Lowrider bicycles first appeared in the 1960s in America in an attempt to mimic the Lowrider cars. This started out as a way for teens that were too young to own a modified car to instead own a customized vehicle. Lowrider bikes are characterized by a long, curved banana seat and upright, sweeping handlebars.
These bikes are as much a fashion statement as a mode of transport and are perfect for casually cruising around the neighborhood. While it’s possible to buy new lowrider bicycles, part of the fun of oawning one is having one that is really customized. This is a guide on how to make your very own customized lowrider bike, from a combination of new and used parts.
Finding a bicycle you can transform into a lowrider bike can be a bit tricky – you can’t use a mountain bike or bmx bike. The ideal bike for this project is an old Schwinn (or similar) from the 1960’s or 1970’s. If you can’t trace one of these bikes down, you can easily order lowrider frames from specialized online stores.
To make an authentic lowrider bicycle you’ll have to find big sloping handlebars, a springer fork, a front fender, a sissy bar, a banana seat and a back fender. If you really want to go the extra mile you can look at investing in 100 spoke wire wheels as they add a special shine to your bike.
Disassemble the bike you found for this project, stripping it right down to the frame, while putting all of the spare parts aside. Part of the charm of a lowrider bike is the finish, so investing in some bondo, primer and paint.
Sand down your frame and fill in the small hole below the handlebars with the bondo – make sure you sand this down too so it’s nice and flat with the rest of the bike. Using the primer, cover your entire bike and then allow it to properly dry. When painting your lowrider bike, be sure to use high quality paint and a number of layers as this will give your bike the best look.
Start by attaching the front forks to the frame; these forks are special and specifically designed to make the bike sit lower on the ground. Properly clean your sprockets and frame and reattach them to the bicycle. Attach the rest of the parts as you go along, in the same order that you took them apart.
Once your bike is complete, make sure that the bike is properly fitted: that the seat and handlebars are at the right height to be as comfortable as possible. Give the bike a final polish and clean and marvel at the wonderful, retro bike you have just created.
Building your own lowrider bike is a great way to ensure that your bike is unique and personally customized to your style. Depending on where you live you’ll probably find it cheaper to source second hand parts or bikes than to buy new individual parts. This is a great activity to do by yourself or the perfect bonding activity for a parent and child.