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Original Pee Wee's Big Adventure Bike

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rockabillyjay

Finally riding a big boys bike
I was able to acquire this recently and wanted to do some research before sharing. I was working on a Pee Wee’s Big Adventure replica bike, doing a bunch of research and digging on the screen used bikes, when I happened across this bike. I was lucky to be able to purchase it. The bike comes from the prop house that outfitted the bikes for the film.



So what is it? First let’s get into a short history of the bikes used in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.



The beginning.

The poster bike was purchased from Pedal Pusher in Newport Beach. This is the bike that inspired the movie and appears on the cover of the script. It is also the bike that appears on the poster but has been airbrushed several times to appear as the bike does on screen.



Later once movie is under production, they order 13 more identical bikes from Pedal Pusher. Details from Charlie Churchill who worked there at the time of the builds:



-Bikes were powder coated red

-all have large Wald bars, Union pedals, “donkey” grips

-Had Schwinn racks and Schwinn chainguards

-Those without built in kickstands used Greenfeild stands

-production came back and got additional parts from Pedal Pusher (mudflaps, bells, streamers, mirrors)





An example of the way bikes were delivered can be seen in the opening Tour De France scene. A plain red Schwinn DX.



Bikes delivered to production.

13 Bikes delivered to prop house. Bikes are outfitted for screen there. (tanks, bags, siren etc)



I spoke with an employee of prop house who did the bags and guards says he would be surprised if they made much more than 4 sets of bags (4 sets known. Opening bag set seen on screen has yet to surface). I recently went to the Academy of Motion Pictures library in LA to review all the production photos and does appear that there were not many fully kitted bikes.


Info from the Propmaster on Big Adventure:

  • Was delivered bikes without tanks/accessories.
  • Had one prototype of each part to make copies.
  • Had 14 bikes in total but none fully outfitted at the same time due to budget (The Tarzan/House jump bike appears to be built by production explaining the +1 bike with production)
  • Would rob parts of one bike to complete another.






As for this bike, All the parts used match the screen used bikes down to the unique markings on the springer and stem bolt. The mix of parts used on the screen bikes and this one is so random, there’s no way it could be coincidental. A past employee of the Pedal Pusher that built the bikes for the film agrees all parts are consistent with what was used on the screen used bikes.



I believe it is one of the bikes built for the film but was never fully outfitted.



One of the really interesting things is the Tank.



The tank is cast fiberglass with wood supports inside. Same as screen used. This tank also has the special holes used for switches on the screen used bikes filled, and a notch cut for a cable. It also appears to have been painted white twice. This very well could be a screen used tank but there’s no way to know for sure.



I haven’t cleaned it (nor do I plan to). All I’ve done so far is add a few things (siren, light, sign) to make it similar to the pre-airbrushed poster bike (all can be reversed easily). I am fighting the urge to fully outfit it with bags etc! Sometimes doing extensive research leads to interesting finds!

A huge THANK YOU to Charlie Churchill for all the help and info.

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I'm really surprised that they haven't make a "Pee Wee"die-cast 1/6 or 1/20 scale model.
Like these Schwinn Phantoms or the Krate Bikes from AMT with a fancy package a "Collector Edition" or Commemorative Edition".
Packaging is everything, .😉

"Go Ahead, Scream Your Head Off!" ...
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