Flying Pigeon

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Flying Pigeon

Postby blueb0ttle2 » Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:07 pm

WHAT! Why is someone reviewing that hunk of junk here?! :shock:
Image
Well, I grabbed a new one at a decent price (1/6 the price of a Pashley, 1/2 the price of an old Raleigh DL-1 on ebay) and thought it could be fun as an extra commuter bike. But, can it be converted to a stylish electric cruiser? Maybe. I haven't attempted to use the rod brakes yet, since I'm still assembling it, but I imagine they are effective enough at 15MPH. My father, an Englishman who rode old Raleigh's in his youth, said that rod brakes weren't the nightmare lycra freaks made them out to be. Also, a number of folks in the 3rd world have turned their pigeons into mopeds....
Image
Surely a small 250 or 400 watt Heinzmann would feel at home there :D
Still, gotta ride the steel monster before I decide :wink:

Edit 3/26/2012:
Subsequent posts gives the final verdict on this machine. It is not suitable for electrification, and is more of a curiosity than anything else. If one wants to have a classic bike, it is best to buy a classic bike, and not buy an imitation. That being said, these are not bad for foolin' around with.
Last edited by blueb0ttle2 on Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:01 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby HTB_Terry » Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:49 pm

I love the Flying Pigeon, very retro. Basically the same bike since the 30's or 40's. I like the one with the double bar across the top. I saw a cool one in a Shanghai bike store, bright red with huge 28" wheels. I could see myself tooling around on that. This company is the Schwinn of China, being the first and largest bike company. Not the best bike for electrifying though.
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby northernmike » Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:42 pm

Rod brakes ARE nightmares... Unless you intend to stay below 10mph, and only on dry roads.

1/6th the price of a Pashley? So, about $233?

I daresay you may have 1/6th of the value for your $...

What will you do, a hubmotor?

Building the 635 wheel will cost you about what you paid for the FP...
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby blueb0ttle2 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:29 pm

The fiends that import them only pay $30 a pop :shock: I shopped around for the best deal here in the states, and $250 with shipping is what I got. Trust me, I could find none better. I've wanted one of these for ages, and was waiting for the prices to come down from the usual $400-500.
As for electrifying, I haven't even got the bike assemebled quite yet, problem fitting the handlebars. I tightened the stem bolt too much and had to get another :oops:
I'm quite a safety conscious guy, so I'm not even going to buy a motor until I know what the rods can handle. I imagine a 250 watt Heinzmann at 15MPH should be safe.
I like the rods so far, much easier too adjust than caliper brakes.
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby northernmike » Sat Nov 06, 2010 9:47 am

blueb0ttle2 wrote:I tightened the stem bolt too much and had to get another :oops:
...I'm quite a safety conscious guy...


There's a paradox, if I've ever seen one. :roll:

If brake adjustability worries you, drum brakes never need adjusting... Sturmey Archers are pretty good.

Best of luck.
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby blueb0ttle2 » Sat Nov 06, 2010 5:29 pm

There's no need to be nasty!
I accidentally overtightened the stem bolt because the stem was too loose. I tightened the bolt precisely because I'm safety conscious. Unfortunately my conscience will cost be another $7 :lol:
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby blueb0ttle2 » Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:04 pm

Alright! I got the steel beast up and running.
The verdict: this commie cycle is a fun ride, but can it go "plus electrification"* as Lenin would say?
If you have no other bicycle, I don't see why not, the frame is made of steel, and is no worse than a standard Wal-Mart bike. I can imagine someone in Africa building one of these with a modified car alternator.
The rod brakes appear to be no worse than caliper brakes. Not quite as good as my drum brake, but perfectly effective for a slow rider like me. Still beats walking any day!

*For those of you that do not know or care to know about the sayings of Marxist leaders, this is a play on Lenin's famous quote: "Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country." I happen to know this because it is good to know what tunes the devil is playing 8)
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby Hillhater » Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:11 pm

blueb0ttle2 wrote:The rod brakes appear to be no worse than caliper brakes...

:shock: :shock: either you had very bad caliper brakes (with woden pads)..or are an eternal optimist !

