7E4E-43B4-86D3-CA7494E6169E.jpeg


EEDE3CF0-DEC8-42EB-958A-F3D9D8F78457.jpeg
 

redline1968

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
I could use the chain ring if you chose to replace it. I would replace the fork ...chain ring ... with originals.. also turn the rims into money or upgrade them with rideable modern components. Just Keep the bike as is.. the odd brace welded to it doesn’t look original and is placed there for some reason... just use it as a original frame fork with modern comonents.
 

GiovanniLiCalsi

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
At least the frame is worth what you paid.
Pierce cranksets and forks are not that difficult to find. The non-original parts can be sold and used to buy parts. Patience is your friend....
 

Leadheavy52

Look Ma, No Hands!
Thank you for the replies. Ultimately, it would be cool to track down which period cyclist used this bike. Judging by the mid-matched parts, I doubt it was anyone of any significance and most likely one of the tens of thousands of amateur riders that competed at that era. If I can’t track it down to any ONE rider, I will most likely part out all but the original equipment and begin to search out the correct bits. I have patience and the space to properly store and work on this frame either way I swing.

On the topic of the frame, the support arch and the rear chainstay gusset are VERY well done. I can’t say for sure that they couldn’t have been done as a special project. I’ll take some closer pictures of the craftsmanship. Also, the braze joint where the arch meets the head tube is nickel plated under the paint.
How far down the top and bottom tubes should the factory nickel go? I have seen a few other pictures of nickel-headed Pierces where paint damage has shown nickel through the tubes to at least an inch or two.
 

Barnegatbicycles

Finally riding a big boys bike
I would clean it up and leave it how it is. The person who had it probably put those parts on it to customize it for their type of riding. Fix / replace the fork. Clean it up. If you want to ride it make up a set of spare wheels and ride it but keep the parts with the bike. It's cool the way it is and it tells a story. Just my opinion.
 

GiovanniLiCalsi

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
The cap is incorrect.
 

Jesse McCauley

McCauley Cycle Works
Leave it- that bike has character that if you monkey with it too much it will lose.

Still interested should the time come, I lost a nights sleep over it but forreal, leave it, or else I may lose another.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

piercer_99

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
At least the frame is worth what you paid.
Pierce cranksets and forks are not that difficult to find. The non-original parts can be sold and used to buy parts. Patience is your friend....

:)
I must be asking the wrong people then.
 

piercer_99

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
That is a one of a kind bike. Pretty nice.

really interesting.
 

rusty_apache

Finally riding a big boys bike
I would put a coat of Waxoyl, new ball bearings everywhere and a set of Robert Dean tires on it, then ride it as is.
Look for the proper bits at your leisure if you want to set it up like factory.
 

sam

I live for the CABE
Don't let anyone get you in a hurry to get rid of any parts. Not the broken fork or the incorrect crank set. That bike was a special order. And it was built 30 miles from Toronto Ca. which is heavily influenced by the French. Most special order track bikes of the day were out fitted with BSA parts but if ordered for Canadian racing it every well might have been finished off with French parts. More research is needed, but you can change the fork wheels and seat and ride it as you do the research.
 

Leadheavy52

Look Ma, No Hands!
Thank you for all of the wonderful insight. I have been researching Pierce bicycles of this era (and many others) and I have become fascinated. Admittedly, I was none-too-aware if the fever-pitch popularity of six day races, road racing, pace-setting, and all the other cool races from that era. As an avid cyclist myself, to see the conditions of the tracks and roads of that time and the sheer number of spectators and racers who all lined up to breathe life into this fledgling sport; and the crashes! Oh my god! It’s been a very enjoyable history lesson. Can’t say that I am anywhere as knowledgeable as any of you, but I know more than I did before I picked up this bike.
What surprises me is how light this bicycle it. I first noticed it when I pulled it off the wall in the garage it was stored in. Now that I have it down to the frame only (the seatpost is still in place, waiting on the magic of PB Blaster), it weighs out at 7.25 lbs. that’s lighter than any of my old 70s road bikes for sure!

I wanted to include some additional pictures from the tear down of the bike, and also pose more questions so I can preserve the history of this bike and not screw it up. Additionally, I am happy to take more photos for anyone interested.

Questions:
I have seen that Pierce had threaded bottom brackets in later years. The bottom bracket (see photos) was threaded to accept the bearing cups and spindle from a Bianchi (marked). Is it possible that the bottom bracket has been re-tapped to accept this or would it be axle to accept both? I am concerned about standard to mm thread pitch.

The brazing where the seat tube and down tube look different where they attach to the BB from others I have seen. Is this reinforced brazing, or signs that the BB has been replaced?

When cleaning, what is the preferred method of rust removal from the frame?

Does anyone know anything about the pull-through hubs on the rims? They are matched to each other, but the rims are different.

What is the little bracket/hanger for on the stem?

Lastly, is it possible this bike was set up for road racing? I only ask this because of the frame reinforcements and the frame-mounted pump brackets. Would it still use a fixed hub?

Thank you all for the expertise and knowledge.

