Rare Horn Tanks


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5760rj

Finally riding a big boys bike
Sep 19, 2017
262
82
92027
#1
I have been a member on here for a short time and have enjoyed reading the responses of different members back and forth on listings , it's obvious that some members have been on here a long time and have developed friendships and personal relationships and trust. I see that member's travel great distances to bike meets, swap meets and other advents, and added photo's of their bike collections from classic to rare for others to view but not just one but multiples, what am I getting at? Possibilities, between having bikes and parts at all different stages and members that are working or retired to hobbyists that have fabrication to engineering skills why could it not be possible to duplicate, replicate, manufacture certain items, starting with key parts like horn tanks, the resources are available for reproduction. and can be done in fiber glass or metal even casting, have you owners ever talked about getting together to come up with these items to finish with your rare projects using your own parts to be used as a master mold? you all know pretty much who's, who and what could be done, maybe not everything like the horn buttons or certain electrical connections. If you were missing a hanging horn tank wouldn't it be great to at least have the tank and look for the hardware than to have nothing hanging where a tank should be? cant there be a collective in cooperation in achieving and working on some scale in bringing back much needed items from the past that would benefit so many? the smartest people are right here on this Cabe site in every category with the resources..........what are your thoughts
 

MrColumbia

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Dec 23, 2009
2,314
1,548
Western Mass
www.vintagecolumbiabikes.com
#2
There have been plenty of horn tanks reproduced over the years, both by large companies and private individuals. The large in conjunction with reproduction models such as the Columbia's, Schwinn's and Roadmansters. There have been plenty of individuals as well here make tanks in low volume.

There is also a lot of emotion around the subject of reproducing rare parts. Some owners or potential owners are resistant to the idea of reproducing as they feel it hurts the value of the originals.

I'm sure you will get plenty of opinions from both sides here.
 

Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
Jul 14, 2009
15,090
14,819
Evans, GA
#3
Most of the high end tanks have been replicated in fiberglass. Contact @JAF/CO for your needs. Some tanks such as the non gilled Motorbike tank, the RMS Bug Eye tank, and the Shelby Speedline tanks have been done in metal-pressed, not cast in very limited numbers. These tanks were expensive to make, expensive to buy, and are just as rare as the real parts. There are people reproducing quite few parts right now. @John has produced parts for Huffmans, Colsons, Chiefs, Daytons, Flying Merkels, etc... as well as the chain tread tires in a variety of colors. Scott has just reproduced the Wingos, and Mike bought Fox Grips and fortunately we can now get grips again.

There are a few problems I see regarding reproduction parts. First if you do a unique part for a high end bike the market will be very limited--Can you sell enough to recoup your investment? You will hear a lot of people say they want a repo steel Shelby Speedline tank. You will see very few of this same crowd step up to pay $2k to get one. To correctly reproduce a tank requires substantial tooling. Sure there are a few guys here that have the metal working skills to do some of these by hand but that requires a whole lot of hours--for one tank. How many people really need a Speedline tank, a Robin Tank, a Bug Eye tank. I'm guessing the market (people who would pay) is less than ten each. This is not cost effective.

This is why it really doesn't pay to buy a "bargain" high end bike missing its key components e.g. tank. You mentioned the networking and cultivating relationships by attending meets and shows. This is how you really complete those tough projects. There are a lot of rare bikes and parts that change hands that never see Ebay or the CABE. Most of the better stuff I get is done through a phone call or email with those folks that I have met and developed trust with. Invest your time making friends and it will pay off in the hobby and life. Just my 2c. V/r Shawn
 
Last edited:

