PROJECT QUICK CHANGE - SUBJECT: Schwinn Dixie (Custom 1950s Schwinn DX Bare Metal Bike)

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Bike from the Dead

Wore out three sets of tires already!
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After the brief debacle of trying to convert this 1950/1951 Schwinn DX frame into a muscle bike for the 2020-2021 Muscle Bike Build Off, I’ve decided to go back to building this Schwinn as a good old-fashioned cruiser. I’ve got most if not all the parts I need to make it happen, it’s just a matter of figuring out what it’s going to look like this time around.

For those of you who didn’t see the MBBO thread for this bike, here’s the backstory for this project: this is actually the very bike that got me into this hobby a little over 3 years ago. I won this bike at an auction for $65, and since then, I've been working on this bike on and off for over 3 years. I got this idea in my head early on that I would change this DX frame's appearance by swapping parts whenever I got bored with how it looked or rode. I was loosely inspired by the quick-change rear ends racers use on their cars to change how their cars drive, and by an old act of the same name I once saw on America's Got Talent where these people would quickly change their wardrobe and even their hair, hence the first half of this bike's name. Schwinn Dixie was just a quirky play on Schwinn DX and Winn Dixie, because why not? I gradually accumulated a stash of various forks, fenders, chain guards, wheels, you name it, all for this bike. Though I've never gotten this bike in a finished, functional state, I eventually come back to it and mock up different parts to see what direction I want to take it.

And just to prove my point, here's a taste of just how many mockups I've done to this bike, both physical and digital:
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I took advantage of the nice weather earlier this week and mocked up Schwinn Dixie again. I finally tested out these rivet bolts I bought from the head honcho of The C.A.B.E. himself on the fenders, and they're perfect for this constantly-changing project. I slapped together everything else just so I could get it rolling and see how I felt about the overall look. The seat sits too high because I can't get the seat post to go down all the way, which must be why the original seat post had a few inches cut off the bottom. I doubt I'm going to use this seat, but I had it, and it'll at least help with the initial mockups. The wood insert is just an old template I made a couple years ago.
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Back in 2019, one of my relatives helped me modify a few parts and fix a few problems with the frame. Unbeknownst to me, he also modified the original chain guard, even though I didn't ask him to. I was bummed at first, but just last night, I figured out that the changes he made to the chain guard made it fit closer to the smaller chainring, since it originally fit around a larger skiptooth chainring. It sits a little lower and further back than an original, which is pretty neat. The dent in the rear fender shows a little more as a result, but whatever.
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I also had some fun on Tuesday shooting some car photos at a fellow Rat Rod Biker's place, where I bought these 4 wheels and tires for this bike. I admittedly have a ton of 26 inch wheels already, but I have very few matching pairs. These will help take care of that. One set is your run-of-the-mill Walmart aluminum wheels, but the other wheels are these old chrome wheels, with 26" x4" fat tires and a GIANT (too me at least) Bendix coaster brake hub.
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These tires are cool and all, they're in great shape despite the dust, but I have no use for them. I don't need mountain bike tires, especially ones as hefty as these, so I'm just going to put these up for sale or trade here later. No idea what these are really worth at the moment, so any advice would be much appreciated.
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Here's what I'm really interested in: this massive Bendix Automatic coaster brake hub. It needs to be taken apart and serviced, as it doesn't move like it should, but it looks complete at least. I have no idea what kind of hub this is, though. Is it a multispeed hub, or is it just a big honking coaster brake? There's no axle hole for a shifter, so how does this bad boy work?
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One last big surprise: When I took the tires and rim tape off, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the spoke nipples are all nice and shiny up top, even though they have a little surface rust on the sides. The insides of the wheels look good too. The surface rust you see on the rear wheel is really just the worst of it, and it should clean up easy enough. The front wheel, however, looks almost like new on the inside. I've never seen and old wheel this nice and shiny inside before!
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So, what's next? Well, I still don't know what Schwinn Dixie is going to look like this first time around. My original plan had been to build it like this, with a custom wood tank fitted with a pair of '57 Thunderbird front fender vents and some VW Beetle dashboard trim, but I'd need help from someone with tools and woodworking skills I don't have in order to make the tank fit flush against the sides of the frame. That's not going to happen for a while, so I need to figure out how to simplify my tank design so I can do it all by myself right now.
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But, by simplifying the tank, I can't use most of the various bits and pieces I planned to use to decorate the tank, as it'd be to small to fit most of those parts. I know I'm going to sandblast, wire brush and clear the frame and fork at least, but as for the rest, I don't know. I've got a few ideas, but nothing concrete yet. I just have to look at the rest of the parts I've got, see what I can and can't do, and go from there.
 

Bike from the Dead

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Went and pulled more parts out of storage (some of which I had just put into storage only a week or two ago,) so I could hopefully get a better idea of what direction PROJECT QUICK CHANGE/Schwinn Dixie is going to go this time around. It was already dark by the time I got home and unloaded everything, so I plan to mock up both this bike and a few alternate builds for my MBBO trike Poison Apple sometime tomorrow when I have more daylight.
 

Bike from the Dead

Wore out three sets of tires already!
After mocking up some of Poison Apple's parts on another frame, I tried to figure out what parts to use on Schwinn Dixie. The biggest hurdle that I'm facing right now is the tank. I had been working with a friend last year to make several wood tanks for this bike, as he has all the tools and skills I need for the task, but then the pandemic hit, and I have had to simplify the tank design so I could make it myself. That means that I won't be able to use most of the tank decor that I had originally planned to use, as the tank is now a smaller size than what I had originally planned. I'm also thinking about making a custom headlight using some fence post toppers and some classic car horn buttons I got with this exact idea in mind, though I don't know if I'm actually going to do that just yet.

