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I have always wanted to build a bike in the style of the klunker bikes ridden by the pioneers of mountain biking. In 2021 I bought this 1936 Schwinn built B.F.G. Goodrich frame from an ebay seller and it arrived in Australia damaged. Ebay refunded me in total for the frame and shipping and I lost interest in the project. This build off got me motivated to do something positive with it and I'm so glad I did. I named it the Freeliner, a combination of getting it for free and the Streamliner model name.

I was always in awe of the guys who raced these bikes back in the day and now even more after a short ride on the dirt yesterday.

1936 Schwinn frame
  • Giant Rincon chromoly fork
  • Electra Attitude handlebar
  • SR Stem
  • Changstar cantilever front brake assembly and levers
  • Shimano SIS shifter and derailleurs
  • 3 x 1 gearing
  • Sakae cranks with YST sealed bearing bottom bracket kit
  • Araya rims
  • Joytech front hub with chromoly axle
  • Maxxis DTH tires
  • Sturmey Archer drum brake rear hub
  • ACS Crossfire 18t freewheel
  • Viva leather saddle
  • Atom solid alloy seat post
  • Kalloy quick release seat post binder
  • Deity super cush grips
  • VP pedals

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As I assembled it in 2021 shortly after I got it for a test fit and ride. Being over 6ft I could barely ride it like this.
You're bike is well thought out and your paint job is really nice. I like that you used a drum brake on the back. Cantilever frames from yesteryear are hard to install anything except a coaster or drum brake on the rear. With the old school cantilever brakes arms on the front this bike will have plenty of stopping power. I raced in the Northern California klunker races starting in 1979 and there were a few 3 speed klunkers like yours. They used Sturmey Archer AW hubs and the like. Lots of guys would mount drum brakes on the front fork. The courses in Northern California featured long steep climbs followed by harrowing fast downhills. The Rockhopper in Santa Rosa's Annadel State Park had stones on the downhill and switchbacks so good braking was mandatory. Your bike looks very off road capable.
Thanks for the feedback and for sharing your experiences. The riders during those early years of mountain bike riding were way cool.

I was inspired to build this ride after years of checking out Alan Bond's klunker website and watching old videos on YouTube. Then when Charley Kelly released his book Fat Tire Flyer I couldn't read it fast enough!

Period correct parts to build an old school klunker aren't available In Australia so I just used simple quality stuff taken off a couple of early 80's mountain bikes. I had to buy some new parts, one of which was the Sturmey rear drum hub. Everything works way better than I expected. The 3 x 1 drivetrain took a little to get used to as I was constantly looking down at the front derailleur to get it in the right position so it didn't rub on the chain. Now I do it just by ear without looking down and it takes me back to my teenage years riding my early 10 speed. I'm really pleased with how the bike turned out.

The front cantilever brake setup is one of the features I like most on this bike. It looks like it belongs on it and has good modulation and more than enough stopping power. The new Sturmey Archer drum brake hubs are nicely made and work well too. This is my 2012 Kos Kruiser fitted with a new SA 3 speed drum hub and my 1939 Roadmaster with a 4” front drum hub. I removed the brake shoes and mechanism from the hub on the Kos as it already had a rim brake on the rear.

Once again, thank you for your feedback and comments.


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I made some changes this week to the Freeliner including a late model forged razor stem I had blasted and then painted matt black, a chrome plated Electra bar, layback post, Dia-compe levers and front cantilever brakes. The Dia-compe gear came off a really clean parts bike. The layback post and Brooks saddle assembly is one I swap between 3 Schwinn rides I own.

This thing is so much fun and fast with the 3 x 1 gearing setup and way more comfortable than before with the shorter stem and layback post.

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