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Shelby Hiawatha - my first Ballooner

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Axman88

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Growing up, I was always a lightweight guy. 3 speeds, then 10, then 15. But now, the process is reversing, less seems better. I was finishing some work on a early 70s, single speed Schwinn Speedster, that I want to use for commuting, when I was hit by a desire for a heavyweight. So, I bought this Shelby Hiawatha off Ebay. It was cheap enough, $100 plus shipping.
1947 Shelby Hiawatha 02.jpg

1947 Shelby Hiawatha 01.jpg


The seller's auction said "Shelby Hiawatha Men’s 26” Balloon tire (2.125”) bicycle. Got in a package and don’t need. Probable early post war bike with truss rods and airflow style guard. Tires are serviceable. Had a non-original chain ring which I replaced with pre-war Shelby skip tooth. Hiawatha badge meaning sold from Gambles. Weathered and worn original paint. Pinstriped wheels match color. New Departure skip tooth rear works well. Good rider with good bearings. Seat is sturdy and still has original cover. All components seem original to bike with possible exceptions of pedals, grips, and tires"

I pulled it down to bits to remove rust and dents, grease and oil, and put on new rubber, etc. Here's a few more of the seller's pictures from the Ebay auction. I can take more pictures of details as I reassemble.

1947 Shelby Hiawatha 06.jpg


I wonder if anyone can tell me what this particular style of skiptooth sprocket is called?

1947 Shelby Hiawatha 03.jpg


1947 Shelby Hiawatha 05.jpg


I'm pretty happy with the condition of the bike. The paint is rough, but mechanically everything seems pretty good. I only found one bad cone in the front hub so far that needs replacing, and one ball missing from the neck. It seems like somebody had the bike down to bits already. All the fasteners have come apart easily and one of the bearings in the crank is Schwinn, while the other says "Crown".

I'm curious about the model and year. I found this image online from a 1947 Shelby ad:
1947 Shelby bike Ad pic.jpg


This is the only dated image that I was able to find that depicts this style of chainguard. Other details seem the same as my bike, which leads me to think perhaps mine is a 1947. I'll post the serial number on my machine later. The Shelby "Traveler" seems like perhaps it's the same model. My bike shows no sign that it was ever equipped with a rear rack, faux tank, or headlight.

The bike in the ad shows a 1/2" pitch sprocket. I'm in favor of changing over to the 1/2" pitch, since this will give me more chain and hub options. I think that this following picture might be the correct sprocket for my bike, what do you guys think? I've seen this described as "sunburst" style.
Shelby sunburst sprocket.jpg


On the other hand, if the bike wasn't originally equipped with a skip tooth chainwheel, the New Departure model D rear hub would have had to have a different sprocket. I can't see the seller rebuilding the rear wheel, then selling the whole mess for $100. Are threaded 1/2" pitch rear sprockets available for the New Departure?

I'll have to think about ratio. Seems like the 26 tooth skiptooth is about 8% larger than the 48 tooth sprocket in the picture. Maybe that's a good thing. I remember the last time I rode a balloon tire heavyweight. I was about 12 years old and visiting my uncle's family. My cousin and I decided to go for a bike ride, and my uncles huge heavyweight was all that was available for me. I got about 4 houses down and realized that I'd rather walk. Pedaling that bike felt like trying to run in a dream, like I was in mollasses.
 

Adamtinkerer

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Nice looking bike for only $100! The 1/2" chain ring is commonly called the Shelby 'snowflake'. There's an early '40's Snyder chain ring also called snowflake, usually on Hawthornes. But the Shelby ring is typically seen on higher end models, with tanks & racks, etc. I wouldn't change it unless riding it is too tough with the bigger ring. You could also possibly find a bigger cog for the ND brake, that'll improve the ratio for pedaling. Something like an 11 tooth.
 

49autocycledeluxe

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
that's a great bike for $100.00!

I will never for the life of me understand the gearing they had on these heavy bikes made for 100 pound kids. roads must have all went downhill back in the old days. riding bikes should be a cardiovascular workout, but riding my crusty Phantom or B-6 is like doing leg presses at the gym.
 

Axman88

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Thanks for your responses!

Nice looking bike for only $100! The 1/2" chain ring is commonly called the Shelby 'snowflake'. There's an early '40's Snyder chain ring also called snowflake, usually on Hawthornes. But the Shelby ring is typically seen on higher end models, with tanks & racks, etc. I wouldn't change it unless riding it is too tough with the bigger ring. You could also possibly find a bigger cog for the ND brake, that'll improve the ratio for pedaling. Something like an 11 tooth.
Snowflake! of course, that's what it looks like. The old skip tooth chain, cleaned, lubed and adjusted goes over the sprockets very nicely, very satisfying! I'll give the skiptooth a try, see how it rides.

