I reported on this bike just recently and now it is time to let you know how the rework has come together. It was a lot more work than I expected, but the results are so satisfying. It rides smooth and quiet now, plus the shine is better than ever. If you missed the story on how and why I got this bike, then I suggest you look back to the article I posted at the end of December. Here is a quick update on that.
After 15 years, I sold my last Cruiser Deluxe to an out-of-state bike collector. Then I acquired this one from a family who had won in in a raffle and left it untouched in the garage for 15 years. It is the same exact bike as the last one, only in a different color scheme. They wiped it down before I got it, but I knew it needed some special attention and a in-depth polish. So the project began.
As I tore into it, I found all the bearings were set too tight. Plus I found many loose fasteners. That prompted the decision to do a full disassembly and re-lube in conjunction with the polish job. I found at that time the bearings were only lightly greased and a few other things that needed fine-tuning. The bike came apart into just over 225 pieces. Yes, I counted. I also spent the time to determine just how many parts it takes to make a bike like this.
I posted a video of all the parts laid out on my front room carpet. You will find the link below. I also posted a video of the bike when I first got it, and will post one soon of the completed project. Before I laid them on my carpet, I took each part (not the bearings and plastic) and waxed them to perfection. That includes all the fasteners and the such. It was quite a undertaking, but now they all look great and will be protected from the elements. So by the time I set them up for the photo and video, they were clean as a whistle.
So how many parts does it take to make this bike? Figuring the frame as one piece, the thought of tearing each rim down, and the many pieces the chain is made of, I counted 844. Of course, the rims were fine and I had no intention of taking the chain into pieces. I just did this count out of curiosity. But I did tear in down into the 225 individual pieces to complete this rework to my requirements.
I fully cleaned each set of ball-bearings and re-lubed them with a clear synthetic grease. This is a product of Tri-flow that I have come to like very much. I carefully adjusted the free-play in each bearing set to my level of perfection. I also did the same to the coaster brake assembly, as it too was under-lubed and set incorrectly. I cleaned and lubed the chain using White Lighting chain lube. Even though I took apart the pedals for a good cleaning, the bearings were greased and adjusted well, so I left those alone.
During all this, I was impressed with the level of quality that Schwinn put into this final version on the Cruiser Deluxe. The fit and finish is very nice. They speced locknuts on many of the fasteners. The chrome work is exceptional for a bike of this year. The ’AS’ markings on many of the bolts (Arnold-Schwinn) is very retro. Plus the one-year-only pieces on this bike add to the look immensely.
During reassembly I took my time to make sure each part was aligned, not damaged, and tightened correctly. I used anti-seize lube on all the bolts to protect the threads from corrosion. A dab on the seat springs will keep them from ever squeaking. A little white grease on the seat post and stem was called for. I fixed the small rattle by repositioning the rear fender.
I removed the warning sticker and the one that said ’Made in Taiwan’ from the frame. I covered the pedal reflectors with black electrical tape and rotated the pedal pads so that part is hidden to look like the original ones on the 40’s and 50’s bikes this is designed to replicate. Those pads without the reflectors were a $40 option when this bike was new. They also offered a classy tail light and a horn you could add inside the tank.
I also removed the wheel spoke reflectors, but didn’t have to take off the others because the tech who assembled this bike at the shop never installed them. That tech also did the worst of jobs on this bike in regards to the bearing adjustments and the loose fasteners I found. Now though, those problems have been eliminated and this bike is so much better than new that it makes me proud. I love doing this kind of thing to my bikes.
I really scrubbed the white wall tires until they gleaned. Inside went a pair of thorn-resistant tubes I got from Quality Bike here in town. I added Slime green goop in the tubes to also help keep the tires from ever going flat. When I put in the goop, I do it with the tube out of the bike and knead the tube for a while to distribute the liquid as best as I can. That helps to keep it from just pooling in one spot in the tube. The goop and the thicker tubes also keep the air pressure up as the months go by.
I did add some cool accessories. My rear blinking red light is on the seat post. I put my NiteRider Lightning Bug 1.0 on the handlebars. My set of leather Schwinn hub shiners look great on the ultra-clean polished hubs. A pair of blue dice valve caps adorn the tube’s filler stems. My Bermuda bell adds a nice sounding touch. Red, white, and blue handlebar streamers are kind of childish, but I like them. A pair of American flags in the rack round out the whole red, white, and blue theme.
So my bike is better than ever. The rides I’ve taken since the re-work have been filled with smiles and shine. As much as I love my new bike and the way it came out, I don’t need it, and am willing to part with it. If it takes me 15 years to sell it I won’t mind. It will be posted on the local Craig’s List pages and you are welcome to come have a look and be the new owner if it pleases you.
Thanks for following this story. Keep cruising, Turbo Bob.
“A young couple passed us. They rode pedal to pedal and almost arm in arm. The girl rode with her left hand on the boy’s right, controlling his handlebar, steering them both. Then he moved his hand around the small of her back. They reminded me of partners in a waltz. The boy lowered his hand to the girl’s saddle and leaned to her, and as they rode they whispered. In the often dehumanizing crush of urban China, two bicycles had made space for romance.”—Fred Streibeigh.
The first Ver. 2.0 article
The first Ver. 2.0 You Tube video
The second Ver. 2.0 You Tube video