Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Schwinn Continental ,Rebirth of a Classic




When I was a kid in the 1960`s growing up in Metro Detroit if you had a Schwinn Continental that was about as good as it got. A Varsity was cool. But owning a Continental with Weinmann center-pull brakes, Wow! And if you topped it off with a Brooks Leather Saddle, Well now you were the envy of every kid in the neighborhood. It may be hard to believe that a near 40 lbs road bike could have ever been considered a prize, but it was. I never had one as a kid. By the time I was tall enough to ride a full size road bike, light weight bikes were becoming popular. But I never forgot how much I wanted to own one of these babies. Fast-Forward about 40 years, I am cruising Craigslist looking for a project. And there it is! A 1976 Schwinn Continental with the chrome front fork. I picked it up latter that day. And few days latter I purchased another with frame damage but some really nice components and a fresh set of gum-walls. Well there it is finished in all it`s glory. I rode it a few times and was reminded just how heavy a classic Schwinn really is. After the first 5 miles all I could say to myself was, "What the Hell was I thinking" I sold it a few weeks latter. Now if I can just get a date with Raquel Welch......
Cheers, Hugh

2 comments:

  1. Lol, great story. I had that same bike, the 1976 Schwinn Continental, 10 Speed. I was a poor boy and my mother scarified and made it happen. I think it cost about $175.00 then; that was a huge amount of money for our family of six children. I was the happiness kid on the block and the envy of neighborhood kids. I wish I still had it. The bike looks great in this pic; but the handlebar tape was brown, same color as the bike and made of plastic.

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    Replies
    1. Hey Anonymous,
      There are still a lot of them out there. These classic American bikes were built to last. The Continentals with the chrome fork have always been my favorites. I think eventually I will restore another. I would like do a one piece to three piece crank conversion. The Continental would be the perfect candidate for a conversion. And possibly a light weight wheel-set as well. I have always wondered how much weight I could take off a Continental while keeping it`s classic look intact. And you are 100% correct. They all came originally with the color matching plastic handlebar tape. Thanks for visiting and leaving a positive comment. Cheers, Hugh

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