I have had an interest in IGH bikes for ages, but only somewhat recently dipped my foot in the pool as it were. Long story but I ended up with a modern "Schwinn" cruiser with a 5 speed IGH Sturmey hub a few years ago.
Then earlier this year I ended up buying a Racer because, um, to be honest... I liked the fin on the front fender. Seriously. Anywhos it was advertised as a '56 but the date code on the hub (October '56) makes me think it was probably sold in '57. Whatever. When I bought it, I was considering a full restoration but changed my mind once I started working on it. This one will stay a "survivor" as long as I own it.
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I paid $75 for it, which seemed like too much but I bought it anyway. The rear wheel was missing spokes, nothing on it worked, I couldn't even roll it to the car.
Here it is now:
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The seat is too high in that photo, the bike sorta fits me but I'd prefer a '62 (year of birth) in the next larger size. It also still needs a seat, the one on there right now is off of a violet Breeze. It looks ok in pictures but in real life it clashes pretty bad... but I haven't got anything else that fits right now.
Speaking of a 1962 in a larger frame size... while rebuilding the '56 I stumbled onto this '62 on ebay. It was local and cheap. I got the frame, fork, chainguard, and fenders for $15.
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Sharp eyed viewers will notice it's not a 3 speed frame though. Hmm, I planned on doing a full rebuild and adding the cable stops but again changed my mind. I am now looking for a single or two speed coaster hub for it. I have a two speed kickback hub in a Typhoon I just rebuilt, but if I stole that I'd need a hub for the Typhoon.
Bottom line, the search continues for the elusive 21" 3-speed Racer. I'm not too set on year anymore, if I buy a project I'm going to paint it black and put the early font "Racer" graphics on it anyway... and the '56 would get sold, probably for about half what I have into it. But that's ok, it's still not much money and the time I spent working on it kept me out of trouble.
When I Was younger it was all drop bars for me. Then mountain bikes hit and it was all MTB for me. Now I have zero interest in drop bar bikes and a lot of interest in the upright bikes. As I seem to always be on the tail end of trends I'm guessing a lot of people feel the same way and have for a while now?
After a lot of years away from bicycles I'm obviously back into it again, and am volunteering at a local bike co-op on the weekends. I've discovered I have very little interest in most modern bikes... Suspensions? All on one brake levers and shifters? Hydraulic disk brakes? Ughh... If I wanted to play around with that I would have stuck playing with motorcycles. Well, I still do play with motorcycles, but you know what I mean.