Columbia Chainless with Wrong Badge


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Brian R.

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 16, 2015
323
540
Toronto, Canada
#1
I bought this bike recently. The badge says Model 50 but I believe that number was for a mens bike. Also there appears to be a ghost image of a taller badge. It has the "trophy fork" so that means it's 1898-1899, right? It still has all its ball-end spokes. I thought the hub would be a fixie and was surprised to find it has a freewheel, which I found puzzling because there's no evidence of an original spoon brake. After a closer look I'm now wondering if it has a coaster brake that's not working. I see no evidence (like bolt holes for example) that it originally had a rear fender.

So here are my questions: 1. Which year and model is it? 2. What's going on with the freewheel and lack of period correct brake? 3. Did it originally have a rear fender?

Thanks,
-B 20180915_164159.jpg

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David Brown

Finally riding a big boys bike
Dec 14, 2014
358
303
Kitchener, Canada
#2
Brian that rear hub might be used with a spoon brake on the rear wheel It worked with a rod coming from a lever on rear hub to a brake set up infront of rear wheel. Is there any markings from the brackets on rear stays behind seat down tube.
 

Mercian

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jul 1, 2016
244
224
51
France
#3
The badge says Model 50 but I believe that number was for a mens bike. Also there appears to be a ghost image of a taller badge.
Hi Brian, you probably have noticed, but the badge (original or not, I don't know about model numbers from this period), has certainly been worked on atsome point in its life. The crosshead screw holding it on is totally incorrect for the period. A replacement badge would explain your observations.

Best Regards,

Adrian
 

Craig Allen

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jun 23, 2016
104
233
64
Millville NJ
#4
Brian, You are correct to point out that Model 50 is the men's bike. Model 51 is the lady's version. Both models are 1898. The 1899 lady's chainless is model 60. I think what you have however is a later model possibly 1900-1904. Both 1898 and 1899 models still used studs on the hubs for direct pull spokes. Unfortunately I don't have Columbia catalogs for the later years to determine what year the ball end spokes started. But I believe the spoke pattern on your bike will be the clue to determine what year it is.
If your bike has an early coaster brake in the hub, it is an entirely different arrangement from later coasters such as New Departure. There are 4 steel balls that are gravity fed into a clutch system that provide the braking power. So if someone had this hub apart and put it back together using grease, the balls will not drop down which will cause the free wheeling. Possibly, the balls are not even in the hub. You can only use oil on the rear hub.
Originally the bike had a wood rear fender laced with an ornate pattern of string for skirt protection.
The rims were originally enameled black with gold striping.
If the bike originally had a plunger type brake on the front wheel, the brake handle pivot was located close to the handlebar lug. There should also be some evidence for attaching a pivot underneath the fork head.
 

Brian R.

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 16, 2015
323
540
Toronto, Canada
#6
Thanks everyone for such great info. Dave, I had seen duck brakes before but it never occurred to me that this bike might have had that setup. I couldn't see the forest through the trees as they say. It has very slight marks on the chainstays but they're not obvious enough to make a definite conclusion. Craig's explanation of a hub brake is a possibility. I'd have to take the hub apart to see unless someone can tell the difference from the outside appearance of the hub.

As for the badge and year, it looks like it had an American Bicycle Co. badge with the additional upper section like the photo below. With the trophy fork, i wonder if we can decide it's most likely a late 1899 or early 1900? When did they stop the trophy fork and stop the ABC badge?
IMG_3580.JPG
 

locomotion

I live for the CABE
Jan 15, 2011
1,895
941
Quebec, Canada
#8
it's called the "Hartford Coaster" or the "Columbia Tire Coaster"
it's well documented on The Cabe, comes up with a simple search
I have 3 Columbia chainless with that hub and spoon brake set-up
my Mens' are model 59 and 74, my ladies is being repainted, and the badge is off the bike (can't find it!!! freaking out)
1900-01 coaster brake_LI.jpg


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1900-01 coaster brake 2.jpg
 
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locomotion

I live for the CABE
Jan 15, 2011
1,895
941
Quebec, Canada
#10
Thank you Max, so do you recognize my hub - is that what I have?
hard to tell from your picture
does your hub have that extra loop to attach the brake wire?
the red arrow, in the picture I posted, points to the clue to your answer

not all coaster brakes had the brake arms, just think of the very early CCM Hercules hubs for example.

