Bike Forums

Bike Forums (
-   Classic & Vintage (
-   -   Anyone have a true 'rat rod' style road bike? (

dveneman 03-20-13 06:51 AM

Originally Posted by Italuminium (Post 15201271)
I think we have a winner.

Yes , this is the only one that works so far. Think patina on steroids. Oxidized paint, burnished rust areas, weathered components, original parts that have been time worn. I think its much easier to get with a fat fender bike since there is much more fitting style with form and surface area to convey that look. It's just not easy with a small frame alone. At least not without really good closer photos. In fact it is not an easy look to get at all.

bwilli88 03-20-13 07:20 AM

This is a typical delivery bike here in Cambodia
This is more of the same

Not a true rat rod but she was cute.

qd-s 03-20-13 07:32 AM

5 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by jjvw (Post 15201526)
I think there is a semantic problem with what "rat rod" really means. I don't have an answer, but I usually picture a deliberate mish-mash of beat up, rusty parts that are cobbled together into something resembling a car (or bike). The look of this contraption is based on 1950's hot rod culture that has been left out in the desert for 30-40 years before being rediscovered by the overly nostalgic punk rock/ rock-a-billy/steam punk scenesters. If you can't find the actual post-war/atomic era source material, you end up making the Disneyland version by adding artifice and faux finishing and flames and more flames and more angry frames (i'm tired of flames on everything). Dont forget the flat black, red and white color scheme to compliment the rust.

This is very different from finding a car or bike from "the era" that has been used, maybe abused, repaired, maintained and upgraded over its life. Its the difference between authentic honest wear and artifice. Its the difference between a "rat rod" and an old bike that has been reused and repurposed.

That being said, very little of what I have seen on these forums described as a rat rod is really a rat rod. I suspect that a rat rod bike is difficult to achieve because the canvas is so small compared to the rusty body panels that can be hung off of an old car. This might be why the best rat rod bikes are cantilever frames with big gas tanks (a different artifice) and fat fenders. The greater the surface area, the greater the chances of success.

Don't get me wrong, there are parts of all of the above that I really enjoy. The problem is that by now, so much of rat rodding has become a fake tough-guy posturing cartoon of itself. I'm pointing at you, Guy Fieri, and your stupid sunglasses. Gene Vincent's bones are laughing at you.


Originally Posted by fiataccompli (Post 15194381)
... I'd love to see or hear about your similar projects/bikes or bikes you've seen built in this vein. Share 'em up!

Shown here at C&V before, my last (and maybe this) years' trusty Eroica mount, ca. 1963 PX10.
I hope I'm not boring you... and not sure if it's a proper rat rod.

Frame was painted white a second time at some point in its life - which I didn't like, and re-painting was not an option for me.
So I tried most obvious chemicals to get rid of the "new" paint and at the same time retain as much of the original paintjob underneath as possible.
All to no avail, so I was left scraping off tiny paint chips. Which took quite a while... and was not exceedingly successful, admittedly.

Arrowana 03-20-13 08:32 AM

Originally Posted by LupinIII (Post 15409057)

raleigh that doesn't fit me and will probably be on the way out (still have all the original parts in a box)

That's definitely the best example I've seen, looks awesome! And as far as looks go, the Trek makes me think tricked out Japanese car instead of rat rod. Still pretty cool though.

shoota 03-20-13 08:43 AM

This a good candidate?

sailorbenjamin 03-20-13 02:22 PM

Originally Posted by LupinIII (Post 15409057)
raleigh that doesn't fit me and will probably be on the way out

On the way out? 58cm? What size do you need?

Italuminium 03-20-13 03:33 PM

Wow lupinIII, impressive. And totally on-topic, too!

belacqua 03-20-13 04:10 PM

Wikipedia helped me understand what this thread is about:

"A rat rod is a style of hot rod or custom car that, in most cases, imitates (or exaggerates) the early hot rods of the 1940s, 1950s, and early-1960s. The style is not to be confused with the somewhat closely related "traditional" hot rod, which is an accurate re-creation or period-correct restoration of a hot rod from the same era.Most rat rods appear "unfinished", regardless of their status, as only the vehicle's bare essentials are driven.


Originally a counter-reaction to the high-priced "customs" and typical hot rods, many of which were seldom driven and served only a decorative purpose. The rat rod's inception signified a throwback to the hot rods of the earlier days of hot-rod culture—built according to the owner's abilities and with the intention of being driven. Rat rods are meant to loosely imitate, in both form and function, the "traditional" hot rods of the era. Biker, greaser, rockabilly, psychobilly, and punk sub-cultures are often cited as influences that shaped rat rodding.
The typical rat rod is a late-1920s through to late-1950s coupe or roadster, but sometimes a truck or sedan. Many early (pre-World War II) vehicles were not built with fenders, hoods, running boards, and bumpers. The bodies are frequentlychanneled over the frame and sectioned, or the roofs are chopped, for a lower profile. Later-era post-war vehicles were rarely constructed without fenders and were often customized in the fashion of Kustoms, leadsleds, and lowriders; Maltese crosses, skulls, and other accessories were often added. The owner of the vehicle was typically responsible for most, or all, of the work present in the vehicle.
Recently, the term "rat rod" has been used to describe almost any vehicle that appears unfinished or is built simply to be driven."

