Huge Project - Western Flyer - Help?

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NeedDee

On Training Wheels
Aug 12, 2019
1
30
Pierce County, WA
Hello! I chanced upon this forum while looking for information on this Western Flyer a co-worker gave me. I'm totally in love with it but don't know the first thing about it. Couldn't find much with a google search about it, either. She definitely needs a lot of work. Anyone have some decent advice on where to start? I want to see it as restored as possible. Anyone have a clue on the year?
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Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
Jul 14, 2009
19,890
Evans, GA
This is a British lightweight built for the US market and sold through Western Auto stores. Unfortunately there is very little collector interest in these bikes and consequently a quality set of tubes and tires would likely exceed the value of the bike. Hub appears to date it to 1963. Someone else may be able to tell you who the actual manufacturer is. Raleigh? V/r Shawn
 

Blackbomber

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Aug 23, 2018
906
45
Unionville, CT
+1 on all written above. Hub is May of 1963 which would make this a '63 or '64.

Since you obviously dig the bike, I wouldn't worry about spending on tubes and tires, which as said WILL be more than the value of the bike. However, those are consumables, which any bike will need if it's to be ridden. Even a brand new bike with zero miles, stored in a climate controlled environment off the ground should get new tires every 7 years to be safe (none of us really do that).

That said, the bike has two different wheels, with two different types of tire. Right now this seems like your biggest problem. A lightweight rear, and middleweight front. The rear is correct (or at least the correct type), so factor in a new 26" lightweight front wheel as well. And match it carefully to the rear. This bike may take the British EA1 tire size with a 597mm bead seat diameter. No point in replacing the front wheel unless you are going to have them match.

All of that chrome will clean up surprisingly well. Many of us here use WD40 and 0000 steel wool on the chrome. You will be surprised.

The paint on this bike seems pretty darn nice. There are a few ways you could approach that. I think the WD40 / steel wool method I suggested for the chrome would dull this paint, but I use it for paint in worse condition. I'll let someone with more experience chime in on that (you will likely get several suggestions).

Looks like this bike has the twist grip shifter, but part of the cable appears to be missing. I have no knowledge about that, but it can be converted to the trigger style inexpensively if need be. I'm going to assume it will need new cables all around.

Then of course clean and grease hubs, bottom bracket, and headset (and hope they aren't damaged). Soak and lube chain, or replace if there are stiff links.

It's really not a lot of work for someone who has experience tinkering with bikes. From your post, I'm guessing that's not you, but don't be discouraged - we all started from the same place!

So if you want to keep the bike (you will lose money when you sell), are eager to get your hands dirty, and don't mind dropping at least $100 on parts, I say go for it. If you aren't sure, maybe pick up some 0000 steel wool, and WD40, and get started on the chrome and cosmetics first. It won't cost much to clean it up (aside from time), and you will get a feel for how deep you want to go along the way.



By the way, if your rear rim is EA-1 / 597 BSD (hopefully the tire is marked as such), I have a front wheel which will work, and I'm willing to part with it for cheap (although shipping to WA could make it not worthwhile). PM me if interested.
 
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AndyA

Finally riding a big boys bike
Nov 24, 2017
220
72
bergen county
NeedDee:
Blackbomber speaks truth. Probably the cheapest way to get a new front wheel, shifter cable, and shifter* is to find another junker 3-speed bike that has the requisite parts. The disadvantage of this approach is that you'll have another bike that needs some parts and you'll feel like you should fix up that one. Well, That's what seems to happen to me pretty often. Maybe that's not really a disadvantage.

Your paint looks like it would respond well to a light cleanup and waxing. It's a cool, retro color, including the saddle.

Also, get some pads on the front brake. You'll regret not having those if there comes an occasion when you really need to stop.

Mostly, have fun!

* You have a Sturmey Archer hub, which wants a Sturmey Archer shifter, tho others would work
 

piercer_99

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Dec 27, 2015
2,450
60
Sanger, TX
1963 Raleigh built Western Flyer, Coventry Flyer, ladies bike.

As noted, the front wheel is not correct, it will take a British rim, 37x590 or 26 x 1-3/8" tire and rim. You can find these all over on craigslist on British bicycle manufactured after about 1950, prior to that they used the 597, similar to the Schwinn S6 rim.

The rear hub is a solid, long lasting Sturmey Archer 3 speed, almost bomb proof piece of machinery that will last longer than us, when properly maintained.

You can find out more in the vintage lightweight bicycle section of thecabe.

In great shape, your bike could be worth, about 150.00 complete. However, they are fun to ride and really great for a tweed ride.

This was my 1961 Raleigh built Western Flyer Tourist.

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