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Kasual Klunker (Formerly "The Ratical Rustin' Hornet")

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Bike from the Dead

Wore out three sets of tires already!
The only way to do a really decent job of painting wheels is to unlace them, prep them correctly, and paint. V/r Shawn
And normally, that's what I'd do, but I kind of want to save myself some time and money by just leaving the wheels assembled. Maybe I can talk to one of my local bike friends and see what they think. One guy I know has disassembled, painted, laced and trued wheels for his motorized bikes dozens of times, so maybe he could help me with these wheels.
 

Bike from the Dead

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Unless the bearing is flipped(and probably dragging keeping you from steering), stop worrying and ride it! You know, before it gets too cold...
Sounds like that gap has been there for about 67 years.
The gap on my 56...
View attachment 1729162
Gap on the 81...
View attachment 1729163


Gap on the 49, spins fine... maybe even with a little original dirt down in there. Lol
View attachment 1729164
Yeah, the gaps on your bikes are identical to what I've got on mine. I'm not letting it stop me from riding, but I'm still looking for a solution where I can. Thanks!
 

Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
And normally, that's what I'd do, but I kind of want to save myself some time and money by just leaving the wheels assembled. Maybe I can talk to one of my local bike friends and see what they think. One guy I know has disassembled, painted, laced and trued wheels for his motorized bikes dozens of times, so maybe he could help me with these wheels.
Why not learn to lace them yourself. You pick up a skill that serves you down the road and saves a bunch of money. Plenty of tutorials and it really isn't that hard. V/r Shawn
 

Bike from the Dead

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Why not learn to lace them yourself. You pick up a skill that serves you down the road and saves a bunch of money. Plenty of tutorials and it really isn't that hard. V/r Shawn
I might just do that. I've got a couple friends who know how to lace and true their own wheels, so maybe they could give me some tips and pointers to help me do it right.
 

Bike from the Dead

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Ok, BIG update to report from yesterday!

First, yesterday morning I bought a couple cans of spray paint that are a close match to the Hornet's original colors. These are the colors I'll use to paint the wheels so they'll match the rest of the bike.
Yeah, I didn't expect to go over that $50 budget I originally wanted to stick to by spending an additional $12-$14 on paint, but I also didn't expect to
1. fall in love with the original paint on this bike,
2. build an off-road klunker, and
3. enter the Off Road Build Off either. So you know what? If I'm going to build this Schwinn as a kool klunker, then it's got to have a set of wheels that match the rest of the bike. It's like going to a job interview; you want to dress your best to make a good impression, so you don't show up wearing white socks with black pants. That would just look silly!
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The paint's not the big update though. This is: I got the bike RIDING yesterday! In less than a month's time, from the moment I began to seriously try and start building this bike, to the moment I turned the pedals with my own 2 feet, I got this bike riding again! Granted, if we're talking from day of purchase to first ride, my RRBBO 2022 entry, Shoestring, is the fastest I've built a bike to riding condition, since I bought it in April and got it rolling in September. Still, from teardown to test ride, this is my new personal record!

All I had left to do to get the Schwinn rolling was grease and assemble the front wheel hub, install the handlebar and stem, and just get everything adjusted for the ride. Thankfully, I was able to get that all done and ride it around the neighborhood a bit before it started raining. I also got the first few test runs on video, but they're not good enough to post. I'll try to get some ride videos at one of the nearby dirt/gravel trails after the rain dries up.
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Bike from the Dead

Wore out three sets of tires already!
After those first couple test rides around the cul-de-sac, I grabbed a pair of matching handlebar grips, washed them off as quickly as I could, and threw those on the handlebars for a much longer test run. Well, they matched when they were dirty, but apparently they must have come off 2 different bikes! One must have come off a garage-kept, gently-used bike, and the other must have been one of the only surviving pieces of the bike it came off, 'cause that bike got abused! Still, I think they both look alright on the Schwinn.
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I rode it out to one of the main roads near the neighborhood. Between the clouds getting darker and the afternoon traffic, I couldn't get the best photos, but I shot what I could. As I rode to and from this spot, I was surprised how little I noticed those knobbier tires despite riding on asphalt the whole time. I thought they'd feel all bumpy and uncomfortable, but nope! They acted just like any other street tire. That just makes me feel all the more confident that this old Schwinn really can be a good all-terrain bike.
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Just to show how much this bike has changed so far, here's a couple comparison shots.
Before:
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After:
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Before:
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After:
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It's kind of funny to me just how this bike build has turned out so far. When I decided to build this bike, I was just going to try and slap it together using what parts I had laying around so I could ride it while I saved up the money and materials to strip it down and build it the way I wanted to later. I had no plans to save the original paint, much less fall in love with it. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: red and white are my 2 least-favorite colors, and I don't want or need more bikes in those colors. That said, after spending so much time and elbow grease shining up the paint with rubbing compound, I can't imagine getting rid of that original Schwinn-applied paint! It's survived 70 years up to this point, and hopefully it'll survive another 70 years after this point.

