I'm new here and have a few questions if that's OK.

I have been wanting to get a bike to ride around the beach town I'm close to so I mentioned it to my husband he asked what I wanted and I said we could just pick one up at a thrift store and if it needed a few things we could fix it up.

Fast forward one week I was driving to the gas station at night and spotted a bike on the curb for trash pick up .You're gonna laugh but I thought well that's not in too bad of shape I would have bought that at a thrift store and I grabbed it and wrestled into my truck.

I knew something was up when I had to fight it so hard that sucker was heavy (I'm five foot tall ). I expected a Walmart beach cruiser considering where I live and this was way heavier than that.

I got it home and saw it was a JC Higgins bike. I haven't been able to find too much on what model it is so you have any ideas?

The tires hold air which shocked me to death lol and I have cleaned it up somewhat, things seem a little loose, there is something up with the seat it doesn't feel like it's on right so I'll have to figure that out but it's in pretty good shape considering its age and fate as trash. Do you all have any advice to fix it up?

Here's a picture lease excuse he mess we just had a tree come through the roof during Irma and everything is moved and jumbled around lol.

enter image description here

  • Kibbee has provided good advise below as to where to start, safety is the number one thing to check, after that you can do subtle upgrades as you go or money allows if you want to. Cool find though! Will be a neat little cruiser once cleaned up! – Nate W Oct 11 '17 at 17:27
  • Oh, and on the model, looks a bit like a JC Higgins Flatliner , maybe from the 50 or early 60s on a guess. – Nate W Oct 11 '17 at 17:37
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    Has no front brake. In some countries bikes are required to have two, regardless on any bike most of the braking comes from the front. You need to consider this when riding. You might want to buy a lock for it, although old, its a great retro bike that could easily catch the eye of the wrong person. A cheap lock will deter opportunists. Consider new tires and tubes as old tires are prone to problems. The inconvenience of a flat might be prevented. – mattnz Oct 11 '17 at 19:35
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    J C Higgins was the house brand for Sears Roebuck from forever up into the 60s. Generally the stuff was built like a tank, and weighed like one too. (The seats were never much good.) If it hasn't been out in the weather it could still be good, but the bearings almost certainly need to be cleaned and packed with fresh grease. (If I were 55 years younger I'd be glad to do the job for you.) – Daniel R Hicks Oct 11 '17 at 20:29
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    @Criggie - Yeah, this bike has metal plates in the hub that are squeezed together to stop. I forget whether Higgins used the Bendix style with half-cylinder pads inside the hub (very much similar to auto "drum" brakes) or the scheme with alternating disks (vaguely similar to auto disk brakes). (In any event, they were pretty much impossible to wear out.) – Daniel R Hicks Oct 12 '17 at 0:24

If you don't want to spend any money, just take it slowly at first to ensure that the brakes and steering are working properly. Try twisting the bars while holding the front wheel between your legs to make sure the bars don't turn with a decent amount of force. Ensure that the wheels spin freely and don't rub on anything. It's ok if they wobble a bit on such an old bike, but if there is excessive wheel wobble you might want to have a professional look at it.

Alternatively, you can take it in to your local bike shop for a tune up and safety check. Looks like a single speed with a coaster brake so there really isn't much to go wrong or adjust but you might be best off having a professional take a look at it and making sure things are in working order.

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    +1 for safety related checks first. I'd make sure the wheels nuts are secure and no broken of loose spokes as well. – Argenti Apparatus Oct 11 '17 at 18:25
  • Even though the inner-tubes are holding air pressure, it is always wise to replace both tubes and tires on a found bike. Rubber degrades over time and becomes brittle. – IconDaemon Oct 11 '17 at 19:48
  • @IconDaemon You can inspect rubber for cracking – paparazzo Oct 11 '17 at 20:01
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    Yes, rubber can be inspected, but it also has a definite lifetime not revealed by a visual inspection. If you buy a used bike or find it on the street, it's worth the minimal cost just to replace the rubber components (tires/tubes/brake-pads.) – IconDaemon Oct 12 '17 at 14:22
  • The first thing to do is to oil the chain. – Daniel R Hicks Oct 17 '17 at 20:54

In regards to the model, i can't post an image in comments so here is one to compare. The Blue bike in the front is a 1960 JC Higgins flatliner. Looks quite similar.

enter image description here


First thing to do is check everything's sound. Watch a YouTube video on a safety check, go round checking bolts are not only tight but that they are actually there. Remember that if you got it for free it can be a good opportunity to learn bike maintenance and if you mess something up while fixing it you're no worse off, ask here abs remember that YouTube is your friend. I find RJ The Bike Guy particularly helpful if you're looking on YouTube.

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    There's no shame in getting someone else to double-check your work either. The bike was thrown away, but you can't be sure if the PO found something terminal, or they were just too lazy to fix it up, or it was literally just taking space. – Criggie Oct 16 '17 at 8:34
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    +1 to not being afraid to get someone else to look, when they do, ask questions and if they do something, ask how and why. You might think you're being annoying but most people are extremely willing to help people and the more you learn, the more you'll be able to fix yourself. – Harvey Brackenbury Oct 16 '17 at 8:36

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