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Old 10-17-2010, 11:40 AM
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silverbear silverbear is offline
The Boy Who Never Grew Up
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: northeastern Minnesota
Posts: 8,131
Default Re: The costs of building from a free frame

The question posed has as many answers as there are forum members since it is a personal thing. There are so many variables from a person's size to where you live, what riding conditions, how often and of course budget. We can each speak for ourselves and we each have our reasons and justifications for what we do. And so one person may build a Wallyworld bike that takes a day from buying the bike to installing the motor and riding off into the sunset all for as little money as possible. I have more time than some of you and come from another era when things were made in America from better quality materials and with some pride. When I work on an old Schwinn and see the decal "Made in Chicago" it means something to me. I've been to Chicago and know where it is, what it looks like and have an idea of who those middle class folks were who made the bikes. The old American model from the 60's was a declaration of fact. Everything on the bike was made in the USA. I spent this morning stripping down to bare metal of a 1949 Schwinn straightbar frame as used on the Panther. While I was stripping away the old paint and a bit of rust here and there I thought about 1949 when I was four years old and I wonder about the boy who got that bike. Was it a birthday present, Christmas? Or did he earn the money for it on his paper route? For me these old bikes are time machines and I take real pleasure in making them better than when they were new. My friend will invest close to $2,000.00 in this build when all is said and done with Worksman wheels, a suspension front fork, top notch tires, a four stroke HS engine and the 2 speed EZMotorbike transmission as soon as it's available, a custom gas tank from Sportscarpat, some of my custom leatherwork in seat and grips and possibly harness leather saddlebags (as soon as I figure out how to make them), custom copper jewel running lights. He gets to decide what color the frame and fenders should be and choose handlebars, center kick stand, headlight... all the things which go into a build of this kind. And he has to compensate me for my time and skill in putting things together for him. You might well think that's crazy to spend that kind of money on a motored bicycle. He doesn't think so and neither do I. It is beyond my budget and is no small expenditure for him. No doubt he could save a lot of money with a lesser bike and enjoy the heck out of riding it. Or he could take that 2 grand and buy a scooter or a used motorcycle of some kind. But this is what he wants. He saw my 50 Schwinn Motorbike, saw me start a cold engine with one easy pull, listened to the exhaust and knew what he wanted. He likes time machines, too, and he was 5 years old when this old bike of his was brand new. No doubt the boy who had the bike put playing cards on the spokes, pretending it was a motorcycle. Pretty soon it will be.
Someday when I grow up I will probably lose interest in toys with wheels, but until then...
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