Coda

furyus

Pro Member
Jan 31, 2011
552
1,247
Leesburg, VA
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I’ve been wrestling with the idea of simplifying my life for the last couple of years, and I believe this frame will be the last bike I “build.” Really more of a preservation in this case. I’m eliminating collections of “stuff” from my life, including bicycles, but I’ve got to have at least one Sting-Ray. Figured between all the bikes and build-offs over the years, Coda would be an appropriate name. I think historically I finish about 50% of the build-offs I enter - let’s see if I can get to finish line this time.

furyus
 
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LukeTheJoker

Moderator
Nov 17, 2012
21,381
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Broken Hill, Australia
www.ratrodbikes.com
Welcome to the mix!
View attachment 87249 View attachment 87250

December 21, 1964 Schwinn Sting-Ray, probably sold as a ‘65. Above pics are of the chainguard, where you can barely make out Sting in one pic and Ray in the other. Gotta have a ‘Ray, gotta have rust.

furyus
If you had not pointed out what they said I would have missed it!
 
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furyus

Pro Member
Jan 31, 2011
552
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Leesburg, VA
I surely do appreciate the welcome from you posters and you likers. Hopefully the tedious nature of these next pics won’t quench your enthusiasm.

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She’s a N4 bike, only built the last two weeks of 1964, and the last of this style of serial number. She’ll be 54 years old a week from now.

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I’m not the first owner. Maybe Shawn Woods was back in the day. This is the bottom of the crank housing. Wonder where Shawn is today? Hopefully well.

furyus
 

furyus

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Jan 31, 2011
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Leesburg, VA
Built on December 21, 1964, she was probably sold as a ‘65, or at least had a mixture of ‘64 and ‘65 parts, as Schwinn was famous for doing. Here is the Schwinn stamp on the knurling of the handlebars, a 1965 feature (‘64 had no name or number on the knurling).

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furyus

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Jan 31, 2011
552
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Leesburg, VA
I bought this bike complete off eBay, minus the chain. Owner said it was all original except for the seat and sissy bar (more on that later). I studied it a bunch before making an offer, but I knew the chances that I was buying a collection of unrelated parts was high. Still, I had to have it. I was super thrilled when I pulled this out of the crank housing.

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Not sure if these are date stamps or part numbers on the crank bearings, but I’m betting they’re dated. Too coincidental to be part numbers.

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furyus
 
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furyus

Pro Member
Jan 31, 2011
552
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Leesburg, VA
Looks like the seat tube has been ovaled out a bit, enough that the clamp won’t come off. I’ll straighten it a little, but not too worried about making it perfect. The clamp will get derusted and polished - not. Coat of oil and a pinch of grease on the threads and it’ll last another 50 years.

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furyus

Pro Member
Jan 31, 2011
552
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Leesburg, VA
I feel pretty good that I scored a genuine early Sting-Ray. The numbers and stampings and faded decals, as well as the correct pedals and center-stamped, double-knurled S2 with a Bendix RB2 hub all lead me to believe she’s real and not a clone. I plan on preserving her as is, with a couple of tweaks to make her my own. Probably document a bit more before I try and save as much corrosion as possible.

furyus
 

tjwilson

Pro Member
Jan 15, 2016
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Really like the approach you’re taking and documentation of what you’ve found. Would be a shame to polish and paint the history off this bike. I’d bet Shawn would approve.
 
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furyus

Pro Member
Jan 31, 2011
552
1,247
Leesburg, VA
Wow, appreciate the attention. I can find some cool old stuff, and wipe it down with oil, but I’ll tap out quick going up against the creativity and talent around here.

Stumbled on some interesting background when I was researching forks. I knew Ashtabula date-stamped their forks, and sure enough, mine has a “1+5” on the right dropout.

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January, 1965. Note also all the red primer, typical of Schwinn, which tells me the paint on the fork is original. There is also red primer in places on the frame, but more on that later. Next is a shot of the fork from the top of the steer tube, just to show that it is pretty straight.

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The fork lies nice and flat on my bench. What’s interesting about that is that while I was researching fork date codes I stumbled on the following by accident:

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Yes, that is my bike, back in July of 2017. The guy I bought it from posted on the CABE looking for a seat, and mentioned that he was going to get the fork repaired. Very short thread, and never posted about the bike again. Here is a picture of the bike from the eBay auction that I bought it from:

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I wrote the guy today and he responded that his LBS straightened the fork and it is original to the bike. I’ve got to say they did a pretty remarkable job, as there is no real obvious evidence that the fork was previously bent. So either they repaired the original fork, or the previous owner found one dated within six weeks of the frame with matching patina.

I asked him if he had replaced anything else (beyond the seat - he told me about that before I bought it) and he said he put correct pedals on it but that’s it. Of course, his auction description said the entire bike was original except for the the seat and sissy bar, but I didn’t bother pointing that out. That’s part of the risk of not buying in person and looking someone in the eye. The pedals are correct for a ‘64, and sure could have found their way onto a ‘65 the way Schwinn operated.

Closer inspection of the two pics, though, leads me to believe the guy changed a few more bits. The headset in the first pic, as blurry as it is, looks very rusty, but in the second pic, and in person, look much newer. So does the stem and the sprocket.

Like I mentioned earlier, I knew I was taking the risk of buying a collection of parts rather than a complete original, and the scales have tipped a little closer towards collection, but I believe the frame, fork, guard, crank, seatpost and handlebars have been together a long time.

Next post I’ll look at the wheels.

furyus
 
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Sep 13, 2006
929
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southern PA
I LOVE the archaeology of stuff like this. I get completely geeked out over something like finding an old pit box full of Aurora slot cars and parts and dissecting what was original and what got added and hopped up later. So learning about Schwinn stuff this way is fascinating to me. Following along closely.
 
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Mar 26, 2012
7,177
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Maplewood, MN
Remember @furyus , this is Rat Rod Bikes; not the CABE. So we are a lot more lenient as to how close the bike is to 'original' or even how close it needs to be. :grin: Granted, Class 1 is the category for 'restoration or refreshing' a bike to at least a close facsimile to 'original'. But don't let your originality get lost in the origin of the bike itself.

or·i·gin
/ˈôrəjən/
noun
  1. 1.
    the point or place where something begins, arises, or is derived.
o·rig·i·nal·i·ty
/əˌrijəˈnalədē/
noun
  1. the ability to think independently and creatively.
    "a writer of great originality"
    • the quality of being novel or unusual.