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  1. #1
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    Just picked up a Schwinn Continental

    I just picked up a Schwinn Continental the other day. I can't find much info on it to identify by serial number, though. It's solid orange and in very good shape. Everything seems to be original. The first four digits of the serial number are AJ52. Any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Ride heavy metal. Maddox's Avatar
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    Post some photos from of the bike, make SURE they're driveside (side with crank, chain, deraileurs, etc), and upload them.

    There are several Schwinn experts that will be able to help you out, but make their job easier by providing images.

  3. #3
    PanGalacticGargleBlaster Zaphod Beeblebrox's Avatar
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    an AJ serial number means it was built January of '73.

    Continentals are sorta like the High end of the Low end from Schwinn. Essentially its a slightly souped up Schwinn Varsity. Same frame, most of the same parts but the Continental would get Centerpull Brakes and a chrome cover for the fork crown, and wheels with Quick Releases.

    If you look around the forum you'll find plenty of Continentals/Varsities (Varsinentals ) built up in a bunch of different ways. They're very versatile, but very heavy.
    --Don't Panic.

  4. #4
    Senior Member michael k's Avatar
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    Here's mine.
    Rattle can spray paint and the works.It was my first project,had alot of fun and learned alot.It is heavy but not as heavy as my Super Sport.

  5. #5
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    The weight was the first thing I noticed. That's probably a good thing for me, though. I've got a 5 month old at home so I don't get time to ride more than a few miles at a time. A heavier bike should give my rides more bang for the buck.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ron521's Avatar
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    Those were the Chicago-built Schwinn's, as opposed to the Japanese (Bridgestone) Schwinn Le Tour's.

  7. #7
    hi YoKev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ron521 View Post
    Those were the Chicago-built Schwinn's, as opposed to the Japanese (Panasonic) Schwinn Le Tour's.
    Fixed that for you

  8. #8
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    The Continental also had a tubular fork (tubular, man!), whereas the Varsity had a flat (stamped) fork.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

    Tom Reingold
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  10. #10
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Picked up two Continentals and a Varsity in the last two weeks. People just like those old EF Schwinns. The chrome usually cleans up very nicely. They are heavy for sure.

    They are just about the only bikes with steel rims that I will bother with.

  11. #11
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I have a couple that need work, and I haven't bothered for months. Maybe I should get around to it. wrk101, you just gave me a nudge.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

    Tom Reingold
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  12. #12
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    I have always gotten good responses on the EF Schwinns. People like them, and we are getting really close to "off to college" time, when bikes like that are in highest demand. My goal is to get all three of them ready in the next two weeks, along with several other back to school type bikes I have.

  13. #13
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    wrk101, how do you describe them in your posts? I had trouble selling the Varsity I had.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

    Tom Reingold
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
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  14. #14
    Larger Chainring Oregon Southpaw's Avatar
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    Noglider,

    This sounds silly, but at least around here, part of the reason why hipsters and younger folks enjoy the EF Schwinns (or really any Schwinn for that matter) is that they sort of represent a different time in this country. By riding a Varsitenial you are both saying that you reject the consumerist "buy a new one each year" mentality of the capitalist economy, and you are also riding a piece of American history, from when we actually built things here. When well cleaned-up and ready-to-ride, they fly off Craigslist. Fixer-uppers seem not to move.

    Yes, I see the irony in this.

    I live in Oregon though, so your mileage my vary.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dovetube View Post
    At times my crotch has thought the title to this thread.

  15. #15
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    A big part of the description needs to be: Chicago built Schwinn, with EF (electro forged) frame. I had a bidding war on the last Varsity I sold. Hipsters want the look, and a really clean Varsity has the look that hipsters around here want, from the large chrome crankset, to the decals, and so on. "Chicago built" Schwinns have a following.

  16. #16
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    my gf's dad has an old continental in his garage that is in great shape. The tires were all rotted out so I gave him a couple of new gumwalls that I had lying around. I didn't inspect the bike very closely but knowing that my gf was born in 83 and she says he had the bike as long as she can remember and he used to have a baby seat on it, I suspect it was probably from around the early 80's. I don't feel like it has chrome forks or even quick releases on it though. Was there a time in the early 80's when continentals went down a peg?

  17. #17
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Wonderful help, southpaw and bill. I'll say something like

    "Reject rampant consumerism. Own a piece of American history. They really don't make them like this any more. This was union built in Chicago, back in the days when union people were proud of what they were and what they did. This bike is ready to ride, rejuvenated by an expert mechanic. You won't need to do a single thing to this baby. Adjust the seat, jump on, and ride away!"

    Howzat?
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

    Tom Reingold
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    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  18. #18
    Steel Member fiataccompli's Avatar
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    "old schwinn $20" is usually the description that catches my eye

    I seem to have a soft spot for the EF Schwinns too....guess it was always having them around growing up. I think that general frame configuration & weight makes for a better townie than roadie, but I have two Contis with drop bars..a 1960 and a 1973. For the hipster and anti-consumerism aspect, I can't imagine why a high end late '80s Miyata with platform pedals lights and a lock doesn't send the same message while offering a bit more enjoyment in the whole "riding experience" part of the deal. Then again, if the bike is more of a prop I guess it doesnt matter and a kick stand is awfully handy too.

  19. #19
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    "Own a piece of cycling history" "they don't make them like this anymore" "back before China took over the bicycle business, Schwinn built bikes in Chicago, Illinois"

  20. #20
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    I read it like this...

    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    "Reject rampant consumerism. Own a piece of American history. They really don't make them like this any more. This was union built in Chicago, back in the days when union people were proud of what they were and what they did---unlike you lousy kids today. This bike is ready to ride, rejuvenated by an expert mechanic. You won't need to do a single thing to this baby. Adjust the seat, jump on, and ride away! Now get off my lawn!!"

  21. #21
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Ya think I could use it your way, Monroe? Perhaps a bit of that biting humor will endear more customers to me.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

    Tom Reingold
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

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