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Shwerma Champion Frames, Anything helps
whityman
post Apr 24 2009, 03:49 PM
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Just wandering, does anybody now anything about these Frames. I have one early issue #118 in decent shape with a redline fork. its been in a box in my room at moms since 85/87 or so. what would this be worth if i were to sell it or how hard is it get parts for to restore it? Any info at all helps
Thanks Darryl
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Bill Curtin
post Apr 24 2009, 08:08 PM
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I own a Schwerma with DeCoster forks. I'll post a pic at some point as its sitting at work. The serial number is in the low 200's. Cost to sell, who knows, refer to the article pinned at the top of this forum titled "What is my bike worth?".What parts is determined by how era correct you want to be. The frames were from 1976 or so. Anything Astabula will work as well as Motomag I's or coaster brake wheels as they were not build for a caliper brake.

Here is an except of an interview I did with Linn Kastan a few years ago. Its hosted here http://www.fiodan.com/vintage/kastan_interview.pdf


QUOTE
VintageBMX.com: What was the relationship with Champion?
LK: Well, Champion was owned by a guy named Doug Schwerma, and he and I were early competitors in the motorcycle frame business. And there is a really interesting story: Yamaha International decided to come out with a division called YDPI, I think. I cant remember exactly what it stood for, but it was a division within Yamaha International, Yamaha USA, to distribute these hot rod parts that we made for flat track guys like frame sets and crank shafts and primary case covers and all this kind of stuff. They were going to distribute them themselves. And there were not a lot of people in the accessory frame business, mainly Redline and Champion. And we did a lot of work for Honda in those early years making prototype moto cross frames. We worked a lot with Honda R&D; we worked a lot with Kawasaki; we did a lot of motorcycle projects in the early days. Yamaha sent out a couple of letters. One to us and one to Champion. They were in Hayward, up in the Bay Area. And all of a sudden, we saw that Yamaha was selling Champion frame sets. And I called, I can't remember the guy’s name who was running it at the time. I said “well, why did you go with him?” and he said, “well, because you didn’t respond to the quote.” And I said, “I never got anything from you.” And he said, “well, we sent everything out a couple of months ago, and he was the only one who responded so we just kind of went with him.” So shortly thereafter we went to a larger plant, and when we were moving, I found a letter from them behind the secretary’s desk.
VintageBMX.com:It never made it to your desk.
LK: I never saw it. So Schwerma got that job, and he started having a lot of success, and he made very good stuff. I have to give him full credit. He had a nice little factory up there and Doug Schwerma was a very clever guy. But he started making a little bit of money, and he, how can I put this diplomatically? He inhaled most of it.
VintageBMX.com:Okay.
LK: So he ended up committing suicide. He pulled over on the side of the road, on some lonely stretch of road and finished it off. Put a garden hose in his exhaust pipe and killed himself. So we got a call from either it was his bank or somebody asking if we were interest in his plant. So we drove up, actually we flew up. We had our own airplane at that time. We flew up and we landed at Hayward airport and we went and looked at his plant. He had been gone for about three months, as I recall. And we walked into this plant and it was as if the lunch bell went off and people walked out and never came back. Things were set up on jobs. There were cigarettes in ashtrays. And we made them an offer. I cant remember what it was now. We bought the whole place and the name, and we loaded up a couple of 40 foot trailers; and we brought it all down to Chatsworth, and put it in our plant. We dedicated. We kind of split them up at that stage. Redline was making mostly bicycle stuff, and Champion was doing motorcycle stuff. That would have been in 1976 or around there. And when I bought out my partner(Mike Konle). I took Redline, and he kept Champion.
VintageBMX.com:Did he continue making Champion bicycles at that point?
LK: He tried to make a few bicycles, but mainly what he did was, he was a big subcontractor for Skip Hess.
LK: Schwerma made the first Champion bike frames with that triangulated front section, he had a small tube
piercing the downtube.
LK: Mike Konle continued with that for a while, but he finally gave up on it and got out of the bike business and went into the crane business (one of his truck cranes is featured in the movie, Terminator 3- Rise of the Machines).


This post has been edited by BMXProducts: Apr 24 2009, 08:12 PM
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whityman
post Apr 24 2009, 09:00 PM
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QUOTE (BMXProducts @ Apr 24 2009, 07:08 PM) *
I own a Schwerma with DeCoster forks. I'll post a pic at some point as its sitting at work. The serial number is in the low 200's. Cost to sell, who knows, refer to the article pinned at the top of this forum titled "What is my bike worth?".What parts is determined by how era correct you want to be. The frames were from 1976 or so. Anything Astabula will work as well as Motomag I's or coaster brake wheels as they were not build for a caliper brake.

Here is an except of an interview I did with Linn Kastan a few years ago. Its hosted here http://www.fiodan.com/vintage/kastan_interview.pdf



Right on thanks for the help its funny i had already read that article. Its interesting i have found origanal decals as well. I am undecided if i am going to keep it or not at this point. I have however found some cool NOS stuff. anyways thanks
Darryl
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Bill Curtin
post Sep 28 2009, 10:50 PM
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wrong thread..

This post has been edited by Bill Curtin: Sep 28 2009, 10:54 PM
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Reilley1
post Sep 29 2009, 12:22 AM
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Fishing....
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LowUFO
post Oct 4 2009, 06:51 AM
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Wow. Thx for that. Very informative. One of my strongest BMX memories from bitd was riding past my lbs one day and falling in love w a new Champion 20" bike in the window. It was chrome and had yellow Skyways to match the stickers. That was the Fall of '83 or so. I think it was selling for 125 Pounds.
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MadCowboy
post Oct 4 2009, 08:30 AM
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A friend of mine bitd was either a factory rider for Champion or his dad was some kind of distributor for them here because they had tons of Champion bikes, parts and apparel. So much that we built us both up a bike for lake jumping. Champion was on the outs when I got into racing so they werent anything special to me (probably because there was so many around) so we trashed a lot of the stuff. I'd give my left axle nut for some of that stuff now, not really because they are so rare now, but just the memories of some great times we had with that stuff around.
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