Schwinn Cruiser Deluxe

The most beautiful bike on the planet.

Have you ever seen something you just had to have?   You didn’t really need it, but for some reason, it seemed so desirable.   That’s the way it was for me back in 1995 with this bike.

I was working part-time in a Schwinn shop in North County, SD, CA   The local Schwinn rep/salesman came by to do business.   He was talking about doing the Roserita ride on this cool new Schwinn.   Boasting about all the passing and smiling fun he had riding it, was interesting to hear.   So he pulled it out of his van to show it off.   Right off, the great two-tone dark blue and shiny chrome caught my eye.   I was hooked.   With Christmas coming up, I made a deal to have mine ordered in time for the big day.

This bike was part of Schwinn’s attempt to resurrect the days of old.   Loosely based on bikes they offered in the 50’s, it has retro written all over it.   That was the final year of this particular model.   Due to lack of sales, they discontinued the Cruiser Deluxe that year.   It has features that were only offered on this bike.   The new style cobblestone tires, the flipped-up fender lips, the chrome moly front end, and the painted-to-match rear rack, are one year only items.   It is also the only year that they offered this great color combo.

When I got my bike, it was new in the box.   Company policy stated that it must be assembled by the shop personnel.   Well, that was me, so it wasn’t a problem.   On Christmas day, I put it by the tree with a ribbon.   But I didn’t assemble it yet.   I just hand tightened it enough to display it for the day.   I wanted to give it a special one-over before the final assembly.

I know it might sound kind of weird, but I wanted to do more than just bolt it together.   Four months went by before I attacked the build.   I fully waxed each piece inside and out (including the underside of the fenders and the inside of the rims where the tires fit on).   I was so very careful to not leave one scratch or damage one nut or bolt.   I meticulously checked each bearing adjustment.   I made sure this bike was as perfect as possible.

I purchased a few special accessories.   The leather hub shiners have the Schwinn logo pressed into them.   A couple of blue dice caps for the valve stems are a nice touch.   Red, white, and blue handlebar streamers seemed to go with the style of the times.   Installing a large, chrome Bermuda bell was one way to alert other riders that I was near.   A blinking rear light for the seat post was my requirement, even if it looked out-of-place.

Trying to keep with the old-school look, I removed the front and rear reflectors, and the ones in the spokes.   The reflectors on the pedals couldn’t be removed.   Schwinn offered new pedal pads without them, but I got around spending more money, by reversing them on their holders and putting black tape over them to make them invisible.   Obviously, not in the interest of safety, but for the classic look I desired.

All my efforts paid off as I took the first ride.   So smooth and nice, it is like riding a dream of old.   The looks and compliments come forth, every time I take it to the streets.   But, it is more about the feeling I get, than the onlooker’s.   It brings out the kid in me in a way few other things can.

There are a few pieces I wanted for the bike that I never got around to buying.   One is a working horn that fits inside the tank, and operates from the chrome button on the side.   The other, is a great looking tail light that is made to fit perfectly on the rear rack. It closely matches the look of the original bike.   Also, they had a front light for the fender.   It was too gaudy to add.    These items are still available with a search of the net.

One other thing that I considered is a Nexus 7-speed rear hub.   There were two cruisers in the shop with the hubs, and I just loved the way they rode.   Shifting through the gears was very Ferrari like.   One gear is just not enough for anything but level riding.   I decided to keep the bike in all stock form for appearance sake.

There are a few drawbacks to my bike.   One is the 51 lbs of metal and rubber.   The other is that it won’t fit in my station wagon.   It is a large and heavy bike.   That means I have never ridden it at the beach.   Which is a shame, because that is what a bike like this is made for.   One day maybe.

When I bought this bike, my plan was to have some fun with it, and then sell it for a profit.   I was able to buy it at half price, because I worked at the bike shop.   I have yet to sell it, but 15 years of ownership have been great.   It’s in near perfect condition after all that time.   In my mind, it is on the market for sale every day of the week.   I am constantly thinking a ride down the boardwalk in Pacific Beach with a for sale sign, would garner many potential buyers.   It is just that beautiful.

Any takers?   Let me know, Turbo Bob.

“The bicycle is the common man among vehicles.”—James E. Starrs, The Noiseless Tenor.

Looking for a Brompton folding bike?   See Bert at

http://www.nycewheels.com

Tell him you saw it here.

