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  1. #1
    Senior Member rideon7's Avatar
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    Schwinn Continental chain question

    I have a Schwinn Continental, circa 1970-72, that I am getting back into riding condition. Serviced the bottom bracket yesterday and the headset today. Will be looking for a newer front derailleur, since the current one has almost been worn through by the chain rubbing against it (hey, I picked this up at Goodwill--I'm not the original owner).

    I have cleaned the chain but am considering replacing it. The chain is stamped with the brand name SEDIS and is made in France.

    Does anyone know if this is the original chain on the Schwinn? Does anyone have any experience changing or replacing this chain? Are replacement chain pins available for it?

    Any information is appreciated.

  2. #2
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    I have a Continental of about that age. It has the 'Schwinn Approved' Huret Allvit derailleur. The chain is stamped 'SEDIS'. I think it's the original. I think you could replace it with any '5-speed' or '6 -speed' chain (same as '7-speed'?). I think these are 3/16" width chains (isn't that right?). Just use the same number of links; link pitch is standardized at 1/2". Single sprocket bikes (old Schwinns, BMX) use 1/4" width chains. Not sure of the substitutability of new pins. See Sheldon's site; chains have changed a lot now vs. then.

    [EDIT] 3/32" width for generic multispeed, 1/8" for single speed
    Last edited by duffer1960; 07-06-07 at 01:43 AM.

  3. #3
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    The Sedis might be the original chain and was good equipment at that time. duffer1960's advice is good. I might have a FD that will work for you. I'll check around during the next day. If I do it's yours. Best of luck.
    Bob
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    The advice above is correct but the numbers are wrong. Single speed coasters used 1/8 inch chains and bikes like your Cintinental used 3/32 chains. I suspect your Sedis chain is a replacement but a very good one. Sedis is now owned by SRAM. KMC is also a good resonably priced chain. Stay with a chain designed for 7 speed of less gears. Roger

  5. #5
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    I've found the original chains on the Varsities and Continentals to be woefully inadequate - width-wise - for the extremely wide-spaced 5-speed Atom freewheels used on these machines. Additionally, replacement chains from the late '70s-80s perform even worse thanks to the rapid narrowing of chains throughout the years in an effort to stick more sprockets in the back. The narrow chain plate width combined with the wide spacing between cogs result in extremely frequent chain skating problems.

    I can't recall if the original chains were Sedis or not, but they could have been. I'd need to look through the chains I've since pulled off some of these machines to get a definite answer on that.

    Personally, when keeping original Atom freewheels (on any machine, not just the Schwinns), I usually replace the chain with Wal-Mart's special - TAYA chain marketed under the Bell brand. The cage plates are heavily bulged (nearly identical to that of the original Shimano UG) resulting in crisp, perfect shifts on the old Atoms, with minimal chain skate.

    Alternately, one can simply replace the freewheel with a 6-speed. In fact, if I am not mistaken, you might be able to squeeze some models of standard spaced 6-speed FW onto the stock Schwinn hub without fiddling with the bearing washers. Of course, if this is not possible, a narrow spaced 6-speed freewheel would get the job done just as well, with the original chain.

    Take care,

    -Kurt

  6. #6
    Novist senior member tolfan's Avatar
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    I put a cheap bell brand chain from walmart on my continental. It workd real nice. Walmart only sells 2 chains, one for 1&3 speeds and one for 10 speeds and up. Makes picking the right one easy. If you press a link pin all the way out it is possible to get it back in but you need 4 hands and a bit of luck.
    There are some things a man needs to believe in wether they're true or not;

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    Senior Member rideon7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh
    I might have a FD that will work for you. I'll check around during the next day. If I do it's yours. Best of luck.
    Wow, that would be awesome! A friend is giving me a Schwinn Le Tour that he wants out of his garage. I thought about pulling the FD off that (though haven't seen the bike yet), but another derailleur would let get both bikes up and riding. If you do find that FD, let me know by private e and I will pay for shipping!

    Brad

  8. #8
    Senior Member rideon7's Avatar
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    Thanks to all for the info about finding a replacement chain for my Schwinn. I may have to venture into a Wal-Mart for only the second time in my life, but more likely I will check with my LBS first (was a Schwinn shop for years, while Schwinn was still viable, and they seem to have a lot of old Schwinn stuff around if I can get the owner to go into his warehouse and look around for it).

