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Old 10-07-07, 08:28 PM   #1
pumbaa
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Newbie Got A 1978 Schwinn Continental II... Advice?

I'll preface this post with the fact I'm new to this whole road bike thing and have no idea what I'm doing.

So I've been looking for a road bike and I found a Schwinn Continental II on Craigslist for $120. I tried it out and bought it at that price. Have no idea if I got taken or not, and wouldn't mind your opinion on it...

Brought it home and did some research, apparently it's a 1978 Continental II. It's got a little rust and some scrapes here and there, but overall it rides well. It does seem a little "heavy" at time when turning, it feels like it pulls a little in the direction I'm going in... but not enough to dissuade me from buying it.

So now what should I do? It rides pretty well to me, but should I take it to a bike shop and get it checked out? Do they even "tune up" bikes as old as this?

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Old 10-07-07, 09:21 PM   #2
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Hey nice find it looks really nice I think you might have paid a bit too much but if you like it thats all that matters. Yeah they are heavy, my varsity weighs in at 42 pounds loaded, thats mostly why its so smooth riding . I'm also restoring a 72 continental which I paid $50.00 for but have spent way more than its ever going to be worth so far and I'm not done. It should be a good rider for you. If you have some mechanical skills you should be able to tear it down and grease the front hubs and the bottom bracket ( does it have the one piece crank) if it does all you need to take it apart is a large adjustable wrench and a wide blade screwdriver to remove the lock ring. If you take it apart yourself clean all the old grease out and clean up the bearings and the cup and cone bearing surfaces (only take one side of the cone nut off to keep your spacing) and see if they are in good shape if so grease them up and put it back together if not most of the parts are easy to come by either new old stock or replacement by Wald . There is a wealth of info on this board (Pastor Bob is our resident expert on most things Schwinn) Nothing like old American gas pipe frames to take the bumps out of the road. Try to post some clearer pictures so we can see how it looks. Does it have steel or Aluminum alloy rims? I love those old Schwinns thats why I have 3 of them even though I have modern bikes too there is something about that old steel. Its never going to compete with all those fancy new carbon and aluminum bikes but its not supposed too its way cooler. IMHO. If you arent comfortable doing the work then find a competent bike mechanic that will work on it and do it right a lot of LBS won't mess with these old timers but a good one will. If you don't want it I'll gladly take it off your hands free of charge
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Old 10-07-07, 09:59 PM   #3
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I currently have three old Schwinn ten speeds, a Varsity, a Sportabout, and a Sprint. They are great old bikes. They are simple enough to work on that I would recommend you learn to do it yourself. About anything you need is available for them, either original or upgraded. They are heavy, alright, but as the salesmen used to ask customers who complained about the weight, "Are you going to ride it or carry it?" Yours looks like it must be Sky Blue, close to the color on my Sprint. Try to post more and bigger pictures.
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Old 10-07-07, 11:08 PM   #4
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Yes, getting a tune-up and getting the wheels trued can really improve the riding quality of your new Schwinn. Your bike would be a nice "town" bike, as the geometry makes it possible to add a rear rack and saddlebags for commuting to school or work, and for grocery shopping. And, there is room for fenders for riding in rainy season.

Your bike was well built, so with reasonable care, it could still be on the road twenty years from now.
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Old 10-07-07, 11:17 PM   #5
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i also highly suggest good brake pads, like koolstops. they will make a world of differece on those rims, im assuming they are steel like most of those schwinns were.
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Old 10-08-07, 09:19 AM   #6
John E
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pumbaa View Post
... I ... have no idea what I'm doing.
Join the club.

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Originally Posted by pumbaa View Post
... I found a Schwinn Continental II on Craigslist for $120. I tried it out and bought it at that price. Have no idea if I got taken or not, and wouldn't mind your opinion on it...
The price is a little high, but as others noted, if you like the bike, focus on the road ahead. If you obtain 10 to 20 years of enjoyment from it, that works out to less than $1 per month, which is a pretty cheap thrill.

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... Do they even "tune up" bikes as old as this?
That is how one tests a bike shop. If you bring in an older machine in fairly nice condition and they show an interest in working on it, you have come to the right place. If they immediately give you the "it's too old" routine, take your business elsewhere.
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Old 10-08-07, 09:52 AM   #7
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Nice find. I here they're low end but continentals have a fond place in my heart. My 1st real bike from a bike shop not a toy store was a continental, a blue one 1978. they're easy to work on , no special bike tools just a couple wrenches and a screwdriver or 2. If you're taking it in than you want to find a bike shop not a bike store.If I had it I would take everything off the frame, clean and wax the frame, repack all the bearing and new cables, new brakes, new tires as needed. Aluminum wheels do make a big improvemnet in the ride quolity.The continental will take almost any change or upgrade or downgrade with out complaint. I had one that I stuffed 21 speeds on to.
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Old 10-08-07, 09:52 AM   #8
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Hey Pumbaa, welcome!

I am currently rehabilitating a 1979 Schwinn Continental II that I bought cheap from the scrap pile behind a local thrift store. There's a wealth of experience and wisdom on this forum, so take advantage of it! Do some searching through old threads ... you'll find answers to questions you don't even know you have yet.

I have no special wrenching skills, but I was pleasantly surprised how simple and straightforward it was for me to strip my Continental II down to the bare frame. The seatpost and handlebar stem might be your biggest challenge (if they happen to be stuck). It took me the better part of a day to wrestle the stem out of my bike. However, as others have mentioned, the bottom bracket is fairly simple to service because of the one-piece Schwinn crankset.

You will definitely want to have the bearings serviced. The old grease in my Continental's headset bearing cages, bottom bracket bearing retainers and rear derailleur jockey and idler wheels was the color and consistency of a glue stick! It took a good long bath in WD-40 to loosen up the old grease enough so I could laboriously pick it out of the bearing retainers with a toothpick.

Unless your wheels were replaced at some point, they are undoubtedly chromed steel. You might consider having them replaced with aluminum wheels for a savings in weight and increased braking power.

I'm sure you will enjoy your Conti ... they are very rugged and reliable. Good luck!

Trailtrekker in Iowa
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