Here are some of the bits and pieces I'm playing with: some cactus wood, a few fence post toppers, some car horn buttons, a pair of steel toes, some VW Beetle dashboard trim, a busted '64 Mercury Comet taillight and some other Comet parts.
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I like the idea of using this cactus wood inside the tank, but to really work, I'd like to soak it in water and then bend it to the shape I really need. It's close, but not quite there. Problem is, I have no idea if this is the right kind of wood for bending, and even if it is, how to bend it and hold it into shape. If anyone here could help me answer that, I'd appreciate it.
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For those of you who don't know, I own and drive a 1964 Mercury Comet, and ever since I got into bikes, I've been thinking about making a custom bike inspired by my Comet.
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I've had this modified '64 Comet horn button for a while, and I've found it fits over this fence post topper almost perfectly. I'd love to make a custom headlight out of these parts, or at least something that looks like a headlight, even if it doesn't light up at all. I don't know if that's going to happen anytime soon, as I would want to fill in those spots where the arms were cut off the horn button, and I may even want to rechrome everything.
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I also found that this Chevy horn button fits perfectly inside the same fence post topper as well.
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I'm also thinking about using one of these smaller horn buttons and fence post toppers too, but I'd almost want to double them up, as they look a little too small on this bike.
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Here are some ideas I came up with for the tank: You know how those '50s Monark bikes had this chrome wraparound piece at the front of the tank?
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Well, I've been thinking about emulating that element with a pair of steel toes. I tried figuring out how to use them along with some VW trim to see if I could come up with something I like. Just pretend the trim strips are curved to follow the tank, as that's what I'd do with them. I'm not sure about the design yet, but I think it could look cool if done right.
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I also have a couple of these Comet scripts that might work for the tank as well. They'd certainly be the easiest to attach, give that they're flat on the back.
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I'm still not sure where I'm going with this bike, but I've at least got some ideas. What do you guys think? I'm open to any and all ideas!
 

Jeff54

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Cool! So it's a 2-speed? How does it stop then?
2 Speed kick back, It's a coaster brake. To change gears you kick back to brake but don't push hard enough to stop, just kick it back quickly, lightly and go.
I looks like you over think this thing. U can't have somebody guide U or it ain't all yours. Just do it.
 

Bike from the Dead

Wore out three sets of tires already!
2 Speed kick back, It's a coaster brake. To change gears you kick back to brake but don't push hard enough to stop, just kick it back quickly, lightly and go.
Okay, thanks.
I looks like you over think this thing. U can't have somebody guide U or it ain't all yours. Just do it.
I may be overthinking it a bit, but it's because I want this bike to turn out right. I've got tons of parts and pieces for customizing this one bike, (in fact, I started an entire thread showcasing most, most, of the parts and pieces I have acquired all for customizing this bike.) Despite my options for customizing this bike being somewhat limited as of late, I still have a lot of options left to choose from, so I'm just trying to narrow it down to one design. Plus, I see no problem asking for other peoples' opinions, critique and/or advice on my projects, because they may see something I don't see, or they might have an idea of how I could do something better. As an illustrator/graphic designer, I'm always asking for feedback on my work, because I want to improve. Getting that feedback is just one of many ways to help me build on my skills and improve my work. I can still make this bike my own, I just want a little help to get the ball, and this bike, rolling.
 

Superman1984

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
@Bike from the Dead I don't remember if you ever told me or your 1st name but let me see if I can help you out some; "tanks" side panels can made from decking boards from Lowes or Home Depot
1395286

This is 1 1/8" treated 1 side of a project I started working on. Cut out with a jig saw & sanded. I spray bombed it & then scuffed it back down to get some grain to show through. You can scribe/scratch where the tank needs to bevel or contour to the frame snug. Chisel & sand it into shape. You can drill it for screw through or wood dowels if you don't want screws showing.
 

Jeff54

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Okay, thanks.

I may be overthinking it a bit, but it's because I want this bike to turn out right. I've got tons of parts and pieces for customizing this one bike, (in fact, I started an entire thread showcasing most, most, of the parts and pieces I have acquired all for customizing this bike.) Despite my options for customizing this bike being somewhat limited as of late, I still have a lot of options left to choose from, so I'm just trying to narrow it down to one design. Plus, I see no problem asking for other peoples' opinions, critique and/or advice on my projects, because they may see something I don't see, or they might have an idea of how I could do something better. As an illustrator/graphic designer, I'm always asking for feedback on my work, because I want to improve. Getting that feedback is just one of many ways to help me build on my skills and improve my work. I can still make this bike my own, I just want a little help to get the ball, and this bike, rolling.
I had similar prob once, before it became mountain dew slogan. Thought the guy whom I was seeking advise from was cold. He was annoyed by me, interrupting his train of thought, asking professional artistic advice, and when he only said: Just do it Jeff; in a irritated tone, I thought He was a big smarty pants, know it all, big wig designer who U just could not break down personal or friendly conversation. . . Da kin, U no, like, have no time for U or idol chat, ..
I had been procrastinating about it for weeks and narrowed down to just a day left to accomplish my project until, I just did it. It was the best advice, short and sweet and then, I realized, he wasn't a jerk at all. He just behaved like that all the time. .

Ur Red stripe Kick back also happens to be the the earliest and best of the three, Red yellow and blue, Red is most preferred considered the toughest too. look it up on net.
 

Superman1984

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
For the moulding trim consider this; if it is aluminum then you will have to anneal it before any kind of shaping & too hot will melt it. If it is Chrome pot metal it'd still have to be heated but a round metal dowel rod can help shape it & contour as you heat it. Now a easier suggestion would be the cheap peel & stick chrome trim for autos; different widths & contouring. Up close is the only way you'd see the difference
 
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