TRADITIONAL Schwindecisive

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Nov 24, 2019
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Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
My entry for this year's Build Off is the very first bike that got me into this hobby 6 years ago: my 1950 Schwinn DX I won at an auction for $65.

It's gone by a few names and gone through a few build threads over the years, but not once in those 6 years have I been able to complete it. For the longest time, I just could not decide how I wanted to build this bike, and the few times I had a plan for this bike, something happened that caused that plan (and in one case, THE BIKE ITSELF) to fall apart. I don't think there's any other bike in my collection that demonstrates my ADHD any worse than this one. If you want to see the other build threads for this Schwinn and all the different ideas I went through for this bike over the years, look here, here and here. Otherwise, here's a highlight reel:

Ever since the fork snapped in half underneath me almost 3 years ago, this Schwinn has been sitting in storage while my sporadic attention has been focused elsewhere. For a while, I just thought about replacing the broken fork and finishing it as the orange-and-white "Dreamcycle" I had last planned to do. Then I had the idea to rebuild it as more of a "hot rod"-style bike for this year's Build Off, still with the orange-and-white color scheme, but with a longer and lower profile.

The idea had potential, but I just wasn't feeling it. I was struggling with artist's block at the time, and it was making it difficult for me to decide what to do with this bike. Frustrated, I jokingly stated I should switch the name of this Schwinn from Schwinn Dixie to Schwindecisive since I could never make up my mind on how to build this bike. I was about to throw in the towel for entering this bike into the Build Off, but after leaving a comment about my problem and that silly name, I got a lot of positive replies to just roll with my indecision and build this Schwinn anyway!

So you know what? That's what I'm going to do!

I'm going to go back to my original plan I had for this bike years ago, before I even joined Rat Rod bikes: I'm going to build this Schwinn as a bare metal frame and fork, where all the other parts (fenders, wheels, tires, chain guard, tank, etc.) can be easily swapped out anytime I feel like changing up the look of this 74-year-old bike. The bare metal finish will provide a nice neutral color for everything else I want to install on it, so I have more freedom to switch up the look of the bike without having to repaint the frame and fork every time. Plus, leaving the frame and other parts in bare metal will help justify leaving any imperfections showing, like dents and holes in the fenders. I may even use a generic 46-tooth Schwinn chainring so I can avoid disassembling the bottom bracket when I want to use a smaller chain guard than the original winged chain guard. I'll also use a regular balloon tire Schwinn blade fork, so I can have enough room to fit some beefier tires on this bike.

I made some initial mockups yesterday, and I'm much happier with the direction this bike's heading!

I tried on a different set of fenders than the previous ones I had on, and while I'd need to adjust a mounting point on the rear fender, I like how it looks. These fenders wrap around the tires a little better than the originals, but I still plan to use the original fenders along with these.

The one part I haven't decided on yet are the handlebars, but I'm not too worried about that. I just pulled more out of storage yesterday, and I already have a couple options I like. I also shot these pictures in silhouette so I could focus on the shape of the bike without getting distracted by the colors. I think building this Schwinn as a more upright vintage bike, as opposed to a stretched and lowered bike, works. It makes the taller seat not stand out so much, and the standard bladed fork offers more room and options for fenders and tires.

I also shot a few photos out in the sun.

And I did a quick-and-dirty Photoshop edit to better visualize one of the final looks of the bike.

I want to mock up a few more parts I pulled from storage, because I want to come up with at least 2 different final designs for this bike. I know I want one version to be bare metal with black and red accents, and another version that's bare metal with cream/brown accents, but I'd love to explore even more ideas if I can. Once I get some good mockup photos, I'll trace over them in Photoshop and come up with a few color schemes for the final product.
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Go for it. I borrowed it myself, from Laura Kampf on YouTube. She builds lots great stuff, including bikes.

Awesome video! I'll have to check out more of her stuff! And now I really want to build a swing bike from my junk frames...

It's already looking good!
Thank you!
Do you live at a golf course?!? Nice lawn!

