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What to do with a pair of Grey 70’s Schwinn Continentals?

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What to do with a pair of Grey 70’s Schwinn Continentals?

Old 12-19-11, 04:44 PM
  #1  
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What to do with a pair of Grey 70’s Schwinn Continentals?

Well after years of sitting in the back of the garage my dad finally decided to “get rid of” his and my mom’s old bikes.

His idea: “hey clean them up and put them on CL and I will split the profits with you”.

My Idea: Restoration
The “men’s” bike (Prob a ‘74) get it back in proper riding shape and give it to my brother. He has wanted it for years and finds himself without a bike.

The “women’s” bike (A ‘76 or ’77)…I’m not so sure what to do with. One thought was a restoration/resto-mod and give it to my girlfriend, she doesn’t have a bike and…well…could use some practice. This might be the right bike for her.

The frames look solid but the chrome is pitted and a bit (surface) rusty. I will try to snap some photos when I get home tonight.

I don’t know where to start…What do you think?
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Old 12-19-11, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Butchchr View Post
I don’t know where to start…What do you think?
Start with some pictures for us to see.
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Old 12-19-11, 05:50 PM
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Old 12-19-11, 05:54 PM
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Well the first thing to do is put them on CL without a picture...
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Old 12-19-11, 06:20 PM
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SteamPunk it.
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Old 12-19-11, 06:23 PM
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Do you have the tools/time/aptitude/space/interest to work on these two bikes? If so, the starting point is total disassembly. All loose ball bearings will need to be replaced and fresh grease. Then you have brake pads, tires, tubes, cables, and housings to replace. And of course, the rust will have to be addressed (do a search on that topic, we have at least 1000 threads on how best to deal with rust, with probably 5000 opinions). Then you will need to flush the freewheels, and most likely replace both chains. Clean the frame, polish it up and wax it. Final step is reassembly and enjoy.

If you take them to a shop for rehab, you will be upside on the project. But if you do it yourself, you should be able to do the work I just described for $50 to $75 per bike (minimum), depends somewhat on tire choice. You could easily spend $75 per bike just on tires and tubes.

As far as cleaning them up and splitting the profits, unless you are in a red hot bicycle market, without the work I described, there will be very little to split.

And selling anything on C/L (or ebay) takes a fair amount of effort in just preparing the item, writing the ad, and meeting with potential buyers.

If you are just doing it for money, probably the best option is to just clean them up, and sell them as is to someone looking for a project. Might be able to get $50 to $75 for the pair.

For sentimental reasons, you might fix up one or both of them, and put them back on the road with other family members.

Last edited by wrk101; 12-19-11 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 12-20-11, 01:46 AM
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Now with Pics!

Alright, snapped a few quick shots…it’s the best I could do at 2am.





The men’s was made September ‘77
The brakes are marked type LC 2.3
The rear derailleur is marked GT500
And everything (and I mean everything) is stamped with either the Schwinn logo, or Schwinn, or Schwinn approved.

The women’s was made October ‘75
The brakes are marked type LC 2.3
And everything else is stamped Schwinn etc. etc.

They are not as bad off as I thought they would be. Dad claims that they were “serviced” recently before they stopped riding them…I think that was a 5 to 10 years ago. I’m inclined to believe that. The men’s had a sticker on it from the local Schwinn dealer saying repaired and it looked “newer” and the brake pads look like they don’t have many miles on them.

When it comes to the “Do you have the tools/time/aptitude/space/interest to work on these two bikes?” well: some, looking to buy the rest (planning on working on my bike too)/ yes (its winter)/No (I come from the car world but I love to learn)/yes/yes.

Once natural light hits I will get a "rust" shot. Anything else I should shoot and show?
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Old 12-20-11, 02:09 AM
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Those are a few years older than the lemon yellow Continental I grew-up on. They don’t have much value other than sentimentally. They sure do bring back memories though.
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Old 12-20-11, 07:13 AM
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Dad's idea to sell on CL is a poor one. You won't make enough to cover your time in restoration. Your idea to restore and give to your brother and GF, is a great plan. The bikes will be continued to be used by two people you know well and they stay in the family. This is a win-win!

Schwinn chrome from the 1960s-70s is the best. Very thick and easy to bring back to life. Use bronze wool with a little WD40 and most of the rust will basically "wipe away." Some might require a little more elbow grease. Don't use steel wool. It will leave behind little flecks which will rust again very quickly.

