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Schwinn Super Sport

Old 01-17-06, 03:54 PM
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biblek
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Schwinn Super Sport

Hello,
I hope someone can help me identify the year and country of manufacture of my Schwinn Super Sport Bicycle. I believe it is a mid 1980s.
Serial number on Bottom Bracket - SF648316
Rims are Shimano with the number HB-6207
The handlebars are Sakae Custom Road Champ
The cranks are Shimano Biopace
All components - brakes, pedals are Shimano 600
The headset is a Tange Falcon
There are two stickers on the frame - one says "United Bicycle Center, Sacramento, CA" The other sticker says "Tenax Columbus"
The frame is red and black with white lettering.
All of the components appear to be made in Japan. Was the frame also made in Japan?
Any information will be greatly appreciated.
This bike was a gift from a friend and is in excellent shape - all original as far as I can tell.

Thank you,
Biblek
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Old 01-17-06, 05:18 PM
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Welcome to Bikeforums, and good luck on your information quest!
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Old 01-18-06, 07:11 AM
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Hello Jamie,
This is the first time I have been on this kind of forum. Did I list this the correct way to get the responce I am looking for?
Any advice appreciated.

Thank you,
Biblek
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Old 01-26-06, 07:58 PM
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I recommend you go to the Classic and Vintage/Antique forum. There is a guy there who can and usually will answer all your Schwinn questions. A great guy. He sent me all the stuff on my 90's Schwinn hybrid that I use as a tourer.

Schwinn's forever (I am down to only three, two Mesa's and a Transit)
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Old 01-26-06, 09:44 PM
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Hello biblek, and welcome. You have come to the right place for Schwinn info. Between Scooper, Sierra, alanbikehouston, Bob Hufford, well biked, and a myriad of other Schwinn geniuses, you'll have more info than Schwinn had.
I recently posted about some Schwinn frame on ebay that I bid on, and the thread is at two pages and counting. These guys are incredible. Just give it til tomorrow afternoon, and I'll say we'll be at 20 posts.

BTW, sounds like a nice ride!
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Old 01-26-06, 10:34 PM
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Yeah, I'd say mid-80s due to the Bio Pace and 600 components. Wow, that was quite an upgrade over my '72 Super Sport.
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I explained that he could never pay me enough cash for the amount of work I had put into that bike and the only way to compensate me for it was to ride the hell out of it.
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Old 01-26-06, 10:41 PM
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Yeah, we did this one in another thread, so it may have been lost in there. It is an 1986 Greenville built Super Sport ("S" prefix in the serial number).

https://home.mchsi.com/~lhufford/86super.jpg
https://home.mchsi.com/~lhufford/86specs.jpg

Bob Hufford
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Old 01-27-06, 07:25 AM
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Hello,
I just want to say thank you for the reply. I am just getting started on this forum and have not got this all figured out yet.

Thank you again,
biblek
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Old 01-27-06, 07:41 AM
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Hello Bob.
Thank you - This is the bike I have. One final question - What do you mean by "Greenville built"?

I appreciate the help.

biblek
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Old 01-27-06, 09:34 AM
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biblek,

It was built in Schwinn's factory in Greenville, Mississippi. The plant operated from 1981 through 1991. It was built to replace the aging Chicago factory (well, and to maybe avoid union labor) which stopped production at the end 1983.

Bob

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Old 01-27-06, 02:56 PM
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Bob has some convincing reasons for thinking this bike was made in Mississippi. I am not totally convinced of that. I have a Super Sport from that same era, with Shimano 600 and the Columbus tubing. No where on the bike does it say "Made in the USA". For most bike companies, including Trek and Cannondale, the "Made in USA" decal has been a point of pride. And, federal law requires that an imported bike have a "Made in XXX" sticker on the frame. In the '80's, those "Made in Japan" decals were not the tiny "easy to fall off" stickers used today. They were often a decal that was applied under the clear coat...not easy to "fall off" or even to deliberately remove.

Further, the "Rivendell Reader" had an interview with Mr. Richard Schwinn, who currently is an owner and manager at Waterford Bikes. He managed the plant in Mississippi during the mid-80's. He said in the interview that the product managers in Chicago would spec the imported bikes early in the component buying cycle with the "lastest and hottest" component groups. And, by the time they got around to buying components for the Greenville bikes, the "good" stuff was gone, and those bikes would get "odds and sods". And, many of the mid-level Schwinn road bikes of that era did have some odd mixes of components. Some Asian stuff that was not "state of the art" and some French stuff that was not in the same class as the best stuff from Japan.

