I'm not in favor of rat bikes!


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1959firearrow

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Jul 11, 2011
657
25
Pandora,Ohio
#41
Hey just saying my bike money fund is pretty thin most of the time so I make do with what I have and I have never had anything more than trash find bikes or the most exspensive bike i ever purchased was $60 1/4 of my check at the time. I enjoy my vintage rides and know when to leave the good ones alone. I gladly make my riders out the house painted parts bikes I can get ahold of in my area. I still get the same thrill riding them as anybody does on a bike. I like nicely restored bikes just as much but havent come across a bike worth restoring besides one that I have and is my username and I'm slowing gethering parts for that one. Don't knock it till you try it! It's a great chance to be creative and it gives me something to call mine as I like vintage cars too but those are out of my reach most of the time cause the cheapies really arn't ever worth the hassle.
 

mazdaflyer

Finally riding a big boys bike
Feb 16, 2010
336
603
Mid-West
#43
Custom or Rat???

I reading through the posts in this thread, I'm now confused. When is a custom a custom and not a rat bike. When is a rat bike a rat bike and not a custom. How do I categorize these...

Custom or Rat??? :confused:
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Custom or Rat??? :confused:
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scrubbinrims

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Sep 2, 2010
6,432
1,381
4900 New Kent Rd, Richmond, VA 23225, USA
#44
I am a poor judge in these categories, but I would say custom x 2 as neither looks pulled from a dumpster nor has any Halloween decor on them.
Chris
 

mazdaflyer

Finally riding a big boys bike
Feb 16, 2010
336
603
Mid-West
#45
I love that X-53 and it reminded me of my one mild custom - It's a prewar Western Flyer I'm putting together as a rider, so I thought I'd add it to this thread. Fortunately, Joe did a nice job of stripping off the blue housepaint before offering it for sale here on the CABE. I kinda' liked the look so I'm gonna' just preserve the bare metal.

My question is this - Can someone tell me what type of headlight(s) would have been on this model? Obviously I'm not too concerned with complete originality for this bike, and I do have a great old car spotlight with matching patina that I could retrofit for it, but thought I'd see if the correct light(s) would be a good look too.
Roadmaster used a fork light bracket similar to yours, here is a Roadmaster light that is on ebay now, not mine by the way.

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HAMP

On Training Wheels
Mar 9, 2012
6
3
#46
1933 chicago schwinn liberty will send pictures if interested. Call hamp 918-333-332

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So I guess Bob doesn't care for my bike! Because I am going to restore this I didn't want to spend countless hours on metal work and glass smooth paint. Iam also a motorcycle guy (car guy too) and always loved the looks of the early board track racers such as the side-valve Harleys, Indians, and of course the Merkel! This is nothing but a diversion for me and the majority of my collection is original, unrestored bikes including four Phantoms. I'm something of an eclectic so I like to have a little diversity. If ya ain't having fun why do it? v/r Shawn
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Likes: Oldnut

SJ_BIKER

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Mar 4, 2010
4,427
1,083
Hollister CA
#47
rATS AND LoWrideRS

I got in to the hobby by building a rat rod/lowrider cruiser ....a 26 inch 1970s schwinn middleweight frame that no one wanted. 95% of it was repro parts but i was happy as a carribean clam in those early years. It is far cheaper and more liberating to build a cool custom i must admit. Then I saw the evolution of the bicycle books and my curiosity and the money in my wallet went for a wild ride. When i think about putting 900-1300 into a schwinn phantom project...deep in the back of my mind i think about how i could just as easily have a cool cruiser for less than a quarter of that. Around here there was a trend to build mountain bike klunkers(stripped down balloon schwinns mostly 1930s to 1950s bikes) and sell off the fenders plus other accessories or keep them for another project. It is better to keep them on the road no matter what results than to see any bike in a land fill. A moment of silence for those bikes that are now in bike heaven.
 
