1957 Schwinn Hornet Refresh

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I had pretty good success giving my Rollfast a facelift recently (although the Rollfast started out as a much cleaner bike) so I’m going to do the same to my Schwinn.

This bike is special to me because it was my first old bike. I got it from an old man than ran a bicycle shop that gave it to me if I promised to actually ride it. This was in the 80’s when all my friends (and myself) were making the transition from 20” BMX bikes to bigger Mountain bikes. I was the only kid in town that I knew of riding a big Ol’ tank bike! :) The guy let me raid he junk yard and I found the B6 fender and chainguard and had them on there because I like the light. I always had it on the wrong fork, so it never really sat right. I don’t even remember what kind of bike I got the rims and Carlisle Lightning Darts off of, but I do remember it was girl’s bike.

It’s also special to me because when I got it, it looked about like it does now. I wanted it to look nice, so my Dad got me to sand it all the way down and told me he’d paint it back black for me when he painted his ‘78 GMC truck he had at the time. My Dad passed last year year, and the majority of the paint on this bike is the 30+ year old paint that he sprayed for me. It looked really nice when he painted it for me. My Mom helped me mask up the white blisters on the end of the ends of the fenders and back then she put white Vinyl pin stripes on it that are now long gone. When I started driving, this bike sat in the weather 10+ years forgotten behind my Dad’s shop, until I went and brought it to my house my around 2005. It’s been out of the weather since, but all those years in the elements took their toll.

My plan is to clean it up as much as I can, add a proper springer fork, and put the pin stripes back on it. I’ve figured out a way over the years to wipe thinned out new paint over old paint and then wipe it off to kinda coat the rusty spots but leave the original paint. Since Dad painted it, I’m going to retain as much of the black as possible. I’m going leave the incorrect paint details because it’s the way they’ve always been. I want to make it clean and presentable. If I get it clean enough, I may even try the linseed oil rub down.

Here are the pics of now and when I pulled it out of storage.
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Everything came off without too much of a fight.
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The frame looks pretty good “blackened” and polished up. I’m hoping the black on the tins turns out as good.

I’m getting some scaling and what will be done deep pitting if it continues to happen, especially on the tank on the white parts. I think I’m going to have to repaint al the white to get rid of that and to get the look I want. I’ve been saving this saddle for this bike and I’ve got a pretty nice wide set of cruiser bars that I will use on it also. I was able to the Schwinn teardrop grips off of it without messing them up today, so that’s a big plus for me.

I’ll be holding on to the same grips my 12 year old hands held onto the first time I ever took her for a spin!


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I made some progress on the Schwinn. I got the white repainted on the fenders and guard and painted pinstripes on the rear fenders where the vinyl once was. I cheated a little on my stripes - I laid tape down on the outboard side and used it to guide me painting them on. I’m quite sure they would have went around the fender like a snake if I totally freehanded it. Overall they look pretty good. I can say that I have painted on stripes that factory on several of my bikes they were in no way perfect either.

I also bought a Springer fork (Thanks Dr Tankenstein!)

This thing is shaping up to look kinda-crusty-but-cared-for, which was my intent. It’s not perfect in any way, and not correct, but working on it sure brings memories from my childhood!
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I got all the repainting and refreshening done. I went with the scallop on the front fender blending into the fender headlight like it was painted when I was kid. The original fender on the bike has the scallop, so I thought at the time it would look good blending into the pointed headlight.
I’m waiting on the springer fork and I have to decide what (if anything) I’m going to do with the wheels.
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I got the new tank water slide decals and the springer in today. I put on the decals and hope to get springer put on tomorrow.
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I got the springer fork, new wide cruiser bats, and I threw the wheelset off of my Rollfast on it. I’m going to get a lens for the headlight, put a better crank and chainring on it, do a few small things and call this one done. I’ve got to decide if I’m just going to buy a new chrome wheelset or clean up and paint the white wheelset that was on it.

I can’t wait to ride it again. I got the original grips off of the old bars without damaging them because I wanted to be able to ride it holding on to the same grips I was 30+ years ago.
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Remember..... You promised the old man you would ride it! ;)

Yes I did! I bought this bike today, and as cool as it is, I’m taking the wheelset off of it and putting it on the Schwinn. this bike rides great, and it has a Bendix hub.

The Western Flyer is going to get reincarnated as a muscle bike though, so it’s all good!
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I put the new wheelset on it today with the Carlisle Lightning Darts. I guess all I’ve got left is to put a nicer chainring and crank on it.

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