There is a reason those rods are easy to adjust...you will need to do it frequently ..as well as tightening the spokes and trying to keep the wheels concentric. :roll:

PS.. I can adjust my "caliper" (V brakes), with one hand ..as i ride !! :wink:
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby Drunkskunk » Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:36 pm

Nice bike! it looks like a 32 spoke wheel, though, meaning fitting a motor will be a chore. and since rod brakes use a diffrent rim, you'll have to chose one, the other, or build some weird hybrid.

I wonder if it would be possable to make a V brake work with the rod setup?
Buy the ticket, take the ride.
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby Hillhater » Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:52 pm

Drunkskunk wrote:I wonder if it would be possable to make a V brake work with the rod setup?


Not likely with "V" brakes, but possibly with center pull caliper brakes ..
Image

:shock: :shock: but WHY ?? There is a reason why rods were long forgotten ....
Its not exactly as if this is a vintage / collectors piece ! :roll:
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby blueb0ttle2 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:18 pm

Hillhater wrote:Its not exactly as if this is a vintage / collectors piece ! :roll:

That's very true. However, as I mentioned before, there are many places where there is no better bicycle than the Flying Pigeon.
Image
We in the Western World forget that too easily. So I am musing about how possible it is to electrify one of these. And I daresay you could do worse :D
I personally am against electrifying my Pigeon permanently though, I would view it as a one-of experiment with spare parts. But I am curious to prove that someone in Africa or India, say, could make one of these on the cheap. That being said, many of them wouldn't have electricity in the first place :shock:
Time for them to build a windmill...
Image
This isn't a joke BTW, a teenager in Malawi built this...
http://williamkamkwamba.typepad.com/williamkamkwamba/2007/06/index.html
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby Hillhater » Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:23 pm

there are many places where there is no better bicycle than the Flying Pigeon.


..... possible the same places that there are no other bicycles than the Flying Pigeon...??? :roll:

any bike is better than no bike...as long as they are not being ripped $200 a piece for them !!

( these FP's are so much like the old Raleigh "Hercules" bike that my dad gave me back in the '50's ( and it was at least 20 yrs old before i got it!)
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby blueb0ttle2 » Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:49 pm

Some links for Flying Pigeon...
http://flyingpigeon-la.com/
I got my parts from these guys. The parts are cheap, but buying the bike from them directly is too expensive, I got my bike here...
http://stores.homestead.com/morganimports/-strse-Flying-Pigeon-Bikes/Categories.bok
They ran out of black double-bar bikes (Still have red), so I ended up getting a single bar. Also, I'm a pretty short guy, so I imagine the double bar might have been too big for me. The Pigeon I ride is NOT for tall people. It fits me like a glove, but if you are above 5'9" you better get a 24" double-bar frame or a Pashley.
http://www.flyingpigeonproject.org/
If you are obsessed with these bikes, this site is for you. I find it interesting sociologically, since it offers an interesting glimpse inside China, where our motors all seem to come from :D
Oh, for our cousins across the pond here is the euro site...
http://www.flying-pigeon.es/shop/index.php?language=en
and British...
http://www.flyingpigeon.co.uk/
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby blueb0ttle2 » Wed Feb 09, 2011 11:05 am

Some updates..
I've been using the Flying Pigeon to commute, since my lead-acid batts won't work in this week's weather, and my other bike is on probation since its derailleur is misbehavin'.
Some mods had to be made...
-New pedals, I ripped some of another cottered bike I have. The origianl ones, as Flying Pigeon LA warns, disintegrate.
Some mods I wanna make...
-Replace the rear hub with this fancy hub. Which is a two-speed kickback hub with coaster brake. It can be used as an extra brake, and gives some assistance up hills. The Pigeon is geared fairly low, and even though I zip past the average cyclist in my University, starting up can be hell. Especially when you are in the left turn lane have a cross-campus bus behind you :lol:
-New saddle? I might swap it for a Brooks I have. The original saddle isn't bad, but Brooks is Brooks.

