Okay, got some more progress to report!
First, I cleaned up and installed these 2 26" x 2.125" diamond tread tires I got from my friend Allan.
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They may not look quite as cool as the knobbier tires I had on before, but I think they still look alright. I bet they'd look even nicer if I painted over the pink stripes with a deeper red! After I shot this photo, I slapped the chain guard back on and took the Schwinn for a test ride around the neighborhood.
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Despite the change in tires, both of which were inflated to the recommended 40psi, I still felt it wasn't any easier to pedal than before. This leads me to believe I need to change the rear gear. Speaking of which, during my 2nd test ride today, the chain came off the rear gear. Turns out that it really does take 2 people to install the rear wheel correctly on this bike. I figured I could get the chain tight enough on my own this time around, but unfortunately, the axle washers like to "walk forward" as I tighten them down, despite having teeth that should make that less of an issue.
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So now what?
Well, I'm not sure what exactly I'll be doing during Thanksgiving, but after Turkey Day, there's a major BMX race and show happening at the Tulsa Expo this weekend. My friend @billn will be there hosting and organizing the Vintage BMX show on Saturday, and it'd be fun to hang out with him and all the other bike guys who'll be there. I'd like to try and get this bike into a more rideable state in time for that show. Don't know if I'm able to enter it into the event, but I would like to at least show it off and ride it around there either way.
Thankfully, I don't think it'll be too much effort to get the kinks I've been struggling with sorted out by then. All I really need to do is:
1. Swap the rear gear,
2. Modify the chain length to fit,
3. Reinstall the wheel and chain,
4. Swap out the seat and seat post for something more comfortable to ride on,
5. Swap grips to match new seat, and
6. Button up and tweak everything as needed.
If I can get the rideability issues sorted out, then I can focus on all the aesthetic mods I have in mind, few as they may be. I don't know if I'll be able to do any painting during the fall/winter season, but as long as I can ride this bike now, I'm happy.
Side note: I didn't do the whole "measure and compare" thing today, but I'll definitely test it out when I have more time to tinker with it.