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

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razinhellcustomz

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
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.
View attachment 1733221

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.
View attachment 1733222

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.
Your dad must have a heated shop i would assume, so just warm up the wheels over night so they are room temperature and you should have no problems with the paint.... Good luck....
 

piercer_99

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
'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.'

View attachment 1733221


This was my 51' Schwinn klunker. It was practical for what it was. Easy to touch up the paint when it was needed.

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1733264
 

Bike from the Dead

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Your dad must have a heated shop i would assume, so just warm up the wheels over night so they are room temperature and you should have no problems with the paint.... Good luck....
Only the showroom and the room behind it has heat and air. The room where he does powder coating (and I do paint) doesn't. And last I heard, his heater's having issues. I suppose I could use his powder coating oven to preheat them a bit or use it as a space heater, but I don't know if that'd work. I've never tried painting in the winter before.
 

razinhellcustomz

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Only the showroom and the room behind it has heat and air. The room where he does powder coating (and I do paint) doesn't. And last I heard, his heater's having issues. I suppose I could use his powder coating oven to preheat them a bit or use it as a space heater, but I don't know if that'd work. I've never tried painting in the winter before.
That should work, they just need to be around room temperature 72 degrees...
 

Bike from the Dead

Wore out three sets of tires already!
I finally took the Kasual Klunker out for both my and its first off road test ride around a local water reservoir today. And I've got to say, it did not go like I expected it to. Nothing came loose or apart thankfully, but even before I made it a third of the way around the 2.6 miles of gravel surrounding the reservoir, I could tell this bike has some issues that need fixing.
217495-BftD-52-hornet-reservoir-ride-1.jpg

217496-BftD-52-hornet-reservoir-ride-2.jpg


By the time I pulled off to the side of the trail and shot these photos, I was worn out. I don't know if it's the gear ratio, the terrain, the tires, the untouched coaster brake hub, the rider, or all the above, but this bike is a pain to pedal! I even noticed how after test riding it around the neighborhood roads earlier this week that it's harder to pedal this Schwinn than most of my other bikes. Even on my last build, Shoestring, I could ride the full loop around the neighborhood and still have plenty of energy to keep riding for quite a bit longer. This Schwinn, however, is tough to keep riding even after just traveling to the front entrance of my neighborhood and back! And before you make the (fair) assumption that it's just the rider, just last month I rode about 10 miles, the furthest I've ever ridden a bike in one trip, on another trail in Missouri on my grandma's 1965 Schwinn Hollywood, with baskets and water bottles adding a little extra weight. And that trail wasn't as level as I thought it would be. There were more than a few points where I was riding uphill!
217498-BftD-hollywood-frisco-highland-trail-ride.jpg


Another issue I couldn't ignore while riding the Schwinn today: the seat I have on there, while nice in appearance, is about as comfortable as sitting on a bare metal seat pan, and even then I'd bet there are bare metal seat pans more comfortable than this seat! It has virtually no padding or cushion at all! Fortunately, I have a few other seats I could try on this bike. Unfortunately, none of them look as nice as the one I currently have on the bike.

As for the other issues I experienced while riding this Hornet today, I'm not quite sure what to do yet. I'm sure repacking the coaster brake hub might help, and even swapping to a bigger or smaller rear gear could help too, but I want to try a couple things before I risk messing up another coaster brake hub. The weather's going to get ugly for a little bit, but come Monday and Tuesday next week, it should get back into the mid-to-high 50s. I want to take some of my other bikes out to the same trail I rode on today, and just see if it's any easier riding those bikes around this trail compared to this Schwinn. If it turns out my other bikes can handle the trail better than this Schwinn, despite the fact that none of my other bikes have off road tires, then that might help me figure out what's going on. I also might try switching to street tires on this Schwinn just to see if that makes a difference. I want this to be a good entry-level off road bike, but right now, it can't seem to handle even a level trail of gravel right now. Hopefully I'll be able to remedy that soon.

I did get a video of today's ride, but I need to get it all spliced together and edited before I can post it. I should have that done and ready to share soon.
 

Bike from the Dead

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Okay, just took a moment to try and find the problem I was having riding this bike last week. The rear wheel spins fine, the front wheel spins better than fine, and the crank and pedals are spinning as intended. I think the coaster brake hub could use some fresh grease, but I don't think that's the cause of the problems I had earlier.

I think @JA331 on ratrodbikes.com was right; it could be the knobby tires that caused so much trouble to keep this bike moving. Fortunately I have a few sets of street tires that I can try on tomorrow. We'll see if that makes a difference. If it turns out my off road tires are what made this bike so difficult to pedal, I'm going to be laughing. There's a certain irony in putting off road tires on a bike only for those tires to be the reason I can't ride the bike off road at all.
 

razinhellcustomz

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
You will encounter much more rolling resistance with these tires versus the road bike tires due to the more aggressive tread patterns..You should have better results with say a Schwinn diamond tread pattern... Good luck... RideOn.....
 

GTs58

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
That rear valve stem looks awful short. Did you checkie the air pressure before or after the trip? Cones adjusted good so under torque that big rear tire wasn't lightly rubbing on the stays? I know that kind of pea gravel is somewhat like walking in sand depending on how deep and loose it is. I doubt that tread is causing much of an issue on that small gravel. But it might on asphalt.
 
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