The Heart is an Engine Too: ’54 Schwinn Klunker

A Moto-Inspired, Race-Winning “Klunker” from our Editor in Chief… 

In 2021, when our local dirt bike trails closed, I found myself climbing the walls, crazed for a way back into the woods on two wheels.

On a road trip out West that summer, I got talking to one of the mechanics at Gila Hike and Bike in Silver City, New Mexico, who was riding a 1970s Suzuki two-stroke enduro much like the ’78 Yamaha DT175 strapped to the hitch carrier of our camper van.

Upon our return to Georgia, I discovered the great mountain bike trails we have on a couple of our barrier islands and set out to build a moto-inspired “klunker” — a bicycle that would recall the early days of MTB culture, when pioneering riders like Gary Fisher, Tom Ritchey, Joe Breeze, Wendy Cragg, and Charlie Kelly were bombing down Mount Tam on customized newsboy bikes — aka “klunkers” or “bombers” — the ancestors of today’s mountain bikes.

Fun fact: Many of these so-called klunkers used motorcycle / motocross components for their toughness, as the road componentry of the day couldn’t cut the mustard.

Today, I’m pleased to have a story in BikeBound’s favorite cycling publication, The Radavist, which details building, riding, and racing my 69-year-old Schwinn…even taking home an unexpected win against some modern competition!

Read the Article

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Taylor Brown: @taylorbrown82
Photos: Drew Perlmutter (@drewperlmutter)


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