My New Honda Schwinn Build


Irish John

I'm ready to start my Honda/ Grubee build using a Schwinn Deluxe Seven Cruiser with a Shimano Nexus 7 spd internal hub gears. This will be the new Fosscati FG4 'Indian Pacific' and will replace the old 2008 model 'Indian Pacific' which was a Grubee\HS on a Schwinn Alloy Seven with 7 spd mega-range derailleur gears.
It all came about because I wanted springer forks on a nice cruiser and the D7 was all I could buy in Australia. Despite the D7 having a MSRP of $549 it ended up costing more than twice the price of the Alloy Seven with a price tag of $820 (Aus & US dollars are almost the same). Was it worth the price? Definitely not! Since then I have found a way to import them into Australia for half that price.
The whole project has been one interminable problem. The D7 is thinner steel tube than the thicker Alloy7 and it looks a bit flimsy. The rear Shimano Nexus 7 was a nightmare. before I bought the bike I needed to know the dimensions of the hub so I could get a sprocket fabricated. Not even Shimano knew the dimensions of this hub and nobody had one in a shop.
Eventually I got the measurements and drew up a drawing for the sprocket.
I wanted a 50T sprocket and getting one of those from Kings Motor Bikes has been a long haul and although I bought some on-line I've not heard from them to confirm the order after more than a week of asking.
I decided to make up a sprocket from a 48T which I had and I'm hoping the Honda's tiny bit of extra pull will handle that better than the HuaSheng I used before. I've finished the sprocket and clamps and show them in the picture but now I have to make my rubber clamping pads to match the new steel clamps. That shouldn't be too hard if I use even two sheets of stuff to get as close to the chinese ones as I can. The chinese ones have 3 ply of canvas and are 8 or 9mm thick and i can only get 2 ply of 6mm thick rubber but that will probably suffice to hold the sprocket onto the wheel.
I had a big problem with my Honda when I took the stock stuff off it to adapt it - the engine locked up and it turned out to be caused by a piece of black plastic inside the crank that must have got there somewhere in the assembly line. Strange thing to happen. Then I got the Grubee kit and that has a lot of things wtrong that will need fixing. I have no shaft key and have got 4.5mm lengths of engine key which will need filing down to fit. The clutch keyway is not the same as the shaft keyway due to bad engineering of the clutch and I'll probably file the key and the clutch keyway.
The 3 piece crank that came with the kit from MBB Imports in Sydney is a joke and those kits have a Euro style BB that won't fit in an American cruiser without an adaptor. The adapter is $60 but it is a beautifully made thing.
Now I can change the crank to the wide 3 piece but the cranks are very short and this will make the steel Schwinn D7 hard to pedal. I have ordered more 1 piece cranks from and when they come I'll use those and ditch the horrible 3 piece.
It is not funny that a kit that is made mainly for cruiser bike frames comes with a crankset that can't fit a cruiser BB. It's also expensive because of all the messing around. This will do me but I'll be posting pictures of the build as I go along over the next week. The throttle control for the Honda is a big problem and I'm thinking of a way to solve it without sticking a HS carby on the Honda and solving it the easy way.
In the long term Andy will probably make me 50T sprockets but his computer is down and he's lost my drawings.
The steel mudguards are very wide and I'll need to cut them to let the chain pass. The bike is black & white with a fake tank which looks lovely but will have to go to make way for batteries to power the halogen lights.
The fuel tank will need to be mounted on padding because any stress on those threaded studs have previously caused my tanks to leak at the point where the posts come down from the bottom of the tank. I'm trying to fix my leaking tanks because they have expensive customised paint jobs and I'm hoping that grinding, sanding and cleaning with spirit will enable a soft solder fix to work. That's all for now but here are pics of the hub & sprockets and the Honda motor - it's the motor with the writing on it.


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nice work man i just got into my springer front end also on my gt dano iam likeing it
and hate the coaster brakes, but what i wanted to say was i think there is room for you to mount the sprocket to the hub its self in between the spokes area i been seeing this from some sellers on ebay using tandem hubs i have been enjoying your post on this keep up the good work

i like these guys here the best fast and helpfull
Day 2 on the Fosscati FG4 Indian Pacific