The Super Sport had the latest and best Japanese components from Japan for non-pro level road bikes. Based on Mr. Schwinn's statement that it was the Japanese made bikes that got that level of component, I'd suspect the mid-80's Super Sport was made in Japan.

Of course, any "mystery" about the origin of these bikes could have been set straight in the Schwinn catalog. In the 1970's, Schwinn was always very clear about which bikes were built in Chicago, and which were imported. Then, about 1980, Schwinn became quite vague about where its bikes were built, and was even a bit misleading (putting "Schwinn - Chicago" headbadges on bikes long after the Chicago plant had been closed).
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Old 01-27-06, 03:11 PM
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It's confusing, all right. If you would have asked me a few years ago where the '83 le tour luxe frame that was collecting cobwebs in my basement was made, I would have looked at the "made in the USA" decal on it, and then looked at the headbadge that says Schwinn Chicago on it, and concluded it was made in Chicago. After spending way too much time on this board discussing such things lately, I'm pretty well convinced it was made in Greenville......But beyond '83 (when Chicago shut down), I think the easiest way to tell if it was made in Mississippi or not would be to see if it says "made in USA", or something similar, on the frame. I believe Scooper said recently that Schwinn contracted with Murray to build some Varsities and kids' bikes in Tennessee at some point, but beyond that, I think it's a pretty safe bet that if it says "made in USA" on it, and it's an '80's road bike, it was made in Greenville, which opened in '81. And from what I've seen, the labeling was pretty clear in regard to place (country) of manufacture, with labels like "made in Japan for Schwinn" or something similar. To tell you the truth, I think it's kind of interesting, but it probably doesn't make one bit of difference in regard to the quality of the frame. Just my .02.

Edit: One thing I've wondered, too, is since the Chicago factory didn't shut down until the end of '83, and since the Greenville plant opened in '81, there's some overlap there of Schwinn's "made in USA" stuff. I wonder which bikes were made in Chicago during this brief time period after the Mississippi plant opened?

Last edited by well biked; 01-27-06 at 03:40 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 01-27-06, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
He said in the interview that the product managers in Chicago would spec the imported bikes early in the component buying cycle with the "lastest and hottest" component groups. And, by the time they got around to buying components for the Greenville bikes, the "good" stuff was gone, and those bikes would get "odds and sods".
With Schwinn's buying power I don't doubt that they could buy the latest and hottest component groups for the frames wherever they were building them. At this time (1986) they were building the Paramountain (starting in June) and Cimarrons on the MTB side in Greenville, so it wasn't just mid-to-lower end bikes coming out of that plant.

Bob Hufford
Springfield, MO

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Old 01-27-06, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by BobHufford
With Schwinn's buying power I don't doubt that they could buy the latest and hottest component groups for the frames wherever they were building them. At this time (1986) they were building the Paramountain (starting in June) and Cimarrons on the MTB side in Greenville, so it wasn't just mid-to-lower end bikes coming out of that plant.

Bob Hufford
Springfield, MO
I don't think the problem was "buying power". Some independent writers have blamed the mis-management in Greenville for the problems at that factory. (See "No Hands"...the history of the collapse of Schwinn).

Richard WAS the manager in Greenville, and he blames the fact that guys in Chicago (he does NOT mention the name of his brother Edward, the "boss" of Schwinn) were in charge of buying the components (from Asia and France) that would sooner or later (usually "later") arrive in Greenville. He told Grant Peterson that the buyers in Chicago gave first priority to ordering the "Made in Asia" bikes, and got around to ordering components for him much later, after the "hot" components were sold out for the year.

And, in that same time period, Trek's Wisconsin operation was growing from being a small custom frame shop into becoming the largest manufacturer of bikes in America. Asian competition is NOT an explanation for the failure of Schwinn's Greenville operation, given that Trek and Cannondale were increasing their own sales by leaps and bounds during the 1985 to 1990 era.