I also didn't expect to build this Schwinn as an off-road/all-terrain bike either! This was just going to be a simple "street bomber" build, with a used set of cream-colored tires wrapped around the wheels. I'm not really into mountain bikes or going off-road in anything smaller than a go-kart, but the moment I mocked up those knobby off-road tires, there was no point looking at the other street tires I planned to test out on this old Schwinn. Besides, sometimes it's good to step a little outside my comfort zone and try something new. There are quite a few bike trails around Tulsa meant for off-roading, and it'd be fun to check them out and get a change of scenery from the neighborhood and all the local parks I usually stick to when I want to go for a bike ride. Plus, it's just cool to have a bike that carries that same attitude those early klunkers have. Who knows, maybe down the road I'll do what those guys did and upgrade this bike to a 10-or-more-speed bike with better brakes and more serious off-road parts!

So what's next for the Kasual Klunker? Well, despite how it looks, I'm not actually done building this bike yet. I still want to paint the wheels to match the rest of the bike, so I may be taking the wheels apart to do that. Might even learn how to lace and true my own wheels while I'm at it. I also want to add a few other small touches to the bike to really make it my own, as I still feel like I've seen this exact bike somewhere else before. I don't plan on doing anything crazy, but I may want to add a number plate to the handlebars and frame, and maybe a bell to let others know I need a little room to pass them. ...Some folks just use up the whole path while they walk.

In the meantime, I'm going to try and keep myself warm by buzzing this Hornet around the neighborhood and whatever trails I find!
 

BFGforme

riding a'41 BF Goodrich deluxe autocycle deluxe
Throw the one grip in bleach for couple days! Wont hurt it at all! I threw couple grips in a plastic container with a lid and forgot about them for about a year and guess what, thought they would have dissolved but bleach was gone and grips were white and perfect!
 

Bike from the Dead

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Throw the one grip in bleach for couple days! Wont hurt it at all! I threw couple grips in a plastic container with a lid and forgot about them for about a year and guess what, thought they would have dissolved but bleach was gone and grips were white and perfect!
Thanks for the idea! I might just try that.
 

Bike from the Dead

Wore out three sets of tires already!
It seems every bike has its own unique challenges. This Schwinn is no different.

I know the bike's a rider now, and if I just stuck to my original "get it riding as quickly and cheaply as possible" goal, I'd be done, but I just can't stop at that now. I love the whole classic klunker vibe this bike has now, but as it is, it feels like I've seen this bike before. I want to add some personal touches to make this bike my own, but the challenge for me is how to add those personal touches without overdoing it. That's kind of challenging for me, because as much as I like the simple, functional look this bike has, I still feel like it needs a few elements to help it stand out amongst the other klunkers and BMX conversions I've seen. Most old school klunkers I've seen were built purely for function, so they didn't have a ton of custom parts other than what made the bike ride harder and faster than it originally could. Custom paint jobs and decals seemed to be nonexistent on those early klunkers, and even on the klunkers I've seen built recently, the paint jobs and decals are usually minimalistic, and all for good reason: those bikes are build to be ridden hard, so you don't want to spend a lot of time and money on paint, decals, and custom parts like tanks and fenders only for all that work to get scratched, scuffed, dented and dinged.

That said, since this is more of what I'd like to call an "entry-level" off road bike, I think I can get away with adding a few small custom touches without going overkill on the mods. I already mentioned painting the wheels to match the frame, but there are a few other small things I'd like to do on top of that. I want to add a bell to alert any pedestrians that I need room to pass, as I've had that issue on multiple occasions riding my other bikes on trails. I've got a bell that should work just fine, but I'd like to paint it to match the bike using the same paint for the wheels. I might also see about getting a seat-mounted tool bag that closely matches the seat or paint colors. I also want to take a page out of the vintage BMX playbook and make a custom number plate to mount to the handlebars.
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Here are a few sketches of some ideas I had in mind. I want to make use of the clear plexiglass I have in stock, and I think a nice transparent number plate would make a great custom touch to this bike. I'd love to try my idea on the top-right at some point, but I don't think this is the bike for that. I also had an idea for a plexiglass tank with a "floating" design in the middle, but I don't think I'm going that direction at this time. I think the only things I need on this number plate are the number, (52 for the year this bike was made,) the bike's name, and either my actual name or my username. I've never cut plexiglass before, so this could be a fun new challenge for me. Thankfully, jigsaw blades for this material aren't too pricey, and I have plenty of material to work with in case I mess up.
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So that's where I'm at with my build right now. I'm hoping I can figure out a way to paint my wheels despite the cold winter weather, but we'll see. I'll have to reach out to some of my local friends to see what they think I should do there.
 
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