Final upgrades: lock, mudflap, pedals

I recently told you about some upgrades I am making to my Schwinn euro-style city bike project. Friday when I got home from work, I was excited to find a small brown box on my front porch.  Inside the box were the last of the parts I had ordered from Vince at the Dutch Bike Co. in Chicago. I carried my bike down to the basement work area to make to complete the Dutch conversion of my made in the USA Schwinn. I popped open the box and inside were a new Bibia mudflap (just like the one that came on Oma), an AXA defender rear wheel lock, and the same pedals that come standard on Workcycles bikes.

Most every european city bike comes with a similar lock mounted to the frame.  The 2011 Raleigh Detour Deluxe and Breezer Uptown Infinity are the only two production bicycles sold in the US that come with come with frame locks.  The locks are great for when you don’t need a lot of security, but want to be sure no thief can hop on the bike and ride away with it.  I use it when I pop into a store for five minutes, when my bike is parked in our indoor parking garage at work, or when I can still see my bike, like at a park or outdoor cafe. They also have a plug, which fits a heavy-duty chain so you can lock your bike to a rack when you need real security.

Installing the lock was pretty simple and only took about 20 minutes.  The lock is mounted to the seat stays at the brack bridge. Frames designed for such locks have bosses brazed in the stays so the locks can be mounted with allen screws. To retrofit the lock to frames like mine without those bosses, the AXA lock comes with special clamps.

To install the lock, I mounted the bike in the stand with the front wheel straight up.  Then I pry the two black covers off the lock to expose the mounting area.  Then I slipped the metal straps into the proprietary band clamps.  The clamps fit neatly in the spot where the two black covers were.  The metal straps go around the seat stays and are tightened with a straight bladed screwdriver.

Installing the pedals was straightforward.  I like rubber pedals because leather soled dress shoes don’t slip on them when they are wet.  Regular readers will remember I used to have MKS 3000 rubber block pedals. Those pedals are fine, but I find the Dutch pedals to be a bit more comfortable when I am wearing shoes with thin soles. 

Finally, I installed the big Bibia “waffle” mudflap.  They don’t list them on their web store, but you can buy them from the Dutch Bike Co.  I have not found them to be available anywhere else in the US. These mudflaps are made of heavy rubber so they don’t flap in the wind and they have two metal bands molded into the rubber at the top which you bend around the fender.  I installed mine with a single 3/16ths inch aluminum pop-rivet and two washers.

The big Bibia waffle mudflap on the Velo Orange fender protects the Allen Edmunds from the splatter.

 Now that it has every feature found on a European City Bike, how does my Dutch Schwinn compare to Oma?

Schwinn Total Price of build $805:  I paid $150 for the frameset.  I bought the front wheel with the dynohub at a swap meet for $175. The Velo Orange fenders were on sale and only cost $20.  Ben’s Cycle had the Pletcher kickstand ($40), bars ($5), stem($5), grips ($18), chainguard ($5), crank ($89), KMC chain ($8), Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires ($70 for the pair) and rear SRAM 5spd rear wheel ($100). The lights were from Peter White ($120).
Oma Total Price: $1599.00
Schwinn Weight: 35 lbs
Oma Weight: 50lbs

The ride: The Schwinn feels a lot quicker than Oma. I make better time when I ride the Schwinn, and it is easier to stand and pedal up hill on the Schwinn than it is on Oma  The angles on Oma are a lot more relaxed, almost like a pedal forward design, so the steering and acceleration are both a bit slower.  But Oma fits much fatter tires, and the heavier frame yields a very smooth ride.  The Schwinn ride is not as smooth, and a bit stiffer. If Oma rides like a Cadillac, the Schwinn would be a Mercedes.

I’m pretty pleased with the end result and happy I did it.  But when Is started the project, it was pretty difficult to find a bike with all these features outside of the very expensive Dutch and Danish bikes like Oma.  Now $800 will get you a bike like the Raleigh Detour Deluxe that comes with all those features.  Or you can spend a few hundred more and get a really sweet Breezer. As far as I know, those are the only two bikes that come with frame locks and all the other features.