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About Turbo Bob's Bicycle Blog

E-bike Enthusiast Vintage Bike Enthusiast
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20 Responses to Schwinn Cruiser Deluxe

  1. Jim Brown says:

    Turbo Bob –

    I just bought the same model, but in the dark green and cream color combo and I agree with all that you said about the looks and feel of this bike. This afternoon I head for the boardwalk.
    Jim Brown.

    • Nice Jim, Schwinn did a great job on this bike. Enjoy.

    • Wayne says:

      Hi Jim, i just found a 95 frame in green and cream, and would like to see pics of yours for reference so i can put this old girl back together ?

      • Sure Wayne, that won’t be a problem. I have many images. It might take a few days to get them sent off to you. Get back to me if you don’t get the pictures before a week goes by.
        Good luck making the bike just right and let us know how it comes out,
        Thanks for reading my bike blog, Turbo.

      • Also Wayne, Have you had a look at my two articles on my cruiser ver 2.0? It is the same bike in different colors. Plus I have videos of it on my You-Tube channel (search there under Turbo Bob’s Bicycle Blog). These extra articles and videos might help more than the photos I have—Let me know, Turbo.

  2. Jim Brown says:

    Per your suggestion, I will check out the Cardiff Bike Shop and maybe have them give the bike a once over and “tune-up.” They may also have some accessories of the era. I notice the that rubber grommet on the spring is cracked and will see if it can be replaced, otherwise, I’d say it is in 90% new condition. The bike came with a small modern storage bag mounted on the rack, but I will be removing this very practical addition in favor or keeping it fully “stock,” in appearance. Absolutely love the somewhat understated dark green and cream color combo on this bike.

    • Jim, keep us up-dated on the fun you have with your ‘new’ old Schwinn. Green and cream–so sweet. That year bike has some wonderful one-year-only pieces on it.
      Even though it is stock, it seems much more like a custom. Ring-ring, don’t forget a nice looking bell.
      Turbo.

  3. As a finishing touch to this article, the cruiser has been sold and is no longer mine. As much as I loved owning and riding this Schwinn beauty for 15 years, it has been on the market for just as long. An out-of-state bike collector just took possession of it to add to his stable of classic bikes. I really hated seeing it go, but I do believe it is headed to a good home.
    There is good and bad in everything. So long old friend.

    • Paul Marsh says:

      Bob – your bike (now mine) did find a good home. It made it safely in the trip east of you. It is now next to my maroon and black Deluxe Cruiser and my American paperboy.

      • Your a lucky man, Paul. I’m glad you are loving the cruiser the way I did. I do hope you give it a fun ride now and then. As much as it is a good looker, it deserves to feel it’s wheels turning on occasion.

  4. Brian Henderson says:

    Bob,
    What size are the nuts that hold the rear wheel to the frame? I want to get open nuts instead of the chrome acorn nuts so I can install my “Hub” reflectors. I thought they were 3/8″x20 , but I think they are metric. Can you help me?
    Thanks,
    Brian

    • Definitely metric. My bike has ‘open’ nuts on it. I couldn’t say what size they are without going through the same process you will need to follow. A bike shop might have what you need, or a well stocked hardware store. Bike wheel nuts are normally nickel plated (or chromed), but any finish might fill your needs.
      Remember to let us know how it comes together. I would love to see you post some photos of your finished ‘awesome’ cruiser on my Facebook page when it’s all done.
      Thanks for following along, Turbo.

  5. Jim Brown says:

    Spent the last two beautiful evenings putting 10 mile rides using the boardwalk and bayside walk. It is certainly more of an eye catcher than I am. There seem to be two types of individuals who most admire the bike. First place belongs to the homeless guys who will offer a kind comment about it, and next come the tourists staying in the oceanfront rentals and will just blurt out “That’s a great looking bike!” Nice story on Turbo Bob and his electric bikes in the UT this past week. I’m going to come by to say hello once I find your location/address.

    • That just sounds great Jim.
      Thanks for checking out the UT article.
      The best way to contact me is to do it on my Facebook page—Just search for ‘Turbo Bob’s Bicycle Blog” and you can message me there.
      If you aren’t on Facebook then let me know and I’ll work something else out.
      Keep cruising, Turbo Bob.

