Western Flyer friction drive

Greg58

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May 1, 2011
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A friend of mine was cleaning out everything from the shop of one of his friends that past away, the family wanted to donate or give away most everything. My friend saw this bicycle with a rear engine mount on it a thought of me, I picked it up last weekend. It’s a 24” western flyer from the 1960’s with a DIY. Friction drive set up operated by a clutch lever and cable combo on the right side and a twist throttle on the left, here’s a couple of pictures.
 

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Greg58

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The fellow built this in the 60’s, he put a lot of thought into it because you can engage or disengage the friction drive with the spring loaded lever. It would be odd to me to twist the throttle with my left hand and squeezing the clutch/drive lever with my right. With today’s parts a locked in clutch lever on the left and a kit throttle assembly with the kill switch would be more user friendly.
 

Greg58

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I’m thinking of what I should do with it, I’ve got 3 already. My wife says no but you never know, the first bike I built was a friction drive around 1971 so this is sparking some interest.
 

5-7HEAVEN

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Aug 2, 2008
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Nice bike!
It’d be nice to keep that gravity clutch. It works fine, whether you have a strong clutch or not.
 

curtisfox

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Here is one i picked up a few years ago, from the fifty's generator friction drive. Have most of the parts to restore it now.......Curt
 

Greg58

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People come up a lot of ideas when building a bike on their own, when my friend and I did our first one there were no kits available to my knowledge, ours didn’t run long enough to find out if what’s we made would hold up. The 3hp Briggs threw a rod, we were probably turning the thing way too many rpm’s
 

curtisfox

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Ya there were a few of these back then, 5/8 hp washing machine motors with flex exhaust. I can remember riding one back about 1956, so simple so much fun.........Curt
 

MEASURE TWICE

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Jul 13, 2010
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I suspect it was not stainless steel exhaust. I went to use heavy plumbing pipe, but I have some flex pipe that is thicker of that stainless I could possibly weld to. I see the generator and was it not just a pulley and friction drive a foot or so away from the engine? I mean whats the need to have a huge generator? Maybe enough current for carbon arc lamps!
 

curtisfox

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Not sure but was used to get the exhaust outside form the washing machine, usually through a window. Bottom of generator was cut out to run armature on wheel, screen door spring to pull down on wheel.......Curt
Greg your must be something like it, pull down on wheel?

 

Greg58

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On this bike the spring pulls the friction assembly off of the tire, after probably 50 years it still works. Do western flyer bikes have a serial number or date code somewhere on the frame? I don't see the plate on the neck.
 

curtisfox

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They were usually on the bottom of the bottom bracket, or could be anywhere on the frame, rear stays where wheel bolts on.

The old generator bikes did about 15 mph, i was about 14 when i road one..........Curt