Masterlink, that won't work. I'm a pernickity chappie & I'm very careful about things like that. Take a look at a Shimano Nexus 7 and you'll see for yourself. The Schwinn tandem has a 7 speed Mega-Range freewheel & derailleur but the tandem hub flanges are 1.35mm too big a dia. for a standard sprocket mount.
Today I spent some time designing my tank decals for the new 2009 Fosscati FG4 Indian Pacific. I'll get transfers made for the tank and for the frame but I'll leave the Honda showing cos it's not Chinese. I've taken the Made in China sticker off the Schwinn and will try and make one saying 'Hand forged in Belfast by Harland & Woolf
I went down to a town called Ballina to get good replacement for as much of the Chinese stuff as possible. The new owner of the hardware place is useless and it was a wasted trip except his shop is now off-limits. Got a steel fabricator down there who reckons he can make better tanks than the ones in the kits so that's positive. Also got rubber for my customised sprocket clamp (see picture). The clamps are great and they fit perfectly just behind where the spokes cross. I drew the fabrication plan at full scale and just drilled through my drawings. The drawings were done before I had even seen the Schwinn bike. Bike shops here don't have Schwinns in stock - they order them when someone buys one.
I have the Schwinn D7 bike in the workshop now and my engine fits Ok in the frame. The picture shows a mock-up with nothing fixed in place. I use my own bolts for the tray and the ones that screw into the aluminium blocks have to have nuts on the end - that's a must cos they come loose and\or strip the soft aluminium threads. actually they do both of those things. Has anyone tried getting locknuts in those inaccessible places? It's very hard and takes ages to get them in but I'm getting good at it now and it took 2 hours and not 7 hours like last time. Then I use my own bolts to go up from below to hold the motor and 2 of those are always very hard cos 2 will always be in a really tight space. Haven't done that yet this time but I did it OK on last build.
I rode the bike for a while when I got it home with no motor and I've replaced the 24T chain ring with a 36T one so the 7 spd hub is much harder to pedal. This is great when the motor is running cos you can pedal & keep pace with the engine at full speed but I'd hate to pedal the bike uphill with no motor.
The rear coaster brake is such a mongrel of a thing and I really hate them. Haven't used one since 1958 in Canada when I was a kid. All Canadian kids bikes had them back then cos they reckon kids legs are stronger than their arms and this might help them to stop quickly. I hated them then and I hate them with 50 years of added vehemence now. If the D7 had only had bosses for V-brakes on the rear seat stays, like many bikes do have even if they are fitted with discs, I'd have ditched the whole rear wheel and used a Sturmey archer 3 spd hub and saved a lot of money.
The bike is steel and is much heavier than the Schwinn Alloy Seven I'm used to. Also the tubes are much smaller diameter so it looks lighter than the alloy Schwinns but it isn't. It's a heavy beast - a Harley almost and the Alloy 7 is like a 600 Ducati. I reckon the D7 is 60% heavier than the Alloy7 but it has one great thing - nice springer forks with proper front V-brakes and I've done enough miles now to know that front suspension is important if you want those 6mm engine tray studs to hold the engine on. I use my own Aussie steel studs but M6 is just too thin. They need M8 studs to really stand the strain.
Any extra power from the Honda will be more than cancelled by the extra weight factor. Got a Japanese 415 chain which is much better than the stock kit ones. It takes just over one chain on the D7.
Now I am waiting for feedback from the Forum as to whether I can dispense with one of the steel sprocket clamping brackets and just use the sprocket itself as the outside clamp and get by with using just one bracket on the inside of the hub to tighten the nuts against. Then I can use the other steel clamp on the next D7 with 7 spd Nexus hub. They were so hard to make and expensive as well. I only went to all this trouble to save the Shimano hub which is worth $400. In hindsight I was probably not thinking straight.
Oh yes, the mud guards are steel and weigh a ton. They are as fat as the Felt MP and I will have to cut a big section out of the rear one to allow the chain to pass freely. I think the mudguards are attractively ugly rather than beautiful and the same with the fender front light which is streamlined like the light on the old Indian Pacific. For those who don't know The Indian Pacific is one of the worlds epic trains that runs from Sydney to Perth - a distance equivalent from Washington to San Francisco; but over the Nullarbor desert she runs for several hundred miles dead straight - the longest stretch of straight railtrack in the world. I love trains and I've named my bike after this one. Well I'll be building more tomorrow but the only thing that worries me is how to rig up a throttle control for the Honda. I'm not sure how to do that and it scares me. I've read the thread here on it but don't understand all the struts & springs. Time to hit the hay. Goodnight Good Bikers.
The Indian Pacific is steaming down the corridor to bed.


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John, the bike looks like my old Schwinn Black Phantom from 1950+ /- Of course it had a tank wt. a horn in it and a tail light wt. a brake light, but the frame gave me a start. I loved it. I could ride all the way to school on my J C Higgins bike and never touch the handle bars. Not so with the Schwinn, top heavy. Of course they didn't have springer forks then, it had the Schwinn "Knee Action" front fork. Think dad paid $115 US for it. Lots of money in the 50's

