Hi from downunder

Apr 26, 2020
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Hi. I'm Joe, 53 and writing downunder from Melbourne, Australia. Love this forum and it has driven me to build bikes and get back on one after years.

I was into bikes early and always tinkering with them. Got into the bmx craze in my teens, first with a modified dragster, then an Australian made Quicksilver, a 21 speed road bike (or racer as we call them) and finally early mountain bikes. Lusted after a Kos kruiser in the 80's but out of reach for the ordinary kid. The image of seeing one for the first time in a bike shop never faded and I managed to buy one of the reissues a few years ago which i assembled and rode a few times to get out of my system. I sold it to someone who had a better back than me and put it to its intended use.

Got into cars early too, having jumped into the drivers seat of my mum's wagon at the age of 4 with my older brother sitting in the bench seat opposite me, released the emergency brake and rolled it through the garage door with my older brother screaming. Lawn mowers were fun too, especially my dad's nasty Victa 2 stroke which was the first engine I worked on. Although I was scarred from years of fixing and using that mower, the bug to tinker with all things mechanical remained, cars came and went and I now have a nice 65 Mustang fastback I imported from Los Angeles about 16 years ago as well as a few small Honda 50cc bikes (all 4 stroke fortunately).

Finding an old USA made bike here is virtually impossible however I was lucky enough to find an original Schwinn Cruiser 5 (Tennessee built i think) about 8 years ago. The original owner bought it from a bike shop in Long Beach and imported it himself. Soon after getting it here, he stacked it, bent the back wheel, pedals and handlebar and then parked it for 30 or so years. I paid $150 for it on ebay, got a bike shop to straighten the rear wheel, fixed the other stuff wrong with it and used it for the run down to the local shops. That thing was so heavy but i loved how original it was down to the tires. More recently I imported a couple of frames, a late 50's straight bar panther and 60's Typhoon.

The Typhoon is now a complete bike made up of bmx bits, wheels raided from a chwinn and a few bits of jewellery. Not overly heavy and rides beautifully. The original paint and decals do it for me too.

Lots of the Chinese stuff here and prices are ridiculous compared to what you guys pay. I've bought a few for parts and it amazes me how badly assembled they are, often finding little grease in the crank and headsets. I recently found a late heavy duti and added some wheels, cranks and pedals that will eventually find their way on my Panther. Also rides nice, but my heart is not in to it.

One of my other rides is the late 80's Red Shogun mtb shown. It was always a great bike to ride and surprising fast with its light cromoly frame and fork. In the late 90's I replaced it with a suspension mtb which i hated no end and was probably the reason i stopped riding. In 2014, I eventually got the Shogun back from the guy i sold it to. He rode it into the ground and it needed a complete restoration which took me a few years having to hunt nos parts from all over the globe. Worse part of the restoration was removing the alloy seat post that had fused itself in the frame. Not wanting to destroy the frame getting it out myself I took it to a bike "specialist"who broke the top off the post leaving a fair chunk of it in the frame. Fortunately a fix was found on youtube and i dissolved the remaining part of the alloy post using caustic soda without any damage to the frame.

I'm hoping to get stuck into the Panther soon. Anyway, thanks for the great site and forum.

Regards and stay well.
Joe
 

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