Muleman121

Finally riding a big boys bike
Nov 28, 2012
305
282
Murrieta, United States
#4
I have been a member on here for a short time and have enjoyed reading the responses of different members back and forth on listings , it's obvious that some members have been on here a long time and have developed friendships and personal relationships and trust. I see that member's travel great distances to bike meets, swap meets and other advents, and added photo's of their bike collections from classic to rare for others to view but not just one but multiples, what am I getting at? Possibilities, between having bikes and parts at all different stages and members that are working or retired to hobbyists that have fabrication to engineering skills why could it not be possible to duplicate, replicate, manufacture certain items, starting with key parts like horn tanks, the resources are available for reproduction. and can be done in fiber glass or metal even casting, have you owners ever talked about getting together to come up with these items to finish with your rare projects using your own parts to be used as a master mold? you all know pretty much who's, who and what could be done, maybe not everything like the horn buttons or certain electrical connections. If you were missing a hanging horn tank wouldn't it be great to at least have the tank and look for the hardware than to have nothing hanging where a tank should be? cant there be a collective in cooperation in achieving and working on some scale in bringing back much needed items from the past that would benefit so many? the smartest people are right here on this Cabe site in every category with the resources..........what are your thoughts
Very well written article. I agree that it is possible to produce these rare parts with the collective talents of many CABE members. I for one would partake in using many reproduced parts. Imagine this; a completely reproduced Elgin Bluebird. We’re talking made from scratch every piece from frame to buttons on the dash. Recently, a few Bluebirds came up for sale. Only a couple sold openly on Ebay. Yep; they didn’t go cheap. Here’s the point. If these rare bikes or pieces were made in any volume ; some of the owners of these rare expensive bikes and parts may find that prices could go down. Maybe? I don’t know. An example is the 1995 Schwinn repops have not hurt the real counterparts’ prices. In fact, spare parts were manufactured that has helped bike enthusiasts with limited wallets get their bikes a lil further along.
In contrast; my wish would be to be able to build an entire bike from pieces made by the many exceptionally talented craftsmen. It would be understanding that it may be just as expensive as buying one of the originals.
It would be interesting to read opinions on this subject.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Likes: MrColumbia

5760rj

Finally riding a big boys bike
Sep 19, 2017
262
82
92027
#5
Most of the high end tanks have been replicated in fiberglass. Contact @JAF/CO for your needs. Some tanks such as the non gilled Motorbike tank, the RMS Bug Eye tank, and the Shelby Speedline tanks have been done in metal-pressed, not cast in very limited numbers. These tanks were expensive to make, expensive to buy, and are just as rare as the real parts. There are people reproducing quite few parts right now. @John has produced parts for Huffmans, Colsons, Chiefs, Daytons, Flying Merkels, etc... as well as the chain tread tires in a variety of colors. Scott has just reproduced the Wingos, and Mike bought Fox Grips and fortunately we can now get grips again.

There are a few problems I see regarding reproduction parts. First if you do a unique part for a high end bike the market will be very limited--Can you sell enough to recoup your investment? You will hear a lot of people say they want a repo steel Shelby Speedline tank. You will see very few of this same crowd step up to pay $2k to get one. To correctly reproduce a tank requires substantial tooling. Sure there are a few guys here that have the metal working skills to do some of these by hand but that requires a whole lot of hours--for one tank. How many people really need a Speedline tank, a Robin Tank, a Bug Eye tank. I'm guessing the market (people who would pay) is less than ten each. This is not cost effective.

This is why it really doesn't pay to buy a "bargain" high end bike missing its key components e.g. tank. You mentioned the networking and cultivating relationships by attending meets and shows. This is how you really complete those tough projects. There are a lot of rare bikes and parts that change hands that never see Ebay or the CABE. Most of the better stuff I get is done through a phone call or email with those folks that I have met and developed a trust with. Invest your time making friends and it will pay off in the hobby and life. Just my 2c. V/r Shawn
first of all thank you for this information I've learned even more from your reply and I wish I had a come back for this but I dont, your right at what you have stated, I guess when I see these motorcycle fuel tanks start with a flat piece of sheetmetal and then shaped into what it becomes is incredible, sure stamping is used by machines (press into a preformed shape ) but I've watched how they roll and formed and its amazing to me and I thought this could be done with bicycle related items, as for the value being affected or the emotional part of it you know better than I do, my experience is with vintage and classic automobiles were tooling and expenses are high but that's a different market and it did help weather it was a high quality or not, I have this hobby that I've been involved with all my life (not bicycles) and have been very successful at it so heres my point, you spend years waiting and seaching for that one or more Item and the only way your going to see it is when another collector dies and the collection is sold, everybody in that circle knows where these items are coming from and who owned them, so reproductions are made for that Item that you'll never see but at least have one (an example) until the time comes when you might find a orignal one, unlikely. the other argument is if you take original components and assemble it, is it orignal? because it's not factory made.....sorry im getting off the subject matter, collectors go through years of searching for that item to complete or up grade to have the best example, patients hard work sacrifice timing money and luck and more, I guess theres a status when one reaches that goal when so many can't, I not down playing or wanting to take away from those who have worked hard through connections and years of searching just see things a little different I guess, hey I'm at the bottom of the barrel just looking upwards for alternatives.....
 

