Classic & Vintage - 1969 Schwinn Continental
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I have a friend with a 1969 Schwinn Continental. I do mostly fitness riding but want to commute to work. The old bike needs a few parts but appears sound. Is this bike a worthy ride or should I continue hunting a new bike. I have been looking at a Giant OCR3 and a Janis Aurora.
08-27-07, 08:14 PM
I think the continental is worthy. The first thing you will want to change for commuting is the wheels. If the rims aren't already alloy it may be worth spending $100-150 on a set of new alloy rimed wheels. This will make for good stopping power in wet conditions and you can upgrade to 700c (if you have the necessary brake reach). On the otherhand this is a pretty heavy old bike and something newer might be good. I don't know the models you have mentioned but am pretty sure the OCR3 is more of a full on road bike and not ideal for commuting (can't fit fenders and racks has skinny tires etc..)?
08-27-07, 08:14 PM
It is a very heavy but also a very good riding bike. If the commute is not terribly far by all means ride it. It is no where near the bike that the Giant or the Janis is and I love Schwinn lightweights. It is on the other hand a good dependable easy to fix bike. Roger
08-27-07, 08:25 PM
There's a vast gulf between the Continental and the two newer bikes you've mentioned. While there's no reason you couldn't use the Continental for a commuter and fitness, I think that if you were to ride one of the others, you'd come to favor them for a few reasons - not the least of which is the much lighter weight.
In the Continental's favor will be price and durability. If not abused, that old Schwinn will be in fine shape to pass down to your grandchildren when they're your age.
Personally, I'd look around a little bit more. Know what size you are looking for, and keep your eye open for a bike that's a few pounds lighter. (Although, a sly man might latch onto the Continental and continue to look for something that may be more to his liking). There are plenty of bikes from the same era - up through the early 90's that are legitimate lightweights, and which can be had for far less than a quality new bike.
08-27-07, 09:18 PM
I have a 71 Varsity and I ride that thing a lot in addition to my regular commuter which is a 2006 Specialized expediton. My commute is 14.5 mi RT granted on pretty flat road but that Varsity is the smoothest riding bike I have. Once you get that bad boy rolling it sort of rides itself. Put on a Brooks B-17 and you will see why steel is real and Brooks cooks. These bikes are easily worked on I mean you can take the whole bottom bracket apart with a big adjustable wrench and a screwdriver if you are careful. Pop in some new bearings and cones which are readily available and cheap and you are on your way, same with the axles. If the derailleurs are good clean em up otherwise they are around pretty cheap if you look. Now a word about the steel rims. Yes they are not conducive to quick stops but when they are shined up they are a thing of beauty same for the fenders. Now the Continental which I happen to be rebuilding one right now is a bit lighter but not much. It will have alloy handlebars and no fenders it also has a forged front fork. THis is the bike I am going to update with the modern style BB and 3 piece crank I'm staying with a five gear freewheel and using a Shimano no name rear derailleur and a 105 double front derailleur which I have to make a split shim to use on the skinnier seat tube. I'm also using alloy rims for less weight. The gas pipe steel frame will give you a really nice ride but if you are weight concious get one of the new machines since they are aluminum frame. I have a 2006 Raleigh Cadent 2 and its a great bike and I use it on any ride longer than say 15 miles. My Schwinns are the cruisers although I think this Continental has potential to be a longer distance bike if I set it up right. Thing about it is these old Schwinns or any vintage bike for that matter they get under you skin you can't have just one.
For four years my daily commute to work included a 12 percent climb (Lusk Bl. in Sorrento Mesa, for those familiar with San Diego). I began with an early 1970s Varsity with aluminum rims, (shimmed) downtube gear levers, and a 6-speed freewheel, but I soon switched to a same-vintage Peugeot UO-8 a coworker gave to me. I put aluminum rims and a cheapo aluminum crankset on the UO-8, along with an old Campag. NR derailleur and shifters, plus one of those funky old normal-high SunTour Spirt front derailleurs. I did enjoy the Peugeot's 5-kilo weight advantage on the big hill climb, although it was pretty inconsequential on the rest of the ride. However, the Peugeot eventually cracked a chainstay, a fate I doubt would ever have struck the Varsity.
08-28-07, 04:10 AM
Is the friend giving you the Continental? If so, how could a gift for such a purpose as commuting, be wrong? Go for the Continental. Restoring or repairing will be fun. Ride it, and then decide if you would do better on something modern. Best of luck!
08-28-07, 12:52 PM
Were the Contintals of this era Cro-Mo tubing and fil-it brazed?I know the later 70s ones were just dressed up gas pipe Varisitys.Worth lookin into.
08-28-07, 04:02 PM
Electro-forged frame thats the same as a Varsity. Better fork and brakes(?) and some aluminum components instead of steel. Brakes are debatable. Most weigh 35 pounds and up. Roger
08-28-07, 06:37 PM
"For four years my daily commute to work included a 12 percent climb (Lusk Bl. in Sorrento Mesa, for those familiar with San Diego)."
I know it well! I have a client up there, and am presently working for another client at Vista Sorrento Pkwy and Sorrento Valley Blvd.
I got the 69 Schwinn. Thank you all for the advice. I am excited to get started working on it. I will send pictures. You folks are great.
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