Keep a diary of your latest build here.
Okay...this is officially my first cruiser build, and it's been a long-term thing. Back in the summer of '06, I picked up a neat old bike at a yard sale for $3. It'd been painted with gloppy green housepaint, but it was just somehow cool:
I took it home, put air in the tires and they held, so I rode it around...and darned if it didn't actually ride nice! When I started scraping off some of the paint, I found the headtube sticker, and found out it's a Vista, and here's the serial number I uncovered:
But by now I'm pretty sure I don't want to use a banana seat...I'd rather have just a basic cruiser seat. I've also gone from liking the ape-hangers that it came with...to wanting beach cruiser bars...back to wanting the ape-hangers.
There are some neat bits on this bike, like the stem and the chainwheel:
And a cool Stingray-like chain guard:
So, basically, I stripped it down and made a pile of parts:
And stripped off the paint with some Bix stripper...I found a thick brushed-on layer of green, over a thicker layer of red primer, over the factory yellow. Here's the frame after the stripping. In the background, you can see the back of my '79 Yamaha 650, and the front of my mid-1980's Cannondale MTB -- which was my first (minor) bicycle project.
So, having no idea what I was doing, I started sanding off the remains of the paint. I used 80 and 100 grit sandpaper, and then sandpaper wheels on my Dremel tool, and it took forever and was tons of work...
And then, 11/5/06, the day before my twins were born, as it turns out...I wiped down the frame and primed it!
Oh man, was I ever proud of my work! I then let the bike sit in my garage...and everything that touched it rubbed the primer off. It simply didn't stick. Maybe I needed to use self-etching primer or something...but I said "wrappin' frappin' varmint" (or something like it ) and proceeded to sand the primer back OFF the frame again.
That was in mid 2007. Since then I've polished up and stripped the wheels and chainguard -- I hung 'em on the wall over my workbench, actually. Right now, I'm planning to use whatever's reasonably presentable...but I'll have to buy a seat post and seat, springer fork, tires/tubes, chain, pedals, fenders and painting stuff...enough to keep this on the back burner as we raise four kids and I start attending graduate school.
I'm thinking of a charcoal grey, with white head-tube and some scallops down the top and downtubes. Then, fenders, the apehangers and a springy cruiser seat, with whitewalls. I'd love to hear what anyone has to say.
Here's the Vista Cruiser as she sits now, same pic as in my Intro topic...
Last edited by noodlenoggin on Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:37 pm, edited 6 times in total.
Thanks, cman! I thought the frame was cool, too. The tubes are pretty chunky, and I get a kick out of the way the bottom tube wraps under the crank housing and continues to the chain stays.
That frame has several hallmark Columbia traits. They are almost always perfectly straight and surprisingly resilient. As for the stem, don't ask too much of it. Not only are stamp/fold stems weak in general, I have some personal experiences with that exact type. If you wreck or drop a wheelie hard and it bends, it's done. Don't try to straighten it. Just try to make it home and deposit the wedge and bolt into the parts bucket, and the main body into the recycle bin.
it's all about the bikes, man. viewtopic.php?f=6&t=50053
I was going to update my sig line, but I'm not seein' anything worth plagiarizing right now.
Nice work so far. Just do what you can and KEEP the bike around.
My rat rod project is stalled right now also. It's so close, yet far from riding.
It evolves in my mind and as I get the time I do things that I have time for. It WILL get done as I am sure that yours will.
It's Not Dead!
After five years of sitting in a box, the Vista Cruiser's been moved to two different houses, in two different states -- I moved the project 1,400 miles from Michigan to Florida. And now I'm actually working on it.
I snagged some pedals, a Vista headbadge and a pair of Vista handgrips from a user here on the forum. And, today I bought some self-etching primer, some white spray paint and some Duplicolor red metal-specks spray paint.
I want to make the head and forks white, and the rest of the frame metal-speck red, and draw the white back along the top of the top tube and downtube. I've got a picture in my head that I think'll look good, and that I think I can pull off with my limited painting skills. My wife wouldn't let me just spray it black.
I'm going to use the forks I already have until I can spend the $$ on a springer fork. I'm going to use basically everything I already have, but I need to still get tires/tubes, a chain and a set of fenders. My next steps are to sand/wirebrush the surface rust off the frame and prime and paint. Then, I need to clean and re-grease the bearings and start assembling what I can. Maybe I'll have it finished in time for the June 2 Myakka ride with the Gulf Kruisers down here. Maybe not. Here it is really REALLY roughly mocked up:
Spent a few minutes on it tonight. Sanded and wire-wheeled the surface rust off the frame and the forks. I think I'm ready to mask, wipe down and prime. Before I know it, I'll be back to where I was in Nov. '06.
Woo! I took an hour tonight, tack-ragged the frame and forks, and primed 'em! Sorry for the millions of pics of a not-real-interesting stage -- but the last time I had it this far along was November 2006. I'm stoked.
Here's the frame, cleaned up and masked off in my "paint booth."
Same, with forks:
First thing -- the forks:
And the frame, in all its primey goodness:
Then, I was ready to come in and upload pics...when I remembered the chainguard. So I quickly steel-wooled the minor surface rust off it, tack-ragged it, and primed it, too.
And while I was at it, my daughters' two purple Stingrays wanted a little love, too:
Nice work thus far!
Good choice on the DupliColor Etching Primer....I've always had nice results with it....really seals bare metal and prevents rust.
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Cool project. The frame certainly is a Columbia product - but a late one. I don't think columbia welded any frames until the 1980s - so that is interesting, I saw a 1980s Columbia Tandem at the swap meet last weekend. I think the fork is from an AMF or Huffy though judging by the crown.
WTB: Columbia Roadster
Thanks. Definitely is a Vista frame -- a subcompany of Columbia. I peeled the headbadge off personally. I think the chainguard is from a Western Flyer or something, I've seen a couple on here that were similar. I'm sure the forks aren't original, and I want to replace them with a springer when I get the funds. I figured I'd make these pretty so I can complete the bike sooner.
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