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Schwinn American - May 2, 1958

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Arnold Ziffel

Finally riding a big boys bike
Here is the current Chinese 41mm universal motorcycle red reflector that I have been using for more than five years on Schwinn lightweight fenders from the early sixties through 1973 where the original mount bezel pad remains with the original Schwinn carriage bolt affixing it without the original reflector(..i.e. Orig Reflector Is Gone..missing from the fender).

SEARCH ebay, all categories for: 41mm reflector

They are all exactly the same manufacture, despite the fact that about a dozen different Chinese vendors carry them.

I have found these to be near perfect replacements for the1973 and earlier COLLEGIATE/SUBURBAN....etc Rear Fenders.
I think about 1974 Schwinn went to the ugly rectangle rear fender reflectors instead of the round one mounted on top of that stamped chromed steel bezel mount also attached to the fender.
THEY ARE EXACTLY 1 10/16th = 1 5/8" = just slightly more than 41mm, .....around 41.4mm.
I MEASURED FIVE OF THEM (these chinese 41mm red reflectors on the bay) THAT I HAVE ON HAND, AND THEY HAVE ALL BEEN EXACTLY THE SAME.
They are high quality reflectors with an INTEGRAL threaded stud and Nut.........(THE integral stud is the perfect diameter needed!)
******HOWEVER, the INTEGRAL threaded stud is TOO LONG in my opinion by around 4mm or so, Too Long for perfect factory like mounting on SUBURBAN & COLLEGIATE rear fenders.
............I test fit the 41mm Chinese Red reflector, and then decide the amount to CUT OFF of the integral threaded stud.
Very Important: The Only Way To Successfully Hacksaw The Integral Threaded Stud Without Marring or Damaging The Reflector IS TO USE A PIECE OF SCRAP METAL or TO USE A PIECE OF SCRAP WOOD, as a temporary mount for the reflector SO YOU CAN THEN CLAMP THE SCRAP METAL OR WOOD PIECE into your bench vise. With a hole in the scrap metal or wood piece, that your reflector is temporarily bolted securely to, you can saw off the excess length of the integral stud with no damage to the reflector. You cannot just clamp the reflector in the vise as the vise will muck up the appearance of the reflector. This is why you want to temporarily mount it to something like a strong-tie flat metal strap or other scrap metal or piece of scrap wood, etc..

I have used these exact current 41mm Chinese Red Reflectors on about twenty five Schwinn Collegiate/Suburban fenders.
You simply remove the existing Schwinn carriage bolt that holds the chrome stamped steel bezel mount to the fender.
There is a cheap square, thin flat steel "nut" that is original holding the existing Schwinn carriage nut and bezel to the fender.
Installation of 41mm Chinese Red Reflector is SIMPLE:
First test fit to determine how much length of the integral stud to cut-off.
You could probably do the install without cutting the integral stud BUT THIS WOULD BE THE WRONG CHOICE IN MY OPINION as it would protrude farther and closer to the tire tread, and it wouldn't look like someone did a professional repair-replacement if anyone views the space behind the fender. If you do cut off the necessary amount, your attachment will appear factory like and professional such that most folks would not know the difference between the replacement and factory items.


That is just one of many Chinese vendors on the bay that carry these 41mm red reflectors.
I have ordered from several of them, including possibly this one, but the last time I ordered was prior to the pandemic, 2019 and earlier, and I received all the different orders in less than 3 weeks. I cannot say what might be typical today.
They are quality red reflectors, and all were exactly the same despite orders from several different folks in China on the bay during 2019 and earlier.
Be forewarned that these 41mm reflectors are also available in Amber (orange) and also in RED with black perimeter WHICH YOU DON'T WANT because you do want the RED with silver perimeter as shown in the above bay example.

I know that these are not the ORIGINAL Schwinn reflectors but they are the finest aftermarket replacements that I have located to date, specifically for 1973 and earlier COLLEGIATE, SUBURBAN, other lightweight Schwinn rear fenders, that have LOST the original Schwinn reflector but still has that stamped steel Chrome bezel mount attached to the fender.
They are a quality replacement, that does provide a superb appearance, much better than a beat up, looking original reflector on an otherwise sharp looking Collegiate/Suburban fender.
 

chopperMil

Look Ma, No Hands!
Here is the current Chinese 41mm universal motorcycle red reflector that I have been using for more than five years on Schwinn lightweight fenders from the early sixties through 1973 where the original mount bezel pad remains with the original Schwinn carriage bolt affixing it without the original reflector(..i.e. Orig Reflector Is Gone..missing from the fender).

SEARCH ebay, all categories for: 41mm reflector

They are all exactly the same manufacture, despite the fact that about a dozen different Chinese vendors carry them.