I am including pictures of the bike during disassembly and of other Pierce Racers I have found online.
9BDDD6F6-D7AB-4848-8243-716CB60B142F.jpeg




5B99D0FC-0B9A-4E49-8554-01DE68690FF1.jpeg


-A
04D2F18A-5384-479A-A3B3-DF13D64A8187.jpeg


us
68B248CD-189E-4B96-9CFB-458026E7EB2A.jpeg


ti
12D187C3-4B68-4FFF-B4A8-74754B1C89CB.jpeg


n
EC62C59C-D94D-4E5A-BD2B-5D91541EF171.jpeg




3408AEDF-4937-4D54-9F36-E6784067867A.jpeg




25D1A1E7-2C7E-4C41-AFD2-BCFCA0A1C916.jpeg


5ED9D626-A8D2-4233-A04B-9549A1AFA33D.jpeg


9BDDD6F6-D7AB-4848-8243-716CB60B142F.jpeg


5B99D0FC-0B9A-4E49-8554-01DE68690FF1.jpeg


153CF307-8C58-4805-BEC1-E4DFE886435E.jpeg


20247DCE-D702-4ADC-A2B3-5584CF309261.jpeg


66F0D172-91B8-4D6C-B522-8BBDCFF3D96A.jpeg
 

piercer_99

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
FYI your photo of the inside of the headtube shows the internal lugs--- common at the time on lots of bikes.

Also one of the Pierce trademarks of the time.
 

piercer_99

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Thank you for all of the wonderful insight. I have been researching Pierce bicycles of this era (and many others) and I have become fascinated. Admittedly, I was none-too-aware if the fever-pitch popularity of six day races, road racing, pace-setting, and all the other cool races from that era. As an avid cyclist myself, to see the conditions of the tracks and roads of that time and the sheer number of spectators and racers who all lined up to breathe life into this fledgling sport; and the crashes! Oh my god! It’s been a very enjoyable history lesson. Can’t say that I am anywhere as knowledgeable as any of you, but I know more than I did before I picked up this bike.
What surprises me is how light this bicycle it. I first noticed it when I pulled it off the wall in the garage it was stored in. Now that I have it down to the frame only (the seatpost is still in place, waiting on the magic of PB Blaster), it weighs out at 7.25 lbs. that’s lighter than any of my old 70s road bikes for sure!

I wanted to include some additional pictures from the tear down of the bike, and also pose more questions so I can preserve the history of this bike and not screw it up. Additionally, I am happy to take more photos for anyone interested.

Questions:
I have seen that Pierce had threaded bottom brackets in later years. The bottom bracket (see photos) was threaded to accept the bearing cups and spindle from a Bianchi (marked). Is it possible that the bottom bracket has been re-tapped to accept this or would it be axle to accept both? I am concerned about standard to mm thread pitch.

The brazing where the seat tube and down tube look different where they attach to the BB from others I have seen. Is this reinforced brazing, or signs that the BB has been replaced?

When cleaning, what is the preferred method of rust removal from the frame?

Does anyone know anything about the pull-through hubs on the rims? They are matched to each other, but the rims are different.

What is the little bracket/hanger for on the stem?

Lastly, is it possible this bike was set up for road racing? I only ask this because of the frame reinforcements and the frame-mounted pump brackets. Would it still use a fixed hub?

Thank you all for the expertise and knowledge.

I am including pictures of the bike during disassembly and of other Pierce Racers I have found online. Austin

"
Questions:
I have seen that Pierce had threaded bottom brackets in later years. The bottom bracket (see photos) was threaded to accept the bearing cups and spindle from a Bianchi (marked). Is it possible that the bottom bracket has been re-tapped to accept this or would it be axle to accept both? I am concerned about standard to mm thread pitch.

I do not believe that your hanger bracket is threaded, it looks as if you have threaded bearing cups. Your cups are similar to the ones on my BR model Amateur Sprint Racer, except that mine are not threaded. One thing I have found about Pierce machines is that they did not typically use conventional sizes on things, for example, my steer tube is 1-1/16" as opposed to the standard 1" steer tubes on most other bicycles.

The brazing where the seat tube and down tube look different where they attach to the BB from others I have seen. Is this reinforced brazing, or signs that the BB has been replaced?
Your brazing looks like it is all factory, as #New Mexico Brant noted, your Carmine red paint all looks like factory paint.
When cleaning, what is the preferred method of rust removal from the frame?
There are many methods out there, OA is one a lot of people use, however as your bike is Carmine red, it isn't recommended as it doesn't do well with reds.
On my Pierce, I used a polishing compound, very lightly abrasive to address the small spots of rust, then many coats of carnauba wax on top of it to protect the paint. (in my opinion my paint looks really good).


Does anyone know anything about the pull-through hubs on the rims? They are matched to each other, but the rims are different.
the bike could have had an accident over the years and a rim replaced, using the original hubs.. just a wild a** guess.

What is the little bracket/hanger for on the stem?
could have been for a light, or to hang a water bottle from, that is another guess.

Lastly, is it possible this bike was set up for road racing? I only ask this because of the frame reinforcements and the frame-mounted pump brackets. Would it still use a fixed hub?

It very well could have been set up for road racing, and the rear hub options were either 'fixed' or 'coaster'. The coaster brake set up was typically about $5 more.

All in all, you have a really nice bicycle, if you chose to clean it up and polish it, it should pop nicely.
This is what mine looks like when it is freshly polished.


in it's show form.
20190709_173225.jpg

in it's everyday rider form, and I try to ride it everyday.


20190915_183237.jpg


Also, they are surprisingly light. My frame and fork, weighs 6.5 pounds. The bike set up in everyday riding condition is just under 28 pounds.
20190610_125036.jpg
 
Top