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  1. #1
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    1971 Montgomery Ward Chopper

    This is a long shot but I just started to think of a bike I had in 1971.

    I remember that it was from Montgomery Ward and was a chopper type 20" bicycle likely produced to compete with bikes like the Schwinn Orange Crate.

    It had a lime green fade paint job. Double side by side top tubes I think. 20" 2" wide slick on the back and a small maybe 16" 1" wide skinny tire on the front with bold raised white letters on both. It had a chopped fork. Monkey bars. Yellow high back banana seat with metal flake and matching hand grips. Cropped and flaired rear fender with a small front fender, both chromed. I think it had a chromed spring that did nothing in the fork. The chain guard was chrome and maybe looked like a side pipe perhaps with imbossed flames and probably had a name on it too. I don't remember if it came with a sissy bar but I added one or a bigger one at some point. Single speed coaster brake rear hub.

    At the time I think I was a little pissed that we couldn't afford a Schwinn like my friend had but in retrospect I think the bike was a lot cooler and more unique. I wish I still had it. I was looking for some pictures on the net but came up with nothing. I'm sure it had some 60s type catchy name but I can't remember it.

    Anybody have any clew about this bike or ideas how to look for it?

    Thanks
    No it never stops hurting, but if you keep at it you can go faster.

  2. #2
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    NFL will punish America for its sins with Katy Perry as the Super Bowl halftime show.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by wv_bob

    Thanks, I had already done a similar search but not with those exact words. The back ground of the Muscle Bike forum (top google result) is the frame I believe but the rest of the bike is different. I actually joined that forum so I could ask about mine.

    Good lead.
    No it never stops hurting, but if you keep at it you can go faster.

  4. #4
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    Have you checked out http://www.thecabe.com yet? You'll need to create an account to search but the forums can be read by anyone. Direct link to the musclebikes forum is http://thecabe.com/vbulletin/forumdi...0-Muscle-Bikes

    FWIW, I searched for "montgomery ward" there and found only one thread in the musclebikes forum. Doesn't mean more searching wouldn't turn up additional threads though.
    NFL will punish America for its sins with Katy Perry as the Super Bowl halftime show.

  5. #5
    All Lefty's, all the time Moderator
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    Just picking up on the kid lust theme, I remember a buddy of mine got a Huffy Monoshock. We jumped the piss out of that bike, the suspension *worked* great, and was such a difference from all our rigid 20 inchers.

    Ahhhh, memories
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  6. #6
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    Could it have been a columbia ss5?



    Finally a post about a real bike...thanks.

  7. #7
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    I did join that forum to look around and actually asked them about the bike too.

    There were a bunch of pictures of similar bikes and I found one from Sears in 1969 that has the same frame and some of the same details including color but also quite a few differences.

    I think the bike might have been produced by Hawthorn and maybe they made them for Sears and Wards. I'm pretty sure it was from Wards but that was a long time ago and I was 10 or 11.

    I remember modifying the bike with a different more radical banana dropped and high back banana seat and a really big sissy bar along with other stuff. Eventually I turned the bike into a trials bike with a 24" front tire that fit on because of the chopper fork and road it in the creeks and over logs way back before I heard of anyone ever doing such a thing on a bicycle. At least in the US. The I got a Hirondelle Manufrance "10 Speed" and move into the adult bike world. Then back to dirt in 1981 with my first mountain bike. Specialized Rock Hopper Sport.

    By the way I had some kind of off brand monoshock 20" bike too back around 1976. Aluminum flat stock rigid fork that often bent sideways but the rear suspension worked pretty well. I remember taking huge (for then) jumps on it with ease.

    Here's a pic of the 69 Sears Gremlin. That name sounds familiar too.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 1971 Montgomery Ward Chopper-sears-gremlin-1969.jpg  

    No it never stops hurting, but if you keep at it you can go faster.

  8. #8
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    Not on the vintage topic but cool so I thought I would add a couple of pics of modern chopper bikes. Might be fun to build something like this some day.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 1971 Montgomery Ward Chopper-chopper1.jpg  

    1971 Montgomery Ward Chopper-chopper-.jpg  

    1971 Montgomery Ward Chopper-chopper-a4.jpg  

    1971 Montgomery Ward Chopper-chopper-b.jpg  

    No it never stops hurting, but if you keep at it you can go faster.

  9. #9
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    We're apparently the same age. Nobody was buying me a $100 bike back then, so we learned to build our own choppers by splicing forks together. Made a few upside-down bikes too. Our bikes and parts mostly came from the city dump, back in the days before recycling there was plenty of fodder there.

    We also rode the trails around here, on whatever we happened to have at the time - muscle bike, road bike, or klunker. I remember more than one ride walking back home because I'd managed to break most every spoke in a wheel. Good times.
    NFL will punish America for its sins with Katy Perry as the Super Bowl halftime show.

  10. #10
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    I can't see my parents choosing a bike like that so I imagine I picked the bike out of the catalog. I do remember that it cost $45. I don't know what Schwinns went for at that time but I would think at least 4 times that much.
    No it never stops hurting, but if you keep at it you can go faster.

  11. #11
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    I watched a buddy jump his Huffy mono shock in half on a 10 footer. But it lasted a lot of jumps before that. One of the coolest things I had ever seen. He was fine.

  12. #12
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    I built my own chopper out of my 20" Huffy banana bike when I was 14 or so. Dad helped me build an extended double crown fork and rake the frame (by shortening the top tube). We also extended the wheelbase by welding plates onto the dropouts to move the rear wheel back. I regret to say that the whole thing went to the scrap yard a few years ago. Should have kept it, I guess.
    Andy

  13. #13
    26 for life.
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    The LBS has one of these:

    Redline Rain City Chopper.
    Sent from the future to destroy the past.

  14. #14
    Life is a fun ride
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    This is a fun thread. It's nice to see people enjoy the playfulness they had when they were kids. This is an essential part of what makes something "collectable" in the heart of many of us. Carry on...

  15. #15
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    Sears, Wards, Penneys, Western Auto, OK hardware, Coast-to-Coast and many others had bikes built for them by a number of other companies, but I'd say the Wards bikes of that era were likely Cleveland Welding or even more likely, Murray.

    If I remember correctly, Murray made 4 variations on the "banana bike" theme: I had a stretched-frame model (Murray called theirs "dragster", mine was a no-name "rail-styling" model from the hardware store.) But there was also a better twin-tube "Eliminator" with kind of a squared-off bend in the seat stays. Then there was a "Flight-somethin-or-other" with twin top tubes tubes bent in the typical scaled-down cruiser style, and the base model with single top tube (the last two were also available as sidewalk bikes for young kids).

    The twin-top-tube cruiser models also had corresponding siblings in 24" and 26"; lots of them came with tanks and headlights earlier in the 1960's These were desirable to us kids, as they were lighter and faster than the Schwinns, but a little more fragile.

  16. #16
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    I found this awesome site, http://www.flickr.com/photos/wishboo...7600003636126/ that has scanned old dept. store catalogs. Note: I've whiled away hours looking at old Xmas gifts I got in years past.
    While it didn't have the '71 MW catalog, it did have the '70. Link to the pic:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/wishboo...7623436973672/
    and the pic which may be close:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 1971 Montgomery Ward Chopper-monty.jpg  


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