I know, why did you get a pigeon instead of an old Raleigh. Classic Raleighs are hard to get stateside, and a local LBS is charging $800 for one :shock: And Ebay ones are $400 not with shippin'. What's more they are usually in pretty bad shape. So, despite all the changes I made and am planning to make, it is more convenient for an American to get a pigeon. If I was in Europe, I would definitely get a Raleigh!
Last edited by blueb0ttle2 on Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby liveforphysics » Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:23 pm

Two websites to check.

www.craigslist.com

http://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/



Generally, for the same $250, you can find yourself a bike somebody all ready poured a grand or more into, and you can pick something local so you don't need to ship.
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby blueb0ttle2 » Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:43 pm

I checked Craigslist obsessively for some time before I sprang for the Pigeon. No dice. You would think with all the wrinklies we have here in Florida there'd be an old bike or two, but no. People call 70's Schwinn road bikes "antique" here. weird.
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby blueb0ttle2 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 12:02 pm

Well, those of you who have been maligning the Flying Pigeon are justified :cry:
I was trying to install an old Sturmey Archer 3-speed hub I had lying around, and after finally deciding that it wouldn't fit I observed that the rear fork is far too weak to use for regular commuting, let alone electrifying. The area where the wheel is bolted, rather that being one thick piece of steel, is merely a few thinner strips of steel that have been stamped with a few spot welds added. And the individual layers were beginning to come loose. :shock:
The Flying Pigeon is an interesting curiosity, and certainly a fun toy, but that is what it is, a toy. I feel sorry for folks that have to press this thing into daily service, because it is not nearly as sturdy as the European bikes that it is emulating.
I for one have learnt my lesson, and am investing in a Gazelle dutch bike with drum brakes, since I want my bikes to be tools and not toys.
I've heard it said that the money one spends in mistakes is not wasted, but is "the tuition you pay in the school of hard knocks". So, hopefully I am $250 closer to enlightenment.
Some of the bike parts can be used in an old Raleigh, so I am keeping the machine as a source of parts, in the hope that an old roadster will come my way.
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby blueb0ttle2 » Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:47 pm

An update:
I was able to get the bike and Sturmey Archer hub to cooperate. :lol:
I put some JB Weld on the loose parts of the rear fork to reinforce it. Right now it serves as a neighborhood cruiser and emergency bike. So, not all is lost. But this machine is not suitable for motorizing, or indeed any load over 180 or so lbs IMO.This isn't Hulk Hogan's bike. 8)
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby blueb0ttle2 » Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:32 pm

Some people never learn...
I got a DOUBLE top-bar frame for very cheap on ebay, slapped a Velosteel rear coaster brake (only the best) and a Sturmey Archer front drum, and it seems pretty good.
I use the old one with rod brakes in the university. A lot of the Chinese professors look at me like I'm an idiot. :lol: But hey, it's stylish, reasonably practical, and way cheaper than other "Style" bikes I could name. Rusts very fast though, but that's just the "chrome". Fe2O3 is a wonderful theft deterrent.
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby silence » Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:44 pm

blueb0ttle2 wrote: The area where the wheel is bolted, rather that being one thick piece of steel, is merely a few thinner strips of steel that have been stamped with a few spot welds added.

Nothing new under the sun. Few decades ago, some japanese manufacturers used that kind of "metal sheet" for buildng the frames for their light trucks, vans, off-road veichles etc.
Imagine one of these in nordic climate with a lot of salt on the roads during winter.

Sorry for OT.
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby mrezzy » Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:58 pm

I have a women's Flying Pigeon bicycle that i want to sell.

it has 28inch wheels, single speed, comes with the dynamo front and rear lights, bell. Brand new. Originally got it for gf, but it's too big for her! $200 if you're in NYC!