Do you have a commuter conversion you built up?  If so, tell me about the makeover in the comments below.

About Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director

Dave was the first full-time staff member hired to open the Bike Fed's Milwaukee office 15 years ago. A former professional photographer and life-long Milwaukee resident, Dave likes wool, long rides, sour beer, and a good polar vortex once in a while.

15 thoughts on “Final upgrades: lock, mudflap, pedals

  1. Dave – very nice work, I love the bike. I have an early 80s Schwinn that I converted to upright and still love….haven’t been able to part with it because it just feels so light and quick. It’s not quite as extensive a remake as yours, basically just flat pedals, upright bars,.rear rack and fenders. Maybe I’ll come back to it one of these days and add another layer of commuterista. Anyway, two questions for you on your Schwinn conversion. First, how do you like the tail light now that you’ve had it a few weeks? Compared to the Planet Bike superflash, is it bright enough to be your only tail light? I haven’t yet gotten a tail light for my generator hub set up yet, still wondering if it would be as good as the PB. Oh, and I’m totally envious of the daytime running lights on your headlight! I guess I got mine too soon for that. Second question, did you get the cable accessory for your frame lock? I am worried about losing my front wheel if it’s not locked up, even on a quick stop (the loss to me of the generator hub would hurt so much more than the benefit to the thief), but other than that the frame lock looks very cool and convenient. Thanks for the great posts and pictures on your bike!

    • I really like the rear light. It is pretty darn bright, though it doesn’t flash. I really like how it turns on all by itself, even during the day. And of course, like all dynamo powered lights, no more batteries. As for the plug-in chain, yes I have one of those and love it as well. I did not include it in the cost of the build because you have to buy those separate from most omafiets and other euro-style commuters. You could also get a locking skewer for the front wheel.

  2. Nice Job!

    Yep, I got a “commuter” that I built up. Don’t know if I would call it a “conversion” because it’s a Raleigh 3-speed. I bought the bike for $30, and when I tallied up what I’ve done it comes out to $400. The biggest expense was the dyno lights/wheel set up, which came to about $175. I went the V-O way on that one (I know you tried the Spanninga front light and didn’t like it, but so far it’s working OK for me.) Thankfully since it was an English 3-speed I didn’t have to worry too much about the rear wheel, but I still had to overhaul the Sturmey Archer AW hub. Might get a frame lock as well.

    I won’t bore you with more details here, so if you really want to know the whole process, go over to my blog and look for the “Raleigh” tag.

    • I checked out the Raleigh, pretty sweet. My friend has a nice original one that I am trying to convince him to upgrade with dynamo lights. The new Sturmey Archer front hub with roller cam brake is very reasonably priced and lets you keep those cool old steel rims but gives you a decent brake. I’m kinda hoping he will let me do the build.

      I also like your urban adventure events. We do similar things here and even used to have a big event called the Urban Playground. I’ll keep an eye on your blog from now on.

  3. Hi Dave,

    Nice looking bike!
    Nice blog too!

    I’ve always wondered about these frame locks. In particular, why not just use something like a Kryptonite mini U lock? It can easily be used as a frame lock, and when you need more security, it’s good for that too.

    Not criticising your choice so much as offering an alternative.

    • Hey Ben, they are something you have to try to see how convenient they are. Mini-u locks are great too, but this is even easier to use, particularly if you have the nice kick stand. You never have to look for somewhere to lean a bike. You hop off, kick the kickstand and turn the key. The lock is always on your bike, no rattles, no worries if you have pockets, etc. But yeah, to each his own, neither style of lock is scientifically superior. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • I second the convenience of the frame lock. I got one on my Worksman Cycle Truck, mostly because there wasn’t any good way for me to use a U-Lock on this like. I got an ABUS brand lock and chain, and it works great!

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