Linear Frame number or Serial Number

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a.twiddler
Posts: 62
Joined: 4 Jun 2009, 12:17am

Linear Frame number or Serial Number

Postby a.twiddler » 25 Aug 2020, 1:03pm

I spent some time tidying my Linear and getting it ready to ride when I first had it but one thing that I didn't come across was any frame number. It might be useful for working out the manufacturing date to fill in some history. Have any of you Linearites out there any info on its location, if indeed there is one? I haven't found anything on the internet so far, even on The Bicycle Man's website, which is generally a mine of information.

tandem2
Posts: 10
Joined: 25 Jul 2010, 4:25pm

Re: Linear Frame number or Serial Number

Postby tandem2 » 25 Aug 2020, 11:44pm

Mine is on a sticker just behind the opening for the front fork folding mechanism


I'm a trendy consumer. Just look at my wobbly bog brush using hovercraft full of eels

a.twiddler
Posts: 62
Joined: 4 Jun 2009, 12:17am

Re: Linear Frame number or Serial Number

Postby a.twiddler » 26 Aug 2020, 10:17am

No sticker, but on the underside of the main frame is a faintly stamped 6 figure number, just behind the front fork folding aperture as you described.

Thank you for that. Now I have something to go on, if there is a way of dating it from the number sequence.

a.twiddler
Posts: 62
Joined: 4 Jun 2009, 12:17am

Re: Linear Frame number or Serial Number

Postby a.twiddler » 26 Aug 2020, 1:52pm

I emailed "The Bicycle Man" of Alfred Station, New York State, who currently produces the modern generation of Linears and he has confirmed that it is not possible to date Iowa Linears from the serial numbers. He gave me a series of links but these are easily found on his website, and have no new information. He was very prompt in his reply, less than an hour.

As it has a calliper rear brake and no V brake mountings on the front (drum brake is fitted) all I can definitely say so far is that it is "before 2002". Now if I could confirm the dates when they were available in the UK this might narrow things down a bit.

recumbentpanda
Posts: 274
Joined: 6 Apr 2009, 12:13pm

Re: Linear Frame number or Serial Number

Postby recumbentpanda » 26 Aug 2020, 9:43pm

Could go as far back as the 1980s. Pretty sure mine does!

a.twiddler
Posts: 62
Joined: 4 Jun 2009, 12:17am

Re: Linear Frame number or Serial Number

Postby a.twiddler » 26 Aug 2020, 11:34pm

It's a mystery. I have seen variations but they may have been options rather than standard date specific items. For example, bolted on bottom bracket assembly on mine vs welded ones, chain hangers riveted to the rear frame for convenience when folded (not on mine). There are no manufacturer's decals on the head tube on mine which came in what looked like the original silver painted steel (I've since painted it and the forks black) though I've seen the yellow Kann decals on photos of early ones, and there may be later ones with Linear Manufacturing Co decals. Of course decals can be damaged or removed over time.

Even the serial numbers seem to be applied differently, as Tandem2 says his is on a sticker, mine is stamped.

The "Linear" logo in reflective red seems to have survived through the years without change on the side of the frame, with "Aluminum" in reflective white towards the front. The "Aluminum" logo has been removed on mine maybe by someone who objected to the US spelling!

The more I find out, the more I am impressed by the longevity of a design that was in its definitive form from about the mid eighties until about 2002, was still around in a slightly modified form for a few more years before being revamped for the 21st century, and is still recognisably the offspring of that original design and available today. And this despite the company having many owners through its life.
Last edited by a.twiddler on 27 Aug 2020, 4:23pm, edited 1 time in total.

recumbentpanda
Posts: 274
Joined: 6 Apr 2009, 12:13pm

Re: Linear Frame number or Serial Number

Postby recumbentpanda » 27 Aug 2020, 10:15am

Agreed, it’s a very special’character’ in the bike world. I once said to Peter Stull that the Linear is not so much a bike as a system for building bikes. I like to think my remark inspired his later redesign of the short wheelbase version -but I doubt it! There was a SWB by the way, but it was short-lived as it had poor geometry and consequently terrible handling. Peter’s modern version on the other hand has gathered rave reviews.

I was once on tour in Norfolk and came across a local history exhibition which included a photo of a famous local entrepreneur seated on his 1920s Mochet Velocar. Finished in black and chrome with balloon tyres, it was a recognisable cousin of my Linear with its 2” Big Apples, and black and silver finish. The guy’s recumbent grin was also instantly relatable . . . :D

hercule
Posts: 1044
Joined: 5 Feb 2011, 5:18pm

Re: Linear Frame number or Serial Number

Postby hercule » 27 Aug 2020, 9:50pm

Could you date it by the components? Assuming there hasn’t been too many changes over its lifetime of course. A bit of research into for example the rear mech or the hubs might turn something up.

a.twiddler
Posts: 62
Joined: 4 Jun 2009, 12:17am

Re: Linear Frame number or Serial Number

Postby a.twiddler » 28 Aug 2020, 10:22pm

Here we go. After some detective work I have come up with the following. As far as I know the dates are correct, but there may be errors.

Rear hub. Sachs 3X7. Made from 1994-2000. Sachs taken over by SRAM in 1997. Marked with "Sachs 3X7", so probably pre '97, though Sachs marked stock may have been sold by SRAM after '97. Previous owner stated it was on it when he bought it in 2001, and he had a 700C rim built on to it. It had no front changer or post, just the triple chainset.

Rear Derailleur is marked "Exage 500", made from 1990-93. May or may not be original, may have been from stock after '93. I would have to take it off and look at the back for more info.

Front triple chainring is marked Suntour X-1. X-1 available from 92-93. May have been from stock after '93. It ties in with photos of other Linears I have seen, some with Sachs 3X7 hubs and no front changer, and some with a front derailleur post and changer with no hub gear. The X-1 is fairly distinctive in appearance.

According to the manual the fuzzy picture of the rear brake shows a Dia Compe caliper brake. It must have had a long reach if the original wheel was 26", maybe even an Old School BMX brake? It now has an unidentified caliper brake which just has enough reach for the 700C wheel, presumably sourced from someone's bits box when the wheel was rebuilt to 700C.

The front wheel has a drum brake with no markings, alloy hub, steel torque arm, and a nice satin finish alloy rim. It is a 500A size, and from what the seller told me was on it when he bought it. It doubt it was an original option from Linear, probably acquired somewhere in its history. There are no V brake bosses on the fork, so probably originally had a caliper brake.

If as I suspect it came from the factory with a Sachs 3X7 hub gear it could not be earlier than 1994. If it was much more recent than '94 it might have more recent components. My best guess would be that it dates from around 1994-95.

It would be interesting to hear from other Linear owners who might know the vintage of their own bikes, and to see what components are on theirs.

nigelnightmare
Posts: 699
Joined: 19 Sep 2016, 10:33pm

Re: Linear Frame number or Serial Number

Postby nigelnightmare » 6 Sep 2020, 11:54am

Mine is 1996, ordered on 20/06/1996.
39" frame (25-29" inseam).
They made 36",39",42",45" & 48" for inseam ranges from 22" to 34" and over.

It has Dia-compe caliper brakes, the rear is a 'Bigdog' BMX model.
Rear derailleur is Shimano 7 speed mega range (red label, 11t & red 13t jockey wheels), front is Sachs triple.
Revoshift twist grip gears, Sachs brake levers.
Stronglight triple crankset
700 & 406 wheels with DB (or DEB?) hubs
Mudguards & rear rack.
FER spoke drive dynamo.

HTH