'56 Racer - tophat? (lil help)

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Lobi

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Enjoy tinkering with my bikes. Sell a few to slowly upgrade for better personal bikes.
So, I just obtained a 1956 (3/21-3/28 1956 to be exact, hehe) man's black three speed racer. It's very complete minus the rear fender reflector. I have a few Chicago Schwinns but this is the first this old. Frame for seat post has Arnold Schwinn Co and the top hat logo. Im loving some new (to me) discoveries like the cast brass (?) seat post clamp. Even the bolt head has "AS" rather than just an "S" in it. Paint is rough with chips and rust. Chrome will clean up nice and its all functional. The kick stand surprised me. I expected the welded on one. Not yet in 56? Is it supposed to look like this, pictured below. What's up with the top hat, any more desirable or valuable? I did read about the WW1 flying squadron etc. My first thought was strip and re paint. Now I don't think I want to lose the old original logos with Arnold and the hat. Rough value range? Ride her as is?
Brand new to the forum, be gentle.
thanks in advance.

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Oilit

I live for the CABE
Enjoy tinkering with my bikes. Sell a few to slowly upgrade for better personal bikes.
So, I just obtained a 1956 (3/21-3/28 1956 to be exact, hehe) man's black three speed racer. It's very complete minus the rear fender reflector. I have a few Chicago Schwinns but this is the first this old. Frame for seat post has Arnold Schwinn Co and the top hat logo. Im loving some new (to me) discoveries like the cast brass (?) seat post clamp. Even the bolt head has "AS" rather than just an "S" in it. Paint is rough with chips and rust. Chrome will clean up nice and its all functional. The kick stand surprised me. I expected the welded on one. Not yet in 56? Is it supposed to look like this, pictured below. What's up with the top hat, any more desirable or valuable? I did read about the WW1 flying squadron etc. My first thought was strip and re paint. Now I don't think I want to lose the old original logos with Arnold and the hat. Rough value range? Ride her as is?
Brand new to the forum, be gentle.
thanks in advance.

View attachment 1249554

View attachment 1249555

View attachment 1249556
I don't believe the kickstand is original, but I can't say for sure. Some of the middleweights had clamp-on kickstands but I thought the lightweights were all the built-in type, at least after WWII.
 

Lobi

'Lil Knee Scuffer
I don't believe the kickstand is original, but I can't say for sure. Some of the middleweights had clamp-on kickstands but I thought the lightweights were all the built-in type, at least after WWII.

Thanks.
The giant washers didn't look oem to me. Looking from under the bike I expected to see paint missing and maybe some weld left behind if it had a built in at one time. There isn't any indication of this however.
 

Oilit

I live for the CABE
I checked T.R. Findley's Schwinn catalogs website and for 1957, it specifically says the "Deluxe Racer" has a built-in kickstand, but for the standard Racer it just says "kickstand", so maybe it used a clamp-on after all, especially if there's no evidence of the bracket ever being under the frame. I'll tag @rennfaron, he's good on the '50's lightweights.
 

rennfaron

Wore out three sets of tires already!
I checked T.R. Findley's Schwinn catalogs website and for 1957, it specifically says the "Deluxe Racer" has a built-in kickstand, but for the standard Racer it just says "kickstand", so maybe it used a clamp-on after all, especially if there's no evidence of the bracket ever being under the frame. I'll tag @rennfaron, he's good on the '50's lightweights.
The kickstand looks correct, but someone replaced the top plate. It looks like this. Should be a miller kickstand, which it looks like it is.

@Lobi if you want to learn more about the "hat in the ring" decal, look here. The decal doesn't make it any more or less desirable, it is just what came on the racers at the time. The "hat in the ring" was found on the Paramount/Superior and New Worlds in the 30s/40s. Then in 1950 only the Paramount kept them. In 1955 when the Racer came online, it picked up the "hat in the ring" decal.

