Friday, August 30, 2013

My Iver Johnson!

I've recently fallen for truss frames. Specifically, Iver Johnson. Terrot and Labor were French versions, and Labor even came second in the 1927 Tour de France under Belgian Maurice Dewaele. More on that one soon enough, as I am the proud owner of a large scan of a rare side shot of Dewaele aboard his truss, care of Mr. Brett Horton!

I was lucky enough to win this Iver Johnson (once sponsor of Major Taylor). The seller had a pickup only, and it seems I was the only one crazy enough to spend an entire Saturday to drive down to Baltimore to get it. $250.

When I got it, there were a number of issues. The tires had been melted and the front was reduced to just a two-foot section zip-tied on! The rear was so dry and hard I actually took a saws-all to it! That was a first for me.



This is my first 'merican vintage so forgive me if I offend some sensibilities with it. It sat with some townie bars that had LOTS of chrome on them - more chrome than the rest of the rust - making me think they're added on (not to mention that everything would've been nickel-plated at this time). The serial number is 352125, which I put sometime around 1919. It's barely legible but I think I have it right. There were I.J. fenders and kickstand. Finally, it had a New Departure Type-D rear hub, which also makes me think the wheels are not original when you compare it to a 1919.

That said (there it is again), I decided to turn this into more of a path racer, maybe a bit closer to what it was originally. The rims (silver-painted Lobdells) were trashed, with lots of broken spokes. The seams are coming undone as well. The rear hub is too new, if my timeline is correct. SO - I bought a pair of Lobdells and intend to build them up with a set of Iver hubs courtesy of Joel at Via Bicycles in Philly. A trip south is in order for the holiday weekend.

I also put on an old set of Major Taylors - I know, that would've been for more of a track racer, right? BUT - I've become a bit obsessed with IJ's and intend to ride the snot out of it once done so being a good rider is more important than being 100% correct. Love this bike!

Great two-piece badge. The red part is cellophane.

Decent original decal on the DT.

Skiptooth chain.

WWII-era hub. The nickel plating was needed for the war effort so components went black!

"Trust the Truss" Great decal here.

Major Taylor and his Iver Johnson


  1. Rory...... this would make a spectacular path racer. well done!

  2. Rory, I know this is an old post but, nice bike. I have a 1914 just like it right down to the colors. Unfortunately, mine didn't start out in that good of shape. It had the crank welded together and more bare metal than paint. It did come with the original New Departure model "A" coaster though. I wonder what the odds are that two guys with the first name Rory would be into Iver Johnson truss frames.
    Rory Dudley