--awesome concept for a C&V thread

Italuminium 03-20-13 04:20 PM

Yeah, nice concept indeed. I really hope to present my rattonneur bike soon, at the end of april the first 200 k brevet is coming up, and I want plenty of seat time before the event. Like I said above, old Motobecane frame, a cannibalized triple group, good saddle and some repurposed bags. Got to scrounge some fenders from somewhere.

byhsu 03-20-13 04:25 PM

sorry, posted in wrong section.

ilikebikes 03-20-13 04:47 PM

Nice road bikes, but not one is in true 'rat rod' style.

fiataccompli 03-20-13 05:02 PM

thanks. yeah, that generally translates well to what I was talking about originally

wearyourtruth 03-20-13 06:07 PM

i know the OP was going for something different, but like others i am going to jump in with what i consider my more *true* rat rod. 1957 schwinn typhoon. random paint-doesn't-quite-match straight-blade fork, rusty coaster brake wheels, road quill stem, inverted cruiser bars, schwinn "racer" fender. i loved that bike, should never have gotten rid of it.

TweedleDee 03-20-13 11:39 PM

This is my favorite so far

aramis 03-21-13 12:04 AM

Originally Posted by peugeot mongrel (Post 15197895)
Maybe the OP is talking about a "classy beater" that rides great.
Pitted chrome, dents, chipped powder coat and wrong decals don't show too much in the pix. It's a favorite rider.

That's pretty cool. It just needs some out of place modern wheels and a modern seat and I think it's kind of what the op was looking for.

fiataccompli 03-21-13 09:04 AM

Yep....and i dig the racer two posts above (actually those pics inspired one of my own builds) but yeah I was thinking of road bikes with some harsh anachronisms In the build too.

gamby 03-21-13 10:04 AM

Originally Posted by LupinIII (Post 15409057)
bumping an old thread coz why not

my old trek 460

This one REALLY seems to be in the spirit of the thread. Modern SRAM drivetrain on an old beater frame. This is a sweet setup. I'm guessing it is a GREAT ride.

LupinIII 03-22-13 03:31 AM

Originally Posted by sailorbenjamin (Post 15411326)
On the way out? 58cm? What size do you need?

yep 58, need something more around 54. It might be going to a friend, but if he backs out i still have most of the original nuovo record that it came with (albeit in cosmetic condition similar to the frame)

Originally Posted by gamby (Post 15414372)
This one REALLY seems to be in the spirit of the thread. Modern SRAM drivetrain on an old beater frame. This is a sweet setup. I'm guessing it is a GREAT ride.

pretty good, but I'm liking the ritchey road logic I got to replace it more haha
(linking this since it's not really a rat rod:

echo victor 03-24-13 12:28 AM

Alright, I think my PX-10 could be on the way toward being the kind of rat rod the OP is looking for: truly beat up paint; Mafacs upgraded to black Kool Stops; Campy FD, shift cable stops, and pedals; and Suntour barcons. For now, I'm just getting it tuned up (although I may try to clean up the paint in the not too distant future), and I may throw some Mavic/105 700c wheels on for fun and maybe replace the RD with a 105 for a while to see how that works out. Some HG cassette is almost certainly in its future.

So I think it's got the look, a smattering of upgraded parts, and it's lightweight and a good ride. Of course, motor upgrades are still in progress...

Close ups to show the awesomely ratty condition of the finish:

surfdude1 01-09-15 01:06 PM

Check out my rat rod stingray.

Grand Bois 01-10-15 10:58 AM

There are some ratty road bikes in this thread no rat rods. Leaving a bike outside to rust doesn't make it a rat rod bike.

Now this is rat rod bike material:

OldsCOOL 01-10-15 12:21 PM

True rat rod? I dont even have a FALSE rat rod road bike.

frameteam2003 01-10-15 01:20 PM

1900 Rambler with velocity wood look rims/soma major taylor bars.& leather covered seat

CliffordK 01-10-15 03:19 PM

3 Attachment(s)
My Old Colnago has taken a licking and keeps on ticking.

It was never intended to be a "rat rod", but it definitely has seen quite a bit of wear over the years. Hopefully I'll do a mini-restoration on it sometime, but I'm still on the fence about clear-coating it vs stripping and repainting.

My Cargo bike, however, may fit more into the "rat-rod" category, but I'm still a bit up in the air about final finishing.

mechanicmatt 01-10-15 03:22 PM

Here's a couple I have made in the past that may qualify:

Trek 500

Giant Kronos

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:45 PM.

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.