Overall it looks fairly complete. Wrong saddle, Wrong grips (should be oval design, and looks like tear drop design). 19" frame size is what you have and was the smallest lightweight frame size offered, unless you stepped down to the juvenile sizes. Hard to say on prices, because they are nuts right now, but $150 or seems ok in the condition it is in. Oh and I would definitely not strip and repaint. It really isn't worth the time and $$ to do so. Plus this is in pretty good condition for the age, with all the decals still mostly there and in decent condition. These pop up but generally in worse off condition. I would keep it as-is. Be careful on those decals, because they don't wear well at this point. These early ones have a nice combo of unique and interesting features: winged badge, speedy racer guard decal and speedy schwinn down tube decal, three line fork dart, hat in ring decal... If you wanted to bring it all the way back to original you could track down the right saddle, grips and swap out the tires with all black kendras.
 
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Lobi

'Lil Knee Scuffer
The kickstand looks correct, but someone replaced the top plate. It looks like this. Should be a miller kickstand, which it looks like it is.

@Lobi if you want to learn more about the "hat in the ring" decal, look here. The decal doesn't make it any more or less desirable, it is just what came on the racers at the time. The "hat in the ring" was found on the Paramount/Superior and New Worlds in the 30s/40s. Then in 1950 only the Paramount kept them. In 1955 when the Racer came online, it picked up the "hat in the ring" decal.

Overall it looks fairly complete. Wrong saddle, Wrong grips (should be oval design, and looks like tear drop design). 19" frame size is what you have and was the smallest lightweight frame size offered, unless you stepped down to the juvenile sizes. Hard to say on prices, because they are nuts right now, but $150 or seems ok in the condition it is in. Oh and I would definitely not strip and repaint. It really isn't worth the time and $$ to do so. Plus this is in pretty good condition for the age, with all the decals still mostly there and in decent condition. These pop up but generally in worse off condition. I would keep it as-is. Be careful on those decals, because they don't wear well at this point. These early ones have a nice combo of unique and interesting features: winged badge, speedy racer guard decal and speedy schwinn down tube decal, three line fork dart, hat in ring decal... If you wanted to bring it all the way back to original you could track down the right saddle, grips and swap out the tires with all black kendras.

Lots of great info there. Thank you. Here's close up of grip. Teardrop or oval? They do feel too soft to be 64 years old. The saddle at least is a Schwinn approved. I'll have to tidy up those giant kickstand washers, they bug me. At least cut em down for now. Will the pedal pads tighten up? They roll under my shoe. My foot slipped right off riding it in the driveway. Don't be coveting my Sunset Orange Collegiate in the background.

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rennfaron

Wore out three sets of tires already!
I thought those were the schwinn tear drop ones, but those are something else. Just some cheap grips off ebay. Those schwinn approved saddles like the one you have are all over the place. I think they started in the 70s (could be wrong), but you can pick them up on ebay for $15. In the style pedal you have, I don't think the pedal pads will tighten up. You could try to shim them or bend the metal to put more pressure on the pads to keep them from turning.
 

49autocycledeluxe

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
are those the right brake levers for 56? did they use both bladed and tubular forks on these in the same years? I thought a 56 would have the different fork.

I have a Racer with all the wrong parts. I like these bikes.
 

rennfaron

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Racers should have never had the tubular forks, only blade. Travelers had the tubular forks. That said, I have come across a junior model with a tubular fork and a really early racer with tubular forks but I don't know what is up with those...

These should be the grips and brake levers on '56.
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Junior racer.jpg
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GTs58

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
Did the lightweights use the oval grips that far in the 50's? The flush tear drop grips were being used at least as far back as 1953 and for sure in 1955 on the balloon and middleweight models.

1249887

53 Phantoms
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rennfaron

Wore out three sets of tires already!
From what I have
Did the lightweights use the oval grips that far in the 50's? The flush tear drop grips were being used at least as far back as 1953 and for sure in 1955 on the balloon and middleweight models.
The tear drop red one are the best looking tear drop color!

From what I have seen, the higher end lightweights all move to tear drop grips (traveler, deluxe racer) and the base racer still got the oval (at least in '56). The image I attached above is from a '56 racer (not deluxe). My thought was they were just trying to exhaust the last bit of stock they had on the ovals. I have found examples up to 1959 with ovals.

@schwinnlax racer with ovals

Here is a late '56 deluxe racer in black
IMG_5175.jpg


And a late '56 deluxe racer in green
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Said to be a 1957 (with ovals)
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Said to be a 1957 JR (with ovals)
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Said to be a 1958 (with ovals)
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This should be a '59 (with ovals)
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Just confirmed this May 1960 stamped racer (with ovals)
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