First Step of First Build


New Member
Local time
8:02 AM
Jul 24, 2008
OK, I just took my first step - I bought a bike to base my build on.

I ended up using credit card rewards points to order one of these:

As it turns out, I will get it for free, so I guess I can't complain that it's not exactly what I was looking for - I had decided that I wanted something with a rear coaster brake. This bike has rim brakes front and rear, but it does have a 7-speed rear derailleur setup.

I figure I'll have to change the shifter for a friction shifter (the twist-grip shifter will probably get in the way of the throttle), and I'll have to replace the separate brake levers with one of those double-barrel jobbies so that I can leave the left handlebar free for the clutch.

I'm hoping to replace the fork with a retro-springer type fork - assuming that the springer will accept the front rim brake.

A curved seat post and a hairpin seat should wrap up the other accessories. After that I just need a motor!
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I have the schwinn point beach cruiser with the twist-grip shifter.

All you have to do is loosen the shifter up and slide it to the left to allow the throttle to be mounted all the way on the handle bars.

I have both the clutch and brake levers on the left side of my handlebars temporarily. It works for the time being. Eventually I am going to switch to the double brake on one handlebar solution.
OK. Step 2. The Schwinn came today. What a piece of Cr@p!

First I had to true the wheels. They were so far out of true that they wouldn't turn one rev without hitting the brakes, and if you opened up the brakes far enough to actually be able to ride, there wasn't enough brake lever travel to stop the bike!

Next, I took it for a short ride, and found that the rear derailleur would throw the chain into the dork disk (good thing I didn't take if off) when you shifted to low gear, and wouldn't go into the highest gear at all. OK, a simple adjustment, right? I found that the rear derailleur hanger was slightly bent. I took the RD off and straightened the hanger, and now the bolt won't go back in.

I also found some cosmetic damage on the finish of the frame in a couple of places, although the box - it was actually double-boxed - wasn't damaged at all. We weren't home when it was delivered, and the UPS guy just left it on the front porch. Even if we were there, with no damage on the box, I would have signed for it anyway. I have a feeling that there isn't really any shipping damage, it's just very poor factory assembly and packing.

I guess step three will be trying to chase the threads on the RD hanger.

If that doesn't work, step 4 will be making it a single-speed.

Anybody know what size tap I'll need to chase these threads in the RD hanger?

BTW, it has a pretty thick down tube - may make for front motor mount opportunities to get creative.
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I went to Lowes and took my derailleur hanger bolt with me. In their hardware section they have a selection of SAE and metric studs and couplers, labeled as to size and mounted on a rack post, where you can try nuts and bolts to determine their size and pitch. I found that the derailleur bolt is 10mm x 1.

Next I went to their tool department hoping to find a tap. For $40.00 they had a metric tap and die set, but the only 10mm was a 1.25 pitch. I didn't really want to spend $40.00 for it anyway. I then thought that maybe I'd just buy a couple of 10mm x 1 bolts, hoping to use them to chase the threads instead of a tap. They had no bolts in that size.

I asked the associate in the hardware department if he knew of any good hardware stores around that might have what I need. I guess I already knew this, but most of the little mom-and-pop hardware stores where you could find one of just about anything have all been run out of business by the big box stores.

Oh well, there always the 'net.

On my way home I happened to think of a Tru-Value hardware store in a little town south of where I live, so I drove out there. Bingo! I scored a 10mm x 1 tap for about $6.00!

Note to self: Buy absolutely everything I can from Tru-Value so that they don't go the way of the service station. (If you know what a Service Station is, you're a candidate for AARP.)

I went home and chased the threads - got a lot of gunk out of them - and replaced the rear derailleur and adjusted it. Even after chasing the threads, it didn't feel like the bolt really wanted to take much torque - it just felt kind of spongy, so my rear derailleur hanger is probably toast anyway.

Lemme tell ya, this ain't no Campagnolo derailleur! (It's actually a Shimano 515 mountain bike rear derailleur with a SRAM twist shifter.) I was able finally to get it to shift all the way from low to high gear, but the indexing of the SRAM shifter doesn't seem to match up very well to the cog spacing - some of the intermediate cogs want to "autoshift" up and down. I guess this leaves me with two choices:

1. I can replace the SRAM twist-grip shifter with a friction shifter. But I'll still be dealing with the cr@ppy derailleur, then, and I'm not feeling too good about the hanger bolt.

2. I can just do away with the rear derailleur and do a single-speed conversion. I'd have to buy a chain-tensioner, but I don't think they're too steep, and heck, if I'm only going to put a motor on this puppy, why do I need to shift gears anyway - I'll just pick a cog and go with that one.

I think a single-speed is in my future.

I did measure the downtube, and it's 1 - 1/2". The Spookytooth mount is advertised to work with up to 1 - 1/2", so I guess I'm good to go there.

Top of the bottom bracket to the bottom of the top tube at the seat post is 15" approximately, so that dimension looks OK too.