Schwinn paint also loves to be restored. Many of us use Meguiar's Scratch X followed by their wax and polish. Go gently around the decals. You will be amazed by the results.

Best of luck on the restoration. Take closeup pictures and post your progress.
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Old 12-20-11, 03:24 PM
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+1 to what Pastorbob says above, except I disagree a little on the rust removal (here we go again!). I like using a paste of Barkeeper's Friend.

The bikes are "worth" more as keepsakes and as bicycles in your family's possession (counting your girlfriend as family, than they ever would be worth in cash. Also, the wealth of experience you're about to gain by working on these bikes will be priceless.
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Old 12-20-11, 03:39 PM
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+1 worth very little on the CL market, but a fun bike that will last a few lifetimes. Polish it up and ride.
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Old 12-20-11, 08:35 PM
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Butchchr, go for it. I just restored a 73 that was in worse shape than those look to be. The only tool I needed to buy was a cable cutter, but I can use that on my CF bike when I replace the cables. The mechanics are really simple and the design is elegantly simple. The cranks come out easy, the headset comes apart easy and cleaning and relubbing bearings was a piece of cake.

You won't make money, though. I've got receipts for about $90 worth of parts-new tires, new tubes, new chain, new brake pads, new cables and new housings. I also found some correct color handlebar tape on ebay. The only trouble I had with the restoration was figuring how to do the cables properly. My advice is don't trim them until you're absolutely sure you've got everything adjusted correctly.

I recommend a metal polish like "Blue Magic" or something from your local car parts place. It gets the rust and discoloration off the chrome and makes it look real nice. The paint is close to 40 years old, but cleaned up pretty good with car products.

So now what do I have? A bike that was worth maybe $100 when I got it, plus $90 for new parts, plus my time and I still have a bike that's worth about $100. It actually rides pretty cool, although I've never taken it far. It handles and feels totally different than my modern CF road bike. But I also had hours of enjoyment stripping it down to the frame, cleaning it, figuring out how to put it back together and then showing it off to a couple of my neighbors who are bike people. It was a great experience and I would enjoy doing another one. First, I have to find a new home for this one. I know I won't get my money out of it, but it was pretty cheap entertainment in the overall scheme of things.

Let me know if you have questions about the restoration. For instance, getting the kick stand off is a major pain. And those old chains are a little bit different to deal with than our newer ones. I sort of have it figure out and won't forget for a few months at least.

Have fun with it. It will be a great present for your brother.
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Old 12-20-11, 08:41 PM
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I've restored one like that for a man that could easily afford a full-on carbon bike.
It had sentimental value. I thought he was nuts, but the bike was smooth.
Not exactly a climber.

I'm thinking donation to someone for whom it's great transportation.
Those people are out there, and those bikes would change their world.
'Tis the season. (tax time---what did you think I'd say?).

Otherwise, I hate to say it, but I'm thinking artifical reef.
Mainly because you can't kill those bikes, they're superbikes.

I also thought: leave it where it can get stolen, and watch a thief get a hernia.
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Old 12-20-11, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
I also thought: leave it where it can get stolen, and watch a thief get a hernia.
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Old 12-21-11, 02:46 AM
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I think I will get started on the Resto right after Christmas. I will keep you all posted as to how its coming along. Flip of the coin, what one to start with...
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Old 12-21-11, 03:23 AM
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OK, please be kind....

I Have a bunch of Schwinns dating back into the 1940s.

The Continental model actually rides very nice. Especially out here on the flat prairie where there are no killer hills.The bottom line is that yes they are very heavy, but these were probably the most rugged road bikes ever made by any manufacturer.

Keep them in the family. Hand them down through the generations, they are American made heirlooms. Yes Schwinn made millions of these and they are not valuable. Sometimes nostalgia is what is needed for the soul.

This image is me with my 1973 Continental in Sunset Orange (one year only color).
I take this one out once in a while just to feel the nostalgia.
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Old 12-21-11, 06:08 AM
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Nice Continental Hoss. Its the same color as my Super Sport (74?).

I agree with the rest: clean them up and keep them in the family. From the picture they hardly need much restoration, just a good spring clean up and tune up. Good bikes to learn some restoration and repair skills with.

