The Schwinn Dixie Dreamcycle: My Entry for the 16th Annual Rat Rod Bikes Build Off

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Bike from the Dead

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Well, this is the third build thread I've created for this bike. Hopefully, this time the thread will end with a completed bike.
bftd_schwinn_dixie-jpg.jpg


If you haven't seen either the 2020/2021 MBBO thread or the second, separate build 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.
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Earlier today, I took the bike apart (again) and shot these photos of the frame, and most of the parts I plan to use to put it together.
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Originally, this was going to be a bare metal bike with a satin clear coat. However, since I built my last Build Off bike as a bare metal bike, I decided I wanted to do something different. Instead, I want to have this bike sandblasted and powder coated/painted. I want the final look of this bike to say "fun." I don't necessarily want this bike to look too aggressive, and one of the ways to help keep it lighthearted is to do it up in some bright, vivid color or colors. Here's the challenge: I don't want to spend a ton of money on this project, especially after how much I've already spent on all the different parts I got for this bike, and the last two custom bikes I've worked on. I really want to keep as close to a $100 budget (on top of what I've already spent) as reasonably possible. I hope to achieve that by using mostly stuff I already have in my possession. That means using parts that may not look quite as nice as I'd like, as well as parts that require the least amount of tuning and modification needed to get this bike rolling. Most challenging of all, that means certain parts will determine the final paint scheme of the bike. The tires especially limit my options. If the whitewall tires shown above weren't reduced to flaky plastic, picking a color palette would be easy, but for the sake of the budget, I'm going to use the black tires that I had initially bought for a daily rider project.
 

Bike from the Dead

Wore out three sets of tires already!
FULL DISCLOSURE: I actually started mocking up parts for this build a couple weeks before I started this thread. I didn't want to start the thread until I knew Dad and I could fix his sandblaster, as I wanted to be sure I stood a chance at finishing this bike by the Build Off deadline. I also didn't want to enter this year's Build Off until I had at least a good idea of what direction this bike was going to go. This was my initial idea:
bftd_schwinn_dixie_rrbbo_early_mockups_1-jpg.jpg

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I wanted to powder coat this bike a bright metallic orange, with metallic white accents and a chrome springer fork, and give it the nickname "Dreamcycle," in reference to one of my favorite summer treats. However, this design, as much as I love it, would be too expensive to build right now. The springer fork and seat are from another project, and it's the only one I have. I also don't have a good pair of whitewall tires (the tires pictured are dry-rotted, and are really only good for mockup purposes.) Those parts alone would set me back at least $120-$140, and that's not including the modifications to the rear fender! So, as much as wanted to build it this way, I needed to find a way to keep the extra costs down. That meant using mostly just what parts I already had laying around.
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This was about where I figured out the general attitude of this bike. Pretend that the rear fender is bobbed where the black line is, and this is almost how I'm thinking the final bike will look. One slight problem though: That fork is for a 24" middleweight bike. There's just enough room for a 26 inch balloon tire to fit, but there isn't any room for a front fender. I kind of want a front fender this time, so I need a different fork.
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That's better... sort of. I like the balanced distance between the two tires and the frame, but the fenders are too long, and the fork, nice as it is, has a bad steerer tube, which is why I didn't mockup all the parts. The good news is my local welder can fix both of those problems. The bad news is I don't know how much that will cost off the top of my head, but I'm betting $40 to $60 is a safe bet. By the way, these mockups were from earlier this afternoon, after disassembling the bike for the "start" photos.
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So, what's next? Well, I need to revisit my digital mockup of Schwinn Dixie so I can figure out the final color scheme for the bike. I also need to decide which parts I'm going to use, how much everything's going to cost, and whether or not I'm going to modify anything. I wouldn't be surprised if this project goes over $100, but I really want to keep the cost as low as possible this time while making use of what I've got. Still, I might be able to justify modifying existing parts, if the final look feels worth it to me (and if I can sell a few more bits and pieces I don't need.)
 

Bike from the Dead

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Okay, I spent a LOT of time obsessing over the color scheme for this bike, no thanks to the limitations of using the blackwall tires I have, instead of the whitewalls I want. I finally based my new paint scheme on this little Hot Wheels VW I got a while back. It's got a sort of candy blue color, with white, gold and orange racing stripes, and a little race number on the roof.
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I chose to color over one of the photos I shot yesterday, instead of using my usual Photoshop mockup, as it was easier to figure out the fork and front fender that way. The results are far from perfect, but here's the general idea I came up with based on that little VW. The number, 165, is a nod to the fact that this is my first vintage bike, and 65 is the price I paid for it at auction 3 years ago.
bftd_schwinn_dixie_paint_idea-png.png


I like the design I came up with today, but I still like my earlier "Dreamcycle" design even more. I already have a blue bike I'm working on, and I already did a race-inspired build during last year's RRBO. I don't have an orange bike so far, and to have one colored after one of my favorite frozen treats would be even sweeter. Plus, it would be (hopefully) a little cheaper and easier to put that one together. This design, as nice as it is, says "fast" and "tough" to me. I'm not looking for "fast" or "tough" this time around. I want "fun" and "leisurely."

