Restored and Road Ready- Just Completed My 1917-18 Ward's Deluxe Flyer Project- Before and After Photos

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Superman1984

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Thank You! And, I'll tell you, I often take notice when I see yall are having a ride when you post it here on the cabe, and I enjoy seeing the pictures. I've thought about attending, but its just that I put so many miles at home around town on these old bikes, including this newest one now, that I just don't have as much motivation to attend; plus its a little hard for me to transport a bike on the rack. Even since making this post, I have put 6 or 7 miles on 'er so far. But I do always attend the show in Concord, that is what I call one of the "key, must not miss" events of the year! I might even bring this bike to that show if we have one next spring. I sure was bummed when it was cancelled this year, but the Carolina Pickers event made up for it some.
We usually don't ride too far or at least the few times I've been out. I like the camaraderie of bein' with other like minded people. Meeting some new people & seeing what's being brought out to be Ridden Not Hidden 😉

Heck I drive about 110 miles round trip to Charlotte/Rock Hill. Well worth it. @DonChristie always made me feel welcome & I don't think the man can ignore any kinda bike .... although he likes my customs 🤣
 

The Carolina Rambler

Finally riding a big boys bike
Very nice motobike resto! You may be aware the crankset is Emblem-made and most likely not original to the bike. Cranksets/pedals were almost always typically changed out on bikes this old as well as seats, bars and wheels. A more likely crankset would have been a one-piece bayonette snowflake variety as seen in the various ads. Wonderful that you had so much time and love available to bring it to what it is today and rideable!...
Yep, that is correct. I had an incling that it was not original to the bike. But I was pleased with its appearance, and since I already had it, I decided to roll with it. One interesting thing, I think that you could call that whole crankset a "Franken Crank", I've heard some people call them. This is because one side of the crank, takes one type of bearing ring, and the other side, takes a different kind. Also, one of the crank arm heads, is from an 1880s or 90s bike, and the other is the original. It is amazing to me that these repairs someone had made so long ago, probably 80 or more years ago, are still working well to this day.
 

burkebiz

On Training Wheels
Good evening everybody, hope you are doing well! I have been wanting to share with you a project I've been working to complete for the last 2 years, and a few days ago, I got it all done and road ready. This is a 1917-18 Montgomery Ward's Deluxe Flyer bicycle. I was turned on to this project here on the CABE, when it went up for sale in Michigan, and I ultimately bought it and restored it. A number of the parts used in the restoration, I obtained from fellow CABEr's, so thank you to everyone who had a part in this!

This model was one of the most deluxe and expensive bicycles available at the time, and with a catalog price of $34-$39, in today's money is equivalent to about $725. So it is definitely deluxe. The restoration took at least 150 hours to complete, probably more, over the course of 2 years. Many parts were missing, sections of the frame required re-tubing due to rust out, and in order to keep within budget, I used parts that all required substantial restoration, so it just took a stupid amount of time and work, but it was worth it. The bike retains its original frame, badge, toolbox tank, rear fender, seat post, handlebar stem, and some other parts. Any parts that were missing, I ensured were replaced with the correct parts, buy and large as were shown in the catalog, such as the luggage rack. Even all of the screws are old style, with square nuts. The wheels are genuine, 100+ year old maple wood tubular tire rims, straitened and reconditioned, with brand new tubular tires. I have installed a 1910s Corbin Coaster hub, and each wheel took me probably 25 hours to complete. The teeth on that hub were heavily worn and curved likes shark's teeth, so I had to grind those down by hand which was mind numbing. The seat required at least 15 hours to reupholster, but it retains its original cushion, and to rebuild and complete the toolbox tank was probably 30 from start to finish. This bike appears to have been sitting out in the woods for decades, so some of the nuts and bolt took no less than a month, working on and off, to remove without causing damage to stuff. I'm just glad its all over now and I now have a nice fun bike that I can ride around town on. I'll even be riding it to our local cruise in here this weekend. This bike is surprisingly fast, and not too heavy either, maybe only 30 or 40 pounds, so with its high gearing can achieve nearly 20 miles per hour on level ground. It even climbs hills surprisingly well, so I was pretty impressed, but boy you can tell it's 100 years old when you go down a hill and get up some speed, everything starts swaying and moving and you better hold on tight! Thank you very much for reading, and for any comments or questions you may have!

