Junk Crafted HIGGINS - After competition minor modifications

Jun 5, 2012
Circle Trek = An aluminum trek cruiser built incorporating styles from the three bicycle circle track racing
- Little 500
- Cycle speedway
- Velodrome

The main Inspiration will be the famous bicycle racing racing event in Indiana the little 500 (see the movie Breaking away for reference)
Originally started in 1951 using Schwinn coaster brake cruisers with steel frame

1952 Delts cycling team

Today the bikes have been updated with aluminum frames and parts and 700c rims but the rules still require to use single piece cranks with flat pedals (no clips) with a steel sprocket and a 36 hole coaster brakes

Schwinn little 500 bike

BTW this will not just be a build off post but a history into the Little 500 as well as a prototype build for a form bicycle racing that would be similar to the little 500 but more widespread (than just a race for Indiana University students) and with more open rules also something that can raced as an individual or in teams

So for my build i will be starting with 1999 Trek calypso cruiser frame

I chose this frame because in about 1954 the little 500 required all bikes to be based on the amf built roadmaster bicycle (its an amf built version of a cwc frame) since amf had bought out cwc

1954 Alpha Phi Alpha Little 500 team
The trek frame (out of the aluminum cruiser frames i found) had the closest lines to the amf frame as well as the earlier Schwinn little 500 frames
It also is one of the few aluminum frames where i can still use a single piece crank like the little 500 rules require
plus trek has a racing pedigree as well as its headquarters being located close to Indiana
to me its what should have replaced the later diamond frame roadmaster (as seen in breaking away) rather than mongoose bicycle that did in 2000 only later to be replaced by Schwinn in 2005
*As of 2015 the they are still using Schwinn supplied frames

2000 mongoose little 500 bike

2005 Schwinn little 500 bike

*technically this will be my backup build (that i will be using as my one bike change if i don't finish my main build)
since i haven't as of yet made a final decision on my main build off entrant
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Apr 14, 2015
I in joyed that bit of cycling history, thanks . The trek is a perfect fit the lines are very similar. I am a trek owner so it would be an easy pic for me .

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Jun 5, 2012
To be clear, in this build off, you can have only one entry
Yes deven_science this will only be officially entered if i am unable to finish my main build off bike

Actually I am also using this build off to basically help start/promote this essentially rat rod style of bicycle racing (since rat rod bikes was the inspiration for it)
one of the main rules in order to enter a race is the bicycle must be built from a non modified production frame (not sure if steel only frames or if aluminum ones will be allowed) I plan on asking members for input on the rules later

the rule actually has is basis in the older rat rod build off rules
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Jun 5, 2012
Great history and that frame looks sweet as a racer style.
I also own a trek,never use it to many gears
thanks funkme
i feel the same about any bicycle with two much gearing thats why i was drawn to this style of racing (single speed only)

as a side note the trek frame originally had gears (the trek Clyde which is the same design but was made for coaster brakes)
so i need to modify the drop out area

Great start! By the way 1954 Alpha Phi Alpha Little 500 team…thats my fraternity. It's the first and the oldest African American fraternity
Now that's history i like hearing about
I feel like this build / race idea has an even better chance of doing well now that I know it has an association with fordsnake

Should be a cool build!
Not sure on the back-up build idea, I guess if it causes a problem RatRod will say something...

Well i knew there was that possibility
I just hope that ratrod doesn't have a problem with it but if he does
His site His Rules
Jun 5, 2012
not much to report as far as progress just been working on getting the frame stripped of paint to expose the bare aluminum
I will be going for the early German race car bare aluminum look
besides with no paint it will save OUNCES :rolleyes:

I should have pics of the stripped frame soon until then I will provide some more little 500 history
along with some parts that are going on the frame

As you no doubt saw in the earlier pics the very early racers used skip tooth sprockets
later on when the bikes where the road master cruiser the bikes used all the way up to the wald 52 tooth sprockets

Modern little 500 racers must run per the rules
steel 46 tooth chainring connected to an 18 tooth coaster brake with 700c / 28" wheels with 700x32 (28 x 1.125 tires)
the tires used before the switch to 700 was 27 x 1 1/4
from my research it appears that even though different sprockets and wheel/tire sizes they seem to all come close to the same gear ratio

the earlier componets are educated guesses as far as to what was used unless I can get some actual proof

1st gen - 26x 2.125 / 26 skip tooth / 20 skip tooth coaster = 68 gear ratio

2nd gen - 26x 1 3/4 / 52 tooth / 20 tooth coaster = 68 gear ratio

3rd gen - 27x 1 1/4 / 46 tooth / 18 tooth coaster = 70 gear ratio

4th gen - 28x 1.125 / 46 tooth / 18 tooth coaster = 69 gear ratio

So for my "racer" this is what i plan on using

its a cro-mo single piece crank with a bmx aluminum power disc connected to a 50 tooth steel chain ring
still technically within rules (the rules list steel chain ring not sprocket)
with this i will be running a 26" wheel with 26 x 1.125 tires with an 18 tooth coaster gear ratio = 68
Apr 29, 2009
Phoenix, Az
This is a pretty darn cool build steeped in history, I like.
As to the question brought up earlier about only one build allowed, I remember there is some precedence from RRBO6 or 7. Can't remember who it was but they had two build threads, and in the end only Entered one of them in the Finished Bike thread. I somewhat remember one of them was a Firebolt, but I could be wrong.
Only reason I bring it up is because I was thinking of doing the same thing.... if I enter at all.
But back to this build... Way Cool.
Apr 1, 2014
"So for my "racer" this is what i plan on using
26" tire and 50 tooth chain ring with 18 tooth coaster gear ratio = 68"
Uh, I may figure gears differently:
50/18=2.78x26=72 gear inches
From the web:
Sport Touring Steep hills 27-37
Medium hills 32-42
Flat 37-47
Road Racing Steep hills 47-60
Flat to rolling 57-66
I think that your "racer" gear is gonna be a workout - especially without gears.
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Reactions: Kevin Kanouff
Jun 5, 2012
"So for my "racer" this is what i plan on using
26" tire and 50 tooth chain ring with 18 tooth coaster gear ratio = 68"
Uh, I may figure gears differently:
50/18=2.78x26=72 gear inches
From the web
I double checked my source to if there was an error
i found out i listed the wrong tire size earlier it was supposed to be 26 x 1.25 (559 x 35) which is slightly wider than the little 500 rules that require 32mm wide tires
However if i was running a 26 x 2.125 tire my gear ratio would be about 72 or 73 but the 1.25 tires are shorter in diameter so it works out to a 68 gear ratio (at least according to my source)
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Reactions: LukeTheJoker
Apr 1, 2014
To each his own I'm sure. There are a lot of different opinions about ratios and pedal cadence. I try to keep about 60 rpm at a cruise and seem happiest at a 40 ish gear inch range. :)
Jun 5, 2012
Normally I wouldn't care to much about the gear ratio
just make it comfortable to ride

but remember this isn't just a bike build but also a rule prototype for the bicycle racing I am working on
In order to allow for as many different set ups I still need there to be a level playing field at some point
so it will allow many different rear tire / wheel sizes as well as chain ring / coaster cog sizes but the gear ratio will not be allowed to be above 70 for all racers
similar to the velodrome rules