Regarding the outside bracket. I thought the same thing. It doesn't seem to really serve a purpose except to space the sprocket out. My chain slaps the wheel strut some times and removing the bracket would allow me to move the engine towards center. As you know that would be a problem for me as my mounting holes are fixed on the bracket that I am using for the Schwinn Searcher. As I have the space to the struts, I turned the bolts around wt. the washers / lock washers and nuts on the outside. Took me an hour to put it together the first time and the sprocket was bent. Decided right then to turn the bolts around. Now it is much easier to torque the bolts to get the sprocket to run true. Think I need to look to getting some rubber to make new spoke mounts. The China ones are made from used tires it looks to me? Did you get rubber wt. cord reinforcement? I guess if your got rubber sheet wt. the proper durometer (hardness) they would be stable? Jim

Must look up AU time zone. Must be a day and around 12 hours later than AZ non DST? (Same as CA right now)
the eng.plate i redriled and used helie coils ..thats steal inserts then used steal 1/4 ..with a 5/16 bolt head size not sure you have seen them before works realy good did the same for the front of the plate.and back well then i put a peice of 2x4 under the plate sits on top the bb follows the seat post ohh and for the honda issue i didnt understand that linkage setup on here as well ..i do now ..but for me i went and put the hasunber carb on works well and for $25 new mailed to me it was money well spent and i didnt have to worrie about it no more !!!! and then i took all the gonvener stuff off and the arm as well i run my honda wide open.and took the stock muffler box off as well.. and that heat sheild off ..these engs.are made to run inside something i think the air from the out side cools it fine ..yea and as for the fenders / i cut a notch out as well i did it 3 times lol i think i have about 2 inchs both sides of the chain and then that tab that holds the fender up broke so i made a better one and my hubs just came in the mail so im off to see on geting them laced and then iam geting the boss brazed on the frame for my v brakes

and jim good ideal about the bolts and liked the history
Heli Coils are the thing for aluminum. I have a car outside that has a NorthStar V8 in it. It has be down twice for an oil leak and a oil galley replacement. The crank bolts can only be torqued twice. Original assembly and then one field tear down. The second time they had to drill all the crank holes and Heli Coll them. They are a great fix or preventive technique.

The rubber clamps are 2 ply canvas inside 6mm thick rubber. Available from clarkes Rubber in Australia. The Chinese stuff is 3 ply canvas in 7mm rubber but it's probably not as good as what I've got. 7mm is better but they don't have it. It's not expensive and get it cut in the shop cos it's a neater job than stanley knifing it at home. Get a few cut so you can use 2 if you need it thicker or buy a couple of pieces of 2mm rubber to use for extra thickening if you need it. I can't see anyone else needing to know this cos as far as I know nobody else has a frame-mounted D7. The standard clamps are as cheap as chips so I'd just buy them normally. This clamp is a pain and not for the feint hearted. Much cheaper for someone in the US to buy the Felt Heritage and not have this problem.
Today I mounted the sprocket and designed the decals in Adobe Illustrator. I won't have to paint the tank which is a bonus. Still trying not to think about the throttle or the line of the chain which might well be too close to the tyre and then I have to install another sheet of rubber clamp or another steel clamp to get the sprocket out a bit but then it interferes with the annoying coaster brake arm. If I lived in the US none of this would be necessary cos the choice of bikes would allow me to have springers on a lot of good frames. Not so in Aus where springers do not come on many good cruisers and the prices are 180 - 250% higher because of the fat cat sole distributorships. Don't think I'll work on the bike tonight cos I want to watch the Beijing Olympics opening ceremoney. That stadium was made from recycled HT motors and I suspect it will collapse under the weight of the throng.
Well, I'm back now. I got bored with sport - from the TV you'd think the only athletes in the contest were Australian. Stuff that! Just noticed that the thin steel downtube of the Schwinn is too small and the engine tray front mount won't be able to tighten around it. I'll try inserting some of my left over 7mm thick rubber and see if I can get the front tube mounting bracket to grip it under pressure. There's also a gear cable running down the front of that tube so that's a slight problem as well. Stuff the bike I'm going back to sport.
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Heli Coils are the thing for aluminum. I have a car outside that has a NorthStar V8 in it. It has be down twice for an oil leak and a oil galley replacement. The crank bolts can only be torqued twice. Original assembly and then one field tear down. The second time they had to drill all the crank holes and Heli Coll them. They are a great fix or preventive technique.


Why helicoil when you can put a locknut on the end of it and tighten that instead. Don't helicoil unless you can go another size up from M6 to M8 cos it will snap if it's an M6 stud holding a motor tray on. If you haven't room to go up a size helicoils aren't that great. We are talking only 4 strokes here on this thread.
Lock nuts??

John, not sure where you mean to put lock nuts? The tapped holes in the aluminum slide end mounts of course are not drilled through as they come out flat against the steel tray.

I drilled through when I put in the wider spaced bolt holes as I don't have any bottom taps. I used lock washers and washers under the bolt head against the clamp portion of the 2" exhaust pipe clamp . Would have loved to have something else that the aluminum block to hold the grade 8 bolt.

BTW, My NorthStar is a four stroke. 8O) =