    I do want to keep the bike with as many stock parts as possible, including the freewheel, cogs, etc. Opening up the bottom bracket and headset, it's amazing to see what good condition many of the parts are still in. Putting in some grease, realigning, and tightening, and this bike is going to be road ready again before long!

  9. #9
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tolfan
    I put a cheap bell brand chain from walmart on my continental. It workd real nice. Walmart only sells 2 chains, one for 1&3 speeds and one for 10 speeds and up. Makes picking the right one easy. If you press a link pin all the way out it is possible to get it back in but you need 4 hands and a bit of luck.
    That's the one, and for the record, the multi-speed chain says it works up to 7 cogs - it will, but only on Suntours. Shimano and the rest of the modern ramped-chain market is out of the question with that TAYA chain.

    P.S.: The latest TAYA chain comes with a split-link.


    Quote Originally Posted by rideon7
    Thanks to all for the info about finding a replacement chain for my Schwinn. I may have to venture into a Wal-Mart for only the second time in my life, but more likely I will check with my LBS first (was a Schwinn shop for years, while Schwinn was still viable, and they seem to have a lot of old Schwinn stuff around if I can get the owner to go into his warehouse and look around for it).

    I do want to keep the bike with as many stock parts as possible, including the freewheel, cogs, etc. Opening up the bottom bracket and headset, it's amazing to see what good condition many of the parts are still in. Putting in some grease, realigning, and tightening, and this bike is going to be road ready again before long!
    Go right ahead and check the LBS, but I doubt if any of their chains will be satisfactory, unless they have some NOS mid-'80s Shimano Uniglide chain there. Any 7-speed modern chains are far too narrow to be used safely, and most 5/6 speed chain will also give problems on the Atom freewheels. Even the majority of multi-speed chains from the vintage era will not operate well on the Atom freewheel - it is a design that would be flawed if it weren't for the availability of the bulged UG and TAYA chains.

    Depending on the terrain you will be riding in your area, you may find it to your advantage to swap the freewheel out to something more appropriate, gearing-wise. I wouldn't be too concerned about ruining the originality with the replacement of a freewheel - most all five-speed freewheels look quite similar, and secondly, the original ATOMs, having the track record that I have explained, are not particularly something you would want on the bike anyway (although, no matter how bad the part may be, I always keep any replaced original parts in a box that corresponds to the bike).

    Take care,

    -Kurt

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    I'm sold on the Walmart Bell chains too. The gold quick link is real handy. You will need a chain breaker to take off the old chain. Again, the Bell works just fine. The directions say to make 6 turns with the handle after making contact with the pin, then back off. Every time I've remembered to stop at six turns it was enough to separate the chain without pushing the pin all the way out. Then if you ever decide to reuse the chain it's a simple matter to use the breaker tool to push the pin back in.

    And while you're there, get some new Bell brake shoes, Bell cable/housing set, and maybe some extra Bell tubes. That should do it, Just about everything else WM sells for bikes is junk. Have fun!
    Last edited by McDave; 07-04-07 at 01:31 PM.

  11. #11
    2 wheel deal morrowman's Avatar
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    I just sold a Schwinn Continental

    After a week of hard riding, the chain stretched in one section and would ride up on the cog. It looked original to me, so did the rest of the bike. I would have replaced the chain if I was keeping it for myself.

    pics
    http://eticomm.net/~morrow/forsale/
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Not bad - looks like it has quite a bit of potential - either for a custom or for an all-original re-build, such as what I did with this early '71:









    ^
    For the record, it is probably amongst the worst riding machines in my collection. I'd build up a second, swap-in wheelset with aluminum rims, but I can't convince myself to put the effort into it.

    Take care,

    -Kurt
    Last edited by cudak888; 07-04-07 at 02:07 PM.

  13. #13
    Super Moderator BillyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudak888
    For the record, it is probably amongst the worst riding machines in my collection. I'd build up a second, swap-in wheelset with aluminum rims, but I can't convince myself to put the effort into it.
    Really!? I have a '76 and I always enjoyed the ride of mine. I take her riding a few times a year, but if she wasn't close to 40 lbs I'd ride her more often.

    That was my first bike . . . lot's of young memories there.

    Yours is cleaned up real nice . . . you have to share the secret with me one day.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member rideon7's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=cudak888]Not bad - looks like it has quite a bit of potential - either for a custom or for an all-original re-build, such as what I did with this early '71:

    Wow, looks great! Where did you get the handlebar tape (that can't be the original tape, can it?).