But, I have some reservations about using a skip tooth chain as a rider, since it seems like replacement chains are very difficult to find and expensive. Also, there is that one sizeable hill on my daily commute. With a 1/2" pitch crank and chain, I could build up a wheel using a Bendix Automatic kickback 2 speed hub, or even a 3 speed coaster brake like a Sturmey Archer TCW, and have an ace in the hole. The 1/2" pitch transmission definitely has some attractions for me.

Do you think that the crank width and the bearing cones have the same dimensions, such that the Shelby "Sunburst" crank would be a direct substitute? These seem pretty readily available.

For reference, the Serial Number on the Shelby Hiawatha shown in this thread looks to be H33819
1666082926375.png
 

SKPC

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Great buy! Hard to say what the original "wrong" chainring the seller mentions "was". With that rolled crown fork, Hiawatha badge shape and other clues, it is most likely a post-war 46/7 as you have discovered thru the ads. Low mile as mentioned. The skip tooth wheels have me somewhat confused if put together after the war, as most Shelby bikes went to the 1/2 pitch chains. You could swap in a TCW 3 spd hub and run either a 1" or 1/2" pitch chain as sprockets are available for Sturmey hubs in both chain pitches. I will add your bike to the Shelby Serial Number thread to help build the database...
 
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ian

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Thanks for your responses!


Snowflake! of course, that's what it looks like. The old skip tooth chain, cleaned, lubed and adjusted goes over the sprockets very nicely, very satisfying! I'll give the skiptooth a try, see how it rides.

But, I have some reservations about using a skip tooth chain as a rider, since it seems like replacement chains are very difficult to find and expensive. Also, there is that one sizeable hill on my daily commute. With a 1/2" pitch crank and chain, I could build up a wheel using a Bendix Automatic kickback 2 speed hub, or even a 3 speed coaster brake like a Sturmey Archer TCW, and have an ace in the hole. The 1/2" pitch transmission definitely has some attractions for me.

Do you think that the crank width and the bearing cones have the same dimensions, such that the Shelby "Sunburst" crank would be a direct substitute? These seem pretty readily available.

For reference, the Serial Number on the Shelby Hiawatha shown in this thread looks to be H33819
View attachment 1715039
I have a '47 that has a kickback laced in with 1/2 pitch chain myself. Rides good, even here where it's hilly.

20220915_105321.jpg
 

Axman88

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Great buy! Hard to say what the original "wrong" chainring the seller mentions "was". With that rolled crown fork, Hiawatha badge shape and other clues, it is most likely a post-war 46/7 as you have discovered thru the ads. Low mile as mentioned. The skip tooth wheels have me somewhat confused if put together after the war, as most Shelby bikes went to the 1/2 pitch chains. You could swap in a TCW 3 spd hub and run either a 1" or 1/2" pitch chain as sprockets are available for Sturmey hubs in both chain pitches. I will add your bike to the Shelby Serial Number thread to help build the database...
Thanks, I went ahead and posted the serial number to this thread as you suggested. https://thecabe.com/forum/threads/shelby-badged-serial-numbers-prewar.145931/page-12#post-1481369

That's interesting info about the Sturmey sprockets being available in 1" pitch. I have acquired a small collection of sprockets already, but in 1/2' pitch.

Would you know if the "sunburst" 1/2 pitch crank assembly, such as I posted a picture of above, and as shown on Ian's machine above will directly fit into my bottom bracket? I'm inclined to think so, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

I'm inclined to agree on the low mileage, although one of the front wheel bearing cones was pretty badly worn. The rear hub seemed to have quite a bit of wear left in it, when I opened that. But I'm impressed that people can discern this from general pictures. What are the indications of low mileage that can be picked up from internet pictures?

Here's a couple more images from the reassembly:
1666109552161.png


1666109588676.png


1666109822467.png

I have a '47 that has a kickback laced in with 1/2 pitch chain myself. Rides good, even here where it's hilly.

Nice looking bike in beautiful surroundings. I have the same question for you, about substituting a purchased "sunburst" 1/2" pitch for my "snowflake" front sprocket?
 

Springer Tom

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Thanks for the pictures with the tape measure, now I know what my extra set of truss rods are for.....I knew they were Shelby but didn't know the year.
 
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