After Restoration
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Here is the bike before restoration, once I got all of the missing parts for it cobbled together
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Before
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After
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Before
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After
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Before

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After
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The bottom bracket is one of those parts I mentioned that took a month to remove
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1918 Catalog Advertisement- (Pulled from a previous CABE Thread)
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This bicycle is now the 3rd frame-off restoration I have completed. Below are the previous 2
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Outstanding work! Labor of love, indeed.
I’d very much be interested to know how you restored your seat so nicely. I have a similar project and my seat is in the same shape as was yours.
 

The Carolina Rambler

Finally riding a big boys bike
Outstanding work! Labor of love, indeed.
I’d very much be interested to know how you restored your seat so nicely. I have a similar project and my seat is in the same shape as was yours.
.......................Hello, thank you for your interest. I'll tell you about how I did the seat. First, since I wanted to reuse the original cotton and canvas cushion, I dismantled the upholstery remnants on the seat, until that cushion was neat and clean, and isolated. Then I disassembled the seat. Normally, the next step would be to soak all the metal in vinegar, then clean and repaint it all gloss black to make it brand new again, but on this seat, I wanted a patina appearance. So rather than soaking the metal, I used a stainless steel sponge, and wire brush with water to scour off the flaking crust and dirt, leaving behind a clean and smooth, dark brown patina finish to the metal.
....................With the seat pan, I first cut out a piece of leather, with a rough seat shape to it, cut small holes for the bolts to go through, and then stretched and glued the leather onto the bottom of the pan, using shoe goo. You want to glue the leather perfectly smooth onto the bottom. This is a good glue, because it is designed for leather, and is super strong, durable, and dries fairly quickly. The piece of leather I cut also had about 1-2 inches of extra material around all edges, which will be trimmed off at the end. Then with the cushion, I glued it back onto the top of the pan, and glued on top of it several sheets of felt, cut to shape, to both plump the upholstery back up again and smooth everything out, since after 100 years the cotton wasn't quite as voluptuous as it was when new.
......................Finally, you cut a piece of leather out in similar form to that for the bottom, and you stitch the two together by hand around the edges of the seat. All the while, as you stitch, you pull and adjust the leather tightly, ensuring that it forms to the contours of the seat. Your string will have 2 working ends, and you stitch bit by bit from the back, working up the sides, and finally to around the nose. Then you add in a second line of stitches, to fill in the gaps from the first line, and using the same holes from the first line. In the factory, stitching was done using a special sewing machine, but I don't have a machine like that so I have to do it by hand, and that's why it takes so long. If you are really good at stitching, or if you are using oil cloth, you can add a border to the seat, but on this case a raw edge was left, and that seems to have typically been the case on leather seats from that period. This seat was so tightly contoured, that no matter how tight or perfect you stretch the leather, the middle was still kind of slack and saggy. To correct this, I took a wet cloth and rubbed the middle of the seat where it was saggy, until the leather was soaked through in that area. I then, using a hair dryer, worked over the area, rubbing it with my hand also, until it was as smooth and tight as the surrounding leather, and properly contoured to the seat. Finally you trim off the excess material, leaving about 1/4 inch border between the raw edge, and the stitch line. I put it all back together and ready to go! That is why it took 15 hours, and this method would work on a seat with either a steel, or wooden pan. These early seats are much more labor intensive to do properly, than say, a 1950s seat, where you have a double layer pan, and you tuck and glue the material to the pan itself, and then bolt it all back together. A 50s seat can be done in less than 10 hours, possibly 5, and 50s vinyl seems more workable than leather sometimes. Thank you, and good luck with your seat!
 

burkebiz

On Training Wheels
Wow. Thanks for the detailed explanation of your scrupulous and clever methodology. I’m not sure I have your patience but at least now I know how.
So good of you to share!
Thank you.
 
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