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Bicycle oddities and factory mistakes

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WillWork4Parts

Wore out three sets of tires already!
These two are my favorite factory fudge-ups!

PXL_20221108_173559434.jpg
68 Varsity with upside down seat mast decal.

PXL_20221108_174907369.jpg

And if this one were stamped where it's supposed to be, it would be fate to put them together...alas, I'm not that friggin tall to run this flag mast with the upside down Schwinn stamp where it's visible. I think it was off of an early 50s girls bike.

Schwinn qWaliTy!!! Lol

I definitely vote to leave this thread running as a light hearted place to show off oddities and quality control problems. The other one is more apt to spark arguments over parts placement that we really had no first hand knowledge of or control over.

To quote the late Bob Ross, a place just for "Happy Accidents!"
 

Mercian

I live for the CABE
Hi All,

Another serial number oddity.

I have a BSA Parabike frame to restore.

1667994528387.png


The oddity is the serial number. I've always read and been told that they start with an R. Recently I carried out a survey of 150 known serial numbers for these bikes, and 149 of them do start with an R.

This one does not, it starts with a T. It's plain from the photo and comparison with my other bikes that this is not a light or mis-stamping of an R.

CF1586A.thumb.JPG.b4ff55272508ae55bc4fa80bf0117410.jpg


Here is one from only 1500 frames later, where the number is the standard R type.
1667994868465.png


I've asked around, and no-one seems to know why. (if you do, please let me know).

So, I'll float a theory for you to shoot at.

Bicycle manufacturers commonly used the frame code to date their bicycle to year or even month of production.

The serial number system for BSA bicycles is not currently known, and I cannot find enough known date examples to start to decode it. However, it is known that 'Parabikes' started manufacture in 1942, probably at R1000, and just counted upwards into the R70000's by end of production in 1943.

Using letters for date codes, it is common to omit I, O and S, since they resemble the numbers 1, 0 and 5 (Seiko cleverly date their watches by month 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0,N,D, so the 0 is for October!). Perhaps in January 1943, the person stamping the frames realised that, since it was a new year, it was normal to start a new letter block for frames, not S, the natural follow on from R, for the reason of possible confusion given, but T. They then continued stamping frames for a short time until someone confirmed that there should be no letter change for bikes on this contract, so reverted to R.

Sounds far fetched? I agree I will probably never know, but here is a supporting piece of information. The US Military Westfield Columbia G519 bicycles were were produced from late 1941 to early 1944. In 41 the year code was F and in 42, G. 43 and 44 should have been H and I or J. In fact all army military contract bikes remained as G for 42-43 (with an M stamped in front). When normal production resumed in 45, bikes were coded J.

If you've got this far, thanks for persevering. I would be interested in other ideas, or other BSA parabikes stamped T. If the idea was correct, it would show us where production was at the end of 42, not currently known.

Or perhaps it's just a mistake (-:

Best Regards,

Adrian
 
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Monarkman

Finally riding a big boys bike
This bike has a rear drop out stamped with serial number that indicates a 1953 model year, yet it is clearly a 1965-1966 Schwinn Typhoon.

I also had a 1950-1951 Monark Super Deluxe that had a 1949 rear fender (not the real deep fender like the front) It bothered me so much, I searched for a purchased another complete bike that had the correct fender and swapped it out (pictured).

image.jpg


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Legislator

Look Ma, No Hands!
This one sucks: a cottered crank spindle where the flats were not 180 degrees opposite. The result was that one crank was always a few degrees off opposite from the other. Result:

View attachment 1728128

It's not uncommon that you reassemble the bike and the cranks aren't perfectly opposite. Usually the result is a pin inserted incorrectly, or a worn pin, or just that you have to reset the crank on the spindle and try again. I went through this process several times and spent several evenings trying to get the cranks to line up. In fact, it looks a lot like the old "pins oriented the wrong way" problem... but it isn't that.

You reach the point that you're saying, "I've been pulling apart cottered cranks for 15 or 20 years, and I still don't know what the hell is wrong with this thing...".

I gave up and pulled everything apart to start over. I decided to check the spindle - flats not opposite from the factory. It was an otherwise great condition part that was apparently ridden this way for years. New spindle added and the problem went away.

That does suck. I learned to install cotter pins from my friend who owned a shop in the 70's and 80's, he showed me how to correct that by just refiling the angle on the pins, as you often have to do both if it's real bad (like yours). He could do it so fast and so well it always blew my mind, and thanks to the lesson, though I'm not fast, I can almost always get it right. Otherwise, it's just a spindle you'd have to replace, right?
 

GTs58

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
This bike has a rear drop out stamped with serial number that indicates a 1953 model year, yet it is clearly a 1965-1966 Schwinn Typhoon.

I also had a 1950-1951 Monark Super Deluxe that had a 1949 rear fender (not the real deep fender like the front) It bothered me so much, I searched for a purchased another complete bike that had the correct fender and swapped it out (pictured).

View attachment 1730245

View attachment 1730246


Serial numbers seem to be one of the most common production oddities/errors found and it most likely started on the very first bikes that came with the hand stamped serial numbers.
The machine stamped serials started a whole different page on oddities or errors that were caused by both mechanical and human error. Many believe the serial numbers were stamped when the frame was built, and that may have been the case decades ago until the manufacturers realized it was more efficient to pre-stamp the numbers on the actual part before it was used in building a frame.

Pre-stamped serial located in the wrong location. The 1960's Tandems used electro forged dropouts to the chain and top seat stay and the middle stay was hand welded to the dropouts and those welds covered part of the serial numbers on numerous pieces.
1730353


A 1970 Schwinn Twinn with a serial stamped on the dropout and one stamped on the head tube. This tandem was built with two pre-stamped components during the change of the serial number location in 1970.

1730357


1730358


At the beginning of the January 1966 stampings there was either a mechanical issue or possibly someone failing to insert a stamping die in the stamping head. Someone didn't check the stamping dies in the machine so some were stamped with no year letter and some were stamped with no month letter. This is noted on the Anglefire serial list as recorded in error, but it was actually a stamping error.

1966 Varsity missing the year stamping die.
1730362
 

Mercian

I live for the CABE
Hi @GTs58

I agree, serial numbers are a fruitful area for errors.

For the G519 Military Westfield Columbias, we have the classic 'Oops, already stamped that number, never mind, no one will notice...'

4 overstamped 5. Photo by @BcCleta
1668274888893.png



The 'Oops, I lost the M stamp, I'll use an upside down W instead, never mind, no one will notice...'

Photo via @fat tire trader
1668275268555.png


The 'Oops, I didn't leave enough room at the beginning to stamp the M. I'll stamp it above instead, never mind, etc....'

Photo Via @altapat
1668275604976.png



The 'Oops, I didn't stamp MG hard enough, I'll stamp it again, never mind...' Whistling New York, New York, so good they named it twice....

Photo: Ebay sale
1668276321977.png


Best Regards,

Adrian
 
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