Industrial Klunkers and Frame Comparisons

Feb 19, 2011
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OK, I've been doing my own long-term version of a comparison test; sort of like an industrial frame-turned-klunker multi-bike shoot-out, with the Worksman INB, the Schwinn CHD, the Summit Workhorse, and the Husky HD-series. Each of them have their strengths and weaknesses; i want to rope some buddies into giving me some second opinions before i post my findings..............

The idea was to build the bikes similarly, with really cheap components, and same wheels---different tires but then i can swap wheels and see how the frames perform with the different rubber, making it also an opportunity to test out some of the cheap knobbies on the market. Initially, I went with identical gearing in the interest of a fair comparison, but then I started mucking around with gearing, kind of doing some experiments to see what inches I prefer for klunking on my local trails. Before I can so a real comparison test, though, i'll want to get the gearing equalized. It's obviously still a work in progress.

I kinda wish I'd worked on this little project a bit harder, as i've noticed that several ppl are using retired late-model industrial frames for the ORBO, and maybe some ppl would have found the comparisons helpful. OThers might have vehemently disagreed with my opinions, but at least the measurements would be objective. But, whatever.... this isn't just about altruism. I'd like to ask some of you for input.

I realize that not many of you have klunked on all of these frames, so you might not be able to offer real comparisons, but i'd like to hear notes and impressions from other riders on the industrial bikes that they have experienced on a trail setting. Y'know; notes like "seatpost keeps bending" or "bottom bracket is incredibly low", or whatever....

Anyone with any interest in this topic, chime in so we can discuss it. In the end, I'd like to start a new thread in the how-to or somewhere, talking about the exact specs, pros/cons, tech tips, etc.... with pictures. But, between working these 70 hour weeks and the build-off, that's probably a good project for me to finish up in the spring...
 

irideiam

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Cool idea....May want to add Emory and the Worksman M2600 in the mix.
 
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Feb 19, 2011
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M2600 is totally workable, and i do have a frame, and that may even end up being the frame i use in the ORBO... In truth, though the M2600 is identical to the INB, except it has the straight top tube which allows for a longer seat-tube. The rest of the geo is the same; same top-tube length, same headtube length/angle, same chainstay length.... the seatstays are different, but not in a way that changes up the geo of the bike as far as the relative position of the rider, cranks, head, and wheels go. In short, i like the m2600, it's worthy of mention, but it even more similar to an INB than, say, a 20"-frame Rockhopper is to an 18" Rockhopper. Essentially, they're the same bike, offered in slightly different sizes. :D

As far as Emory goes, i have a couple of those around, and a Trailmate straightbar tallboy frame, and if I were trying to get all the industrial bikes, I guess i could but that'd be a lot of time and money.... and i'd have to go for a Chicago-era Schwinn Heavy Duti, and a Columbia Big Mac, etc. So, for now, I'm focusing on the currently available as-new offerings. I can buy a Worksman, Chinese Heavy Duti, Summit, or Husky new from a variety of online dealers, or i can get a beat-up late-model frame from @ind-chuckz very easily, as he seems to have them all the time. The older, discontinued models aren't as readily available.
 
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Sep 29, 2013
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I have a few worksman here now and it is funny how even with the same frame each one rides noticeably different with just different fork and tires. Of coarse crank length and bars change the feel but the tires and fork seem to make a big difference. I finally caved and have a shd coming. I was never really crazy about them but they look like they could ride better than a worksman. I don't know if I will assemble it to compare. I have other plans for it.
 
Feb 19, 2011
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The fork is huge b/c it changes the trail, the BB height, the headtube angle, etc.... the first time i rode my INB with an SE Landing Gear on it, i hated it, b/c it was so far different from stock. Really, even just going from the uni-crown fork to the older Akisu fork, it makes'm feel like an entirely different bike.

Comparing the Schwinn to the Worksman, i can see how the Schwinn CHD could be nice on the road, cruising, but offroad, that BB height kills the deal and the feel, for me. If i were to do it for real, i'd go 69er with a 2.75" or bigger rear knobbie, just to get the CoG up and the ground-clearance more realistic.
 
