The "Nuthin Special"

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Okay, first off, I've been lurking forever but I'm new to posting so go easy on me!

Second, Yes. Yes I am attempting to do this (my first) build in less than two weeks (started Thursday) Hey, like I always say, "If it weren't for the last minute..."

The frame I'm using is a '55 Schwinn Racer. Its the first lightweight I ever owned and the only one I've ever kept. Had it for around 20 years now, mostly because I love the short head tube and the winged badge. I painted it all black and white as soon as I got it, threw some whitewalls on it and that's the way it remained until last week. It made a great "guest rider" and has seen many miles.

I came across a black and white Racer chain guard and that instantly became the inspiration for the build. The bike will sport these colors along with a lot of faded/pitted chrome, and sport a little bit of a board track look with a little bit of vintage road bike thrown in (or vice versa, depending how you look at it). I will use almost all Schwinn parts that span many years, and of course will have a few surprises to throw in along the way. And one final detail, I like to keep 'em clean and simple.

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Here's the mess I'm starting with. '55 Racer frame, a later ladies' breeze donor, and lots of misc. parts.

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The inspiration: Badge is why I kept the bike so long and the chain guard is why I'm rebuilding it.
 
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Well, my photos seem to have posted, so moving on...

Tore the breeze apart and set it aside. Spent some time cleaning some of the chrome. Long way to go in that dept. Spent Saturday with the stripper. Got the Racer frame and fork to bare metal (which I really dig, but I have a 20's bike in bare metal on my wall so I'm trying to diversify). After some sanding, I primered up the parts in Red oxide primer. That way when the bike starts to "patina", aka, get used and abused, the frame will be uniform with the factory chainguard. Next was the gloss black paint. Lots of it. Today was a trip to the Cycle Swap at the Veterans Stadium for a few bits and pieces, followed by some more polishing, and well... watching paint dry! Tomorrow I'll start assembly. Paint photos are below. Oh, and the serial #. I think it's a cool one. But in truth it just denotes the last week of November, '55.

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stripper

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bare and sanded

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"001" should mean something cooler. Hey! My first RRBBO!

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red oxide primer. closest thing to Chicago primer without getting ridiculous about it.

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gloss black and drying
 

kingfish254

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This will be a super fast build.
Welcome to the game!!!
 
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First off, thanks for the kind words, Kingfish, Peatbog, & Bike2112! I'm likin' the black, too. And I'm hoping for a fast build as well, 'cause that's my only option!

Didn't get too far today. was cleaning and organizing a lot of parts for this and two other bikes and time got away from me. I did manage to "restore" an old Brooks seat I've been wanting to use. Found it in a horse trailer! Polished it up and made it black again with regular old leather dye from the local shoe store. A guy I know makes the cool seat post I'm using. Solid steel, turned down on a lathe, heated, and bent. Finally, I polished up the front end parts for a photo, Racer bars from the donor bike, a steel road bike stem, the polished up badge, and some brand new takeoff grips. I really like those soft grips with the old school script! Hopefully, there will be a lot more to report tomorrow.

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Brooks- before

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Brooks- after

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primed and painted the seat post

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Racer bars, road bike stem, polished badge, rubber "script" grips
 
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You are really chuggin' along. Great rat so far ... GTB!!! Peace
 
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Thanks for the ups from Peatbog and Jake Sensi- this is the easy stuff, I'll be feeling the pressure in a few days!

Today was mostly spent on other stuff (again) but assembly has begun nonetheless. The first thing I did was chop down the road bike stem to fit my short head tubed frame. Only power tool I've used so far! Put the front end together along with the seat assembly. Flipped the bike over and installed the cranks (nothing special here except that they're the original cranks to the bike, along with the fork and headset. The rest is long gone, haha.) Grabbed the fenders and cleaned them up, painting the braces and undersides black. That's where I'm at. Not sure about pedals yet. Had some set aside that magically changed to 9/16". Hate that! I think I have everything else figured out. Famous last words...

Tomorrow I'll find some hardware for the fenders and chain guard. then I guess its time to find some pedals and figure out the S6 wheels. Every spoke is loose or broken and the tire choices are non-existent, but I think I got lucky on that one.

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shortened stem- after. (and beforeish)

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Easy stuff first so it feels like I'm making progress!

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Whats wrong with this picture?

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undersides and braces painted gloss black.
 

kingfish254

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Thanks to Kingfish and Skipton. It's great to get kudos at all, let alone from guys building some of the better stuff around here. I remember following that yellow bike build a while back!

The Nuthin Special is a half roller now. Went and got some stainless hardware, acorn nuts mostly, and installed the fenders and polished up chainguard. Don't know if anyone noticed, but there was a spoiler in a previous post in the form of a truss rod bracket on the headset. The set I'm using are nos Electra, for no other reason than not finding decent Schwinn ones on short notice. But they're permanent now, as I chopped 'em way down to fit the short head tube.

I'm trying to keep the plastic and aluminum off the bike, and I thought I had some 1/2" chrome road bike pedals but no such luck. Everything I've seen that's new and cheap looks, well... new and cheap! If I have any time left this is something I'll revisit.

Finished the front wheel, so I'm unveiling my secret weapon. Doing this build in the first place hinged on whether I could find a cool tire for the S6 wheels. If my only choice was gumwalls this would not have happened. Luckily, someone on ebay found a dozen or so of the "schwinn" Kendas in white so I jumped on them and the RRBBO7!

All that is left is rehabbing the 3spd., building the rear wheel, and figuring out the linkage. Yep, all the hardest stuff. Especially since every other bike I own is a single speed. Love those red bands!