  6. Kelly says:

    Thanks so much for this article. I bought the exact same bike and have enjoyed it since. I try to keep mine nice, but a couple fender screws and the horn button have started rusting some. The handle bar had some surface rusting that I removed and it spends its non riding life inside my home now. Mine came with the working horn tank and a blue dot rear chrome framed auto style reflector. I didn’t know about the fork being heavy duty or the rear rack being body color for this model alone. Thanks again. I paid the full $550 (minus tax the discount I received for a minor scratch on rack) in 1997. In fact I thout it was a 97 model til recently. Its in the shop now having a vintage Bendix redline two speed kickback hub installed. The first mod I’ve ever had done. Cant wait to get it back. Do you know if this was made in Chicago that year, or China?

    • Nice Kelly. You must know now that many Schwinns from this era can be dated by numbers stamped on the head badge. The last Schwinn made in Chicago was in 1982. In the mid-90’s they did have their “Home Grown” mountain bikes that had all American made components, but that didn’t last long. China is where every Schwinn is made nowadays (to my knowledge).
      I love the two-speed hubs. I had a great Schwinn Racer when I was a kid that was a real gem.
      Keep enjoying your special Schwinn—and thanks for kicking in, Turbo.

  7. HENRY M. SCHMIDT says:

    A TRUE BELIEVER MUST HAVE MORE THAN ONE CLASSIC SCHWINN…..I HAVE A HORNET, CORVETTE, DELUX 7, PHANTOM “1952” AND PANTHER, PLUS A PEA PICKER FOR WHAT EVER REASON I GAVE THE WIFE. P.S. I LIVED ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE CHICAGO PLANT 42 TILL 61,AT 1647 N. KILDARE AVE. YES THEY WERE INTERESTING TIMES WATCHING THE BIKES RIDE BY. SIGNED HENRY SCHMIDT.

  8. Jim Brown says:

    Bob –
    Jim Brown here again with an admission I’m sure you will appreciate – I’ve become a polygamist when it comes to my love for the re-issued models of the Schwinn Cruiser De Luxe. Four or five evenings a week I drive from Tierrasanta to the beach for a little exercise and two round trips from the South Mission Jetty to Crystal Pier is about 10 miles. My green and cream cruiser never fails to get compliments and it occured to me that I try to find one for my son, preferably the maroon and black model. After a little research I took off for Scottsdale, Arizona yesterday and picked up a very clean one, which unlike mine came with a working horn and tail light. Speaking of lights, there is a guy from Pismo Beach who comes to the boardwalk on the weekend and for a mere $15, will install light strings, each with a three double AA battery pack, on both wheels. Once he put green lights on my cruiser, I’ve never failed to have people stop me to ask if the bike is for sale. Friday I will have him put some standard white lights on the maroon and black model, although I wise they had black lights available. In any event, I’d love to show you the new bike I got for our son.

    • Flynrc says:

      AS FOR BELIEVERS AND NON BELIEVERS, THERE ARE THOSE LIKE MY FRIEND WHO OWNS “JT’S GIANT BICICLE SHOP WHO DISCOUNT ANYTHING EVER MADE BY SCHWINN AFTER 1982 & OR SIMILAR “OTHER” MANUFACTURES….GET THIS …I LOVE OLD BIKES BUT RESPECT THOSE MADE IN AMERICA THE MOST….THAT IS EXCEPT FOR MY CRUISER DELUX. A FEW MODERN CUSTOMIZED HUFFYS, AND 3 MYSTERIOUS MACARGIS THAT I BOUGHT JUST BECAUSE THEY LOOKED COOOOOL……….BIKE OWNERSHIP IS A JOY IF YOU MAKE THE BIKES RIDE PROPERLY AND KEEP THEM OPERATIONAL….MY HOUSE IS FILLED WITH BIKES THAT I RIDE OFTEN….SAY HAVE YOU EVER RIDDEN A 1937 HIAWATHA, OR A ROLLFAST FROM 1950? I MAY HAVE SPENT WAY TOO MUCH ON THE 37 BIKES IN MY OWNERSHIP. ESPECIALY THE REPRO 1941 MATCHED COLUMBIAS.. WHEW……BUT THEY GIVE ME LITTLE ARGUEMENT WHEN I POLISH THE CHROME FENDERS AND OLD PAINT….LIFE WITH A BICYCLE IS A PLEASURE, BECAUSE THEY CAN BE A FRIEND FOR LIFE …IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN….SIGNED…..FLYNRC

    • Cool Jim. We have been in contact on my Facebook page for my bike blog. Let’s see about checking out your bike—and maybe shooting a video for my Y-Tube site.
      BTW, here in San Diego we call those LightMeUp Safety Lights. We have them on many of our bikes (several videos of them too).

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