Saturday, October 2, 2010

Vintage Style Cruiser

I'm working on a new project bike that's based on a pre-war cruiser. The frame and fork will be something similar to this hot rod that Mike Curiak had built up by James at Black Sheep Bikes.

The idea is to stay faithful to the design of the pre-war cruisers like the Elgin Oriole (circa 1936) in the photo below but with updated handling and features. The bike will keep the single point bent top tube and tank tube and the truss fork that will carry over the single point bend theme. I'll be using disc brakes, modern bottom bracket and headset. Sexy.

RD at Shawnee Trail is working with me to get some cranks together that are faithful to the spirit of the bike. There are two things to decide - the cranks to start with and the style of the chainring. Opinions?

Crank option #1: Recycled Shimano 970 series cranks coated by RD. Ignore the gold chainring bolts - I'd go with silver or black, of course. The 970s have nice angular lines that mesh well with the frame style and gear changes would be easier than the next set (chainring versus spiderless ring).

Crank option #2: Shimano 952 series cranks. These lend themselves better to a spiderless chainring like you'd expect to see on a vintage cruiser. Gear changes would be harder but a 33t ring would cover pretty much everything I ride with a small range of cogs.

If I go with the 952s with a chainring I might be able to get Jesse at HomeBrewed to cut a custom chainring for less than the cost of a kidney on the black market. Ignorning all of the complications involved, which of these warms your hearts? Does the standard HomeBrewed ring (on the 952s above) come close enough?

(Thanks to the Chainwheel Tattoo Project in Portland, Oregon for taking the time to catalog all of the vintage chainrings.)

Williams (circa 1950's)

Cyclo Rosa (circa 1930's)

Specialties TA (circa 1950's)

Fonlupt (circa 1930's)