Cantilever Schwinn Mountainbike

Meanwhile, Back On the East Coast ...

Prior to its recent restoration, Humma Hah wore a Dupli-Color silver paint job, applied in the mid 70's to cover the original red paint, which I despised. I'd worn the original thru on the top tube by several years of riding the bike as a commuter: mud on my pants had sanded the paint away. Alas, the auto touch-up paint was not very durable, and it quickly looked just as bad. The rubber handlebar tape on the seat tube protected it against a chain and padlock that dangled there.

Notice the possibly historic handlebars!

I'd pretty much gotten the bike back into shape, and it had pretty much gotten me back into shape, so I figured it deserved refinishing. CyclArt took my $90 cruiser and powdercoated it "Camero silver-grey", restored the decals and added a few custom touches, and clearcoated it, for about 4 times what I paid for the bike new.

On the rear, note the new "Big Cheese" V-brake adapter. The front brakes were added in the 70's by an adapter, but I've also got a set of Schwinn Corvette forks for the bike which do have the brake mounts built-in. The bike could now run Mt. Tam's "Repack" without requiring the coaster-brake repack that gave the run its name. Mounting the V-brake adapter required removing the generator, so I now use battery lights like every body else.

I was delighted to learn that the Crested Butte pioneer mountainbikers rode "canti's" like mine, in spite of the frame's marginal ground clearance. They typically used high-riser BMX bars, but they were true mountainbikers, tackling herculean climbs on these massive beasts. Mine's about forty pounds with the thorn resistant tubes and without the V-brake adapter. The Excelsiors are reportedly a little heavier.

Those beautiful chrome rims in the pictures are Schwinn S-7's, the original type. I rebuilt the rear wheel with heavy spokes. Schwinn sold that heavy-duty front wheel as a repair part, spurred either by the Crested Butte crowd or "cruiser-class" BMX. They also sold a knobby variant of the Westwind tire called the "Tractor". I've got modern Westwinds on it in that picture: they did an adequate job off-road and were much more pleasant and efficient on pavement.

The bike continues to evolve. One of my favorite rides is the Tour de Canal, a two-day fundraiser for the Alzheimers' Association, running the entire length of the C&O Towpath. Between the TDC and the training for it, upgrades seemed worthwhile, and the bike now sports new wheels (the rear built custom around a Phil Wood BMX hub), Brooks B73 saddle, vintage Campy cranks, Bontrager Kevlar-belted semi-slicks, modern lights and computer, a new seat-post made from heavy-wall aircraft chrome-moly tubing, and various other touches.

Humma also now has a stable-mate, the bike Phil at the Unicycle tried to get me to buy when I was back at Virginia Tech. The "new" Schwinn is a 1974 short-coupled Paramount, silver with chromed lugs, rigged as a fixed-gear because that's even more hard-core than single-speed. It has the same great Schwinn handling. I had to fight off collectors to score the frame on e-bay.