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FB Cruiser early 30’s help with bike specs

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rear - FB Cruiser early 30’s help with bike specs Empty FB Cruiser early 30’s help with bike specs

Post  Matt on Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:09 am

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Hi all, new to forum and new owner of FB Cruiser.
I need to start by getting manuals for bike and engine etc etc.
I have dicyphered the frame no. And engine no. the best I can.

Engine No. UU309, XVIIA Villiers
Frame No. (VW3?) 41556

Is difficult to see the small digits in the symbol before the numbers on the frame

I want to recondition the engine, electrics, brakes etc (all running gear) to make it safe but keep the bike in its condition to show its beautiful age.
I have only seen these in black, can anyone advise if this may be original colours?

Any assistance anyone can offer is greatly appreciated.

Cheers from New Zealand


Matt

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Join date : 2018-06-15

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Post  piston 197 on Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:47 am

UU series engines are the Villiers 17A engine fitted to the cruiser 1938/39 frame Nos HB**** and JB**** so something looks amiss with your frame number ?
from the bits i can see yours looks to be a Cruiser model45, but difficult to see from the pictures it may be a Cruiser 39 ? a picture from the other side would help
JH
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Post  Matt on Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:41 am

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Thanks John

Can you verify from my previous post that I am looking at the correct spot for the frame number. Looks like it is cast into the steel. Left side front under the tank? The prefix to the numbers are inside the symbol at the front! Is that normal?

Cheers

Matt

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rear - FB Cruiser early 30’s help with bike specs Empty Frame number

Post  piston 197 on Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:47 am

The frame number is stamped in, on the l/hand side of the steering headstock, as it is hand change it looks to be a model 39 Cruiser. although there is some crossover between the moel 39 and 45 which were both available at the same time
JH
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Post  Matt on Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:51 am

Ok definitely not that number then. I will have another look.......
Is that an original colour scheme?

Matt

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Post  fulmar88 on Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:12 am

The chromed exhaust manifolds of that shape mean that it is a Model 45 introduced from 1936. The 17A engine initially had a BYX prefix for the model 45 and then, I thought, a UU prefix for the later 18A engine? If so perhaps the barrel has been swapped. The larger tank yours has came in in 1938 still with hand change, so is probably an HB frame prefix (1938). In the UK, at least, they were all black. It looks almost complete so you have been lucky. The only thing missing that I can see is the horn which sits under the tank behind the engine on a 45 (above the handlebars on a 39).

Steve.
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rear - FB Cruiser early 30’s help with bike specs Empty 18A engine

Post  piston 197 on Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:14 pm

As Steve says the crankcase No signifies a 18A engine, and the cylinder states XVIIA ( 17A), both are flat topped 63mm piston engines and the top end is interchageable, in the FB register we have this engine fitted to both Cruiser 39 and 45, generally at this time the 45 was footchange and the 39 hand change, but there is so much crossover it is difficult to be fully accurate, the footchange 45 was available to order with hand change and the Cruiser 39 with automatic lubrication could be supplied to order with petroil mix like the 45.
But with this style of tank etc. i would suggest it is post 37 and will have a HB ( 1938) or JB(1939) frame number.
JH
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rear - FB Cruiser early 30’s help with bike specs Empty how odd two Crusier 45s

Post  Bigjim on Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:09 pm

Hopefully, I will be receiving a head gasket from northern Scotland soon. That gentleman also has a similar bike & engine, but his head gasket blew apart. I can CAD the one he's sending to me, with the hope they can be cut by lasering etc in aluminium.
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rear - FB Cruiser early 30’s help with bike specs Empty Cruiser 45

Post  1953Man on Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:23 pm

Hello Matt, it was seeing a Cruiser 45 which made me choose Francis-Barnett, when I decided to collect a few old bikes to tinker with in my retirement. My 1936 Cruiser 45 blew a head gasket a fortnight ago just a quarter of  a mile from home, and it took me nearly two hours to push it that short distance, because I had to keep stopping to talk to all the interested folks it attracted, even in its non-working condition! It is quite hard to get info on the Villiers model 17 motor, but you can get a manual of sorts (photocopied from original) from: bruce-main-smith.co.uk . I have an interesting article by someone who restored one, although I am not sufficiently expert with computers to attach a link to this message. But if you p.m. me your email address, I know how to send a link to that. It's a great bike - not fast, but because it is so low-slung, anything over 30 mph feels pretty exhilarating! As regards colour, I can't help you  - mine's black, as usual. Kind regards from James
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Post  Matt on Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:18 am

Hi again James and Steve. Finally cooking with gas.
Frame number is HB35768

Matt

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rear - FB Cruiser early 30’s help with bike specs Empty Rear Brake Operating Lever

Post  Maurice on Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:54 am

Whilst looking at the pictures I noticed the rear brake operating lever is mounted above the pivot point. On my bike it is mounted below. This completely alters the brake rod angle. Looking at other pictures it seems to vary quite a bit. Did the factory change this at some point or have restorers varied this?
P.S. Does this entitle me to an anorak?

Maurice

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Post  fulmar88 on Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:31 am

Maurice, below are some pictures believed to be from the factory. The bike is a model 45 from 1936/7 (as it has the small tank). I doubt that it changed, except perhaps, when the brake lever moved to the left and operated via a transverse rod through the frame in order to accommodate the foot change gear lever later on. This may have changed the angle of the rod and necessitated a change?

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