Voluteer Columbia, c. 1888

The Volunteer Columbia was the cheapest Columbia in the late 1880’s. I guess it succeeded the Standard Columbia. The Volunteer was built until 1892.

Of course there were some differences with the Expert Columbia: the Expert had lighter spokes which were thinner in the middle, and the Expert had a more innovative head spindle. There are more differences, like the fact that the Volunteer had a 7/8 inch front rim, where the Expert had the 1 inch rim. Both bikes had hollow handlebars, but the Expert had a more sophisticated system to take them off. Standard equipment in 1892 were ball bearings all ‘round, but if the customer insisted on cone-bearings on the rear wheel, he would get 5 dollar price reduction on the Volunteer.

The Volunteer was only available in four sizes.

This Volunteer Columbia was sold on the Copake auction in New York in 2012. It has ball bearings at the rear hub.

I do not have a lot of Columbia catalogues, so I cannot say which saddle should be original. But it is clearly visible that this saddle and spring are home-made.

The bike is fitted with original double-grip handles, which were an option. The other options were spade handles or the oldfashioned pear-shaped grips.