View Full Version : Double Curved Bar Schwinn Frames

07-26-2010, 08:34 AM
I've seen quite a few Schwinn bikes over the years, but one of the frames I see least often happens to be one of the bikes I have-- a double curve bar frame. Does anyone have any history or information specifically relating to this particular type of frame? How common were they? I'm just curious because I've had an old Schwinn for awhile now, and the frame just seems different from the straight bars and DXs you often see. Was it that these bikes could not take a tank? Were they a lighter "roadster" type bike compared to the fully accessorized ones?


07-26-2010, 08:45 AM
1937-38. No tank for this model.

07-26-2010, 08:52 AM
1937-38. No tank for this model.

This particular one is a 1936 as it has the flat braces and straight-back lock.

But yes, it does seem you wouldn't be able to even fit a tank in this frame. It gives a little bit different look, I think.

I'm also wondering about the use of this particular frame with "motorcycle" badges. This one is a "Henderson", and I think I may have seen an Excelsior once with the same type frame (if memory serves). Both those "brands" were motorcycle outfits bought up by Schwinn earlier in the century. I'm curious to see if this particular type of frame was purposely coupled with those old motorcycle brands under Schwinn.

07-26-2010, 01:20 PM
Looks like a Model BA. The link is for 1938. I don't see this model in the'36 line up,but the scans my not be complete. Clink link too see.



07-26-2010, 01:44 PM
The motorcycle badges (and others) were used on all models. The frame style was a trend of the mid 30s. Shelby, Colson, Schwinn, Dayton, Sneider, Cleveland Welding, ect all made similar frames.

07-26-2010, 02:18 PM
Looks like a Model BA. The link is for 1938. I don't see this model in the'36 line up,but the scans my not be complete. Clink link too see.



Good find

This one has the hockey stick guard and flat braces, but it looks like that's the same style a couple of years later. I guess based on that catalog the idea was to create a "streamlined" and supposedly lighter bike than a fully equipped tank bike. Though I also saw in the catalog that the regular straightbar without tank was referred to a "roadster" as the parallel was a "roadster".

Sounds like advertising the glass is "half full"-- no tank= "lighter" and "roadster" rather than "I got no tank". With tank= "it has a tank!" and not "it's heavier!".

I have seen some Excelsiors over the years (Joel is right, they do seem to vary now that I look around online). Though I haven't seen many '30s Hendersons (I've seen a couple from the 1940s but they seem very different from this one).

Keep the information coming, everyone. It's interesting stuff. It seems like you always hear a lot about the high profile, fully-equipped machines but not as much about some of these other models.

07-26-2010, 03:05 PM
I believe Shelby was the first to use this frame style, and soon CWC, Colson, Schwinn, and Huffman all had their own versions. I heard that Shelby sued Schwinn over it, and that's why it was only around a couple years. Seems the other brands dropped it after WWII also.

07-26-2010, 04:30 PM
so-called lawsuit bike frame,introduced in late ;35,discontinued in '38,which became the dx. told to cease and desist,by either shelby,or colson,there were 2 different models.the b-67,which came w/the hockey stick,&optional delta hornlight,and battery tube,and the c-67,w/out the chainguard,narrower fenders,too.kk

07-26-2010, 06:24 PM
If Schwinn began production of their arched parallel twin bar roadster frame in late 1935 they were with the tide. The earliest production version of the “rainbow” design for a balloon frame might go to Colson with versions of the Aristocrat line featuring parallel upper and lower top tubes for their 1935 line which was presumably developed at the end of 1934. If Colson felt the need to initiate an infringement suit against Schwinn over the top tubes, at least they didn’t have to fight anyone for stealing their three bar fence residing at the bottom of the Aristocrat’s main triangle.

Dating the Schwinn design to late 1935 may place it second in line but by or before the end of 1935 Huffman also had curved the lower bar on its Moto-Balloon creating a rainbow and CWC, Snyder, Huffman, and Shelby (although the bifurcated top tube differentiates the Shelby from the pack) all had rainbow frames in their 1936 catalog lineup. Shelby did offer a truer rainbow frame later and Huffman, Iver, and even Emblem got on the bandwagon during 1936-1937. Monark was a latecomer with a few steel rainbows pushed out the door around 39 or 40

The only major firms that did not produce rainbows as far as I know were Westfield and Mercury.

The design itself is an obvious and simple enough revision of a moto-bike frame adding streamlining to the frame without entirely redesigning the frame. If the rumored lawsuit story is true it could be that Colson took umbrage at the Schwinn design and went after a desist action. By the time the industry was awash with similar frame it might have been decided to leave well enough alone. Through a couple of general redesigns Colson stayed with the rainbow design through 1939 and kept producing it as a second tier model until WW2.

Most other companies moved on to more streamlined frame patterns by 1939 so the joke may be on Colson if they wasted money on a suit against Schwinn. Schwinn obviously continued to produce the frame until at least 1938 by which time the design was generally outmoded. It is also obvious that it was not the most popular frame in the Schwinn line so discontinuing it was probably not too painful over all.

07-26-2010, 07:41 PM
Nice bike Mike!

07-26-2010, 08:03 PM
a very underrated design. not much looks better to me than these style frames.
here are some catalog pages of the 1936 Huffman and Rollfast bikes of this type.

07-27-2010, 01:29 AM
That was a lot of good information Phil. Wasn't the double rainbow bar Schwinn called an Ace? I've seen only a few, not in person with the name Schwinn Ace. It was a frame look that I thought to be really cool next to the second style I like the straightbar. Maybe this is why I enjoy Colson's now. Anyways Mike. A great bike! A Schwinn style you don't see everyday. And it is nice to see the lines of a bike without it being a tank model. Simplicity brings out a whole different look. Derek

07-27-2010, 05:41 AM
Interesting stuff. I always thought the 36 Schwinns were just early 37 production, didn't know they went back to 35.

Here's a 35 Colson Aristocrat, my large 38 Schwinn rainbow, and a 37 Schwinn I had a while back with a great paint scheme.

07-27-2010, 05:43 AM
oops, here's the 38...

07-27-2010, 05:55 AM
I forgot to mention, all the Colson catalogs I have are posted on my site as are all the Schwinn and Firestone catalogs. the Supreme clip above is from the 1936 Firestone catalog. you have to be a member and post a few times to be bumped to the regular user category where you can access the catalogs.

07-27-2010, 02:46 PM
Speaking of Firestone CWC made similar frames also


07-27-2010, 09:01 PM
I have been looking for an original and complete, late 30's Schwinn Excelsior double curved bar bike. I have a WTB post in the Buy-Sell-Trade forum of this site but no luck as of yet. I have been enjoying this very informative thread. I was wondering if anyone on this site has a bike like I am looking for that they would sell or could possibly give me a lead on one?

07-28-2010, 12:27 AM
i got a 35? i think with the motorbike style seat clamp i am building. has the hole for the steering lock so maybe a late 35?? i thought the seat clamp changed in 36? just wondering cause i have a 36 trussrod fork i wanted to use on it. any info?

07-28-2010, 04:56 AM
Don't forget about Pierce.

07-28-2010, 08:54 PM
Some nice information here-- I've grown to like this frame more and more over the years. It just has nice, crisp lines. The lack of tank also makes for a nice balance when you ride.

I will try to get more pictures of it and the pedals (Torrington #15 Wing type rather than plain #10s). I believe these came with the bike when my grandfather bought it from the original owner in 1938 (it must have looked good being only 2 years old at the time).