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I really need a multi speed bike in the hilly area where I live, but the old one speed cruisers have the style and coolness I really like. My height (or lack thereof) is a big factor in finding a bike that I can ride, in any style. My regular rider, a Huffy Parkside I am continually modifying to get more of a cruiser or bobber look, fits just fine. I built a ratty cruiser from an old girls bike that fit but it's still a girls bike under the fake top tube and tank. I just missed a deal on a 70's Schwinn Heavy Duti mid weight cruiser. The other day I found a new bike on Facebook Marketplace that I thought I'd check out. A Huffy Nel Lusso with red tires. Not expecting too much, but for the $40 requested it could supply some nice parts.
I have seen other Huffy cruisers like the Cranbrook and they are too tall for me. I think they have like a 19 inch seat tube. I was expecting this Nel Lusso to be the same frame with a rear rack tacked on. To my surprise I was wrong! The Nel only has a 17 inch seat tube! I can ride it just fine! I stuffed the bike into my car and drove joyfully home! LOL
The modifications have begun to ratify the bike. Also my wife want's me to fix up her old MTB styled bike so she can ride with me. My old project girl/boy bike (Billie Jo) will become a parts donor. Looks like I'm gonna be having some more bike building fun for awhile. :crazy2:
Here's a picture of the Nel before any changes were made
nel1.jpg
 
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since you are modifying it and you live in a hilly area you might consider buying a 3 speed coaster brake rear wheel for it. That way you can get a few gears and still keep the cruiser coaster brake simplicity. If it's realllly hilly you could even change the front chainring to a smaller one and give yourself a low low gear, a low gear, and a regular gear.
 
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I replaced the front sprocket with a 36 tooth one. That helps a lot.

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A three speed hub would give me the opportunity to learn how to lace a wheel. :crazy2:
Just make sure the hub you get is made for the same spoke gauge as the bike. Huffys sometimes use a thicker spoke than your usual Shimano hub.
 
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Haven't bit the bullet to try swapping out the rear hub, but have been making some other changes the Lusso. The seat has been replaced with a ratty old Bell piece. Can't stand the look of that Huffy seat. Also pealed off all the stickers except for the Huffy stickers on the head tube and seats tubes. I added some two tone accents with Krylon Ivory and replaced the head tube Huffy "headbadge" sticker. Also took off the fenders (fit pretty well on my other bike even though the other bike has 27.5 wheels). Also tried my luck with an angle grinder and cut out the mounting tabs for the plastic "tank" decoration.
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Agreed, the changes have started taking the ‘big box store bike’ look out of it. I think a black springer fork or some black truss rods would help emulate the rack and balance the bike


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Yep, that's a pretty nice looking bike as it sits.

I put a Shimano 8 speed coaster brake hub on my avatar Schwinn Typhoon. It makes for a very sweet ride while preserving the cruiser look with no cables except the shifter.

This is an awfully expensive proposition however. I did it simply because I wanted to... figured it would be a kind of unique conversation piece when I meet others with old bikes. I might have spent $250 or $300 by the time I sourced the hub and had a professional lace it into a new rim. It would obviously be way cheaper to be patient and stay on the lookout for a donor bike with a 7 speed coaster hub - though that might take a good while to find.

I've also used a Shimano 3 speed coaster brake hub on another old Schwinn. This set me back about $150 for the rim with the hub already laced into it. I don't have any other expensive hobbies - I don't collect anything or build cars, etc. so I don't mind spending a little more and getting something new and pristine instead of looking for donor parts. I end up with two or three times the money in the bike than I could ever get out of it, sadly, but what the heck.
 

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