Spencer’s 1956 Schwinn Cruiser

When I was an architect, a few clients came to us with project proposals, revolving around a key object like a doorknob, a bookcase, or some other heirloom piece. In essence, they wanted us to design a house around this object. Believe it or not, this happens a lot with bikes as well in what I call “Genesis components.” Someone has a stem like a Ti Grammo Art or a crank like a Kooka and wants to build a complete around that part. More often than not, it’s that heritage piece that really ties a build together. These unifying pieces don’t have to be vintage and they don’t have to be the Genesis piece. Take Spencer’s 1956 Schwinn cruiser build for example.

Spence is an employee at Yuba Expeditions, the shop and shuttle company in Downieville that’s an extension of the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship. Everything sold at Yuba and every shuttle run purchased goes right back to the Buttes. It’s a solid system and gives dudes like Spencer and the rest of the team at Yuba, a great job in an even greater town.

Downieville isn’t a hilly town. It’s pretty flat along the main drag, so Spencer wanted a beater bike to kick around on. That’s when he pieced together this 1956 Schwinn cruiser, which fit a nice knobby tire, a modern unicrown fork, a Brooks Saddle, and yeah, the Genesis piece – the bar that really tied the build together.

A few years back, S&M introduced a new handlebar to their MUSA lineup. The Husky High MX bars are replicas of 1972 – 1977 Husqvarna Motorcycles High Crossbar. Once Spencer saw them, he knew where they needed to go.

Genesis components aren’t always the beginning of a bike build, but they do make a build unique to the owner. The context of this bike made it so unique to me, as it sat next to multiple $10k+ carbon full sus builds. Thanks to Spencer and Yuba for making my last trip to Downieville so much fun!


Follow Spencer on Instagram and follow Yuba Expeditions on Instagram.

  • spencer harding

    yes yes yes! Ive got a frame right now begging to be Klunked out. those bars are dreaaaaammmmyyy.

    • Shhhh! The klunker purists will state that this is not a klunker. Klunkers have gears and brakes. Cruisers are coasters. 🤙🏻

      • Tim Donahoe

        Bomber bike

      • Will Caplenor

        Sounds like those klunker purists are nerds. Genuine Article hand bends and welds bars like this right here in Los Angeles. I have a crook bro’s clone that I now realize needs a junky cruiser frame to actualize it’s potential. I thought I could put it on my 29er coaster brake racer but quickly realized it just made for a weird awkward bike.

        • Well… we’re all nerds and I appreciate their honesty. I learned a lot by my discussion with a few of them – who will remain anonymous. At some point when a misnomer is adopted, the true definition gets lost. “Nerds” keep those facts alive.

  • Doug Robertson

    Love this old Schwinn! One of my bikes started with just a Rohloff Hub and an idea for a new commuter bike. Alex Cook (A-train Cycles, Northern Frameworks) built me a beautiful lugged, stainless steel frame to fit around the hub. .

  • dan scheie

    That bar really tied the bike together, did it not.

    Fuckin’ A, man!

  • mark rothschild

    1’st Bike…..1955 Red one…Nicely Done my Friend….HEY!!!..I’m Old!!!

    • mark rothschild

      PS…The Bike is Attainable for the Average Joe…just some Creativity

  • Jacob Spencer

    I kinda love watching his hands while keying back and forth between #1 and #2

    • I like it when stuff like that works out!

  • Drew Thompson

    Hey Hey Spence!

  • Scotty Smith
    • rollsooners

      that is baller

  • Adam Leddin

    Friggin’ Rhyno Lites to boot

  • Chris Valente

    That thing is sweet and The Bike Peddler in Santa Rosa is still around. Impressive!

  • Dr. Sanjay Gupta

    “A few years back, S&M introduced a new handlebar to their MUSA lineup.”

    S&M frames, forks, and bars have always been MUSA FYI. First time posting on here, but now I understand why people get all bent out of shape over little discrepancies. Lol.

  • That seat stay bridge isbeautiful. I love when flat sheet is stamped / forged into a 3D shape to create volume and structure.

  • bloibl

    this is a cool bike. My question is this, doesn’t everybody have something like this? if you have been around bicycles and bike shops for anything more than a few fashionable years, you have this bike in the garage(possibly multiples!)

    • Possibly, but why are you asking the question?

      • bloibl

        never mind. it was just a thought. everyone just carry on.

        • Ah, I was just wondering if you were legitimately looking for some answers. lol Sorry!

  • smoovebert

    I had no idea those bars existed, and now I must have them.

    • happycatbasket

      If it clears the seat you’re in for a treat!

      In this situation, “treat” is actually used as a synonym for “smashing your knees and shins repeatedly.”

  • California Travis

    Hell yes

  • Jonathan Burns

    This could be my favorite thing ever on the site – thanks so much for sharing!