Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Blue 1980 Schwinn Continental

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Above: The Schwinn Continental right off the truck. I was pleased to see the condition of this vintage Continental. I did however strip it down to the frame and rebuild the head set and crank. It all went really well due to the fact that this bike had been well maintained at some point in the not to distant past. I especially like the up-graded (and relocated) Sun Tour down tube shifters.

Above: The Continental finished. I did not make many changes to the set-up. However the rear bicycle rack had to go. I got a thing about racks mounted noticeably "out of level". Also I do not care for the foam handlebar wrap. (actually I really hate the stuff) The real bummer about the foam was that, someone had wraped the upper part of the handlebars with duct tape. I am guessing this was done to make the foam fit snugly to the bars. Removing the duct tape adhesive residue was a real pain. I used the last my of liquid Goo Gone. I do have some of the new Goo Gone spray-on jell. But honestly it did not seem to work as good as the liquid on the tape adhesive. Although it did work well on the spokes and hubs (sprayed onto a rag) then wiped down.

Above: I re taped the drop handlebars with cork infused tape. The gum brake lever hoods cleaned up nicely using the Simple Green bio degreaser. The center pull brake calipers were taken apart and cleaned/polished with Mothers.Then new Jag Wire X Caliper Brake Shoes were installed along with new cables and covers. (also Jag-Wire) *Quick Tip* You can also use Mothers to clean-up the Straddle Cables. It`s all in the details :)

Above: The Velo Saddle looks sporty and is very comfortable. I took this saddle off the Le-Tour and replaced it with a new Brown synthetic leather saddle.It was a good swap, The saddle looks great on the Le-Tour with the natural cork handlebar tape and the classic Kenda 27 x 1 1/4 gum wall tires. Which by the way are the same tires I used on this Continental.

Above: The Crank cleaned-up beautifully using Turtle Wax Chrome Polish and Rust Remover. I do need to remove the water bottle cage and trim down the rubber strips a little. It looks a little sloppy, I was rushing to finish this bike today for the ride tomorrow. The front derailleur was cleaned up using "White Lightning Clean Streak" and polished using Turtle Wax then re installed with a new Jag Wire Basics derailleur cable. The Pedals and vintage Christophe Traps were removed and polished. The leather straps were removed and cleaned with Saddle-Soap. I also installed a brand new Schwinn multi speed chain.

Above: I removed the 5 speed Free Wheel for cleaning using White Lightning Clean Streak and my Park brush and scraper and a rag of course. The spokes were cleaned with the Goo-Gone jell. The Hub I did with the jell then hit it with some Mothers. The rims on this one were easy. Just some Turtle Wax Chrome Polish and Rust Remover and just a wee bit of brass brushing. Always brass never steel, brass is much easier on the chrome.
Above: Tomorrow is the Ride of Silence. I am hoping to ride in it, But may have to settle for taking some pictures. My left leg has been bothering me for a couple days. We will see how it goes. I will make an effort to finish the ride. It`s only 10 miles at 12 miles per hour. I should be able to handle that, even with a sore leg. Hey, I did jump ahead here. I will be posting the Raleigh Sprite and the Canadian Pacer real soon. Also I will post a pic of the Le Tour Schwinn road bike with the new brown saddle. It`s amazing how one little change can really change the whole look. I think you will be surprised at the difference. Till next time, Ride Safe and remember to always, RESCUE RESTORE & RECYCLE!
Cheers, Hugh A Special THANK YOU to those of you have been checking out Hugh's Online Bike Shop. You probably noticed that I am now adding word links to components, tools and supplies ect ect that I mention in my blog posts. Like the Store these links are powered by amazon.com . I am doing this to make it more convenient to purchase things that interest you on the blog. Also if you are new to bicycle work, and you are not sure what I am talking about? You can click on the word link just to see some examples of what I am referring to. I look at this as a positive change and I hope you do too. To visit Hugh's Online Bike Shop the link is in the right column on this page near the top just under the members/followers. Thanks, Hugh


  1. Hi Hugh -

    Nice Continental. I've learned a lot by following your blog. Over the winter I fixed up an old Schwinn Twinn. Not a full restoration, just making it presentable and rideable. That and your blog inspired me to drag my 1972 Super Sport down from the loft and go to work on it. Great bike, but in bad need of some TLC. I'm now debating whether I should search out decals and repaint it. I've got a few pictures at http://www.flickr.com/photos/41245849@N07/


  2. While many poo poo the lugless Varsity and Continental, their welds were beautifully executed in their elegance.

    I hope the leg is nothing serious!

  3. Hey Jay, Thanks,I checked out the Schwinn Twin
    and it looks great. Nice work! The Super-Sport looks like an excellent candidate for restoration. By the way, Yellow Schwinn 10 speeds sell very quickly. It is a very popular color among the college crowd. E Bay is always a
    good place to start looking for vintage decals.
    Good Luck with the restoration. Keep me posted.