    Brad

  15. #15
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyD
    Really!? I have a '76 and I always enjoyed the ride of mine. I take her riding a few times a year, but if she wasn't close to 40 lbs I'd ride her more often.

    That was my first bike . . . lot's of young memories there.

    Yours is cleaned up real nice . . . you have to share the secret with me one day.
    For the most part, my gripe with it is those cheap Schwinn S-6 rims. If I had aluminum Weinmanns on it with IRC Roadwinner Duro II tires, I'd probably enjoy its ride. In fact, those S-6 rims are pretty much the only serious defect I can nitpick with these things. Although they can take some serious abuse, and the walls can be straightened with a hammer and monkey wrench when required, they simply aren't fodder for any half-decent roadbike.

    How did I clean it up? Took 'er apart down to the last bolt, polished the frame with Meguiars Scratch X, and rebuilt it with the best parts I could find from 3 or 4 other Continentals and Varsities. The hubs and bars were the only parts that required significant cleaning, as they were full of aluminum oxide. Polish wouldn't do the job - had to sand the oxide off and go up on the sandpaper grit from there, until I got the surface suitable for polishing.

    Quote Originally Posted by rideon7
    Wow, looks great! Where did you get the handlebar tape (that can't be the original tape, can it?).

    Brad
    Not "original" in the sense that it rolled off the assembly line with that tape (although I do have the original tape still wrapped to the original bar), but it is new-old-stock Hunt-Wilde tape, which is the same stuff used by Schwinn when these things rolled off the line, so in that sense, yes - it is "original" tape. Either or, you can't get closer to factory original then the same stuff they used at the factory.

    You can get NOS Schwinn/Hunt-Wilde tape in virtually every Schwinn color today - lots of that stuff running around NOS. Here are two rolls on eBay of the same stuff I used on my Continental:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Schwinn-Campus-G....c15.m20.l1116

    P.S.: The front tube on that Continental is an original Schwinn tube - found it when I was stripping one of the parts bikes. Since it held air, I installed it - just for kicks

    Take care,

    -Kurt

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    Senior Member Bikedued's Avatar
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    I've had a few Continentals over the last few years, and the chains that were on most of them, look identical to Schwinns' single speed chain they used on beach cruisers. Same over sized plates, etc. Really, my only gripe with the Continental is the weight. They look the part of a lighter road bike, quick release wheels and the whole deal, but the illusion is over once you pick them up. It doesn't stop me from owning
    a nice Sierra Brown example, and I still buy one every once in a while and fix them up to flip. They don't sell as fast as the three speeds or cruisers, but they eventually sell. They're definitely flashy,,,,BD




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  17. #17
    Novist senior member tolfan's Avatar
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    Man , now I wont one again.
    There are some things a man needs to believe in wether they're true or not;

  18. #18
    Super Moderator BillyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikedued
    Really, my only gripe with the Continental is the weight. They look the part of a lighter road bike, quick release wheels and the whole deal, but the illusion is over once you pick them up. It doesn't stop me from owning
    a nice Sierra Brown example, and I still buy one every once in a while and fix them up to flip. They don't sell as fast as the three speeds or cruisers, but they eventually sell. They're definitely flashy,,,,BD
    Yep, heavy as hell and only 10 speeds, but a very handsome looking bike. I'm keeping mine. I can't ride her from my house very far at my age --- too many hills. But when I really feel like riding her I just drive somewhere flat-ish and take her for a jaunt. Steady as a rock!!

    Texas has got plenty of flat areas to ride yours.
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  19. #19
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    Here are a couple of pictures of my Continental that isn't a Continental. It is the one year 1977 Schwinn Sierra. For some reason Schwinn changed the Continentals name to Sierra that year. Roger
    Attached Images Attached Images

  20. #20
    Super Moderator BillyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhenning
    Here are a couple of pictures of my Continental that isn't a Continental. It is the one year 1977 Schwinn Sierra. For some reason Schwinn changed the Continentals name to Sierra that year. Roger
    Go figure!

    Did they lighten it any?
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  21. #21
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    It is probably heavier as it has more chrome on it. Kickstand, front fork and a bunch of other things are nicely chromed compared to the 1973 Continental I have. Roger

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