Klunker Build


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Intense One

I live for the CABE
Nov 30, 2011
1,016
836
Ipswich, MA
#1
Looking to build a Klunker style bike with a '65 Schwinn American frame with springer. Thinking about using S/A 3 speed tranny instead of running a 5 speed with derailleur. Any thoughts? Just in the thinking phase now............. Ray

image.jpg
 
Last edited:

bairdco

I live for the CABE
Dec 24, 2009
1,881
2,159
Midway
#3
Who cares if "they" didn't use springers? And, actually, they used whatever they wanted. I've seen vintage photos of klunkers with springers, since they probably tried everything they had laying around.

Most ended up with a bladed fork and truss rods for strength, at least until bmx style cruiser forks became available, probably because of the weakness, mushy feel, and the way springers tend to wash out in hard corners.

A modern klunker type bike can be anything you want.

If you're gonna hit serious trails, I wouldn't go with the SA. Those three speeds have a tendency to shift on their own, or find "neutral," usually when you're putting the hammer down.

But if you're just building a custom cruiser, do what you want.
 

Intense One

I live for the CABE
Nov 30, 2011
1,016
836
Ipswich, MA
#4
Who cares if "they" didn't use springers? And, actually, they used whatever they wanted. I've seen vintage photos of klunkers with springers, since they probably tried everything they had laying around.

Most ended up with a bladed fork and truss rods for strength, at least until bmx style cruiser forks became available, probably because of the weakness, mushy feel, and the way springers tend to wash out in hard corners.

A modern klunker type bike can be anything you want.

If you're gonna hit serious trails, I wouldn't go with the SA. Those three speeds have a tendency to shift on their own, or find "neutral," usually when you're putting the hammer down.

But if you're just building a custom cruiser, do what you want.
Good feedback, guys. Pretty much in the thought process. Mostly a "not for brutal use" bike. I have my F/S mtn bike for that!
 

Intense One

I live for the CABE
Nov 30, 2011
1,016
836
Ipswich, MA
#5
Good info on the S/A.....Didn't think about the lurking danger of busting a nut or two and singing soprano when cranking down on a slipping tranny! You're right...back in the day there were no rules to follow....do a build with what you had in your personal inventory and go for it.
 

Jaypem

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jan 20, 2016
311
263
Healdsburg, United States
#6
Other than the obligatory stripping away of anything extraneous and heavy ( fenders, racks, chain guard ..etc) a few of the classic accessories that spell Klunker to me are...motoX bars and levers, front drum brake, rat trap pedals, knobby tires, Brooks b72 saddle, tall seat post...maybe some gears, or maybe a kick brake and rear caliper brake coupled with the front drum for a real down hill Bomber ! (I grew up very close to Mt. Tam, still here).

Of course, borrowing bits and pieces as you see fit is what it's all about !
My number one favorite rider is a 1970 Heavy Duti that I took the front fender off, bobbed the back fender, threw a B72 and some old coke bottle grips on it. When the Tractors finally split, I picked up some sweet Pirellis ... It bombs like a dream !
 
Likes: Intense One

A.D.D.

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Feb 8, 2014
23
5
#7
I found Alan Bonds site to be a fantastic resource for Klunker history.

Keeping that in mind, the original Klunkers were kids stripping down Newsboy Schwinn bikes and running them in the dirt. Moneywise and resource wise, I doubt they were running high dollar stuff!
 

greenephantom

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Jul 29, 2009
874
52
Portland, OR
#9
If you want the versatility of a 3 speed hub, go with one of the new Sturmeys with the integrated drum brake. 3 speeds and a drum, pretty rad. 70mm is the standard version, the heavy duty one has a 90mm drum brake, which is awesome. Run a 90mm drum hub up front, you're good to go. Given, it'll take some doing to fit the hubs to the frame, spreading the rear triangle and such, but it's worth it.
Cheers, Geoff
 
Likes: Intense One

Intense One

I live for the CABE
Nov 30, 2011
1,016
836
Ipswich, MA
#10
I found Alan Bonds site to be a fantastic resource for Klunker history.

Keeping that in mind, the original Klunkers were kids stripping down Newsboy Schwinn bikes and running them in the dirt. Moneywise and resource wise, I doubt they were running high dollar stuff!
Agreed...we kids were always on a tight budget and used whatever was available.
 
Likes: kwoodyh

Intense One

I live for the CABE
Nov 30, 2011
1,016
836
Ipswich, MA
#11
If you want the versatility of a 3 speed hub, go with one of the new Sturmeys with the integrated drum brake. 3 speeds and a drum, pretty rad. 70mm is the standard version, the heavy duty one has a 90mm drum brake, which is awesome. Run a 90mm drum hub up front, you're good to go. Given, it'll take some doing to fit the hubs to the frame, spreading the rear triangle and such, but it's worth it.
Cheers, Geoff
Good info, Geoff.....I'm reverting to my young blood days when I had to use what's available to me, now. Of course, we as adults now can bend those rules a bit!
 

greenephantom

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Jul 29, 2009
874
52
Portland, OR
#12
And then if you want to really go all the way, pick up some alloy 26" hoops to lace the modern hubs up to. Some of the rims intended for use with disc brake hubs have a profile similar to the prewar drop centers. If you look into modern hoops, be aware that there's 36 hole and 32 hole versions, make sure the rim drilling matches the hub drilling.
Cheers, Geoff
 

A.D.D.

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Feb 8, 2014
23
5
#13
If you want the versatility of a 3 speed hub, go with one of the new Sturmeys with the integrated drum brake. 3 speeds and a drum, pretty rad. 70mm is the standard version, the heavy duty one has a 90mm drum brake, which is awesome. Run a 90mm drum hub up front, you're good to go. Given, it'll take some doing to fit the hubs to the frame, spreading the rear triangle and such, but it's worth it.
Cheers, Geoff


I will have to check those out! I am running Ukia's on the bike, and have some S-2 hoops ready to be laced up!


Have you put them up to any abuse? Sounds like a great set up!
 

Intense One

I live for the CABE
Nov 30, 2011
1,016
836
Ipswich, MA
#14
Likes: okozzy

bairdco

I live for the CABE
Dec 24, 2009
1,881
2,159
Midway
#16
You'll need a derailluer that can mount into the drop out, or weld a mount to the frame, or something. Not up to date on my derailluer technology, so not sure whats available.

I've got an old (80's) suntour derailluer set up I keep eyeing for a klunker build, but it's on the back burner. I can only ride one bike at a time, and haven't tired of my '48 DX yet...

20160209_162631.jpg
 

bricycle

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
Nov 18, 2009
20,143
4,476
Chicago area west
#17
I have a 3 sp Sturmey Archer w/coaster brake, seems to shift, but doesn't seem to brake (just trying in vise and turning by hand). Paid $40 ish for but you can have just for shipping if you wanna mess with it, it's nice and clean, chrome, and has 36 hole.
 
Likes: Intense One

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