Kasual Klunker

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Lots of good points raised above. Knobby tires, particularly those old style low pressure ones like your front tire waste a heap of energy. The other point is your seat position. I’m not sure how tall you are but I’m 6’2 and need the seat up a much higher than yours on almost every bike I own or I get sore knees and feel worn out after a long ride. My rides are usually 16-20 miles. Check out how high I need the seat on Freeliner which I’m currently building. BTW the heavy, slow 40psi knobby tires I had on the bike on the test ride are getting replaced by a set of 80psi Maxxis DTH I pulled from a parts bike.View attachment 217523
Unfortunately, those knobby tires I've currently got on the Schwinn are the best off road tires in my inventory, and even the front one still has a few cracks. I know next to nothing about how high/low tire pressure affects rideability, so this is all new to me. I don't really have the funds to get new tires right now, so I just used what I had, and figured it looked good enough to me.

As for the seat, I'm not much shorter at around 6' to 6' 3/4", but I hate having the seat sit so high, especially compared to the handlebars. It hurts my neck and back to ride that way, which is why I prefer having the seat down as low at it will go. If I need more power, I'll just stand on the pedals briefly until I get the speed I need. Plus I like how the bike looks with the seat down low. I could try raising the seat up a bit, but I don't know if that'll change anything. Plus, I'm not trying to go for maximum racing speed or distance. I'm just trying to go a steady 10-15mph at most without pushing myself too hard. My rides are usually only a couple miles long anyway, so I'm in no real rush to get somewhere. I ride my bikes to relax, get some fresh air, get a change of scenery, and have a little fun while getting some light exercise in the process.
 
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Okay, just took a moment to try and find the problem I was having riding this bike last week. The rear wheel spins fine, the front wheel spins better than fine, and the crank and pedals are spinning as intended. I think the coaster brake hub could use some fresh grease, but I don't think that's the cause of the problems I had earlier.

I think @JA331 was right; it could be the knobby tires that caused so much trouble to keep this bike moving. Fortunately I have a few sets of street tires that I can try on tomorrow. We'll see if that makes a difference. If it turns out my off road tires are what made this bike so difficult to pedal, I'm going to be laughing. There's a certain irony in putting off road tires on a bike only for those tires to be the reason I can't ride the bike off road at all.
 
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Good to hear. Pump the tires to maximum pressure to decrease their rolling resistance. The best rolling tires are rated at 60psi or above.
That one knobby tire on the rear was rated for 60psi, but I don't know about the tube I put inside the tire... I just aired it up to 40psi like I do most of my bikes. The tire felt pretty firm, and it didn't feel flat while riding it. Still, it might just be better to use a set of good used street tires with plenty of tread on them. I'm only riding this bike on dirt, gravel and pavement right now, so it probably doesn't need anything quite as extreme as what I had on earlier.
 

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That one knobby tire on the rear was rated for 60psi, but I don't know about the tube I put inside the tire... I just aired it up to 40psi like I do most of my bikes. The tire felt pretty firm, and it didn't feel flat while riding it. Still, it might just be better to use a set of good used street tires with plenty of tread on them. I'm only riding this bike on dirt, gravel and pavement right now, so it probably doesn't need anything quite as extreme as what I had on earlier.
may be a middle of the road tire like these.
Kenda Comp 3 III old school BMX skinwall gumwall tires 26" X 2.125"
s-l1600 (22).jpg


or if you can find a set of Tioga farmer John Mountain bike tires.
 

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JA and Tallman make some good points about tires, bearings, and seat to pedal position. In any thing related to bikes and their fit / set - up I always say "an inch is like a mile". Meaning, just the slightest adjustments can make a big difference. Frame geometry, the angles of the seat tube and the head tube, length of the rear chain stay and the 'virtual reach' between the middle of the seat and the junction of the bars and stem; all contribute to how a bike rides and feels.

If all your mechanical parts are sound, take a tape measure and measure all those points I just talked about, as well as setting a bike you really like riding next to the Kasual Klunker and visually see how they line up, angles wise. Matching the two as close as you can, along with JA and Tallman's suggestions about tires, pressure, seat height, etc, hopefully you will get a better result. My other saying about bikes , and life in general is; "The math never fails".
 
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may be a middle of the road tire like these.
Kenda Comp 3 III old school BMX skinwall gumwall tires 26" X 2.125"
View attachment 217734

or if you can find a set of Tioga farmer John Mountain bike tires.
Those would be worth a try, but right now I can't justify spending $40-$50 on a new set of tires. I'll definitely want to check them out at some point though!
 
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JA and Tallman make some good points about tires, bearings, and seat to pedal position. In any thing related to bikes and their fit / set - up I always say "an inch is like a mile". Meaning, just the slightest adjustments can make a big difference. Frame geometry, the angles of the seat tube and the head tube, length of the rear chain stay and the 'virtual reach' between the middle of the seat and the junction of the bars and stem; all contribute to how a bike rides and feels.

If all your mechanical parts are sound, take a tape measure and measure all those points I just talked about, as well as setting a bike you really like riding next to the Kasual Klunker and visually see how they line up, angles wise. Matching the two as close as you can, along with JA and Tallman's suggestions about tires, pressure, seat height, etc, hopefully you will get a better result. My other saying about bikes , and life in general is; "The math never fails".
Ok, I'll do some measuring and adjusting after I swap out the tires and get a test ride in today. Thanks for the advice!
 
