Quick Turnaround Huffy Good Vibrations commuter

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NLCTVWguy

Rollin' on 20's
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Jul 22, 2007
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New London, CT
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A friend of ours has been giving us a hand with major house projects this summer. He's been in between regular jobs and hasn't had much luck finding anything that pays a living wage around here or gives enough hours.

His bike has been his lifeline, and he's had several that I've helped him with over the years. This one's a lot cooler than most of the ones he has had lately- but it had a story. He originally got this '89 Huffy Good Vibrations 5-speed from a guy who kept it on his yacht. So it had a lot of exposure to Long Island Sound fog and salt. I'm going to guess that the fenders got so bad they had to be chucked.

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Then he rode the bike for a year, went through an ugly breakup for a year, and during that time the ex (there's always an evil ex, right?) kept it at her house, locked up in the back of the house outside. He couldn't get it back until finally he went up one day and freed it. It wasn't pretty but everything pretty much still worked and it was rideable.

He starts coming over here on it for work and we're talking about the bike and I'm looking at how bad the paint is, and I decide we're going to restore it and give it a little bit of Kustom. Nothing too crazy, because it's going to get used on the street, and it's going to get a lot of miles. I just wanted it to be something he could be proud of rather than having to park it behind buildings.

But things get worse before they get better- he needed something to ride, and I looked around at my stuff and said, hey, lets put this other Huffy on the road, and I'm not even going to worry if it gets stolen! But he decided it needed better handlebars, so we did put his original big bars on it. This is a Chinese Huffy, and other than 2 saveable fenders, it's real junk. It even had a twisted crank arm- like it had been jumped HARD with the pedals horizontal.

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So that little metallic brown gem was on the street, and believe me no one was safe. It does leave good skids, he says. I found it had almost a half turn before the rear hub would lock up and scared myself. He didn't care, he's young and crazy. :shock:

So disassembled and boxed everything and stashed it all in the garage, took the frame and fork to work and sandblasted them. Primed em up one night shift and gave it some time to dry before the gloss black.

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Got a couple of good coats of black on it, and it was about 5 days before I got back to it. The rusty bike was going to ride again! A trip to several stores around town and finally found one with automotive pinstripe tape. What, does nobody sell this stuff anymore? Get some if you can find it. This one was silver, with a wide and thin stripe.

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The pinstripes went on perfectly. Did the cantilever tubes, the down tube, the fork with a V shaped triple stripe, and a little diamond mirror-image pattern on the seat tube. It needed something else- a Rat Rod Bikes decal on the top tube finished it off. (I'm down to just one Built Not Bought so I didn't put one on it!)

The bike also needed lots of wire-wheel work on the rims. It's sort of rough and ready but there wasn't much else to do to save them. The front especially had taken a beating outside. But they're straight and the tires are decent connected-tread street/dirt road types. One new tube, one new rim band, one replaced headset bearing (all the balls fell out??), one new derailleur cable, a new chain.

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Looking great and it is a comfortable ride. Only thing I'd fix at this point is that it needs a taller seat post. And Huffy used something weird. It's not 13/16 like a Schwinn and it's much smaller than the new Chinese bikes. It's like 7/8" or 21mm. Just big enough a Schwinn post will not clamp up in the frame- but it looks like less than 1/16" difference. Just needs to be longer than 7". I guess people were not as tall in 1989 or something. :)

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Hope you enjoyed my first-day-of-fall Rat build!

--Rob Bareiss
New London, CT
 

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