Iver Johnson Truss


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MMeyers

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Mar 28, 2018
15
37
Salt Lake City, UT, USA
#1
I picked up this Iver Johnson yesterday and I'm pretty excited about it. I've wanted one of these for a while and I've never seen one come up locally. I'm not particularly knowledgeable about these, but I've been reading up on them. Bike has definitely been repainted a dark blue over what appears to be an originally black bike. It also looks like the there is plating under the white paint on the head and the plating on the front fork is in pretty good shape. I've read that means it could be a road racer model? The wheels are definitely wrong, but it looks like they are older hubs laced into newer rims. I can't tell what the front hub says but the rear is a new departure model D and the rims are arraya 26 x 1 3/8. I would also guess that fenders aren't correct as they don't look like fenders on similar bikes. The second number on the serial is really hard to read but I think it 477474, which it puts it somewhere in the late 20's? It looks like it sat somewhere against the seat and has bent the side up on the old persons saddle. The leather is a little bit hard, is there any way to soften it so it could be put back to it's original shape? Are the handlebars correct?

Plans are to make it rideable, I kind of wish it was the 24" frame but I should still fit on it ok. I have a pair of 700cc with cream electra tires that i think I will lace the older hubs into for now. I'll try stripping the spray paint and brushed on white paint to see if there is much orginal paint left, but I haven't had very good luck with that the last couple times I have tried. What are peoples feelings on repainting a bike like this a non original color if there isn't any paint left on it? I've always thought one of these frames would look good in an antique white.

This is how I found it.
as found.jpg

front.jpg


side.jpg


rear.jpg


top front.jpg


serial.jpg


headbadge.jpg


Looks like plating peaking out.
plating.jpg


stem.jpg


seatdamage.jpg


front hub.jpg


rear hub.jpg


crank.jpg
 

Handyman

I live for the CABE
Oct 23, 2009
1,194
1,263
Fitchburg, MA
#2
Hi MMeyers,

Great looking Iver ! My gut feeling on this bike is that it is a Model 90 Iver Johnson "Road Racer". Several things make me lean that way. 1) it is a special truss design as found on the racers (also on the delivery/heavy service and Model 88 Superior Truss) 2) has a racing saddle that may be original, 3) has racing handlebars that may be original, 4) has the proper racing fork, 5) has the dust caps on the BB that are found on the model 90 racers. The thing that throws me off here is the paint treatment is not found on the racers, but is an Iver pattern. It's possible that when repainted the pattern was copied from an Iver that was available at the time. In any case, I'd be interested in what lies under the paint on the headtube. If it's chrome/nickel, it's absolutely a racer. Pete in Fitchburg
 

2jakes

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Sep 1, 2010
6,920
5,118
Elysium Fields
#3
I have a similar Iver except the truss bar connection is different from yours.
IMG_3598.jpg
IMG_3547.jpg
original color, black with dark green around the badge.
IMG_3596.jpg
Nickle plated in some parts.


IMG_3599.jpg
Torrington pedals
IMG_6286.jpg
The front wheel hub is Iver Johnson and the rear brakes
are by Morrow.
 
Last edited:

Duchess

Finally riding a big boys bike
Feb 14, 2014
493
862
Beverly, MA
#5
Nice bike! Would be kind of funny if someone "restored" it to look like a roadster, painting over its racer particulars. Maybe, though, that repaint helped preserve some of the original nickel. IMO as someone who holds little value in originality unless it's in very good shape, I'd paint it something as close to original as possible, but not necessarily the color that particular bike had if it's something common (like black) or that you don't like. Modern paint would be different than original, anyway, no matter the color, so I would pick something rare that I liked that nobody else might have seen. Mine is common black, but it's in really good original condition, so I'm not touching it.

As for the leather, there are softeners, but to my knowledge, while it might become pliable again, it will almost surely tear. Box it and get something you can ride (Brooks are kind of ubiquitous, but a B17 was contemporary to the bike and an option at least some of the years). Maybe someone else knows of something that will work, though.
 