I wonder if Richard Schwinn would respond to an e-mail to his Waterford company asking him to confirm that the Greenville Schwinns had a unique serial number system that was not used on any imported Schwinns. If the serial number works 100% of the time, it will be easy to know which bikes are which.

By the way, Richards's Waterford web site includes a terrific history of the Schwinn Paramounts, many of which were made at Waterford.

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Old 01-27-06, 10:23 PM
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I don't disagree with any of that. I'm just saying that there were higher-end bikes coming out of Greenville at that point (with top-end Japanese component groups, albeit mountain bike groups), so why couldn't they also produce the Super Sport?

I sent an email to Mr. Schwinn at Waterford about the '86 Super Sport in particular and the 'S' codes in general. He's been very good at answering questions in the past, so we'll see how this shakes out. If I had been thinking I would have asked about how to ID the Bridgestone vs. the Panasonic bikes as well. It would be great if it was just a simple serial number pattern. One using the letter/number, the other using the number/letter or some-such-thing. Nah, too easy ... :-)

Take care,

Bob
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Old 01-28-06, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by BobHufford
I don't disagree with any of that. I'm just saying that there were higher-end bikes coming out of Greenville at that point (with top-end Japanese component groups, albeit mountain bike groups), so why couldn't they also produce the Super Sport?

I sent an email to Mr. Schwinn at Waterford about the '86 Super Sport in particular and the 'S' codes in general. He's been very good at answering questions in the past, so we'll see how this shakes out. If I had been thinking I would have asked about how to ID the Bridgestone vs. the Panasonic bikes as well. It would be great if it was just a simple serial number pattern. One using the letter/number, the other using the number/letter or some-such-thing. Nah, too easy ... :-)

Take care,

Bob
In the "Rivendell Reader" interview, Mr. Schwinn says that much of the equipment from Greenville got shipped to Waterford after the bankrupcy auction. Maybe the production records went to Greenville as well...

In "No Hands", a supervisor at Greenville said that he took the last bike to come off the line at Greenville home. He thought it would be a nice bit of history to have the "very last Made-in-USA Schwinn". Later, his son wanted to "borrow" that bike to ride at college...where it disappeared.

So, somewhere in Mississippi, some crook may still be riding "the last American Schwinn".
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Old 02-04-06, 03:53 PM
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Hello Bob,
If you get any reply from Mr Schwinn I sure would like to know what he says about the 1986 Super Sport.

Thank you again for all of your help.

Biblek
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Old 02-05-06, 08:40 AM
  #18  
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Will do when and if I do ...

Bob
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Old 07-25-06, 07:25 PM
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Paging Bob Hufford:

Have you gotten a reply from Mr. Schwinn about the "Super Sport" numbers? I kinda suspect Mr. Schwinn gets tired of answering questions about the 1980's (a painful era for Schwinn) and would rather discuss his terrific 2006 model Waterford bikes. But, "old Schwinn" fans still care about those old bikes...
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Old 07-25-06, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
Paging Bob Hufford:

Have you gotten a reply from Mr. Schwinn about the "Super Sport" numbers? I kinda suspect Mr. Schwinn gets tired of answering questions about the 1980's (a painful era for Schwinn) and would rather discuss his terrific 2006 model Waterford bikes. But, "old Schwinn" fans still care about those old bikes...
+1........I've been wondering if you ever heard, too, Bob, about the serial numbers from the '80's starting with "S", whether that indicates a Greenville bike, etc. But to tell you the truth, I remember a thread here not too long ago where there was a Schwinn with "made in USA" labeling being discussed, I believe, from '84 or later (post-Chicago, in other words), and the serial number didn't start with "S." At that point, I pretty much gave up on the "S" thing. Hopefully, it was a fluke.............

edit: now that I think about it, maybe the thread I'm thinking of referred to a post-'83 Schwinn with "made in (Japan, China, or Taiwan)" labeling, and the serial number started with "S". Whatever it was, I remember it made me think the "S" thing wasn't reliable.

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Old 07-25-06, 09:05 PM
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No, I never heard back. I have heard reports of folks reporting supposed '80s Greenville built bikes without the 'S', but when pressed they seemed to find it. (I also remember the ones who didn't, but can't remember if they were pressed on the subject).

I'm afraid the jury is still out ...

Bob
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Old 07-25-06, 09:20 PM
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I just asked again.