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Man, do I dig acorn nuts! Stainless seemed to match all the dull chrome best.

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Truss rods were cut WAY down. took about two inches from both ends combined.

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The only pedals I have that even remotely look the part. Tons of cleanup and the jury's still out.

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Oh yeah! I didn't know how easy I had it as a fat tire guy until I started searching for tires for this thing!
 
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Having issues with the back wheel, but made some progress anyway. Polished up the chainguard and mounted it with some more stainless hardware. Got my truss rods trimmed down and installed. Removed most of the rust from the og pedals and got them on as well. Finally I mounted up the front tire and wheel. I'm stoked that little tire blew up big enough to fill out the area some. I was a little worried about that. oh, and the color worked, so I returned the old 8 ball valve stem caps to the Racer since that's where they've been for the last 15 years. The rear wheel deal is going to put me right up to the last second. Might be asking for some creative advice to get around it come Monday!

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truss rods cut up and put on.

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chainguard polished and installed. Its a surprisingly close match to the new paint.

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pedals cleaned up and installed. This took a while!

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front tire and wheel mounted, along with my 8 ball!
 
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Thanks, 2112! I'm pretty stoked that the some of the coolest builds/builders on here are the ones noticing my little ride. That push brake is awesome. It would actually really help me out of the bind I'm in with my rear wheel. How many did you make?, haha!
 
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Rough weekend. No work was done. It's going to be a long day today. 7 PM will no doubt come quick. On another note, I got some great inspiration yesterday. I went on the Cyclone Coasters monthly vintage bike ride here in Long Beach. Cool people and over 200 vintage bikes. I know some of the guys are on here, but hey, if you live anywhere near here check it out!
 
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So I lost my internet connection and missed the deadline by half an hour. Wasn't expecting many votes anyway, but I still have steam coming out of my ears at the moment. I'll go ahead and post the last couple shots of the build here and the final photos. Photography is decent, but I shot too early so as to make the deadline.

I'm happy with the bike. Looks like how maybe someone would have hopped up the Racer back in '55 when it was new. The problem I spoke of earlier with the rear wheel was the hub. I have a SA 3 spd. with a freewheel and wanted a coaster brake. It was to arrive today but no such luck. I have a Nexus, but just couldn't see putting all the plastic shift linkage on, and was certainly not running calipers on here so stuck with the SA temporarily. If you look close, I even put a bendix arm on the right side as an act of good faith. The suicide shifter was a first for me. Had parts from four different assemblies and after making it much harder than it had to be, realized I was one tack weld and a couple cuts from what I wanted.

Well, that's about it. Two mishaps on the last day and I'm out of the running. Enjoy the photos:

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3 spd. madness

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All I really needed.

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Peatbog said:
Man, it's a bummer that you missed the deadline, as that bike is sweet.

I'm pretty bummed, man. At least I can say the BIKE was done on time, haha. But thank you all the same!
 

kingfish254

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Wicked build.
Sorry you didn't get it posted, but at least you finished.
Next time start just a little bit earlier!!!! :p
BRAVO for finishing!!
congRATs!
 
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kingfish254 said:
Wicked build.
Sorry you didn't get it posted, but at least you finished.
Next time start just a little bit earlier!!!! :p
BRAVO for finishing!!
congRATs!

Yes, next year I will start one hour earlier! And with a different computer!

Trying to keep my sense of humor, but still seeing red. I was never worried about votes, but it seems like everyone shifts to the finished board so not too many people will even see this. Oh, well. Definitely learned a lot in the last week and a half. And I'm stoked to be a part of this forum!

Good luck with the voting, Kingfish. I'm pretty certain you'll shoot straight to the top!
 

kingfish254

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I guarantee that all of the builders that were here will see it. I think there are plenty of voters that never look at the build thread which is a shame, but you ended up with a cool bike to ride, so there is your prize!!

Thanks for the vote of confidence.
 
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bike2112 said:
LBCJ said:
kingfish254 said:
Wicked build.
Sorry you didn't get it posted, but at least you finished.
Next time start just a little bit earlier!!!! :p
BRAVO for finishing!!
congRATs!

Yes, next year I will start one hour earlier! And with a different computer!

Trying to keep my sense of humor, but still seeing red. I was never worried about votes, but it seems like everyone shifts to the finished board so not too many people will even see this. Oh, well. Definitely learned a lot in the last week and a half. And I'm stoked to be a part of this forum!

Good luck with the voting, Kingfish. I'm pretty certain you'll shoot straight to the top!

Dude, don't sweat it. Your bike is simply awesome and I guarantee I will have one very similar inspired totally from yours. I have always wanted to do a Racer frame bike and you have pushed me to action. I LOVE this bike and finished or not, it is a FANTASTIC build.

Thanks again, man! The bike is a little small for me (I'm 6'1"), but it is a blast to ride. It's crazy to think that I picked this bike up nearly 20 years ago for 40 bucks while buying a bunch of heavyweight stuff from a guy, just 'cause I liked that winged badge! I've given it a new lease on life. Twice!

Your bike is easily one of my favorites in this build. Tons of innovative and unique ideas without all the "cake decorating" (as my former long beach neighbor Jesse likes to call it). good luck with the voting!
 
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The Nuthin Special made my wall of rotating bicycle art! Don't worry, its easier to get down and ride from here than where most of my other bikes are stored. Lots of attention when I take it out on the bike path. Even had one kid say "wow, is that one of the very first fixies?" Not sure how I feel about that, haha!

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