I am also in the process of turning my men's Flying Pigeon into an electric bicycle, got a front geared motor, gonna bring it to a wheel builder to build it into the front wheel. 48V motor, will be running 48V 20AH battery pack. I plan to make a battery bag out of duck canvas and hang it in the frame like the old Swiss Army bicycles.
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby blueb0ttle2 » Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:07 am

Whatever you do, do not use the original rod brakes for an electric bicycle. Especially if you are using a 48V pack! :shock:
Use drum brakes, you won't have to drill holes in the frame, just get the right mounting hardware (If you are lucky, you can score components that let you use drum brakes with the original rod linkages. Gazelle still makes bikes with rod-operated drum brakes. I use one as my non-electric commuter).
I don't think the Flying Pigeon is a good candidate for a hub motor. The front fork is at too slack an angle for a front motor (At least for my feelings of safety) and the rear drop outs are not solid steel (see above posts). There are better machines to electrify, although I occasionally muse about converting my pigeon to run slowly with a 24 volt system. I'd recommend getting setting up something chain driven. Looks more retro, and doesn't put so much stress on those rear forks. That being said, I might put my s-l-o-w Heinzmann hub motor (13mph tops) in there and report on it.
If you want more info about motorized classic roadsters, this site'll suit you http://cyclemaster.wordpress.com/
Again, the original rod brakes are really only any good below 17 or so miles an hour in the dry. And I mean bone dry.
I am not trying to discourage you (plenty other folks on this forum have tried to discourage my forays into the world of flying pigeons) but use yer loaf, play it safe. These frames are strong, but perhaps not electric strong, and probably not 48 volt strong :lol:
Not all hub motors allow you to use a drum/band brake though. you might have to ask a local shop to drill holes for side-pull brakes.
Anyway my recommendations boil down to..
1)DON'T USE THE ORIGINAL "BUTCHER'S BRAKES". I know they are sexy, but you don't want to get intimately acquainted with cross-town buses.
2)A chain-driven solution might work better, and allow you to use different gear ratios with your motor. It'll also allow you to use Sturmey Archer's excellent drum brake rear hubs (3 and 5 speed)
3)If you must have a hub motor, they are pretty convenient, see if yours has a drum or band brake, if not, get a local shop to drill holes in your precious frame suitable for the best side-pull brakes money can buy. That's for the rear. Use a drum brake for the front. Period.
4) You will cry because this endeavor will take ages and cost money, but it is a very nice hobby once you get into it, and you may find yourself eying every bicycle around you and contemplating whether it can be electrified too. Welcome to the forum.
5) Ask a good machinist whether your bikes' rear forks are ready for this task. Reinforce them if possible.
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby Hillhater » Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:18 pm

mrezzy wrote:I have a women's Flying Pigeon bicycle that i want to sell.,,, $200 if you're in NYC!

:lol: :lol: good luck with that idea !!

mrezzy wrote:.....I am also in the process of turning my men's Flying Pigeon into an electric bicycle,...

:shock: i would suggest you take up "Russian Roulette" instead ....its safer ! :roll:
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby mrezzy » Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:49 pm

Just an update:

I got the front wheel built with a geared motor, only issue is the hub is a bit wide so it scrapes the front fork a bit. Nothing a few spacers and a slight stretch of the front fork won't fix.

In terms of brakes, my flying pigeon came with modern side pull brakes which I will be switching out for sexy center pulled brakes to keep a classic look.

I've replaced the stock black tires with schwalbe creame colored delta tires.

Now I just gotta figure out how to wire a switch so it won't spare when it pre-charges.
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Re: Flying Pigeon

Postby CowThief » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:33 am

Hello.

Saw this and am new to this forum but not Flying Pigeons.
First off, motorized Flying Pigeons have excellent brakes! far better than you could imagine.
Notice how the brake lever rod goes down and to a pivot point with a clevis?
Once you get your motor you connect this to a rod on the engine that controls engine braking (compression brake).
Simply squeeze the rear brake lever and the engine is the brake.
With that said, you are thinking of an electric motor on a bicycle?
One thing comes to mind, dynamic braking, it is good enough to where diesel electric locomotives have it.
The electric motor can act as a generator (DC) or brake (AC).
In the case of a DC motor you simply apply a load, be that a diode and your battery for regenerative braking or just a diode and resistor(s).
For an AC motor you simply provide a bit of DC that biases the coils and sets up eddy currents, creating heat that acts as a brake.
A 9 volt battery can provide enough current to slow a 2HP motor with ease in the case of a 220 volt AC motor.
The Toyota Prius uses regenerate braking and as such the actual mechanical brakes are little used, to the point that when brought in for service the mechanical brakes need to be inspected least they are frozen in place.
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