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

3 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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  2. I loved your story. For me it was a 1973 yellow Continental. For a whopping $139 you could be the envy of the neighborhood. I must have been oblivious about the weight. I just thought that relative to Varsities and other bikes of the day, it shifted well and stopped fairly well too. It was my transportation into my college years when someone thought they needed it more than I did at San Diego State University. Great story.

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