Sunday, November 25, 2012

Schwinn New World Tourist Bicycles (1947)

I had promised myself not to take in any more projects for quite awhile. I have the Raleigh Dawn project going, and was making good progress shrinking the stock of spare parts I have sitting around here. This was true, until I saw a matching pair of 1940s Schwinn New World roadsters come up for sale at a very low price. The serial number dates them to before the factory fire of 1948, but not too much before then. I suspect they're 1947 or so.

Both bikes were essentially original and complete, with the exception of the saddles. However, beyond that they were original right down to the brake pads and Schwinn blackwall tires. The bikes are single speed free wheels with high flange rear hubs. They have Schwinn-built flat arm hand brakes and not the later West German types you see from the 50s and 60s.The rims are S5/S6 type "Straight Side Tourist", as dubbed by Schwinn.

The New Worlds were meant to be adult bicycles for touring, exercise, and leisure. While the balloon tire models were meant for the youth market, these bicycles were meant for adults who liked to ride and who wanted a solid leisure cycle. They are much heavier than derailleur-type road and racing bikes, but still lighter than the balloon tire cruisers. Schwinn called them "lightweights" because they were lighter than the cruiser offerings.

The New World line was first marketed in the late 1930s and used seamless tubing with fillet brazed joints. They were essentially hand built frames, though not as highly finished as the Superiors or Schwinn Paramount bicycles. By the 1950s, Schwinn converted from fillet brazing their lightweights to Electroforged welding.

These 1940s bikes appear to be predominantly fillet brazed, though I do somewhat wonder about the joints between the chainstays and the bottom bracket (it does look different). However, the other joints tend to show the somewhat irregular character of fillet brazing (the brazing material had to be filed down and smoothed by hand, which is by its nature a somewhat irregular process).

The bikes are black and originally had what appear to be silver box pinstripes. Some of the striping is still there, though it's largely gone. The original black paint, however, is in excellent shape. The frames and forks look to be straight and solid.

The mechanical parts will need to be cleaned up and re-lubed before riding. I plan on building up a couple of saddles for these. Perhaps I will re-use the black and white saddle on the women's frame. I do plan on re-building a 1940s springer Troxel for the men's bike.

Ultimately, I may have to choose between the green Raleigh and the black Schwinn. At this point I'd favor keeping the Schwinn, but we'll see how the projects build.

The women's I plan on making a customized bike for Casey (Christmas present among others) and the men's I plan on restoring to original condition for myself.

 I cleaned up both sets of handlebars before Thanksgiving, when I had a little time one afternoon. They cleaned up nicely and have the classic black oval Schwinn grips.

The high flange wheels are particularly interesting and different from the usual coaster brake offerings you see. They will need to be given a fresh coating of grease on the bearings. They do not appear to be oil-fed hubs, but appear to be grease type.

The frames have a bit of surface rust here and there, but should clean up well. The decals are in decent original condition. Both seem to have lost their "Hat in the Ring" decals, but the Schwinn branding decals appear in tact on the frames. The chain guard decals are a bit more beat up. 

These particular New World bicycles also have balloon tire bicycle elements. The cranks are single piece Asthabula type cranks, with skip tooth chainrings and chains. Many New Worlds had three piece Arnold, Schwinn & Co. cranks, but these are the Ashtabula with skip tooth type like you see on some of the 1940s Schwinn cruisers. They have built-in kick stands. The feather chainguards are also a balloon tire touch.

Ultimately, these are pretty interesting bicycles and examples of early Schwinn lightweights that retain some of the more traditional American elements and mechanicals. They should prove interesting.  Below is the New World logo and an old Schwinn advertisement.

Update: For comparison, here is the finished, road-going product

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Making Your Own Bicycle Parts

The Raleigh Dawn Tourist project came missing a small brake retaining piece- the piece that holds the rod centered to the drum brake arms. I have one of these, but need another. They're not easy to find, so it's time to make one.

I took the original part and removed it from the bike. It is essentially just a piece of steel rod cut to size and with a hole drilled through it. It should not be too hard to make.

Step1- find a part that can be a suitable donor to create my brake part. I went to the hardware store and fount a smooth bolt used to hold a cotter or clevis pin. The secret here is to look for your part and shape, then find that shape and part in another object. Go to the hardware store and look around. You want to troll through the drawers of small parts until inspiration strikes and you see what you need inside another, potentially unrelated part. In this case I really do have just a piece of steel rod with a hole in it.

Step 2: measure the existing part and then cut a section off the pin holder to match. I took a Dremel cutting wheel to cut the pin.

Once cut off, I take the Dremel Grinding stone and gradually finer sand paper to shape the part.

Below is the nearly finished part- the only thing left is to bore out the hole to match. I could have made the hole larger before cutting it off too, but I wanted to get the general shape right first. I opened up the hole with my drill and sure enough, the part works. I can now connect both rod drum brakes when I'm ready.