The brakes that came on this bike are really bad, too. They are cantilever brakes, and look to be made of pot metal - I'm afraid to bend them, and the way the pads engage the rims (rear of pad touches first) they squeal like a dump truck.

My plans are to put a springer fork on the bike, and if I do that I'll have to replace the front brake, at least, with a side-pull brake. I'll probably just go ahead and do both of 'em.

Also the reach from the seat to the bars is way too short for me, and the seat post, even adjusted all the way up, is way too short for efficient pedaling as well. Not too worried about it, though, as my plans include a bent and braced seat post and a leather hairpin seat, and I don't plan on too much pedaling anyway.
I put springers on my bike and there is a hole at the bottom of the down tube for brakes to be attached plus my fancy eagle. I know the hole is covererd but you can see where it attaches
When you do.

Sounds like you're having fun. Tru-Values are few and far between but seem to be growing in popularity. They do have all the night nuts and bolts for these bikes.
My first mbike was on a Schwinn Jaguar and I am building 2 new ones on the same bike as yours. It is straight from China but I have been pretty pleased with it - it is what it is , a 150.00 with shipping bike. I put one of the heavy duty dual center stands on it and that was one of the best 30.00 Ive spent. I just moved the shifter up the handlebar and put a dual brake pull and it fits fine. as far as the bike drive the only thing I care about is that it will get the bike going enough to let out the clutch :) The finish is not perfect either on any of the ones I have purchased but I found it much easier than a coaster model I did and had to fight getting the drive gear on there - hole enlarged, ect. Ive got about 500 miles on the first one and havent had any problems - for $150.00 I am well pleased.
Yeah, I know it's just a $150.00 el-cheapo type bike, and I'll fool around with it and eventually make something out of it.

But I keep thinking about the poor schmuck that's pinching pennies trying to keep gas in his car and buys one of these bikes for his kid, figuring he can save money by bolting on the wheels, pedals, and handlebars himself and his kid will be proud of him. Maybe he's not too mechanically inclined and/or never adjusted caliper brakes or a derailleur before, but he watched the video on Schwinn's web site and figures "Hey, I can do that!".

So he spends his money and bolts the thing together, and figures his kid will be proud of the bike, and proud of his Dad, and the kid takes if for a ride and it won't shift right, and the brakes are dragging because the wheel's are catywhompus, and the kid is embarrassed because the brakes sound like a dump truck. Now Dad's mad because the kid's whining about how the bike's not right and he feels inadequate because he's so stupid that he can't even assemble a bike, and he kicks the dog, and goes to a bar on the way home from dropping the bike off at the LBS, and gets drunk and ends up with a DUI and a suspended license, and he loses his truck-driving job, and his wife leaves him, and now he's saddled with alimony and child support, and he's living in a dingy one-bedroom apartment on the second floor of a crack house and he can't get partial custody because of the bad environment, and.....well, you get the picture.

Yeah, I know it's just a $150.00 el-cheapo type bike, and I'll fool around with it and eventually make something out of it.

and he's living in a dingy one-bedroom apartment on the second floor of a crack house and he can't get partial custody because of the bad environment, and.....well, you get the picture.


Man that made me laugh :)

You could picture it like this tho too - a guy goes out and buys the most expensive bike in the catalog. He spends more $$$ making sure everything is taken care of. He spends 800.00 in just a bike, the bike shop spent hours making sure it was perfect - first time out the kid dumps it in the gravel. Later that month the father comes home to see it resting in the yard where it has been for the last two weeks cause the kid is really fat and would rather sit hours in front of the Wii . The father kicks himself in the $#$ cause he could have gotten a 150.00 bike to be a lawn ornament. Dad is so mad he kicks the dog and later loads up the bike that his chubby offspring has forgotten and takes it down to the local Goodwill where this guy that got a DUI and lost his driving rights sees it and happily pays 50 bucks and cruises back to the crack house he is living at. He takes this really cool bike and gets a job as a courier to a package company and earns enough to move from the crack house and from there he is able to get partial custody of his kid .... LOL .

There is a happy ending !!!

It aint the price of the bike but what you do with it right ?

I have to admit the wheels were an experience for me too seeing how off they were. I like my Chischwinn ! :cool:

Well, I ordered a single-speed kit from Performance Bike - as it happens, they had it on sale for $19.99, plus there's a 15% off sale for today and tomorrow.

So, I guess I'm into Step 4!

I wonder how many steps are left - and I haven't placed my SpookyTooth order yet! I'm figuring nearly $500.00 bucks worth of stuff from him if I do it right, including the springer fork and new brakes, center stand, fenders, hairpin seat, etc. I'm thinking I'm going to do a rattlecan paint job on it - maybe dark blue or dark green (dark green with cream-colored pinstripes on the fenders, chainguards, and tank would be classy).

Hey! Maybe that's what I'll call it - the "Rattlecan Special"!