Schwinn straightbar frame variations

Jan 20, 2015
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It was the classic Schwinn straight bar Klunker that caught my eye and got me reinterested in bicycles as I neared retirement age. In my search for a Straightbar I found out that there was more than one style. I'll share what I think I know and hope for some input/insight from some of the sages out there.

I believe there are four styles of Schwinn Straightbar frame. All have the double top bar in an over/under shotgun configuration. The upper top bar being arced and the lower top bar being straight ( why they are called Straightbars ).

First - the early pre-war - all tubes are large diameter, the dropouts face rearward with chain tension adjusting bolts, the downtube is also straight. Tube joints at the headtube, bottom bracket, rear dropouts and seat tube are all external and done by hand (sloppy). The seat stays come together and attach to the back of the seat tube.

Second - the late pre-war - same as before, the only change being the down tube which is now curved.

Third - the early post-war - the fabled and much sought after "Fatbar". This is a transitional frame created by the changeover from hand built to electroforged made frames (the process for which Schwinn is famous, among others). All tubes are large diameter, the dropouts now face forward and do not have tensioning bolts. Tube joints at the headtube, bottom bracket and rear dropouts are smooth with no weld evident (electroforged). The seat stays now attach to the sides of the seat tube and the upper seat tube joint and the lower top bar joints are the only hand welded/brazed joints on the frame.

Fourth - the late post-war - finally, the most common (probably due to high production ability). Same as the early post-war with one important change ... the lower top bar is now a smaller diameter tube with no welded/brazed joints at either end. The only manually blazed joint is now at the junction of the upper seat tube and the seat stays. I'm guessing that some type of electric weld was used on the lower top bar.

Give me your thoughts.
 
Jan 20, 2015
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An additional note: these are all heavyweight frames. Schwinn introduced the Corvette middleweight 54-55 and the straightbars also became middleweights. So approximately 56-59 there are middleweight striaghtbars that match the late post-war description but are narrower.
 
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Jan 20, 2015
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The double straightbars or twin bars come in 2 styles. The early where the bars stand alone and attach at the seat tube and down tube side, and the later where the seat stays pass the seat tube and continue straight to the front downtube. These are early sixties (I believe) and both middleweights.
 
Oct 5, 2015
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I wonder if some of my older bikes might have been Mead, Schwinn-built. One might be called a double straight bar in ads, or twin-truss, (as opposed to double bar drop frame), but does not quite fit the description above. Perhaps, in some other makes and models, (e.g., Snyder, Rollfast, Wards), the so-called straight bar might refer to the down tube?
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The question that I have is, are some of the terms applied retrospectively, or did some manufactures or retailers use those terms in their patent applications or advertisements?
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Jan 21, 2009
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There's also the flying star and skipper. I believe the double where the seat stays continue all the way through were one year only.
My friend has a 61 Skipper with the continuous bars, like the 62 Typhoon. Those frames are great for Klunkers.

In the 60's, Schwinn made an oversized cantilever frame. I wonder if they ever made a larger straight bar frame.
 
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My friend has a 61 Skipper with the continuous bars, like the 62 Typhoon. Those frames are great for Klunkers.

In the 60's, Schwinn made an oversized cantilever frame. I wonder if they ever made a larger straight bar frame.
One with the continuous bars is on my wanted list for sure!

And yea, the King Size! They made a king size american, and heavy duti. 20 inch seat tube (vs standard 18) Not sure of any oversized straight bars from that era, but pre war they did make bigger ones, in a variety of frame designs. You could get a 16,18, or 20 seat tube for many models
 
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They had different sizes for the diamond frames, but probably not for the straight bars, although I wish they did. I've never seen one. If they had them prewar, then I'll keep a slush fund to buy one in the largest size. Maybe I can take an existing frame and have it stretched into a big straight bar.

The oversize cantilever frames were in 64 and 65 if I recall correctly.

Just dreaming.
 
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Mar 5, 2014
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$_57[1].jpg


3o'sschwinn.jpg

In 1933 & 34, post depression, the popular motorbike double-diamond straight-bar frame designs evolved from 28" to a more versatile 26" "plus" size wheel, opposite of what is going on today with most bikes. ---:wondering: Hmmmm....
The Schwinn examples of these frames, were pretty nice IMO. I think they were made for different companies wearing different badges as well.
 
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