So, here's the plan: I just found the receipt for those 2 blackwall tires earlier today. I'll call the bike shop I bought them from, and see if I can return them and get a pair of whitewalls instead. If that doesn't pan out, I'll put these tires up for sale/trade so I can get a pair of whitewalls without being out any cash. In the meantime, I'll see if I can disassemble my parts donor Schwinn so I can possibly use the fenders and anything else off of that. I can get the fenders bobbed, replace the steerer tube for the fork, and get everything else necessary to put this bike together, minus paint & primer. Best case scenario, I get my whitewall tires and build this bike the way I want. Worst case scenario... well, the above design will still look nice.

Let me know what you guys think! I'm always open to critique and suggestions!
 

Bike from the Dead

Wore out three sets of tires already!
I'll keep this post short and...
bftd_schwinn_dixie_rrbbo_whitewalls_1-jpg.jpg


...because I'm now off to a...
bftd_schwinn_dixie_rrbbo_whitewalls_2-jpg.jpg


Okay, puns aside, I was able to exchange those blackwall tires for a pair of whitewall tires. Now that that's out of the way, I'm going with my original "Dreamcycle" color scheme: orange and white. This will make finishing this bike much simpler and easier than if I went with the candy blue scheme I tinkered with yesterday.
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bftd_schwinn_dixie_rrbbo_whitewalls_5-jpg.jpg


I'm not sure which exact fork and front fender I'm using just yet, but I grabbed the white fork shown above, and the 2 forks below out of storage just in case I need to splice a steerer tube onto that red fork I mocked up earlier. Odds are the bent red fork pictured below will be the donor, as the rest of it's pretty mangled.
bftd_schwinn_dixie_rrbbo_donor_forks-jpg.jpg


That's all for now. Stay tuned for more!
 

JoNy

Look Ma, No Hands!
Well, this is the third build thread I've created for this bike. Hopefully, this time the thread will end with a completed bike.View attachment 1445154

If you haven't seen either the 2020/2021 MBBO thread or the second, separate build 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.View attachment 1445155
View attachment 1445156
View attachment 1445157

Earlier today, I took the bike apart (again) and shot these photos of the frame, and most of the parts I plan to use to put it together.
View attachment 1445158
View attachment 1445159
View attachment 1445160
View attachment 1445161
View attachment 1445162
View attachment 1445163
View attachment 1445164
View attachment 1445165
View attachment 1445166
View attachment 1445167

Originally, this was going to be a bare metal bike with a satin clear coat. However, since I built my last Build Off bike as a bare metal bike, I decided I wanted to do something different. Instead, I want to have this bike sandblasted and powder coated/painted. I want the final look of this bike to say "fun." I don't necessarily want this bike to look too aggressive, and one of the ways to help keep it lighthearted is to do it up in some bright, vivid color or colors. Here's the challenge: I don't want to spend a ton of money on this project, especially after how much I've already spent on all the different parts I got for this bike, and the last two custom bikes I've worked on. I really want to keep as close to a $100 budget (on top of what I've already spent) as reasonably possible. I hope to achieve that by using mostly stuff I already have in my possession. That means using parts that may not look quite as nice as I'd like, as well as parts that require the least amount of tuning and modification needed to get this bike rolling. Most challenging of all, that means certain parts will determine the final paint scheme of the bike. The tires especially limit my options. If the whitewall tires shown above weren't reduced to flaky plastic, picking a color palette would be easy, but for the sake of the budget, I'm going to use the black tires that I had initially bought for a daily rider project.
Cool!
 

Bike from the Dead

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Okay, finally gave myself some time to make some progress on Schwinn Dixie today, though not as much as I would have hoped.

I tried disassembling my parts bike today, with the hopes that a propane torch would be all I'd need to loosen up any stubborn nuts and bolts. While that worked for some pieces, and was even unnecessary for others, it turns out that... this bike my be a little too far gone to salvage everything. I snapped the bolt that kept the handlebar stem in place, and no amount of smacking the stem with a rubber mallet seemed to jar it loose. The bolt that held the front fender wouldn't budge even after being grilled by the torch, and ended up snapping inside the fork when I used a vice grip to turn it loose. I couldn't even get the rear wheel off because the nut and bolt holding the coaster brake arm are both so stubborn!
bftd_schwinn_dixie_rrbbo_parts_bike_1-jpg.jpg


I did, however, successfully remove the three parts I wanted to salvage most, though! I got the two fenders and the kickstand removed. The fenders bow out a little near some of the fender brace rivets (typical,) but for the most part, they are nice and straight! They're in even better shape than the fenders that came with my Build Off bike! But now I'm stuck second-guessing my plan to bob the fenders. I may end up just leaving the fenders their full length instead of shortening both of them. I have an idea of how I'll do that, but that will have to wait until I can take the fork to my welder and have him replace the steerer tube.
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Stay tuned! More to come, hopefully soon!
 