Iverider

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
May 24, 2010
3,289
892
Bloomington, United States
#6
Nice! It would be cool if it was a Model 90 Road Racer. A good research link is in my sig if you haven't already bookmarked the Iver Johnson Catalog Project.
 

anders1

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Jun 18, 2018
862
906
44
Southern California, USA
#7
I agree with everyone above. As Handyman stated it has many racing components, especially the BB dust covers. I might try soaking the saddle in a wet towel overnight then gently form it’s shape. Then stuff rags up underneath inside the saddle to form it and wrap a rubber band or something around it till it dries. Just an idea, that saddle is worth saving if possible! I’ll post a pic of my model 90 very similar. In my opinion if you decide to repaint/ restore this bike I would only go with an original color which you can see the options for the year in catalog. If this is determined to be a true racer then what you have is pretty special, and not something to customize in my opinion. It is a nice bike, take your time with it and figure out what you have. The guys above and myself are all Iver guys and are very interested and willing to help. Anthony
CECEBA36-1E04-4A93-BCDD-312A47F64273.jpeg
 
Likes: dnc1

MMeyers

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Mar 28, 2018
15
37
Salt Lake City, UT, USA
#9
Thanks to everyone for the info, comments, and suggestions! I had a few spare minutes to day so I took off the badges and with some paint stripper I took off the paint on the headtube. Sure enough there is plating under there, and in quite good shape. There's a small amount of plating loss, a bit of rust staining, but behind the badge it is still polished! So it sounds like this makes it a racer model? I can also spy a bit of the original black paint. I think it will be worth it to carefully try to get some of the repaint off and see if I can save any original paint. If I can help it I'd rather not restore it but try to save what is left.

As far as the saddle goes I realized I know someone who repairs and restores leather horse saddles. I think I'll take it to him and see what he thinks. Like Duchess said I'll probably get a new brooks to use as a rider, and my intention with this bike is to enjoy riding it. Hopefully this weekend I will have a chance to start breaking it down and cleaning it up. I should be able to make a tool to get the bb apart. I'm sure I'll have more questions as I go along.

nickel1.jpg


nickel2.jpg


nickel3.jpg
 

anders1

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Jun 18, 2018
862
906
44
Southern California, USA
#10
Beautiful! Like Handyman said above, what you have is a model 90 road racer. And is likely mostly original. Just like the one I have posted above, except mine has a couple optional parts for 1919. I think your wise to not repaint it. Strip the repaint carefully, even if it is missing some paint when you’re done it’s complete and original. Very nice! Keep us posted. Welcome to the Iver bunch... Anthony
 

anders1

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Jun 18, 2018
862
906
44
Southern California, USA
#11
The mud guards were optional on this model. You could leave them on or take them off to give it a more racer look depending on your preference. However, if they are determined to be the correct type then don’t get rid of them! Very nice...
 

2jakes

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Sep 1, 2010
6,920
5,118
Elysium Fields
#12
Thanks to everyone for the info, comments, and suggestions! I had a few spare minutes to day so I took off the badges and with some paint stripper I took off the paint on the headtube. Sure enough there is plating under there, and in quite good shape. There's a small amount of plating loss, a bit of rust staining, but behind the badge it is still polished! So it sounds like this makes it a racer model? I can also spy a bit of the original black paint.
D65F8AC3-D973-4623-81CA-84C24AFBD424.jpeg
Is the plating only on the head-tube?
Are the triangular black and white pinstripe
darts original?
I'm curious how IJ designed this area to blend.
I'm talking about where the plating begins and
the paint takes over.

My IJ is deep green on the head tube and I stated earlier that the frame was black.
Checking closer, I see traces of a dark "burgandy" on the frame which for the most part now looks black from age.
You have a neat project.
I'm happy to hear that you will try to keep it
as original as possible.
Thanks for sharing!
 
Last edited:

anders1

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Jun 18, 2018
862
906
44
Southern California, USA
#13
View attachment 890333
Is the plating only on the head-tube?
Are the triangular black and white pinstripe
darts original?
I'm curious how IJ designed this area to blend.
I'm talking about where the plating begins and
the paint takes over.

My IJ is deep green on the head tube and I stated earlier that the frame was black.
Checking closer, I see traces of a dark "burgandy" on the frame which for the most part now looks black from age.
You have a neat project.
I'm happy to hear that you will try to keep it
as original as possible.
Thanks for sharing!
Those diomands and darts are definitely painted later. With the nickel head tube and fork it definitely didn’t come with those. It could have come with a Burgundy color though may have been optional.
 

anders1

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Jun 18, 2018
862
906
44
Southern California, USA
#14
View attachment 890333
Is the plating only on the head-tube?
Are the triangular black and white pinstripe
darts original?
I'm curious how IJ designed this area to blend.
I'm talking about where the plating begins and
the paint takes over.

