Upgrades to 65 Schwinn Coppertone

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So I need to do the sacreligious and swap out a bunch of original parts on a 65 Coppertone. It currently has a Shimano Nexus 3 speed hub to give it a little extra go, but everything else is pretty rickety at this point, so I am going to modernize. Any advice appreciated, I am definitely thinking of converting to a 3 piece crank, new chain of course, and probably new rims. Going to add some sky-hi apes too to make it a beach bike. The two things I am stuck on are whether it is worth trying to swap out to a threadless stem/forks, and also what gearing ratio I should use (I know nothing about this). It is mostly going to be used on flat ground, so chill and easy is the goal, but also with some oomph to get up boardwalk ramps or small hills.
 
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This build is going to take forever, apologies on that but my time is generally obligated elsewhere. But this is the initial start, swapped out the bars. I think I am going to keep this very basic. New grips, new chain, obviously new tube for the flat rear tire, new seat. Surboard/skateboard holder. Possibly switching out the stem so that I can clamp the 7/8 bars a little tighter, or just some shims. The only thing I am a little stuck on, I have a 3-speed hub and I'd rather exchange the twist shifter on the handlebar for a stick shifter mounted at the base of the handlebars. I figure the look will be cleaner and lower profile, and maybe I can even run the cable inside the frame and handlebar so it is not such an eyesore. Any advice on that is welcome.
Bike 1.jpg
 
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Agreed, shine that coppertone! A few coats of car paste wax will really bring it out.
If that's a Nexus 3, it shouldn't be too hard to shorten the cable and add a shifter. You could mount it just about anywhere you wanted.
I see you kept the Schwinn one piece cranks. Those should work fine as long as they are adjusted and lubed. The gear ratio should be good also.
 
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Here's that inspiration I was talking about
 
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There are a lot of rear cog options for the Nexus, 14 to 23 teeth. They usually come with 19. If after using it if you want lower more spiny gearing get a 22 tooth cog for about $10. Pretty easy to install. Using a 3 piece crank with a Nexus will require a chain compromise as the road chainrings usually use a narrower chain than a single speed. BMX chainrings might be used, but I don’t know anything about the chain width used on them. Have a bike shop install a good quality single speed racing chain, it won’t break.
 
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Almost all of the Nexus hubs I see here in Poland are on bikes with three piece cranks, with very standard looking chains. I never really even questioned it, as bikes with other types of crank almost all predate the arrival of Nexus hubs on the market.
 
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Almost all of the Nexus hubs I see here in Poland are on bikes with three piece cranks, with very standard looking chains. I never really even questioned it, as bikes with other types of crank almost all predate the arrival of Nexus hubs on the market.
I broke several chains with my Nexus on a klunker doing standing hill climbs. I had a bike shop install a single speed chain that mountain bikers use and that stopped the problem. Sometimes road chains are too narrow to work with the wider single speed cog. The side links get deformed out. I’ve not had any luck with standard cruiser type single speed chains. Could be just me but it seems they are a little more prone to failure when abused.
 
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Ha ha nice avatar/handle, love the Misfits! Yeah the handlebars are awesome, but they are not wide enough for the clamp, so I have to put some beer can shims in there, a little extra work but no big deal. That is why I'm trying to shorten the shifter to a pull shifter on the frame, the cable will look really weird going all the way to those handlebars.
 
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