Help please can you tell a frame size & year from its serial number?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Help please can you tell a frame size & year from its serial number?

    Hi guys,

    First post in the Airborne section and looking for some info on a frame year and size if anyone can help?

    I've just bought a Black Widow frame which the seller said was a 2010 model in 17.5" size but I was wondering if you can tell from the frame number what year and size it actually is? And maybe where it was made?

    The frame number on the bottom bracket is E0308096. Apart from the Airborne logos along the down tube there are no other decals on it (there's the classic Black Widow seat stays so I'm sure it's one of them).

    All the other components are from his custom build (Chris King, 1x11, Hope brakes, etc) so nothing to link it back to an original 2010 bike (if it is from then?)

    -stw01.jpg
    -img_8629.jpg

    So does anyone know what the digits in the frame number relate to?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by Bartsimpsonhead; 10-18-2020 at 01:53 PM.
    It's better to burn out than to fade away!

  2. #2
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    Hi there,

    That's not a 2010 model - The old Ti Airborne company hadn't made a frame for years by that date.

    Given the finish, disc brake mounts, and the seat-stay design I would guess it's a circa 2002-2003 Lucky Strike frame. Note that the old Airborne company did not specify model years for its frames so there was some overlap and mid-year changes every year - the frames/designs were constantly being refined.

    Given the image I would guess that's a medium frame which is roughly an 18". It's clearly not a 16" as the TT is more sloped on the smaller size, and the 19.5" is longer and taller - so I think 18" is a good estimate.

    Attached is a geometry chart for that model.

    Hope that helps,

    Jeremy
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -lucky.jpg  

    Please Note: I no longer work for Airborne. If you have an Airborne question or problem please contact them directly.

  3. #3
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    Ooops!

    Deleted a double post as the I thought it had failed to post but it was just waiting for a moderator to approve it.

    Move on down people ⟱
    Last edited by Bartsimpsonhead; 10-21-2020 at 05:37 PM.
    It's better to burn out than to fade away!

  4. #4
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    Hi Jeremy,

    Thanks for the reply - looking through you previous posts I see you worked for Airborne so I guess you'd know more than anyone about this bike,

    You say it's probably as a 2002/3 model (with year/model overlaps) and I guess that would tie-in with the 'E03' part of the frame number so I'll take it as a 2003 bike more accurately dating the frame.

    Thanks for the Lucky Strike spec sheet - measuring the seat tube it is indeed an 18" frame, though I'm fairly sure from the seat-stay bridge it's a Black Widow - all the pics I've seen of Lucky Strikes are different (pics attached - it's had a repair to the bridge sometime in its life) - does it seem likely it's a Black Widow? It might not've been clear on the side-on shot.

    -stw05.jpg
    -stw10.jpg
    -stw09.jpg

    If it is could you post its specs as you did for the Lucky Strike?
    I have no info on it and the archive of older bike materials on the Airborne site you liked to in one of your old posts seems to have gone (hardly surprising) so any info at all would be appreciated.

    It's my hope that I can find pics of other owners bikes and get the decals reproduced to restore it to how it was - apart from the down-tube Airborne logos it's a bare frame.

    Thanks for all your help,

    Cheers,
    Martin
    It's better to burn out than to fade away!

  5. #5
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    Hi Martin,

    If you are in Europe, that probably came from JW who was running his own Airborne division that was somewhat separate from the US operation - he may have called that a Black Widow over there - but in the States the Lucky Strike was Ti and there was a steel Black Widow. All indications tell me that's a Lucky Strike.

    JW founded after Airborne another bike company named Van Nicholas and is still in business today - https://www.vannicholas.com/.

    The LCW (Lazer Cut Welded) HT badge showed up on Ti models starting in circa 2002-2003. The first ones to have it were a rush job from the factory with the badges actually glued on with epoxy in the Ohio offices after receipt - most of them have fallen off. By subsequent runs the badges were actually welded on.

    There is an outfit that sells reproduction graphics for the various Airborne models - look them up on eBay.

    Hope that helps,

    Jeremy

    EDIT - I seem to recall that JW had a problem with the name "Lucky Strike" and its connection to cigarettes and how that may be perceived in the EU - so it may have very well been named something else over there. Here in the States, the Black Widow was a steel framed bike that only came in black and was early in Airborne's model line-up. Eventually the frame filler that was used around the welds to make it look smooth would crack and create a customer service nightmare (because it looked like the metal was cracked but it was filler) and that model was phased out early on.
    Please Note: I no longer work for Airborne. If you have an Airborne question or problem please contact them directly.

  6. #6
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    Here are the Lucky Strike decals I mentioned on eBay:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Airborne-Lu...4AAOSwfhlcOnRo

    Know that decals don't adhere very well to Ti. That's why there's a lot of older Ti bikes out there with little to no decals on them.

    If you purchase a set I can give you pointers for where each decals goes, if the set doesn't include directions.

    Jeremy
    Please Note: I no longer work for Airborne. If you have an Airborne question or problem please contact them directly.

  7. #7
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    Ah. OK, at lunch I did some time travelling. After I left the first Airborne company it looks like the Black Widow name was resurrected into something akin of a Lucky Strike evolution model.

    Here's what I could find:

    Airborne Direct - Bikes Online

    Sorry that I didn't remember or know that.........after that many years things get a little blurry I guess.

    Jeremy
    Please Note: I no longer work for Airborne. If you have an Airborne question or problem please contact them directly.

  8. #8
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    Thanks Jeremy - that's an absolute goldmine of information and links!

    You are probably right about the name change - European laws on cigarette advertising are pretty restrictive (even in 2002/3), and it might've been the European Airborne division that changed the name as cigarette/cancer links would have had very bad advertising connotations.

    I'm not a smoker but I'm fairly sure Lucky Strike aren't a popular brand of cigarettes over here (at least not in the UK) and fewer people would know about the famous B17 Flying Fortress it was actually named after.

    There's a titanium bike group on Facebook I've joined where all of the Airbornes with this seat stay bridge are branded Black Widows (and a TiHag too) so it's likely the frame rebranding thing completely.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/7668...ch/?q=Airborne

    I've a few things I need to sort out with it before I get to the decals (a new chain and cassette being number one), but when I get to it I'll drop you a p/m if that's OK for the application tips?

    Thanks again for all your help.

    Martin
    It's better to burn out than to fade away!

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