I also asked about which manufacturer built which import model in the 1970s and 1980s. That probably took it too far ...

Bob
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Old 07-26-06, 02:45 PM
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The waters are still muddy in Mississippi ...

Here is Richard Schwinn's reply:

-----------------

Hi Bob,

Thanks for your e-mail. I don't recall getting any e-mails before but I
have this one now.

Greenville production: The serial numbers in Mississippi followed the
rules from the Chicago facility - at least after the Chicago plant
closed startting with a 2 digit date code followed with a 6 digit
serial number. Perhaps there might bave been another system when both
Greenville and Chicago were open, though this was painfully brief.

Manufacturing allocation: My information is not too reliable, except
with the following comments:

> Paramounts were the only lug bikes built at the Chicago factory
before 1977-78. Other lug bikes were built in Japan. Schwinn brought
most of the lug bikes back to Chicago for '77-78 when it finally cranked
up lug bike production. A few cheaper Taiwanese bikes under the World
name (the original Arnold, Schwinn and Co. brand from the turn on the
20th century), becoming Schwinn's during the strike and the Chicago
plant closedown.

> Greenville got the lug brazing equipment from the Chicago facility
and built lug frames. They added some upper-end TIG frames (aluminum in
1988 and steel in 1990).

> The "Series" Paramounts mostly came from Japan, but the series 2, 20,
3 and 30 came from Taiwan and eventually China by 1992.

It's not the detail you want and there may be exceptions, but it's a
place to start.

Thanks and good luck,

Richard

Bob Hufford wrote:

>Hi,
>
>This one is probably for Mr. Schwinn.
>
>I think I've asked this before, but it was probably lost in the shuffle (or
just annoying). I get several inquiries from Schwinn collectors regarding the
serial number scheme of the mid 1980s Greenville built bikes and I was under the
impression the those bikes numbers were prefixed with an 'S' (along with the '78
Japanese and '79 Chicago built Le Tour and Super Le Tours). My question is --
does this scheme hold true for all the Greenville bikes and what, if any, of the
Japanese bikes in the '80s does it also follow (the early Le Tours)?
>
>Another question is what import models were built by what manufacturer? I'd be
particularly interested in the models through the 1970s (as that is what my
website covers), but I get questions through the 1980s as well. Giant,
Panasonic, Bridgestone? Who did what in what years?
>
>I know that is asking a lot. If you could at least tackle the serial number
for now, that would be great!
>
>Thanks so much,
>
>Bob Hufford
>Keeper of the Schwinn Lightweight Data Book (1960 - 1979)
>https://www.geocities.com/sldatabook/cover.html
>bhufford3@mchsi.com
>Springfield, MO
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Old 07-26-06, 02:49 PM
  #24  
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OK -- for me this doesn't really address the "S" prefix question as there is too much evidence that some Greenville production past the closure of the Chicago plant has it. Should I follow up with pics of serial numbers and models? I have two '87 Cimarrons that have it and have access to several Paramountains.

Of course, there is the '86 Super Sport that has caused all this confusion.

What do you all think? I don't want to ruffle any feathers.

Bob
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Old 07-26-06, 03:37 PM
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Thanks, Bob, for sticking with this and passing it along...........I agree, I don't think the "S" thing is resolved at all. Here's what I know about it, and it's not much, but maybe it means something: My le tour serial #'s start with SF for the '83 and SG for the '84. Both are USA bikes, so I know the '84 is from Greenville and the '83 probably is, although I guess theoretically it could be from Chicago. I've kind of figured (and I could very well be wrong) that the S indicated Greenville and the second character was a date code for the month the frame was built. Again, I'm guessing here, but the A=Jan., B=Feb.,etc., system seems to make the most sense. I will say that, without exception, I've never seen or heard of one of these '80's "S" bikes that had an assembly date code on the head badge that would have had the bike assembled before the frame was manufactured, which would blow the whole theory out of the water, of course; so there seems to be some validity to this guess...........I, of course, am just a hack theorist, so it's worth probably about .02........................On a lighter note, I kind of figured Mr. Schwinn's response might be something like: "you know, the guy who was in charge of Schwinn serial numbers during the '80's stayed drunk the whole time. Our historians are still trying to figure it all out. Your guess is as good as mine".......................
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