54 Phantom, anyone have a bike they’ve struggled to love?

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sworley

Look Ma, No Hands!
Apr 30, 2020
34
34
Ames, Iowa
I’m kind of a particular guy. I don’t like bikes too rough or too perfect and they have to be original paint. On paper, I should love this highly original bike but it’s just missing something... I’m hoping I can fix that, the likelyhood of finding another bike like this locally is rare.

This bike came from Lincoln, NE via an Ottumwa, Iowa auction this past spring. I have already gone though the bike completely but have some new tires coming and would maybe like to get the horn and headlight working again.

Maybe with those changes I can find a spark.

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Rollo

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Dec 29, 2016
668
63
Lincoln Park, United States
... I worked my butt off on this '52 red Phantom that a buddy more less gave me with a pile of parts ... Stripped off all the black paint from the frame and rear fender ... Did and OA acid soak on the rusty chrome ... Greased everything ... worked my arse off bringing the rusty frozen chain back to life ... Never could get the seat post to move ... so I ended up having to ride it with a low seat ... It was literally a PIA with the bare seat pan ... Finally had enough and brought it to the Memory Lane spring bike swap and found someone who loved it alot more than I did! ...

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sworley

Look Ma, No Hands!
Apr 30, 2020
34
34
Ames, Iowa
Nice looking bike. Maybe some greenwall tires or just plain black?
Hammerhead
Thanks! I have some dark brown Felt Quick Bricks coming tomorrow. More often than not, new shoes really help improve my outlook on a bike. Hoping for great results!

I may also take another stab at brightening up the rims while I'm at it. I have rarely met Schwinn chrome that doesn't come back but so far this one's been a dud.

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Superman1984

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 28, 2019
374
36
Pageland South Carolina
@sworley it's usually Schwinns or cantilever styled frames BUT I have started to like both a little more once I bought a '65 Western Flyer $10 klunker and a woman's Schwinn Cruiser 7 for for $75 for my girlfriend. I preferred tank bar bikes, trikes & choppers/customs in that fashion. Maybe it's because you like Original and can't find a happy medium in that aspect. I love a restored look but like seeing those true survivors that show some of it's history & testifies it's quality
 
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Superman1984

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 28, 2019
374
36
Pageland South Carolina
This I want to just clean up and make a rider for my mom but I haven't really messed with it because I normally don't do originals ....albeit this is the nicest 1 I have owned so far. Guess if the budget was bigger that could change
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bikecrazy

I live for the CABE
Dec 8, 2011
1,120
Mentor, United States
If it was mine, I would add a forebrake and re decal the chain guard. Having said that,I think the bike is really nice just the way it sits. You might be better off in the long run just selling it. Anything you do to the bike will probably not make you happy in the long run.
 

sworley

Look Ma, No Hands!
Apr 30, 2020
34
34
Ames, Iowa
If it was mine, I would add a forebrake and re decal the chain guard. Having said that,I think the bike is really nice just the way it sits. You might be better off in the long run just selling it. Anything you do to the bike will probably not make you happy in the long run.
Yeah, I definitely considered that, especially before I bought those $$$ tires but as I said, a bike like this does not come around here easily and I have a horrible habit of selling bikes too cheaply (lose money on them) regret it and then pay more for a like replacement. Figured new tires might be cheaper in the long run...

Forebrakes are cool but I don't see that being needed here in flat central Iowa. I am hoping to salvage that chainguard decal using light, targeted applications of rubbing alcohol. The black paint over it is crappy stuff.
 
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Jeff54

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Sep 11, 2013
2,357
Ft Myers, Florida
Might help ya, depending on your point of view. About 25 year ago I picked up a complete Campus green/cream girl with two tone deluxe guard. It ad been sitting in a field rusting for who knows how long. Equally used as your was, I'd say. After an good acid bath, I took the guard to auto paint store and color matched a pint of the green, yet Hardly used the paint. I just used a small brush and carefully placed a thin, so thin, almost transparent coat into the chips. dried and if any built up, lightly, as to not scratch any original paint used a piece of steel wool to blend in. My chain guard looked about like yours with heal and cuff scratches, as well bottoms of step-through. Not exactly chipped but worn and a little regular wear on top of rear fender too. . I didn't use any red lead over any of exposed metal areas, I mean, had I then might as well redo the whole thing and I wasn't what I was going for, nor pristine or 'Restore'. anyway, replenish, might be a better word B/C, then, I thinned out the paint and rubbed a thin coat into it. The color wasn't an exact match but the thin rub-in helped the orig and new blend in, you'd, pretty much, have to know what I did before You'd realize it.

Not exactly a trick for every collector but, my daughter loved the heck out of it fer xmas when she was 18, and all her 'cool' friends too. And still all these years later, rust han't returned and, except I used rattle can on cream fender tips so, a little chipping on edges. , the little rubbed into fender , guard and step through there's no new or returned, rust, chips or scratches. I looks used but no longer abused and not 'patina-ed' (fake).

Moreover the auto paint is thin enough, simi- translucent from thinner, that adds body to old warn paint, it sticks very well over original , and dries hard.
 
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sworley

Look Ma, No Hands!
Apr 30, 2020
34
34
Ames, Iowa
That sounds awesome, @Jeff54 something to strive for! Maybe given enough time I can get there...

Still on the fence about the tires. Waiting to install the front once I find out if I’m missing locknuts on the front hub. When I pulled the wheel today the hub bearings were binding hard it was so tight. I’ve ridden it that way for awhile now, yikes.

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frankandpam

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Jan 21, 2016
679
Tacoma Wa
The seat doesn't work. Too new or big or maybe the color. It seems to dominate too much. Needs a nice moderately worn original seat to flow with the rest of the bike.
 

sworley

Look Ma, No Hands!
Apr 30, 2020
34
34
Ames, Iowa
@frankandpam very much agreed! I’d like to find a suitable patina’d seat, doesn’t even need to be correct for a Phantom. This one is uncomfortable and ugly!
 
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OZ1972

Finally riding a big boys bike
May 2, 2010
460
Thats a beautiful phantom I would love yo have it in my collection , but i know what you mean about mot warming up to some bikes , i had a panther that i just never did like , it was just too nice for me i guess i like bikes with lots of patina , cool phantom i hope it grows on you !
 
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Ozark Flyer

I live for the CABE
Jun 28, 2010
1,262
Hickory Creek, AR
Some mink oil on that seat will darken it up and give it more of an aged look. I like the bike. Seems like folks are either a Phantom lover or their not. They definitely have their own vibe unlike other Schwinn models. I owned one for a while. Best riding bike I ever owned. Hope you find your groove with this one.
 
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