My IJ is deep green on the head tube and I stated earlier that the frame was black.
Checking closer, I see traces of a dark "burgandy" on the frame which for the most part now looks black from age.
You have a neat project.
I'm happy to hear that you will try to keep it
as original as possible.
Thanks for sharing!
The nickel doesn’t blend with the paint it just ends at the head tube. This is not the best pic but I can post another one later if needed. I agree this is a great project!
74E5F4B7-01A3-4D14-B934-E6A29E4ABDDF.jpeg
 

Handyman

I live for the CABE
Oct 23, 2009
1,194
1,263
Fitchburg, MA
#15
The chrome/nickel plating on the racers was only on the headtube and fork, the frame was painted a solid color. The triangular artwork and "darts"on this bike were added and are not original to the racers. This bike should have a solid color with single hairline pinstriping. Some very early racers had darts but this bike is not from that era. Very late (1940/41) Iver Truse Frame Roadsters also added this paint treatment using triangular artwork. HOWEVER, because Iver Johnson would do just about anything a customer wanted as a "special order".....................it is possible, that a customer ordered a Model 90 racer and wanted the paint treatment to look like the the Iver "Airlites" (see pic) of the day. The careful removal of the repaint will answer that question. Yes, the paint treatment where the chrome on the headtube stops and the paint on the frame begins is a touchy area to duplicate but there was no definite stop/end point, it just blend in as neat and clean as possible. Pete in Fitchburg
1937 #10.jpg
 
Last edited:

Handyman

I live for the CABE
Oct 23, 2009
1,194
1,263
Fitchburg, MA
#16
The following is a very old link on the web. http://nbhaa.com/index7.html The article claims the bike is a Model 90 Iver Road Racer. I don't think so, I believe it is an Iver Johnson "Airlite" fitted out to look like a racer. Only my opinion. Catfish was the one who said it best years back....................you put a set of racing bars on any Iver and all of a sudden it's a racer, add a Major Taylor stem and the bike had to be owned or ridden by Major Taylor himself ! Pete in Fitchburg
 
Last edited:

Duchess

Finally riding a big boys bike
Feb 14, 2014
493
862
Beverly, MA
#17
Wow, that nickel is in great shape! I would definitely see if there's good original paint underneath the rest, then. Even original common black is better than having to repaint it.

I wonder if it's really just the darts that aren't original, then. The bike tubes are jointed by brazed internal lugs, giving the joint a cleaner look than pretty much any other method of joinery with virtually no fillet visible. The black paint just sort of ends right where the painted tube mates to the head tube so that it looks almost as if the tubes were pre-painted and someone assembled the frame for fitting before welding up. I hope that makes sense. When I built my "what if" Major Taylor Centennial Iver Johnson (reworked Specialized Allez), I had trouble figuring out how to replicate this where the paint met the polished aluminum head tube as the joints of the aluminum frame are TIG welded and, therefore, have a fillet with no clear cutoff like the real thing has.

For the bottom bracket tool, I used a thick paint scraper the same width as the crank nut slot, ground off the chiseled edge, and made a notch in the center to clear the bolt. Then I laid the bike down and pushed the tool into the slot to prevent it from slipping and stripping it like a flat head screwdriver while turning it with a vise grip clamped to the side of the blade as close to the nut as I could get it. Wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought it would be and I remember thinking at how clever it was. I can't remember if the crank nut was left- or right-hand thread now and I don't remember how I got the thing apart, but I can say that I didn't need a gear puller like I thought I would. IIRC, the crank is two pieces with the axle joined in the center with a larger diameter finger joint. I think the knurled nut at the BB needed to be unscrewed and it might have been reverse threaded . . . you know, what? Don't go by my memory, there's got to be a legit guide somewhere on how to do it.

I'm interested in hearing what your friend with the horse saddles thinks, though horse saddles are supported and bike saddles stretched, so I'm not sure if they'll have the same solution, but even if you could get it to look good, you could use it for shows. (Not that I get to many shows, but that's what I do with my original Troxel, which is a pan seat, so it isn't supported by the stretched leather. I did ride it a few times, but the leather started to tear at the stitching, so I stopped. Was more comfortable than I thought it would be.)
 
Last edited:

anders1

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Jun 18, 2018
862
906
44
Southern California, USA
#18
It looks to me like the rest of the bike could be the original black paint? Do you see any signs of a single gold pinstripe?
 

anders1

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Jun 18, 2018
862
906
44
Southern California, USA
#19
I know these are poor pics, but hear are some shots of what your pins would look like and also a shot of the nickel meeting paint.
B2E44A11-A39C-4E63-9E79-FE328C09B089.jpeg


51F23E39-BB55-48A0-B0A4-81A18AE910C5.jpeg


81F2460F-37E7-4F83-B5B2-966FDCD19F54.jpeg


D2BBB3E7-8A37-4F4E-BAF1-EB152C9A1EFD.jpeg
 

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