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Cool build! I love old Schwinns especially straight bar Schwinns. I did a similar build.
View attachment 217787
It has a flipped yoke and steers like crap. Hey but coolness comes at a price right?

Also did a build were I flipped the rockers on a rat trap fork.
View attachment 217788
DUUUUDE!!! Those are NICE! I love the stance, paint and pinstriping on both of those bikes! Very cool!
 
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Okay, got some more progress to report!

First, I cleaned up and installed these 2 26" x 2.125" diamond tread tires I got from my friend Allan.
BftD_52_hornet_112222_1.jpg


They may not look quite as cool as the knobbier tires I had on before, but I think they still look alright. I bet they'd look even nicer if I painted over the pink stripes with a deeper red! After I shot this photo, I slapped the chain guard back on and took the Schwinn for a test ride around the neighborhood.
BftD_52_hornet_112222_2.jpg


Despite the change in tires, both of which were inflated to the recommended 40psi, I still felt it wasn't any easier to pedal than before. This leads me to believe I need to change the rear gear. Speaking of which, during my 2nd test ride today, the chain came off the rear gear. Turns out that it really does take 2 people to install the rear wheel correctly on this bike. I figured I could get the chain tight enough on my own this time around, but unfortunately, the axle washers like to "walk forward" as I tighten them down, despite having teeth that should make that less of an issue.
BftD_52_hornet_112222_3.jpg
BftD_52_hornet_112222_4.jpg


So now what?

Well, I'm not sure what exactly I'll be doing during Thanksgiving, but after Turkey Day, there's a major BMX race and show happening at the Tulsa Expo this weekend. My friend @billn will be there hosting and organizing the Vintage BMX show on Saturday, and it'd be fun to hang out with him and all the other bike guys who'll be there. I'd like to try and get this bike into a more rideable state in time for that show. Don't know if I'm able to enter it into the event, but I would like to at least show it off and ride it around there either way.

Thankfully, I don't think it'll be too much effort to get the kinks I've been struggling with sorted out by then. All I really need to do is:
1. Swap the rear gear,
2. Modify the chain length to fit,
3. Reinstall the wheel and chain,
4. Swap out the seat and seat post for something more comfortable to ride on,
5. Swap grips to match new seat, and
6. Button up and tweak everything as needed.

If I can get the rideability issues sorted out, then I can focus on all the aesthetic mods I have in mind, few as they may be. I don't know if I'll be able to do any painting during the fall/winter season, but as long as I can ride this bike now, I'm happy.

Side note: I didn't do the whole "measure and compare" thing today, but I'll definitely test it out when I have more time to tinker with it.
 
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Okay, Now that I know the gear ratio for this bike, I realize that it's the same gear ratio I have on Shoestring.
BftD_Shoestring_FINAL_main_SCALED.jpg


What stumps me here is that Shoestring is much easier and more fun to pedal, while this Schwinn so far hasn't been. My guess is that it's because Shoestring's coaster brake hub was rebuilt and packed with new grease, while the wheel I'm currently using hasn't had a hub rebuild and the grease may be thinner or something. So, as much as I'd rather avoid it, it looks like I ought to go ahead and rebuild this coaster brake hub. Hopefully it'll go better than last time.

Seat position may have something to do with it too, since I used a layback seat post on Shoestring, but not on this bike. Still, I have a few bikes with the seat positioned like this Schwinn, and they're just fine when it comes to riding comfort. I can play around with seat positions later, since I need to swap seat posts so I can mount a more comfortable seat onto this bike.
 

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Okay, Now that I know the gear ratio for this bike, I realize that it's the same gear ratio I have on Shoestring.
View attachment 217876

What stumps me here is that Shoestring is much easier and more fun to pedal, while this Schwinn so far hasn't been. My guess is that it's because Shoestring's coaster brake hub was rebuilt and packed with new grease, while the wheel I'm currently using hasn't had a hub rebuild and the grease may be thinner or something. So, as much as I'd rather avoid it, it looks like I ought to go ahead and rebuild this coaster brake hub. Hopefully it'll go better than last time.

Seat position may have something to do with it too, since I used a layback seat post on Shoestring, but not on this bike. Still, I have a few bikes with the seat positioned like this Schwinn, and they're just fine when it comes to riding comfort. I can play around with seat positions later, since I need to swap seat posts so I can mount a more comfortable seat onto this bike.
you sure your axle cone nuts are not tight? causing drag when hub spins.
 
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you sure your axle cone nuts are not tight? causing drag when hub spins.
I actually did tighten them up, just enough that they didn't stop the wheel from spinning, but kept it from wobbling. Besides, this is a used wheel off a freebie department store parts bike that looked like it had sat outside for a while. Only reason the front wheel spins as well as it does is because I put fresh grease and bearings in. Had to, since the original axle was too large to fit inside the fork.
 
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Maybe the cranks are bent. It doesn't take much to make them bind.
No, I tested the crank. It spins nice and fine. I think the source of the problem is that coaster brake hub. I haven't had much of a chance to test ride it since I changed a couple things this morning, so I'll want to sort that mess out once the roads dry up again.
 

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