Thanks! 🤣 Haha, no, that's just all the weeds compensating for the Bermuda grass!

Good to see you in the mix. This should be a good one with that start. I also chose to do my rat in bare steel. I like the raw attitude it gives off.
Thanks Marshall! Sweet, I'll have to check it out!
Glad you stuck with it and we hooked you back into BO19. I like your multiiverse idea for the bike rolling forward.
Great start so far. Those paperboy bars should be fun and comfy.
Glad you stuck with it and we hooked you back into BO19. I like your multiiverse idea for the bike rolling forward.
Great start so far. Those paperboy bars should be fun and comfy.
Just when I thought I was out, you guys dragged me back in. 🤣 In all seriousness though, I'm glad I was able to participate in the Build Off with one of my unfinished projects. Thanks!

Funny thing about those paperboy bars: they're actually from my Columbia/Western Flyer Newsboy Special!

They're pretty close to what this bike came with, but I'm not sure I like them as much for this bike. I got a few other options I'd still like to try. Hopefully I'll a get a few more mockups in tomorrow.
Welcome back to BO action! Have fun with this iteration of the Schwinn, and I dig the name of course; it describes this bike perfectly!
Made some more progress on Schwindecisive today!

First thing I tackled was swapping out the 52-tooth Monark chainring for a smaller 46-tooth Schwinn chainring.

I tried test-fitting another Schwinn chain guard with the 52t Monark chainring to see if I could make it work, but there just wasn't enough clearance.

I thought about using a 48-tooth chainring, but I honestly just didn't want to chance it. I want to swap chain guards any time I want, and the last thing I want to worry about is whether or not it clears the drivetrain.

As much as I wanted to use a unique chainring, I figured keeping a Schwinn chainring on this Schwinn just worked best. It's a pretty neutral design, so no matter what parts I throw on the bike, it'll look just fine.

I also tried out a few different handlebars today as well.

I thought about using a more upright handlebar stem, but I chose to stick with the horizontal stem I used last time. I like the handlebars I used during the "Dreamcycle" phase, but with this big black seat, they just looked a little too small.

Here are my 2 picks for handlebars. First is a slightly longer and wider set of bars, which I really like.

Next is a slightly shorter and taller set of bars. They're a bit rusty, but I bet I could clean them up well enough with some steel wool.

I think both bars could work well for this bike, so I'm going to set them aside for 2 versions of the finished bike.

Here are all the other handlebars I went through today. Some bars might still make the cut for a different build style, but most just weren't what I was looking for.

Another change: instead of using the winged chain guard designed for the larger skiptooth or 52-tooth chainrings, I'll be using the original chain guard that a late relative of mine modified to fit these smaller 46-tooth chainrings.

One last change I made for today's mockups was switching back to the fenders from the previous build. I'll still use the other "deeper dish" fenders I had on earlier, but I also plan to use these too. This was mostly so I have a good base image to trace over in Photoshop for my color scheme ideas.

I probably won't make any more progress on this bike until after this weekend, because tomorrow I'm going up to my grandparents' place near Springfield, Missouri for the 38th Annual Springfield Bicycle Swap Meet. Hopefully I'll bring back some new parts for this Schwinn and all my other projects!
Picked up a few goodies for Schwindecisive earlier today!

While I was at the 38th Annual Springfield, Missouri bicycle swap meet today, I got 2 NOS 26" x 2.125" Jerald Slick whitewall tires (which I was REALLY excited about,) 6 handlebar stems, and a nice black-and-white Schwinn seat.

I don't know if the Jerald Slicks or handlebar stems will find their way onto this Schwinn, but the black-and-white Schwinn seat will most definitely be used on this bike! I just wiped it down quickly with some car wash fluid, and it shined up well! I think this seat will will look great on this soon-to-be bare metal Schwinn, especially with a pair of whitewall ties on a set of black Huffy wheels I have!
Most excellent score on the WW Jeralds. Seat look terrific too!