Bike from the Dead

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Okay, I changed my mind about the colors, the quality of the finish, and the overall direction of this build. This will no longer be a clean, fun looking "Dreamcycle;" instead, this will now be a hideous, paint-over-rust, matte purple people eater!
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(I swear there's a perfectly logical explanation for this; I'll just have to wait until the paint finishes drying before I can explain.)
 

Bike from the Dead

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Okay, so here's what's up with the purple/pink paint: I was originally planning on bobbing/trimming the fenders, but after mocking the bike up with uncut fenders so many times, and with the whole "mellow, good-feels" vibe I'm going for, I wan't sure I wanted to do that anymore. Problem is, since the parts I'm using to build this bike aren't the same color, it's tough to gauge just how full-length fenders would look on the finished bike. So, I decided to conduct a little experimental mockup... with some leftover "Cadillac Ranch" spray paint. I took everything over to my dad's shop, hung up the soon-to-be-painted parts on a powder coating rack, and then proceeded to spray bomb everything in this ugly matte purple paint, because I honestly doubt it would have ever been used for anything else.
bftd_schwinn_dixie_rrbbo_purple_paint_1-jpg.jpg

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The fork I want to use hasn't been fixed yet, so I just used this one for this test. I felt a little bad that I was about to paint over what might have been the original paint, but that didn't stop me from doing it anyway.
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I'll admit, I wasn't really trying to do a good job painting over everything, but that was never the point. This is all just a temporary paint mockup. I'm still going to sandblast everything later anyway, so this doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be one relatively solid color.
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And here's the whole reason for this hideous paint job: I can now see what the bike would look like in one solid color, with uncut fenders. Now that I can see what it looks like in one uniform color, I like the full fenders better than bobbed fenders. I might tinker with the idea of making the back of the front fender level with the front of the rear fender, but for the most part, I think this is the direction I'm going, sans purple paint. I still want to explore using other handlebars, and I still feel like there need to be a headlight or something ahead of the head badge, but that's a problem for tomorrow.
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I know it may look like a step backward, but I feel like this is a big step forward. It helped me figure out a few things I wasn't sure of, and that'll make the next step even easier to tackle.

That's all for tonight! Stay tuned for more!
 

Superman1984

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Okay, so here's what's up with the purple/pink paint: I was originally planning on bobbing/trimming the fenders, but after mocking the bike up with uncut fenders so many times, and with the whole "mellow, good-feels" vibe I'm going for, I wan't sure I wanted to do that anymore. Problem is, since the parts I'm using to build this bike aren't the same color, it's tough to gauge just how full-length fenders would look on the finished bike. So, I decided to conduct a little experimental mockup... with some leftover "Cadillac Ranch" spray paint. I took everything over to my dad's shop, hung up the soon-to-be-painted parts on a powder coating rack, and then proceeded to spray bomb everything in this ugly matte purple paint, because I honestly doubt it would have ever been used for anything else.
View attachment 1451038
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The fork I want to use hasn't been fixed yet, so I just used this one for this test. I felt a little bad that I was about to paint over what might have been the original paint, but that didn't stop me from doing it anyway.
View attachment 1451042

I'll admit, I wasn't really trying to do a good job painting over everything, but that was never the point. This is all just a temporary paint mockup. I'm still going to sandblast everything later anyway, so this doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be one relatively solid color.
View attachment 1451043
View attachment 1451044
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View attachment 1451046

And here's the whole reason for this hideous paint job: I can now see what the bike would look like in one solid color, with uncut fenders. Now that I can see what it looks like in one uniform color, I like the full fenders better than bobbed fenders. I might tinker with the idea of making the back of the front fender level with the front of the rear fender, but for the most part, I think this is the direction I'm going, sans purple paint. I still want to explore using other handlebars, and I still feel like there need to be a headlight or something ahead of the head badge, but that's a problem for tomorrow.
View attachment 1451047
View attachment 1451048
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View attachment 1451050

I know it may look like a step backward, but I feel like this is a big step forward. It helped me figure out a few things I wasn't sure of, and that'll make the next step even easier to tackle.

That's all for tonight! Stay tuned for more!
I would level the fenders as you mentioned & I am glad you are shying away from bobbed fenders. I think they have their bikes etc but not a fan of them as much. I am naming that Putrid Pink 🤮
 
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