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As long as they steer straight and don't have a tweaked fork or frame I'm Ok with it, but I am not a very discerning person. Even my homemade welded out of pieces Klunkers seem the same to me. This fall two of my buddies wanted to go Klunking with me but I only had two Klunkers. I took a 1940 CWC frame and mixed and matched parts off of two other Klunkers, changing forks etc to make a third single speed Klunker. I took a BMX fork off of a 40s Columbia I had been Klunking and put a 1 1/8 mountain bike canti fork on it. It kept coming loose as the frame was for one inch steerer. A twist of the hand every so often stopped the rattling headset. I only had two front drum brakes so I put the canti fork on and used an old set of canti brakes. I dismantled this hodgepodge after our ride. Everyone just kept tightening down the headset while riding. We kept rotating bikes and I couldn't tell any difference. A purpose built rigid MTN bike from the early 80s is easier than a Klunker for me to ride over difficult trails, in part because of the lighter weight. All my Klunkers seem the same to me, even racing downhill on rough rock washouts. The faster you go on a Klunker the harder it is to tell any difference. I do bang pedals more on the CWC frames than on the Columbia. But, then again, I can hardly tell the difference between a $9/3 liter bottle of Crabari Vino de Utrou and a $50.00 bottle of Grand-Duc de Malvoison. They taste almost the same to me. I can tell a really bad trails bike though. I can't ride road bikes or English 3 speeds well on single track as they seem too high and I tipped over and ended out in a junk pile at the bottom of a ravine.
 
Apr 1, 2014
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Interesting discussion about frame design, BB height, off road suitability and "feel".
I have made a crude composite image of the following 3 bikes.
Schwinn Heavy Duti comp 1.jpg

First is the Schwinn Heavy Duti I'm building my ORBO 2016 build off bike from. Second is my $40 Mallwart Huffy Premier and third is my Schwinn Rocket 3 parts donor bike for the Heavy Duti build.
Impressions - I don't have the Heavy Duti going yet but sitting on it it feels very comfortable. The Premier is a taller bike but the crank feels higher and it's difficult to get a comfortable pedal stroke and still get my feet on the ground when stopped. The rocket 3 I did get operational but the mushy rear shock bounced with every pedal stroke and also the pedals and bottom bracket seemed very low and I did hit the ground leaving a ditch. If pedals hit using the Heavy Duti off road maybe bike will be more suited as a Hybrid?
 
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The Chicago made Schwinn Heavy Duti had the same cantilever frame as the other cruisers they offered, just heavier wheels I believe. Except for the kingsize frame. Good luck finding one of those.
I didn't care for the ride of my INB, maybe it was the HD Sturmey Archer 3 speed w coaster that made it too heavy, but most all other frames, Columbia, CWC, Schwinn, Huffy seemed to be more suitable for riding.
861372_10151467104851737_992215578_o - Copy.jpg
 
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Feb 19, 2011
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Re: low bottom bracket height on current Schwinn CHDs, as well as the older Schwinn HDs, and all the middleweight Schwinn cantilever frames: that BB is low. It offers a very nice, low CoG for cruising on the streets, but it's a pain offroad. The obvious remedy is a shorter crank, but that effects gearing and, more problematic, it means less comfort for taller riders. But it can absolutely be worked around; lots of folks have klunked these bikes, which all share very similar geometry.

Re: Worksman weight: Worksman frames are HEAVY. Stupidly heavy. So are the wheels. I always run some nice aftermarket alloy rims on mine, for the street or the trail. Chicago Schwinn frames are similarly heavy, but the Taiwanese- and Chinese-built Heavy Duti frames are much lighter, as are many vintage cruisers. The weight of the Worksman frame never bothered me much, but i live in a very flat area... my biggest complaints about the Worksman INB/M2600:
-drop-outs are thin and flimsy; common point of failure.
-7/8" post prone to bending, especially if the seat is raised high enough for actual trail riding. I've worked around this by using overbuilt seatposts, which are really just a length of heavy-gauge marine-grade stainless.
-the paint is pathetic. Worksman paintjobs die an early and horrible death, in most situations.
 
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Re: low bottom bracket height on current Schwinn CHDs, as well as the older Schwinn HDs, and all the middleweight Schwinn cantilever frames: that BB is low. It offers a very nice, low CoG for cruising on the streets, but it's a pain offroad. The obvious remedy is a shorter crank, but that effects gearing and, more problematic, it means less comfort for taller riders. But it can absolutely be worked around; lots of folks have klunked these bikes, which all share very similar geometry.