  4. Hey Steve, Your right, many to like to crticize the old Varsity and Continental. They are really easy targets. Maybe it`s their out dated 1 piece cranks. Or incredibly heavy frames and components. There is a very interesting (and educational) article about the Varsity. In fact I just added it to my "Bicycle related links" Check it out when you get a chance. I think you will find it interesting.
    The leg is nothing serious. Just sore from too much squatting. I have one of those rolling shop stools. But it only helps when I actually use it...lol. I need more stretching and more bananas :)

  5. Thanks, Hugh -

    No way I'd ever sell the Super Sport - I'm fixing it up to ride. :-) I did some more work on it last night, and the more I look at it, the paint does look pretty rough. If I'm going to do all of that work, maybe I should just do the whole job. What do you recommend to match the Schwinn yellow? Based on a suggestion from another website, I used Krylon yellow on the Twinn chainguard. Not bad, but not a perfect match. Also, I'd be nervous about screwing up the paint job on a whole bike - any idea who might do this and what it might cost? I've always done a bit of maintenance/repair to keep my bikes on the road, but I'm pretty new to this business of tearing it down to nothing & rebuilding it.

  6. Hey Jay,
    There was a company that re-produced original Schwinn colors. I don`t remember the name but they were on the net. I think the color you are looking for was called Kool Lemon. I will try to locate the company. I don`t know anyone who does bike frames (paint). There were some guys advertising around here on craigslist (in the "bikes for sale" section) Might want to check that where you live.If I were going to do a rattle-can paint job I would use Rust-Oleum enamel paint. I just found the site for the Schwinn Paint URL:
    Good Luck

  7. Hey Hugh, love the blog, it's very helpful when I'm tearing apart my own bicycles.

    Speaking of which, here is a Schwinn Continental I finished a few months ago. I need to get my fenders on (it has been raining) but the ones from my old 27"er don't mount properly. Probably will need to drill new holes.


    Thanks for keeping us up to date! I appreciate your insight on maintaining my bike.

  8. Thanks I.L.Y.N.H.
    I like the Continental.Front and Rear quick-release skewers, Very cool. Is that a brass bell mounted on the bar-end? I have been thinking about installing a bell for riding the hike and bike trail.Hey I checked out some of your photography. I like it, especially the "message on the fence rail".Good luck with the fenders. Let me know how it turns out.

  9. Hugh,

    Yes, it was a crane bell, it fell off in the middle of a bumpy intersection and was run over by a pickup. Probably because it was mounted on the end instead of the middle of the handlebar (but I need that space for my hands!). I still have the hunk of deformed brass on my desk. I've attached a cheaper bell on it, they're necessary for the multi-use path stuff here in Portland.

    I've procrastinated the fenders for the entire summer, can you believe it? They're back on the front burner this weekend (it has started to rain recently). I think they just need a new hole drilled. There are a few bike shops out here that you can rent hourly space and use their tools.

    Hope you're well. Keep rebuilding, I enjoy every post.

  10. Hey haircut,
    You are right, a bell is a very good idea. Especially on the hike & bike trails. Although it "seems like" many Walkers and Roller-Bladers like to wear head-phones.
    You would think that someone with a head-set on would keep to the right. But they always seem to walk in the center. So I`m gonna need a real loud one(:
    Nothing like a little rain to get one thinking about fenders. I like that idea of being able to rent a stand and some tools.(as long as they are not my tools) (:
    I have been feeling pretty good lately. And Thanks. We are trying to make room inside for a stand. So I can be more comfortable working this winter. Cheers,Hugh

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  12. Sorry Sam,
    No advertisement links.

  13. Hi Hugh,

    I am a college student and recently received my mother's canary yellow continental (after I casually mentioned how cool schwinns are, my mom exclaimed, "I still have mine at your grandmothers house! I got it when I was 13!"). Currently, it is at the local bike shop getting a casual check up (it's practically mint condition). Anyways, long story short...I was wondering if you still had that old rack laying around? I could sure use that on my moms...i mean MY new bike! ;) Could you help out a poor college girl?

  14. Oh and ps: mine is a 1973 continental :]

  15. Audriebird,
    I`m sorry that rack was used on another project. I recently learned that Pletscher still makes the old rack that was popular "back in the day"
    Here is the link if you are interested


    Thanks for sharing your story. The yellow Continental was one of the best colors, if not the best. Known in the 1970`s as "Kool Lemon"
    Enjoy your new old Classic Continental (:

  16. I had this bike...I left it at Valley Cycle in Yakima for rennovations and they lost it! Have been looking to buy a replacement. The swoop on the drop handle bars is special.

  17. Are you sure that's a 1980 Schwinn Continental? It's missing the secondary brake levers and the shifters are in wrong spot. Compare it to the Schwinn catalog.



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