I have found these to be near perfect replacements for the1973 and earlier COLLEGIATE/SUBURBAN....etc Rear Fenders.
I think about 1974 Schwinn went to the ugly rectangle rear fender reflectors instead of the round one mounted on top of that stamped chromed steel bezel mount also attached to the fender.
THEY ARE EXACTLY 1 10/16th = 1 5/8" = just slightly more than 41mm, .....around 41.4mm.
I MEASURED FIVE OF THEM (these chinese 41mm red reflectors on the bay) THAT I HAVE ON HAND, AND THEY HAVE ALL BEEN EXACTLY THE SAME.
They are high quality reflectors with an INTEGRAL threaded stud and Nut.........(THE integral stud is the perfect diameter needed!)
******HOWEVER, the INTEGRAL threaded stud is TOO LONG in my opinion by around 4mm or so, Too Long for perfect factory like mounting on SUBURBAN & COLLEGIATE rear fenders.
............I test fit the 41mm Chinese Red reflector, and then decide the amount to CUT OFF of the integral threaded stud.
Very Important: The Only Way To Successfully Hacksaw The Integral Threaded Stud Without Marring or Damaging The Reflector IS TO USE A PIECE OF SCRAP METAL or TO USE A PIECE OF SCRAP WOOD, as a temporary mount for the reflector SO YOU CAN THEN CLAMP THE SCRAP METAL OR WOOD PIECE into your bench vise. With a hole in the scrap metal or wood piece, that your reflector is temporarily bolted securely to, you can saw off the excess length of the integral stud with no damage to the reflector. You cannot just clamp the reflector in the vise as the vise will muck up the appearance of the reflector. This is why you want to temporarily mount it to something like a strong-tie flat metal strap or other scrap metal or piece of scrap wood, etc..

I have used these exact current 41mm Chinese Red Reflectors on about twenty five Schwinn Collegiate/Suburban fenders.
You simply remove the existing Schwinn carriage bolt that holds the chrome stamped steel bezel mount to the fender.
There is a cheap square, thin flat steel "nut" that is original holding the existing Schwinn carriage nut and bezel to the fender.
Installation of 41mm Chinese Red Reflector is SIMPLE:
First test fit to determine how much length of the integral stud to cut-off.
You could probably do the install without cutting the integral stud BUT THIS WOULD BE THE WRONG CHOICE IN MY OPINION as it would protrude farther and closer to the tire tread, and it wouldn't look like someone did a professional repair-replacement if anyone views the space behind the fender. If you do cut off the necessary amount, your attachment will appear factory like and professional such that most folks would not know the difference between the replacement and factory items.


That is just one of many Chinese vendors on the bay that carry these 41mm red reflectors.
I have ordered from several of them, including possibly this one, but the last time I ordered was prior to the pandemic, 2019 and earlier, and I received all the different orders in less than 3 weeks. I cannot say what might be typical today.
They are quality red reflectors, and all were exactly the same despite orders from several different folks in China on the bay during 2019 and earlier.
Be forewarned that these 41mm reflectors are also available in Amber (orange) and also in RED with black perimeter WHICH YOU DON'T WANT because you do want the RED with silver perimeter as shown in the above bay example.

I know that these are not the ORIGINAL Schwinn reflectors but they are the finest aftermarket replacements that I have located to date, specifically for 1973 and earlier COLLEGIATE, SUBURBAN, other lightweight Schwinn rear fenders, that have LOST the original Schwinn reflector but still has that stamped steel Chrome bezel mount attached to the fender.
They are a quality replacement, that does provide a superb appearance, much better than a beat up, looking original reflector on an otherwise sharp looking Collegiate/Suburban fender.
Thank you. I'll keep your suggestion in mind when I'm working on a lightweight.
 

Oilit

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
The only thing I question is the Weinmann front brake. The American was originally advertised as being "100% American Made" and used Schwinn's own rim brake on the front wheel, where the Weinmann caliper was made in Switzerland. The 1955-'58 American also had either a single speed rear hub or the Bendix manual because the Sturmey-Archer was made in England. I've seen several of the later first-generation Americans with your set-up, but whether Schwinn changed the spec.'s or it was done by dealers, I don't know.
From the Waterford Bikes Schwinn Catalog Scans:

1955 American.JPG
 
Last edited:

Oilit

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
The American wasn't listed for 1959, but the first line under the "Accessories and Special Equipment" section of the price list says "Front Caliper Brake - on Middleweight models. Not Available". They were still offering front caliper brakes on middleweights with drilled forks, so this must refer to the "rim" brakes. Maybe there was a production or supply problem?

1670510369797.png
 

chopperMil

Look Ma, No Hands!
The only thing I question is the Weinmann front brake. The American was originally advertised as being "100% American Made" and used Schwinn's own rim brake on the front wheel, where the Weinmann caliper was made in Switzerland. The 1955-'58 American also had either a single speed rear hub or the Bendix manual because the Sturmey-Archer was made in England. I've seen several of the later first-generation Americans with your set-up, but whether Schwinn changed the spec.'s or it was done by dealers, I don't know.
From the Waterford Bikes Schwinn Catalog Scans:

View attachment 1747174
As I was replacing the front brake pads imprinted Weinmann this weekend that very thought occurred to me as well. Must have been replacements based on the spec sheet.
 
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