Home History Bill Savage's Bike Eric's 1938


Alan Bonds inspired clunker rider

The La Salle Story

As a teen I fondly recall bombing down Tam on a Sausalito flea market special pre-war bike. I had no direct contact with the folks who were making history on the western slopes of the mountain, but the equipment used was surprisingly similar - it had to cope with and regularly survive the same rigors. I started with a motorbike frame and Morrow coaster and added Sturmey Archer drum, Ashtabula neck, forks and cranks to replace things as they failed. Spokes and rims were the hardiest that would fit, Magura bars and levers with beefy cables from a local motorcycle shop helped eke some extra performance from the front drum. Along the way cantilevers were brazed on in back - three brakes and on some rides you needed them ALL. But I never got past the single speed coaster, it was a strictly downhill "bilge cruiser" from the houseboats - the bomber was lost in the early 80s and I went right onto a Fisher.

Fast forward 20 some years and a hankering for the pre-war steel was finally quelled when I was put in contact with Mister Bonds. He put me on the track and the collecting began, from a complete pre-war survivor bike to all the odds and ends to relive my youth and lots of sage advice as to what available items would look the part and work - and survive. From a tiny germ of an idea I have now a garage of bits and several complete bikes. I have infected my freinds and have passed along the same information I learned from Alan so that there are several of these clunker riders coming out.

OK long story short, let's get to the shiny bits!

Start with a frame - or complete bike if lucky enough, odds are if it's complete it's not very bent.

1936 La Salle

1936 Schwinn La Salle - $520 shipped from ebay - SCORE!

I quickly added Sturmey drum (with Rigida steel rims I kept on the bike), Brooks B-72 saddle, BMX style grips by AME and beartrap pedals by VP.

Pile of parts from ebay - $275 shipped.

I spent some time and money shopping for the control setup I was after - several BMX bars and levers later I settled on 7/8" chrome european motorcycle handlebars and current issue Magura levers ~ $100.

Alan suggested I try WTB Nano Raptors for tires, not cheap at $70 shipped for a set but a light low rolling resistance tire that works on pavement and trail - I put 20 miles a week on the bomber and they are killer.

Myself I don't have the tools and time to build bikes in my living room, luckily for us Marinites we have Erik at Sunshine. About $250 in labor and small bits completed the build you see below.

As ridden total about $1200 plus another $500 in "not quite". Not to mention the Campy quick release seatpost binder - thanks Alan!

A few months and a few dollars - all worth it.