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Old 04-27-14, 04:22 PM   #1
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'61 Schwinn Continental

Here's an old one. Its a mixed bag of parts. Original wheels I think though. Crank is original, maybe the derailleurs too. Fork I am not sure. It takes a regular 22.2 stem so I think its not original, but the headset looks original. Anyway, I didn't pay much for it and its a fun knock around bike. I flipped the bars on it but I think I will put drop bars on it. Also I think I might spring for some wingnuts for the hubs, and maybe french it up with some MAFAC brakes.




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Old 04-27-14, 04:26 PM   #2
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The old copper tone color Schwinns were my favorite. And I much prefer the early DT shifter Continentals and Varsities to the later stem shifter versions.

Late 1960s coppertone Continentals had chrome forks. Check out the pic on the 1967 catalog.
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Old 04-27-14, 04:40 PM   #3
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Everything looks original to me. The 1960 Conti had the Simplex bandspring rear / suicide front combination, but after Keith Kingbay got the Huret brothers drunk at a Chicago steak house, he started specifying the superior Huret units. (If your bike originally did have Simplex, there would be evidence of removal of a brazed-on suicide shifter mounting bracket on the seat tube.)

I concur that the early Varsinentals, which feature downtube shifters and take standard 3- or 6-bolt European chainrings, are more desirable than the later ones.
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Old 04-27-14, 05:18 PM   #4
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I think that John E. is about right here, but for the saddle, stem and pedals, which appear to have been lifted from a much later bike.

It's a good find though, even if the chromed fork suggests it might be a year or so newer than 1961. Can you take a closer picture of your fork crown? It possibly might be a replacement.

My 1962 Conti has a similar parts spec., including full-chromed fork, Allvit derailers with sliding-rod adjuster in front, same crankset with Huret half-step rings, round-hole Normandy hubs, nutted axles (I upgraded mine to Huret wingnuts), 22.2mm ID steerer (though factory-supplied with 22.0mm stem quill), Lycett leather saddle (Brooks-built), Rigida Chrolux rims with "dots" pattern sidewalls, and of course the downtube shifters.

According to catalog listings, my November, 1962-built frame has component features from both 1962 and 1963 catalogs, which I think include the newer chromed fork, the centerpull calipers, and possibly the hi-flange hubs.
There was also a 1962 Super Continental with some of these upgraded 1963 features, and also a Sierra model with triple crankset.

Later Continentals got quick-release axles, a supposedly-steeper frame geometry, a more-angular driveside crankarm shape, a much-smaller 39t small chainring, and finally the .833 ID steerer tube and stem quill. Turkey wing brake levers and Twin-Stik shifters didn't arrive until the late 1960's.

I found mine stock, and kept it stock, except for the chain, freewheel, longer stem, clipless pedals, gum hoods and wingnuts.

I also added the 1962 VDO Chronometer, a wind-up clock device with a normal 12-hour face.
The VDO clock sold new cheap on Ebay because the seller thought it was electric-powered and possibly missing parts (it wasn't).

My bike also came to me with an old rear rack made in Germany, made from alloy tubing somewhat more along the lines of the later Blackburn racks.


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Old 04-27-14, 06:23 PM   #5
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Okay. The serial number starts with L1 so its November 61. Maybe made for the '62 model year. So the fork is original. Thats great! The bike had a steel short gooseneck type stem with the upright bars you see in the pic. I've already switched to some drop bars and the GB stem. Took the Weinmann sidepulls off and am going with MAFAC Racers. Found some metallic turquoise brake cable housing that looks great with the Coppertone. Some fenders of some type would really be cool. Going to have some fun with it.
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Old 04-28-14, 01:35 AM   #6
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Big Chainring, keep us posted as work progresses. I hope the frame is big for you, since these bike's geometry makes them feel really short in front, so a bigger frame should ride better.

I put a 10cm neck on mine to expand the fit a bit, but a longer (than 10cm) neck won't work well with these bike's steering geometry.

I could sure use the pair of Weinmann sidepull calipers for one of my other Schwinns, so might like to buy them if they are in decent condition. Please PM me if you're interested in selling them.
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Old 04-28-14, 05:53 AM   #7
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Big Chainring, keep us posted as work progresses. I hope the frame is big for you, since these bike's geometry makes them feel really short in front, so a bigger frame should ride better.

I put a 10cm neck on mine to expand the fit a bit, but a longer (than 10cm) neck won't work well with these bike's steering geometry.

I could sure use the pair of Weinmann sidepull calipers for one of my other Schwinns, so might like to buy them if they are in decent condition. Please PM me if you're interested in selling them.
Yeah the bike is a little small for me. I noticed right away how short the top tube is. No big deal. I'm going to build it up nice, learn some stuff about early Schwinn 10 speeds, and sell it on to someone else.
The original brakes are fair condition. They may clean up nice though. Let me think on it a bit.
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Old 04-30-14, 12:50 PM   #8
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Here's my Continental with a few modifications. It's a fun little bike but kind of a putterer. It may be that the bike is just a little small for me or maybe I am so used to my other lightweight bikes.
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Old 04-30-14, 01:11 PM   #9
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Here's my Continental with a few modifications. It's a fun little bike but kind of a putterer. It may be that the bike is just a little small for me or maybe I am so used to my other lightweight bikes.
Yours is the same frame size, and looks to be similarly adjusted as mine (blue one in above post).
So I'm guessing you're about 5'10"?
Mine also feels quite small, even though I upped it to a 10cm neck and this was the largest Continental frame size offered for many years!

These puttering Continentals are still good bikes as long as you don't have to do difficult hills with them, then it's more of an arm/wrist workout that takes some adaptation on my part.

Your bike is looking great though, with the fenders making it look about like a classic British lightweight!

Now all you need are some British John Bull brake pads to grab on the chromed rims.
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Old 04-30-14, 04:28 PM   #10
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Yours is the same frame size, and looks to be similarly adjusted as mine (blue one in above post).
So I'm guessing you're about 5'10"?
Mine also feels quite small, even though I upped it to a 10cm neck and this was the largest Continental frame size offered for many years!

These puttering Continentals are still good bikes as long as you don't have to do difficult hills with them, then it's more of an arm/wrist workout that takes some adaptation on my part.

Your bike is looking great though, with the fenders making it look about like a classic British lightweight!

Now all you need are some British John Bull brake pads to grab on the chromed rims.
Just took a spin on the Continental. Its not bad. If I put wider bars on it, it would really be improved. I'll have to start searching for something.

I'm 6 ft. - but short legs. And riding lower than in my youth. And actually I lowered and moved the saddle forward a bit after taking the above picture. Took a ride over to the LBS and the owner was diggin it. His first bike was a '64 Continental, also in Coppertone. and I weighed it at the shop. 33 pounds, which isn't that bad. My first 10 speed, cheap all steel French bike, was 32 pounds. The heavy bike ride is kinda nice over the bumps. Absorbs everything. And the bike is long, over 43". Once the bars are changed out its gonna be a nice rider.

And the brakes. I made a nice choice with the MAFAC's. They came off of a Peugeot mixte that saw little use. Braking is really nice and positive. I chose a nice cable line to the rear brake. The other thing was the brakes had lots of rust on the steel parts. I had them soaking in penetrating oil for a long time. They really have a nice action to them.


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Old 04-30-14, 05:09 PM   #11
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dddd- I like the wingnuts on your bike. What size do I need for front and rear?
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