Likes: Kstone

tailhole

I live for the CABE
Dec 26, 2010
1,247
72
Lakewood, CO
#48
Disagree

Is the lazy way out of restoring a bike. Personally I'm sick of them and the whole 'rat' mentality. But as long as they're doing it to houspainted bike, or bikes that were partially complete or rust buckets to start with, makes it a little easier to stomach. Part of Americas new direction-- lowest common denomiinator thug culture of what the media tells the gullible is 'cool'. The result? Armies of mindless followers opting for the same Bling status symbol of mediocrity. I will however say that I've seen some creative work in the rat realm, but the majority is the usual predictable vintage satin black frame with mixed make vintage parts and then the made in China bling 'add-on' ingredients to top it all off. Some people will go the extra yards to do something exceptional. Any one see Dawalts shaftie? Pretty remarkable. But that's a very small percentage of the rat custom scene... most are pretty >ick< ghetto!
I think it's lazy to look at a prefectly restored bike hanging on a wall. I ride my bikes. Really ride them, everyday - even in the Colorado winter. I spend several weeks riding and fine tuning the seat height, handlebar angles, etc to make a comfortable and fast ride. Each bike gets a total rebuild at LEAST 3 times a year out of necessity. I never remove or damage original paint, I only repaint bikes that have been previously house painted. I don't cut the bikes or chop them into barely ridable pieces of 'art' either, don't understand that mentality at all, but if you own it, do as you will.
Last summer my friends & I rode an unrestored '40 Schwinn DX in a cruiser relay race downtown and won the race by a lap and a half. We beat skinny kids on skinny tire bikes with shaved legs and drilled out hubs, we beat teams with 5 speeds on their bikes. We won not only the race, we won oldest bike and oldest team. We won because we ride our bikes, not by sitting on our 'lazy' asses and spending thousands on a bike that is too valuable to ride.
I truly appreciate the restorers out there, don't get me wrong, but to call 'rat' bike riders lazy is just ignorant. When is the last time you went on a 40 mile fat tire bike ride? We did last weekend and will do it again all summer long.
My bikes are loved and upgraded as needed, but all with vintage american parts. It's like the old motorcycle saying, 'it's not what you ride, it's that you ride' So, I'd suggest putting together a bike that you can ride, take a fall on, maybe get a scratch or two and go outside and put in some pedal time.
 

SJ_BIKER

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Mar 4, 2010
4,427
1,083
Hollister CA
#49
Besides..

One never knows when the next aerocycle or bluebird might be born with all the creative ideas out there that will define the generation of a time and people...right?
 

Boris

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
Feb 16, 2008
10,936
4,987
Portland, OR 97206
#50
I just kind of like to think of it as a rolling parts storage area....with a Bob U seat.

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Saving Tempest

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Feb 6, 2012
3,083
1,374
52
Earth (Middle)
#51
It's great if you want to do a complete restoration!

I did not. I have no clue as to the exact model Tempest, my Rollfast is and it came in about six or seven coats of primer over a red frame. I didn't get much out of carefully removing the primer. The headbadge was almost flattened and of course all color was gone. When I decided to paint I went with light and dark blue, white-apple green and white-dark blue fenders and the same green for the fork.

In all honesty, the Columbia repro tank must have been telepathic because although I had never seen a 1941 Columbia the design of the tank graphics and maybe the chainguard came out looking like a Columbia!I really like the split red reflectors a bunch as well and they go on all the bikes I've rode or sent out since.

The motorcycle panniers I used first were not very good, kept popping open while riding so now I am going to adapt the custom welded rack/pannier carrier for Saddleman saddlebags and also a late seventies Honda fairing.

IS is RAT? Seriously, In 37 years (late starter) I really don't know what a "RAT" is.

It will look even better than THIS-Where it was 43 years ago.

BTW I had to have some bracing do to the BB or it wouldn't even be here.

I wanted a 'motorcycle' bike with the Rollfast (who is Tempest), an old fashioned big fendered tank bike with custom striping and a Zephyr light for Germaine ('95 Schwinn Custom Cruiser) and I ended up with a horizontal Western Flyer tank and a small Delta torpedo-like light to mount under the basket unless I can find a longer chrome fender...I am trying to keep this one simple though and ALL have head, tail and signal lights.

ffthgw333u.JPG
Flyer at rest.JPG
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Rollfast.jpg
CHAINGUARD!.JPG
Mockup A.JPG
Fairing Front (1).JPG
 
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rustyspoke66

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 2, 2010
3,443
576
Spokane, WA
#52
Boy that,s a long read. I would just like to get back to the original post. First and foremost these bikes are 100% Americana. Another thing is the classification of rat rod or custom. I think any bike that has been taken from it's original manufactured state or condition should be considered "Custom". So even the guys restoring bikes are building custom bikes to some extent and they may be correctly restored but they usually are not. Most restorations I see have had the chrome redone in show quality triple plate and really nice shinny clear coats on the paint. Don't get me wrong I think they look great but wouldn't they still be considered custom? As far as the rat bike thing goes if a guy want's to build a bike that would be consider'd a rat bike, do some research on what makes a car a rat rod and go that direction. Otherwise you are building a custom bike. That's it, just custom and as long as you are having fun, go with it.
 

brownster69

Finally riding a big boys bike
Feb 18, 2010
437
25
university place,washington
#53
rat bikes

jeff, you said it i see restored bikes and they are over restored and too shinny i own a lot of vintage gas pumps and it is hard to make them look original like when they were new so i hate them compared to my original un restored pumps in my collection. same with rat rod cars i have a vintage era correct chopped/channeled model a and i built it to 50's era correct and it is not painted yet and i get the stigma nice rat rod .. and it pisses me off because it is a 50's era traditional custom hotrod. so the second bike i am building a so called rat bike but it is not i call them hot rod custom bikes i use junky rusted house painted parts and powder coat and paint them so atleast the parts do not go to the scrap yard but on the flip side i have a lot of original un restored bikes from 1912 to 1953 that i love to death and i ride the tires off them every month so yes most of these bikes i think are customs not rat bikes.
 

