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Old 01-25-05, 01:00 AM   #1
zigzag
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How old is my schwinn caliente?

Hi
I recently bought a beautiful red schwinn caliente at the salvation army, and was wondering how old it was. If someone knows what years schwinn made calientes that would be helpful, or If anyone could give me a website where i could view pictures of schwinns. I was also wondering how much its worth.
Thanks
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Old 01-25-05, 09:26 PM   #2
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This particular forum is starting to remind me of the Antiques Roadshow.

OldSchwinn.com used to have a good explanation of all the serial numbers, but they seem to have gone under.

I figured mine out from looking at the headbadge. There is a four-digit code on it. The first three numbers are the day of the year, and the last number is the year, 1 = 1981.

If there is a number on the right dropout that starts with a G, it is a Taiwanese-built bike by Giant.

Check thecabe.com for some info.
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Old 01-25-05, 10:24 PM   #3
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The Caliente is shown in the 1979 Schwinn catalog as a "fancy" version of the Varsity. It was a 37 pound Chicago built bike with two unique features. It had Shimano Positron indexed "click" shifting in the rear gear changer and the Shimano FF freewheel that permitted shifting while standing still, or even while the chain was moving backwards. The idea was to make it possible for anyone to "correctly" shift a ten speed bike.

The combination of a 39 inch front chainwheel and 14 to 28 freewheel made it easy to ride, even for people who rarely got on a bike. Unfortunately, by 1979, the market for a 37 pound road bike was rapidly approaching zero. The Caliente listed for $173 in September 1979. For just $190, Schwinn customers could buy a Le Tour IV that weighed just 30 pounds with a lugged frame (part of a very brief "experiment" in building low cost lugged frames in Schwinn's Chicago factory). And, the lighter bike had fancier, better looking components.

In 1979, $173 was a good bit of money, about equal to $300 or $350 today. The frame and bearings used on a Chicago Schwinn were intended to provide twenty years or more of dependable service...there are probably a good number of these bikes still on the road.
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Old 01-26-05, 12:46 AM   #4
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Wow! 37 pounds! That's like riding two bikes at once. Decisions like that contributed to popularizing employee drug testing.
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Old 01-26-05, 08:14 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
The combination of a 39 inch front chainwheel and 14 to 28 freewheel made it easy to ride, even for people who rarely got on a bike. Unfortunately, by 1979, the market for a 37 pound road bike was rapidly approaching zero. The Caliente listed for $173 in September 1979. For just $190, Schwinn customers could buy a Le Tour IV that weighed just 30 pounds with a lugged frame (part of a very brief "experiment" in building low cost lugged frames in Schwinn's Chicago factory). And, the lighter bike had fancier, better looking components.
I know a friend of mine rides a Caliente that has a lugged frame. It sounds like the one from 1979 was "electroforged" or whatever that term is. His is definitely lugged, definitely has an '80s Schwinn decal set, and definitely weighs less than 37 lbs. Sounds like the Caliente evolved quite a bit.
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Old 01-30-05, 08:35 PM   #6
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My daughter rides a Caliente with the infamous Shimano Positron drive chain. This is a bike she brought home from a dumpster and we restored together as a father-daughter project. She's also had two bikes ripped off during her college career, but this old bright green Caliente seems safe so far. I put aluminum wheels on it to provide some braking power in case it is ridden in the rain, but otherwise it's authentic.

As another poster noted, it is surprisingly heavy.

In terms of age, there are nice serial number charts at http://www.oldroads.com/index.html#mvb_sn
For 1965 through 1982, the first letter of the serial number is the month (A=January). The second letter is the year. 1965=A, 1966=B. Skip I and O to avoid confusion.
February 1982 would be BTxxxx
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Old 01-30-05, 09:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ofofhy
I know a friend of mine rides a Caliente that has a lugged frame. It sounds like the one from 1979 was "electroforged" or whatever that term is. His is definitely lugged, definitely has an '80s Schwinn decal set, and definitely weighs less than 37 lbs. Sounds like the Caliente evolved quite a bit.
Schwinn, from around 1930 to 1990, would "re-use" the same name, such as "Superior", for some very different bikes. For example, the "Paramount" name got used for some imported bikes of far lesser quality than the Paramounts made in Chicago.

I have not seen a "lugged" Caliente, but I'd suspect it was an Asian import from the middle 80's. The heavy "Chicago" Suburban was replaced by a lighter, lugged bike made by Giant in the Taiwan. And, the Giant version was MUCH lighter than the Chicago version. All of the Giant bikes made for Schwinn in the 1980's tended to be lighter than Chicago-made bikes in the same price range. And, that fact became one of the many reasons the Schwinn Chicago plant eventually closed its doors.
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Old 05-24-06, 10:38 AM   #8
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I'm gonna buy a schwinn caliente from craigslist, it has a lugged steel frame from what I can tell.

The owner doesn't seem to know much about the bike, can anyone tell me if they have QR hubs?
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Old 05-30-10, 09:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zigzag View Post
Hi
I recently bought a beautiful red schwinn caliente at the salvation army, and was wondering how old it was. If someone knows what years schwinn made calientes that would be helpful, or If anyone could give me a website where i could view pictures of schwinns. I was also wondering how much its worth.
Thanks
I have a dark purple Schwinn Caliente that I bought in 1993. It has the shimano shift. I know that the other color of the same modle was red.
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Old 05-30-10, 12:47 PM   #10
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Here is a pic of an '88 Caliente I flipped this spring. Low end, steel rims, nutted axles, but would make a nice around-the-town bike.



Here is a link to Schwinn catalogs. You should be able to find your bike in them.
http://www.trfindley.com/pg_schwinn_cats.htm
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