Monday, August 31, 2009

Cruiser, vintage style.

I have always longed to own a cruiser. Love the laid back look. The curves. Yes. It's those mesmerizing cantilever curves. Thus I set out to 'hunt' for my beloved frame. Before all this, what got me inspired is the book that I bought from States, "Standard Catalog of Schwinn Bicycles~1895-2004" by Doug Mitchel. Can't find this book in Singapore. Maybe we have a relatively small group of collectors. Or maybe there arn't any Schwinn collectors. Anyway, the pictures inside the book is really a turn on. Pages after pages, pictures that stands out and calls out to you. Although purist may say that Schwinn had more bikes than those found inside the book. But, what the heck. This will do for now. I need references for my project and this book will do. For now.
So, which model am I looking at? Well, it the famous middle weight Corvettes which was produced in the 1950s.

I had a really hard time sourcing for this frame. I remembered many years ago, bikes fitted with tiny motors uses this frame. That was before the government decided to ban all petrol powered bicycles due to some irresponsible goons who rode their bike fast and furious, which resulted in death of a pedestrian. After months of asking around the LBS, lady Luck was on my side. Found a shop which still happened to have some NOS in the store. Paid up immediately and left with all the necessary parts like BB bearings, head set, crank and chain ring and fork. I was literally smiling all the way home. Frame and fork full chrome with no traces of rust or tarnishes.

Back home, immediately set off by fixing it with my Shimano Nexus 4 Speed internal hub with drum brakes. The 26 inch rims are Araya and spokes Stainless Steel. This hub runs super silent. Gear changing is excellently smooth. Never skipping a gear. Unlike the SA that I always encounter. Maybe it due to the setting? Anyway, a quick check on the internet found some info on the hub. Basically, it's maintenace free. That's a plus point.

This saddle belongs to a Hercules. Bought it from a LBS for a song because the previous owner finds it heavy and change it to a normal PVC covered saddle. Well, it's indeed heavy. That's becasue of the 2 solid steel spring. But when I rode it, it like riding on cloud 9. Fits my bum nicely with plenty of space to shift around. Does not pose any harm to the groin. Absorbs all the bumps. I would use this a a comparison; Sitting in a Rolls Royce as compared to sitting in a pick up truck. That's the comfort level it gives.

What's a 'vintage' without some vintage parts, right? Fix a Raleigh Shopper handle, which I bought from Ebay UK. Comes complete with brake levers and stem. Also added a vintage dynamo powered head lamp. The 4 speed grip shift comes together with the hub.

A 'Vee' brake doesn't look authentic so I decided to change it to a spare MX caliper I have lying around. Braking power is good.

Took her out for a spin. The front rim is alloy and the spokes Stainless Steel. Tyres are road compatible and low profile.

This bike runs smoothly and the shifting of gears are a real treat. Simple. Rigid. I will be adding more stuff to it, eg. bell, rack soon. Right now, it's proudly displayed in my living room. Just got to find time to bring her out more often...


  1. Sweet bike Ah Chow!



  2. Thanks JS. More pics on this sweet ride to come...