But my guess is that they added the front Philco brake (not designed to be used on a wood rim) because they had lost the ability to brake using the rear hub So something is probably missing!

Front rim might be a replacement, the spokes don't seem welded like the spokes on the rear rim, and there doesn't seem to be any extra wear from the brake pads (compared to the rear rim)

as far as a rear fender, it probably had one.
they used a clip on the ones that I have seen


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Brian R.

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 16, 2015
323
540
Toronto, Canada
#11
After some further digging on the CABE looking for catalogues or other Columbias, I can state definitively that this bike is an 1899 Model 60. It had a wooden rear fender originally. A post by dfa242 back in 2013 under the title "For Sale: 1899 Columbia Model 60 Ladies Chainless in Original Paint" shows the exact same bike including the ABC head badge, with the one exception of the rear hub brake. The rear hub on that one is the early New Departure, which could have been an option in 1899. The original brake on my bike is still unknown; I haven't had time to take apart the rear hub yet. A CABE member helped me identify an 1899 Columbia chain-driven bike a few years ago, and I will see if I can ask him to post the catalogue page here for the Model 60.

To answer the question from locomotion, the rear hub does not have that tab for mounting a rod for a duck brake.
 

mrkmcdonnell

Look Ma, No Hands!
Apr 3, 2013
99
94
New Jersey, United States
#14
Hi Brian,

I read this post AFTER I sent the requested 1899 catalog info. One can't deny, this is a puzzler.

My 2 cents:

The trophy fork which you show I believe was limited to 98 & 99.

The hubs you show emerged 1900, 1899 featured the different "porcupine" with raised bosses to receive the spoke heads.

Since both of these items could have at one point been replaced on this bicycle, the determining factor between 1899 & 1900 should be the seat post binder design. That being said, for the life of me I can not make it out in your posted photo.

1899 had an expanding wedge activated by a large nut tightened around the seat post. I'm not seeing this in the photo. In fact the seat post looks oddly undersized for the seat tube.

1900 had a more conventional (and less expensive) binder bolt traversing the seat stay tubes, compressing a split in the seat tube then binding the post . I can't really say I see that in the photo either.

One other possible explanation for the mix of components, this was a period of great turbulence for ABC and the bicycle industry in general. ABC was acquiring numerous other brands. Perhaps this was a 1900 issued with "old goods" (fork) in an effort to utilize old inventory.

In any event, let us know the seat binder design.

Mark
 
Likes: locomotion

Brian R.

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 16, 2015
323
540
Toronto, Canada
#15
Mark, thanks for the catalogue images. I will add them here.
The seat post clamp is the 1899 expanding wedge type. The reason for your confusion is that the large nut is missing so it looks odd in the photo. I will abandon my 1899 Columbia Ladies Chain-driven bike in favour of this project, and transfer over the nut and a couple of other parts. I will have a look at both seat posts to see if there is a problem with the one on the chainless.

With the market crashing as badly as it did in 1899 it makes total sense that a bike from that year or 1900 could be a mish-mash of new parts and leftover stock. From the ghost image this bike clearly had one of those ABC Columbia badges. ABC was incorporated on May 12, 1899 so in my opinion this bike was a late production model for 1899, with a few parts like hubs that were coming out for 1900. From the 100 year old fossilized tires on it, I think it's a safe bet that these hubs are original to the bike. I will compare the serial number to the one I mentioned above in post #11 that was for sale in 2013, which is almost the same bike.

As for the brake, I will take a closer look at the rear hub for evidence of a broken-off tab as Dave and Max have suggested.

Thanks again.

1899ColumbiaCat1.jpg


1899ColumbiaCat2.jpg
 

Brian R.

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 16, 2015
323
540
Toronto, Canada
#16
I could not find a serial number. Can someone tell me where it's supposed to be?

I also could not find evidence of a broken tab on the freewheeling parts at the end of the hub. If the bike was originally equipped with a front spoon brake would the rear hub have been a fixie? I think the next step is to take apart the rear hub and see if there are hub brake parts inside, but I'm not sure when I'll be able to get to that. I'm knee deep in home reno stuff.
 

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