59 Wasp

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First post here, I’ve been skimming through the site for years though! Looking for some ideas/inspiration on where to go with this build. First off, I want to keep the original spirit of the bike alive. Not looking to repaint or anything too serious with this one as I really dig the crusty look of it as is! I just want it to ride well and preserve what I can.

It has a heavy duty front wheel, which is cool because I’m going to put my giant delivery basket on there for grocery runs. The original rear wheel had old rusted out spokes, so I need to get some new spokes and rebuild it or find a replacement wheel. The stem was completely seized in the steerer tube, I was eventually able to work it out with some sewing machine oil and a hammer though. Besides that, I’m looking to do new tires and probably a Brooks B135 saddle.

Will post pictures when she’s finished!
 

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Yeah, those graphics are too cool to mess with, Schwinn used really good paint, and you might be surprised how much a wash and wax would do.
If that isn't enough, this could be a good candidate for linseed oil treatment. It is available at the hardware store, is easy to use, and brings the life back to old faded paint.
 
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A 53 Wasp is a good choice. The Wasp was a new model in 54, but yours might be one they made in advance to stock up for that model year. If you're going to haul a lot in the basket, I would suggest a kickback hub. No cables or shifter to mess with. Low gear may come in handy. The Bendix yellow and red band hubs are good, but haven't been made in many years. I use a Sturmey Archer 2 speed kickback. Here's your bike from the 54 catalog:
 
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I don't believe that's a '53. More like a '59 or so with that chainguard decal. There are a few Schwinn serial number look up tools online if you're inclined.

Nice project and I like your direction with it! Have fun!
 
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MattiThundrrr,

Thanks for the tip! I’ve never tried linseed oil on paint before. I’ll clean it up as best I can without rubbing off too much of the detailing. I might try and touch up the lettering on the chain guard a little bit if I can figure out how to keep it looking aged.

Wildcat,

Good to know! I was just going off the serial number. It must technically be a 54 then, just manufactured in 53. I’d love to do a kickback hub or something since I live in a hilly area and actually want to ride this bike for transportation.

Does anyone have experience with the Eagle remakes of the Bendix hubs? Or would I be better off with a Sturmey Archer?
 

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I guess it could be a later chainguard added then.
 

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I don't believe that's a '53. More like a '59 or so with that chainguard decal. There are a few Schwinn serial number look up tools online if you're inclined.

Nice project and I like your direction with it! Have fun!

I agree about the dating of this probably being a 59 or later based on the chainguard decals.
What is the serial number?

 

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You guys could be right, I’m no expert! I’ll double check the serial number after work today.

Either way, it's still a great bike to build from. Welcome to RRB.
If you feel you will be able to build it out by Sep 6th, you should jump in the fun of Build Off 17.
 
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Hope I'm not too late to warn you off from "cleaning" the circular Schwinn decal/paint on the seat post, they're often pretty delicate on older bikes.
 
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Looks like 1959 according to the serial number! Thanks everyone for pointing that out, I have corrected the title. I was confused by the number of digits! Schwinn made a lot of bikes, dang!

Not sure if I’ll be able to finish this build up by September as I have another build going on currently (650b SS).

Deorman,

Thanks for the warning! I learned the hard way on my old Typhoon unfortunately! I will leave those sensitive areas alone.
 

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One cool rig you have there, the Wasp was one of the latest balloon tire (2.125) holdouts being built til 1964. By then everyone else had transitioned to middleweight (1.75) tire bikes.

I would love to find a '64 Wasp someday, the end of a decades-long run for the ballooners. Of course, Schwinn bought it back in the late 70s as they likely had a stack of S2s to use up before they closed Chicago? Never knew exactly why heavyweights were brought back - BMX? MTB? Old stock?
 
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I’m going to be changing gears on this build, quite literally! Haha

I don’t have a lot of extra space to keep bikes unfortunately, so each one that I own has to serve a purpose and be a practical everyday rider. Since I have to replace/rebuild the rear wheel anyway, I was looking at my options and think it makes sense to go ahead and update the whole wheelset at this point. I’m looking at the Sturmey-Archer 90mm drum brake hubs THE BIG ONES with 3-speed in the rear laced up to some beefy 36h alloy rims. That’ll also give me a dynamo which is cool!
 

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