old hotrod

I live for the CABE
Jan 10, 2008
1,820
539
So Cal
www.flickr.com
#6
why are you looking for alternatives? Do it for yourself, fine, your time is your money spent. 100s of collectors before you have also looked at "alternatives" and almost all have found that the collector market is not expanding, if anything, the customer base is shrinking and it is not economically feasible to reproduce rare parts for such a small group of users. Many collectors possess master skill sets in paint, body work, metal fab and so on yet this hobby is just that, a hobby and a money pit if you let it be. Even John's parts, arguably the highest quality parts available, are sold at a fraction of what it actually would have cost in his time investment. We are lucky he has decided to produce extra parts for other collectors. Time is money and having someone hammer a tank for example, out of sheet metal could cost $1000s in labor at today's prices...save up your money and buy a complete bike or spend 1000s to make 100s in repop parts...your choice...
 

5760rj

Finally riding a big boys bike
Sep 19, 2017
262
82
92027
#7
why are you looking for alternatives? Do it for yourself, fine, your time is your money spent. 100s of collectors before you have also looked at "alternatives" and almost all have found that the collector market is not expanding, if anything, the customer base is shrinking and it is not economically feasible to reproduce rare parts for such a small group of users. Many collectors possess master skill sets in paint, body work, metal fab and so on yet this hobby is just that, a hobby and a money pit if you let it be. Even John's parts, arguably the highest quality parts available, are sold at a fraction of what it actually would have cost in his time investment. We are lucky he has decided to produce extra parts for other collectors. Time is money and having someone hammer a tank for example, out of sheet metal could cost $1000s in labor at today's prices...save up your money and buy a complete bike or spend 1000s to make 100s in repop parts...your choice...
thank you for adding to this topic, I am glad to hear from others that point out what is going on currently and factually. I was thinking at the time within this large family of collector's that any type of simplistic key item could be reproduced, not an entire bicycle and not on a commercial scale, I know there's a business side but I've seen things done out of admiration and love for a hobby even when one knows he's paying way to much for a part just to possess it or use it on a project, I was only thinking between all the members and their connections, and I didn't consider that if there were items that could be brought back that resistance or resentment could surface which was not my intent, I feel many hurdles pop up for other reasons why this subject is spirroling down, the fact that in the past many have reproduced items with or without success, made or lost money, did so out of love for their hobby knowing theres no great jack pot waiting at the end (my opinion), I am happy to continue to learn from these members and take in what they have to share from there many years of experience , I know it will come to mind when I reach a point of taking a chance and persuing it, or take the path of least resistance......
 
Likes: WetDogGraphix

old hotrod

I live for the CABE
Jan 10, 2008
1,820
539
So Cal
www.flickr.com
#8
You started this thread with reproducing tanks so my reply is mostly geared to that end. As for other rare parts, members here are reproducing unobtanium parts as needed so there is a need in certain circumstances. And as previously pointed out, jafco has most of the rare tanks already available in fiberglass. As for learning, the cheapest education is learning from the mistakes of others but it can be impossible to accept...


Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
 

5760rj

Finally riding a big boys bike
Sep 19, 2017
262
82
92027
#9
You started this thread with reproducing tanks so my reply is mostly geared to that end. As for other rare parts, members here are reproducing unobtanium parts as needed so there is a need in certain circumstances. And as previously pointed out, jafco has most of the rare tanks already available in fiberglass. As for learning, the cheapest education is learning from the mistakes of others but it can be impossible to accept...


Sent from my SM-G930V using
thank you for the reference I will certainly look into it.....
 

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