rustyspoke66

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 2, 2010
3,443
576
Spokane, WA
#54
Boy, I didn't think this post would keep guys from posting their bikes. I hope no one is taking this to heart, after all the things being said are just opinion and personal preference. Just to hopefully help clear some stuff up this section of the Cabe is called "Custom Bikes" which is just that and I hope it doesn't die from a few comments. So lets see some custom or rat bikes. Here are some examples of cars that this all came from.
RAT ROD.
ratrod-1.jpg

Custom Crazy.
CustomCar-1.jpg

Custom with taste.
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So lets get some bikes in this section and once again the pictures above are just my opinion. Not set in stone.
 

Saving Tempest

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Feb 6, 2012
3,083
1,374
52
Earth (Middle)
#55
Boy, I didn't think this post would keep guys from posting their bikes. I hope no one is taking this to heart, after all the things being said are just opinion and personal preference. Just to hopefully help clear some stuff up this section of the Cabe is called "Custom Bikes" which is just that and I hope it doesn't die from a few comments. So lets see some custom or rat bikes. Here are some examples of cars that this all came from.
RAT ROD.
So lets get some bikes in this section and once again the pictures above are just my opinion. Not set in stone.
I've got one less bike to work on since my Flyer was stolen over 2 weeks ago.

Tempest has been on hold for almost a year. It's not that hard perhaps but life owns me too much. Dad had lung cancer, we held his last reunion in July and he died December 10. I never gave the style a name, it's my bike. I've never been a full resto type anyway. The bike is for me and I'm a klutz.

I like seeing them as much as any saved from the swamp in an old barn Columbia. DO post.
 
7

70mustangmatt

Guest
#56
i dont know what this is

i saved this 1954 schwinn from the scrap heap when i was ten and its been sitting around doing nothing for the longest time until a couple weeks ago when i dug it out of the back yard i intend to put a tailfin on the fender thats why the coke cardboard is there early prefab im also looking for a cheap repop of the phantom or hornet style tanks if someone could help that'd be very nice
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videoranger

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Dec 19, 2006
571
166
Omaha, United States
#57
I call this build a "street rod". Started with a bent and dented frame and put together a great riding seven speed cruiser. 26 mile rides are my usual Friday afternoon relaxation and this bike is very comfortable for me. I sold off quite a few complete in need of restoration bikes and held back my best complete originals for my collection. A custom or rat build can be a great way to put together a bike that suits your individual riding and styling tastes. The fun thing about a custom is that you can put together some very cool combinations of parts to make a great ride. Using what you've found is much cheaper than searching for the correct part you need. The Dyno Moto Glide is one I found on Craig's a couple weeks ago for $200 in mint condition. It's a 1999 pre- pacific cyce GT factory custom that's done very nice. I'm more into spending $200 for a super nice complete rare bike than putting big bucks into a resto.
 

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danny7147

Finally riding a big boys bike
Nov 16, 2009
196
1
Boscombe, Dorset
www.bikestothefuture.com
#59
Define it!

How would you define a rat bike? One modified from its original form? A non authentic bike? Or both? My bikes have won best in show at numerous events, yet not a single one is original. Authentic, maybe. The fact is, change a brake pad, it's no longer original. Grease the bearings. No longer original. And take it a step further, say that brake pad is a modern copy by some Chinese manufacturer, it could be identical, but it's not authentic. Unless you want to leave rust as rust and leave a bike sitting in a cocoon from the day it was made then we're all guilty of ratting/modding, even those with a beautiful 1895 boneshaker... Polished it? Then it's not original.
 

danny7147

Finally riding a big boys bike
Nov 16, 2009
196
1
Boscombe, Dorset
www.bikestothefuture.com
#60
Poll!

Here are two of my bikes which will prove my point... which would you say you prefer out of the two, as in, go to a show, which catches your eye first?

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This one, is a 1905 Sunbeam. Totally authentic in every way, but missing a few cables. It's completely rusted out, but has the potential to be restored with sound metal underneath the rust. Always a head turner because it's 'original', but without a serious amount of restoration it will continue deteriorating and in a few more years time will end up in a little pile of rust on the workshop floor.

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This is my 1950 Norman Light Roaster. The first photo is of the day I got it. Everything you see was wrong, the mudguards, brakes, even the handlebars. After a HUGE amount of money and searching, it ended up as the bike you see today. Completely unoriginal other than the frame, but LOOKS authentic. There's not a single part on it that came from another Norman Light Roadster. So does that make it modded?

As I said, change one part and it's no longer original... but if you're a restorer/collector then I can guarantee you're as guilty of destroying history and heritage as the guy who goes one step further and takes out a welding torch to one.
 

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