Scooterdude's 40/41 DX "La Salle"
After scouring Alan's website for an in-depth review
of what the original Mt. Tam riders experimented with when building
their Repack bikes, and consulting with AB directly, I finally
decided the style of bike I wanted - a Larkspur Canyon coaster
brake bomber. I updated it with modern tires, chain, and a few
other bits to round out the build for the current times. My intent
is/was to race it in some number of Super-D style Nor Cal DH races
Many parts are vintage NOS. I searched the longest
for a suitable frame for the build, as I didn't want to absorb
the expense of a fresh paint job, and would never be happy with
a rattle can or powder coat job. So, after months of searching,
I finally picked up this frame from "The Headman" of
San Anselmo - Jer, one of AB's best buds. It's a repaint with
classic spearhead details. AB kept insisting I should pay Jer
a visit for a frame, and finally I did. Jer was stoked that an
"old" guy would want to build such a bike, and then
race on it. He was a big help, as was AB all along.
I like the look of this bike, as it reminds me of the
pair of Norton Commandos I owned during the 70's and 80's. They
also shared the classic gold detail over black paint. Just flashy
enough to suit me, w/o being too ghetto (not that there's anything
wrong with that).
Here's the initial build breakdown:
'40/41 Schwinn DX badged "La Salle"
Old school Tange TX1200 BMX fork
Vintage TA touring cranks, 180 mm
Vintage TA 50t road ring
Vintage Brooks B-72 saddle
Seatpost made of turned down 6101 alloy rod
Suntour XC-II beartraps (cruise)/ Shimano DX (race)
NOS old school Ashtabula stem (21.1)
NOS Tioga conv. bottom bracket
NOS 1937 Morrow coaster hub (in the box!), with 20t 1/2"
NOS Suzue old school high-flange BMX hub
NOS old school Ukai 2.125 x 26" alloy BMX rims
Wheel build - 14/15 db, 3x, black brass nips
2.55 WTB Weirwolf LT / 2.35 Kenda Small Block 8 race tires
KMC 1/2 x 3/16" BMX chain
Summit 1" BMX headset
Modern 29" Euro MX bars
Lizard skin grips
I raced this bike in early March, taking a 4th place in the Single-Speed
class. But the lack of braking was a true hindrance on the courses
raced, as they are a mix of wide open fire road, and tight, twisty
single track. I found it very very difficult to quickly scrub
45 mph speeds to negotiate the tight turns that followed. I needed
some brakes, front and back.
So I picked up a modern set of Sturmey Archer drum brakes, XFD
and XRD, with 70mm brakes and sealed cartridge bearings. I had
to respace the axle locknut-locknut spread of the rear hub, and
cold set the frame to make it all fit fairly plumb in the frame.
The rear hub takes a spin-on BMX free hub, so I chose a 20t Shimano
piece to maintion the 67 gear inch ratio of the original build.
This allowed me to drop down to a 1/8" BMX chain (from the
monster 3/16" used before), saving considerable weight in
the process. I also found a pair of NOS 1984 vintage DiaCompe
MC levers with bellowed hoods in my parts bin to mate with the
new brakes. I was all set, now, to refine my klunker, experiencing
the same sort of technology evolution the fellas did back in the
day, but at an accelerated rate and using modern analogs to the
vintage drum brakes available to them at the time.
The master wheel builder at Cycle Path, Hayward - Jeff Moore -
built up the new wheels, again using 14/15 db spokes and black
brass nips, laced to NOS Ukai alloy rims freshly anodized blue.
After set up, a quick run down a local fireroad gave me a sense
of how they'd perform. The power and modulation were/are great,
but short lived, as fade follows once they get a bit warm. Going
from 45 to 15 mph on a 20% slope heats them pretty quickly, I
I raced this set up a few weeks after the first race, and the
resulting increase in control was just as I expected - AWESOME!
I was able to charge much deeper into corner approaches with the
confidence that a pair of strong brakes provides. No matter a
full rigid bike, as the mild steel frame and long wheelbase, coupled
with fat modern rubber, made for a stable, and pretty comfortable
ride. Sure, a suspended bike is more tractable and controllable,
is easier to preload for jumps, not so much a handful in the chop,
but believe me when I say many a racer was humbled by my race
time and finish.
I managed a 3rd place finish against disc braked and
suspended competitors. This bike rails!
Alan at: RepackPioneer
me at: scooterdude