I went to the Salvation Army today to find an old Western Flyer bike for $20. Being the college student I am, I couldn't resist such a deal. So far my roommate and I are getting it fixed up and it's in good condition.

I was wondering if I could get an actual age for it, and what the initial cost may have been back in the day.

Bike specs:

  • 10 speed mens bike
  • 26in tires
  • Drop handlebars
  • The shifters say "Shimano 333"
  • The rear derailleur is a 1967 Black Lark, and says "Shimano Lark."

Anyone have any information on this bike, or know where I can get more?

  • Ten speeds, 26 inch tires, and drop bars suggest the bike was built between roughly 1960 and 1975, although this site suggests that Western Auto stopped selling bikes in the 50s. On the other hand, Wikipedia suggests that Western Auto continued selling bikes into the 80s. You might also want to check out this site. So probably the only way to date it would be to date the Shimano components. Commented Oct 30, 2011 at 12:40
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    Found a site about Shimano Lark derailers. From that and some other pages, apparently they started making the Shimano Lark in 1967, so presumably the bike is from 1967 or after. ("3.3.3" stuff predates that). Apparently there's usually 2 letter date codes stamped on them.
    – freiheit
    Commented Oct 30, 2011 at 15:22
  • 4
    Pictures, Pictures, Pictures! An overall picture of the bike, and close up shots of the key components (shifters, derailers, cranks, hubs). Things like the color and typeface of "Lark" might tell somebody a lot, for instance.
    – freiheit
    Commented Oct 30, 2011 at 15:25
  • @freiheit it is the 1967 black lark derailer. I still see 333 on the hand shifters. Where are the 2 letter date codes usually stamped? Commented Oct 30, 2011 at 19:06
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    Bumping this up, although it could still use some more information. @Kyle, do you have pictures of the bike, as freiheit suggested? Also, editing information in the comments into the question itself can help, since some people skim or don't read the comments. Commented Nov 19, 2011 at 17:38

1 Answer 1


If you email photos to the National Bicycle History Archive of America ([email protected]) and ask nicely, they may be able to identify the vintage of your bike, provide original pricing and possibly even a current appraisal. They have a large collection of of old catalogs and claim to have identified over 1 million bicycles since 1977.

Before sending them a note, please read their Frequently Asked Questions to improve the chances they'll be able and willing to identify your bike.

If you do get a positive ID, please update your question to let us know what it is. Good luck!

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