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Old 12-21-11, 04:02 PM
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Old Schwinns are the coolest bikes ever. I finally restored a 1974 Varsity. It was simple, fun, and worth all the time and little bit of money I put into it. Yes, it's heavy, as yours are, but that's not the point. It has sentimental value. The bike is too small for me, but in about one year my daughter will be big enough for it, and she'll be the only kid in the neighborhood riding a cool vintage Schwinn.

Polish them up, and then direct them to someone who will appreciate them. Or, polish them up and find a safe, dark place to store them for another 20 years or so. Your kids will thank you.
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Old 12-21-11, 04:42 PM
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The one I restored had not been ridden since about 1979. The tires were rotted, vinyl wrap had gone slime.

I think I spent maybe $30 on it, because I had some 27" Gatorskins on hand. There was literally so little it needed, it was amazing.

Tires/tubes/cables/housing and an $8 chain from Walmart. Cleaned, lubed, adjusted, and it was basically showroom.
He had a Schwinn handlebar bag, probably original, with a silver buckle on it like an old bookbag.

I used a Sharpie paint pen to re-do the lettering where it was compromised. $5 bottle of Rustoleum rust remover on the chrome.

Rode it a couple of miles. Huge shifters, silent runner. Very self-confident, methodical bike.

I'm not sure what he did with it, but he told me he was putting his Trek mtb back on the wall rack.

Maybe he'll call me in 25 more years, get it tuned up again.

His wife's Peugeot mixte was another story.
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Old 12-21-11, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by 67walkon View Post
For instance, getting the kick stand off is a major pain. And those old chains are a little bit different to deal with than our newer ones. I sort of have it figure out and won't forget for a few months at least.
I just removed my first one the other day. It took longer to research how it's done than to do it. 2 seconds, big channel locks and a small nut.

http://www.bunchobikes.com/repair2.htm
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Old 12-21-11, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Butchchr View Post
Well after years of sitting in the back of the garage my dad finally decided to “get rid of” his and my mom’s old bikes.

His idea: “hey clean them up and put them on CL and I will split the profits with you”.

My Idea: Restoration
The “men’s” bike (Prob a ‘74) get it back in proper riding shape and give it to my brother. He has wanted it for years and finds himself without a bike.

The “women’s” bike (A ‘76 or ’77)…I’m not so sure what to do with. One thought was a restoration/resto-mod and give it to my girlfriend, she doesn’t have a bike and…well…could use some practice. This might be the right bike for her.

The frames look solid but the chrome is pitted and a bit (surface) rusty. I will try to snap some photos when I get home tonight.

I don’t know where to start…What do you think?


a childhood friend had a continental in metal flake brown, probaby 69-70, maybe as late as christmas 71. i borrowed it for a couple of weeks and really liked it. at the time i had a steel sears english racer with only 2 gears that ever worked; you choose which 2!
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Old 12-21-11, 07:16 PM
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Very nice old bikes, I recently put my 71 Super Sport back on the road after decades of neglect. Fun project, didn't spent too much on it and I can now ride the same bike I delivered newspapers on some 40 years ago! Keep them in the family, you will enjoy seeing them over the coming years.
Here is my old SS before and after.

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Old 12-22-11, 05:39 AM
  #23  
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My Super Sport.



It is stock except for the bottom bracket conversion and a Campy crankset.

30.2 pounds, but a very smooth ride.

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Old 12-22-11, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Butchchr View Post
Alright, snapped a few quick shots... it's the best I could do at 2am.
From the pictures both of those bikes appear to be 1976 models. You can see the original catalog pages for the men's model here and the women's model here. 1976 was the first year for the Silver Mist color (on a '70s Continental), and the Continental was renamed as the Sierra for '77 (one year only) and as the "Continental II" in '78 and '79. The Continental (no "II") name returned in 1980 through '84, after which it was finally discontinued.

Both bikes seem all original except for the saddle on the women's model, which appears to be replaced with a mattress style saddle as used on the Suburbans of the era. This was a fairly common dealer-suggested replacement at the time, especially for women's bikes.

Originally Posted by 55 Traveler View Post
Nice Continental Hoss. Its the same color as my Super Sport (74?).
1973 was the last year for the fillet-brazed Super Sport, which was also the only year it was available in Sunset Orange.
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Old 12-22-11, 02:46 PM
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1973 was the last year for the fillet-brazed Super Sport, which was also the only year it was available in Sunset Orange.
Then 73 it is!

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