Monday, August 31, 2015

Schwinn Mania

Over this past year of rescuing and refurbishing old bikes and finding new homes for them, I failed to realize until now that the brand that I have worked with the most is Schwinn, by far. Of 15 bikes that I have found new owners for, 7 were made by Schwinn. It comes as no surprise since millions of bulletproof electro-forged frames were turned out every year during Schwinn's golden years (also see this link).

When I first got into bikes, I did not find Schwinns very appealing but somehow, as I learned more about them and worked on more of them, they grew on me. By some twist of good fortune, as I wrote about before, I now have my very own electro-forged Schwinn 3-speed, albeit heavily modified. Without further adieu, I have decided to share here the colorful assortment of Schwinns, electro-forged or brazed, that I have worked on.

Green 1972 3-speed pair for me and my sister

Mr. & Mrs. Schwinn, '64 Racer and '71 Collegiate Tourist 5-speed

1972 Super Sport, fillet brazed chromoly frame, looking for a new owner

Edit: New owner found.

'74 Collegiate Sport (turned Tourist) and '82 Continental with big cruiser bars

Lugged & brazed and made in Taiwan: '83 Collegiate with Shimano 333 hub, '80 World Sport red-repainted-blue

Lugged & brazed but made in Chicago: '86 Sprint for a friend who wanted it to look "as '80s as possible"

Lastly, completely de-rusted, restored, repainted, modified '76 Varsity for a good friend

Aside from the ones that have passed through my hands, I still see vintage Schwinns rolling around campus on a daily basis. Unlike the drab-looking Raleigh 3-speeds that I tend to prefer, Schwinns seemed to come in every color but black.  I did find a black '69 Racer a little while ago and did a double take.

That Racer with an apparently-stock seat set-back and a '70 Breeze single speed next to it. 


A Varsity or Continental with shift cable braze-ons and serial number ground off, frame powder coated and converted to single speed. Interesting choice of bike for SS conversion, though ... 
Also, a red Varsity in the background with a similar 24" frame


Japan-made with one piece crank: Red Traveler and Yellow World Sport. 
Yellow one was being ridden with a flat tire - apparent lack of mechanical sympathy


Two Suburbans that I forgot the model years of. Probably ~1978


Orange '71 Varsity with Gatorade bottle muddguard and '60s Varsity in our garage


'73 Suburban and newer, teeny 19" Collegiate with my Raleigh DL-1 in the background


Two Continentals: a '78 and one unknown. Blue '60s Breeze in the background, one of two that park there often.


' 70s Continental II (seen here) and Le Tour mixte


A NEW Racer, single speed flip-flop hub with '80s font on top tube

This only a small percentage of all the ones I've seen - only the ones that I bothered slowing down to take photos of. There's a lovely, metallic lime green Suburban that I can never catch because I only ever see it when I'm driving the truck. The other day, I was at work when I saw a guy riding a squeaky '76 Collegiate with the tires low so I offered him my air pump. The whole time he was filling his tires, he kept talking about how OLLLLLD it was. I guess it goes to show how much abuse these bikes can take from the average kid and still be trucking along after decades.