Taking Up New Hobby

Jul 20, 2014
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Hello everyone,
I want to restore an old Shwinn bike for a project and maybe have this evolve to a hobby. I want to start with a men's cruiser style old Schwinn, mid to early 60s or so. I have been looking online for frames and such and keep seeing the phrase RatRod bike. What does this mean exactly? Does this mean thefts me has been modified? Online I find EBay but are there any resources to consider that I might not know about for parts? Also, if I'm to consider restoring a vintage Schwinn cruiser, is there a style I should try to consider or avoid for some reason? Any help would be appreciated?
 
Jan 21, 2009
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Welcome aboard!

The best way to learn about old bikes and what is or isn't desirable is to read up on them. You could spend hours reading the posts here to get a good idea of what you're looking for. For a particular brand of bike, do a web search and read up on that brand's history. There's tons of info out there. As for restoring or ratting an old Schwinn, it may depend on if you want to sell it for a profit or just have some cool bikes to ride. I always liked having 7 or 8 old bikes ready to ride for when friends or family were visiting. Schwinns were American made up until 1983, in Chicago. Then they were mostly Chinese made frames, good cruisers but not the real McCoy, just my opinion. I consider any Chicago made Schwinn vintage. The quality (and weight) is there. The serial numbers give the year of manufacture.
 
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It depends on EXACTLY what you want to end up with. A true restoration involves full frame sanding to bare metal, proper prep, a quality professional paint job in a correct color scheme. Then you have the cost of either NOS parts, rechroming, correct parts, possible quality reproduction parts. A restoration culminates with a vintage bicycle that looks as though it just rolled out of the factory. If you hope to flip for profit, the cost to complete may outweigh the value of the finished product. However, if you are looking to fix one up for yourself, then you literally can't go wrong. Just look at pics online until you know what you want, find a bike or frame that interests you. Once the bike or whatever you start with is in front of you, the rest kind of flows naturally. You can paint, re-paint, re-paint some more, sand it down, let it rust. Try different wheel options. Warning: Once you do this, it WILL become a hobby, and a very addictive one at that. But it's slightly safer than crack.
 
Jun 22, 2014
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Welcome.

To me a big part of a rat rod is the look of the passage of time and even like its been setting in a barn or outside for years but has been rebuilt enough to hit the road in all its rusty / faded / worn glory.
Ozzmonaut has given good info on restoring.
You can just go for a custom with nice paint and parts or any combo of these things that suit your taste.

A good question that may help you decide is what do you like best in old cars?
Classic all original?
Resto mod? (Mostly stock but mild modifications)
Hot rod? (Full custom & shiny)
Rat rod? (modified but looks rusty and old)
Work in progress? (Something that looks like your working on fixing it up but is fully functional)
 
Jul 20, 2014
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Thank you all very much for the information. It was very kind of you to take your time to offer your insight. I am looking forward to learning more about the vintage bikes as I go along. My end result as was questioned is to find a style bike I like and restore to close to original, use for myself for a while, then sell and move on to a new project. Thank you again.


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Oct 20, 2012
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For me, build and ride what ya like. :)

More often than not when you see a fully restored or heavily modified car come up for sale ( for instance, same can go for bikes though) .... the ad usually reads...... " eleventy bazillion dollars in receipts...sacrifice at $6,500 obo " ......
mostly because they put so much money into it, car was too nice to drive anywhere..... weather was too rainy , too windy , too humid , too cold , show is too far , door dings.....


Don't build trailer queens and keep enjoying it for what it is ;)
 
Jan 26, 2007
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Welcome to the forum! Build what YOU like. There are some very talented builders here, check out the gallery and build off bike topics for inspiration.
 
Jun 22, 2014
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Welcome! I agree with everyone else, build what you like, and if you really want to use it regularly and not worry about scratches and wear, build it rat... ;)

Luke.
I just yelled at somebody for scratching the rust off of my rat.
I got looked at funny and said "do you know how long it will take for that shinny metal to go back to a nice even rust to blend back in with the rest?"
Then I laughed and said its all good I'm not mad but be careful around my bikes including the rats please.

He dropped a tool is what happened for clarity

I have ocd and worry that if somebody will be that careless around a bike from the 40s that I've said is very spacial to me what will they be like around other bikes.