Re: Worksman weight: Worksman frames are HEAVY. Stupidly heavy. So are the wheels. I always run some nice aftermarket alloy rims on mine, for the street or the trail. Chicago Schwinn frames are similarly heavy, but the Taiwanese- and Chinese-built Heavy Duti frames are much lighter, as are many vintage cruisers. The weight of the Worksman frame never bothered me much, but i live in a very flat area... my biggest complaints about the Worksman INB/M2600:
-drop-outs are thin and flimsy; common point of failure.
-7/8" post prone to bending, especially if the seat is raised high enough for actual trail riding. I've worked around this by using overbuilt seatposts, which are really just a length of heavy-gauge marine-grade stainless.
-the paint is pathetic. Worksman paintjobs die an early and horrible death, in most situations.
I rode my 1959 Schwinn Corvette full fenders etc. single track the first time I single tracked. I bent both pedals. This Schwinn frame has only enough room to stick your foot under the pedal and the ground with a little to spare. I use a 5.5 inch crank on one of my CWC klunkers. I use 28 tooth chain wheel and 23 tooth cog on a Nexus 3 speed coaster on this bike. I thought about putting longer cranks on it but it has not crunched the planetary 3 speed gears, so I decided the lack of leverage might be part of why it has lasted for two years. I am a tad under 5'9" so the short cranks work well for me on this bike and since I changed to the 5.5 I never strike a pedal. Everyone that rides it hates the short cranks but once you get use to them they are fine. The curved chain stays on CWC bikes makes it so you have to choose low gear sizes carefully (both front and rear), or the chain will rub on the bottom most part of the chain stay where it curves down. I would stay away from CWC for klunkers if I could find other 1930-40s frames but they are easier to find as there was a Wards here. My 1940s Columbia makes little better klunker as the stays are straight. I use a 6.5 inch crank on the Columbia and dented both pedal cages until I got use to it. The Columbia works fine but I could not crank over the same stuff with complete disregard like the CWC with 5.5. I am always looking for old frames that would make good klunkers so this thread is interesting to me.
 
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I might try a shorter crank as I have a lot of junk 16 -20" kids bikes around. I'm 5' 11" tall but only a 29" inseam. I don't really stand on the pedals but I'm not a spinner either (maybe 60 rpm at the crank) where i'm happy at. :)
 
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I might try a shorter crank as I have a lot of junk 16 -20" kids bikes around. I'm 5' 11" tall but only a 29" inseam. I don't really stand on the pedals but I'm not a spinner either (maybe 60 rpm at the crank) where i'm happy at. :)
I have a 29 inch inseam also. I have crummy knees and a short crank helps a little here too. 20 inch bikes with a one piece crank have 5.5 inch cranks and 26 and 24 with one piece cranks have 6.5. 16 inch bikes with one piece cranks have shorter cranks yet but usually have a different smaller bottom bracket. I once had an old bike with a 7 inch one piece crank but only one. There are probably exceptions to this but my parts usually come from newer bikes and this is what I have found.
 
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Re: low bottom bracket height on current Schwinn CHDs, as well as the older Schwinn HDs, and all the middleweight Schwinn cantilever frames: that BB is low. It offers a very nice, low CoG for cruising on the streets, but it's a pain offroad. The obvious remedy is a shorter crank, but that effects gearing and, more problematic, it means less comfort for taller riders. But it can absolutely be worked around; lots of folks have klunked these bikes, which all share very similar geometry.

Re: Worksman weight: Worksman frames are HEAVY. Stupidly heavy. So are the wheels. I always run some nice aftermarket alloy rims on mine, for the street or the trail. Chicago Schwinn frames are similarly heavy, but the Taiwanese- and Chinese-built Heavy Duti frames are much lighter, as are many vintage cruisers. The weight of the Worksman frame never bothered me much, but i live in a very flat area... my biggest complaints about the Worksman INB/M2600:
-drop-outs are thin and flimsy; common point of failure.
-7/8" post prone to bending, especially if the seat is raised high enough for actual trail riding. I've worked around this by using overbuilt seatposts, which are really just a length of heavy-gauge marine-grade stainless.
-the paint is pathetic. Worksman paintjobs die an early and horrible death, in most situations.
From what Worksman is telling me the new facility is going to ROCK...lots of improvements on paint especially. I've built bunch of Hd klunkers been very happy with. I need to do a Inb klunker soon. I'm actually about to start this weeekend Inb stretched frame about 7"s should be fun.
 
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This thread is lost! Is it possible for someone to move it to mountain bike/klunker section? Too much good info for it to be buried in an old Build Off discussion! Perhaps @LukeTheJoker ?
That being said, has anyone done any industrial klunking in the last 4 years, any new information to share? I'm really curious about weight comparison of the Worksman INB frame vs straight bar Schwinn Heavy Duty. Also parts compatibility, I am cooking up a post modern industrial klunk type thing with a 27.5/26 mullet and want to know if it's even possible to put rear rim brakes and a straight steerer suspension fork on the frames I've mentioned.
 

RustyGold

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Also parts compatibility, I am cooking up a post modern industrial klunk type thing with a 27.5/26 mullet and want to know if it's even possible to put rear rim brakes and a straight steerer suspension fork on the frames I've mentioned.
Schwinn HD...
IMG_20200212_184558426.jpg


1-1/8" steerer...
IMG_20200212_184610230_MP.jpg


Rim brake mount...
IMG_20200212_184629243_MP.jpg


26" x 2.4" Conti X-King on Rhynolite ~28mm outside width rims...I could pull the wheel back another 1/8" if I added a link or two...
IMG_20200212_184719401.jpg


I haven't seen a broken Schwinn HD frame yet...but, I've seen a couple broken INBs (at the lugs).
 
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