"SUPER" Condition --- a short story


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Howard Gordon

Finally riding a big boys bike
Apr 28, 2014
350
1,136
#1
I first heard about this bike 5 years ago. A guy told me he had a Western Flyer Super that he got new in 1948. He claimed to have kept it clean, waxed and in mint condition. He wanted to know what the value of his bike was. I told him that I'd seen similar bikes in just average condition, but complete, sell in the $750 range. I also showed him a "Trojan" Super that I restored, and am proud of, and what I estimated its value at. I told him I was interested to see the bike and hear a price if it went up for sale.
A year or so went by and I saw an ad for a W. Flyer in a local trade paper. I called, and determined that it was the bike we had talked about, but the asking price was 2 1/2 X what I considered the value of a nice original. I told him that although he had a very desirable post-war bike, it was by no means rare, and at his price, there was no need to look at it.
A couple more years went by before I again saw a for sale ad for the bike. I called,----same price! I told the owner's wife that if they would get realistic with the price, I'd probably buy the bike. She told me that they didn't need to sell the bike, nor did they need the money. I explained that not needing the money had absolutely nothing to do with the value of the bike. Still, I'd not seen the bike.
Another year goes by, another ad, another call, this time the price came down, just a little bit, but I sensed some movement. I made arrangements to view it, with the understanding that there was no way I'd pay their price.
Although not mint, the bike was in exceptionable condition. After a good bit of haggling we agreed on a price. I credit the old boy's wife for reminding him he'd been trying to sell the bike for five years!
After I paid him, he took a picture from his wallet of a 1965 Pontiac Catalina that he bought new, and also sold this summer. It looked to be in top condition. Then we walked down to a covered cargo trailer that housed a lawn tractor that he bought new, 50 years ago, and is now displaying at old engine shows. I turned to the old woman and said, "I bet you are his original wife." Of which she exclaimed, "Yes I am."
I spent several days working on this bike. I took every piece apart, short of de-lacing the rims. I cleaned, shined, polished, greased and waxed, then reassembled the bike.
I replaced the badly cracked tires with NOS Western Flyer rubber that I had been saving for a worthy project. I also replaced the broken grips with green script Western Flyers. This is probably my favorite post war bicycle, and by far, the cleanest original bike, that I own.
Still havin fun
Howard
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Muleman121

Finally riding a big boys bike
Nov 28, 2012
303
282
#19
As said by others ; truly a great find. The best part is the story and your patient persistence that payed off. We can all learn from you. Thank you.


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